on forever goodbyes.

(Our sleepy kitten the night he came to us: Christmas Eve.)

There was a day last week when something felt off. It was looming over me. I checked the news to make sure nothing had happened in Iraq, thinking of Gabe--the first thing I always do when that feeling starts creeping in. No news of note. My phone, which rests carefully in the front pocket of my purse, had been quiet all day save a few texts from my best friend asking me to pick up some chocolate cake. Trying to put the feeling behind me, I reminded myself that I was in California and should enjoy it. I checked out the beach. Drove around Santa Cruz. But the feeling stayed.

And then, late in the afternoon my phone rang. It was my dad.

"We're not doing so well," his voice quivering a bit. I could hear my mom and sister in the background. "We're at the vet with Rudy."

"Aww...oh no! What does he have?" I asked sympathetically. For a moment, I was relieved. That's what was wrong. Rudy, our little 10 month old kitten, probably had a respiratory infection or a kitty virus.

"He's pretty sick, B," my dad paused for a moment. "They found a cancerous tumor in his lungs...and he can't breathe on his own. It came on so fast. There really aren't any options...even with expensive treatment he's not going to...we have to let him go."

He trailed off. We stayed on the phone for several minutes, neither of us able to get more than a few words out at a time. My phone grew soggy, tears catching between my face and the screen...I tried to dam the tears as they ran rivers down my cheeks, but there was no catching to be done. There were simply too many.

"Okay," I squeaked, sobbing so hard I could barely speak. "Give him a little kiss and tell him I love him."

Our little Christmas kitten. Gone. Just like that.

I've said before that I'm not good at goodbyes, I'm even worse at forever goodbyes. Although I've felt silly grieving over a kitten while others in the world bury loved ones, I cannot help it. Not a day has passed in which I didn't curl up and cry a little over missing our kitty, my heart aching to think of how long he'd been in pain without being able to tell us. For now I've framed his photo and look at it often...remembering all the giggles and sweetness he brought to our family in only seven months. As family that hadn't welcomed a pet in 15 years, we couldn't have been more in love.

He may have lived a short life, but he certainly left behind the best memories that I'll never forget.


  1. But animals are loved ones, and we can't measure the amount of our pain tolerance by others'! You go ahead and cry, sister. I still cry about our pets that have passed on. I'm so sorry about all of this, love. I know it will get better, and I know he's watching you from a tree branch in Heaven, figuring out the best place from which to watch your wedding.

  2. I HATE forever goodbyes. When our cat Small died, Alan was with her at the vet and I was at home, weeping on the couch.

    I'm so sorry you had to say goodbye to Rudy.

    Thinking of you and sending hugs. And chocolate cake. xo

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  4. Oh, I'm so sorry. I will be sending lots of comforting thoughts your way.

  5. oh, I am so sorry. it is so hard to lose a pet. we said goodbye to our family dog a few years ago and it was so sad. thinking of you today.

  6. you should never regret mourning the loss of a pet. a person who treats a pet like family is a good person indeed. so sorry you had to lose your little cat - that seems so unfair. i will hug my dogs tight today and send happy thoughts your family's way.

  7. <3 Thinking of you. Pets are part of our heart, so crying is completely acceptable.

  8. I'm so sorry :( Losing pets can hurt just as much as losing people. I still miss my cat and it's been 7 years. Fortunately they aren't suffering anymore and they are running through endless fields of catnip and butterflies :)

  9. Oh, sweetie. As a woman with a big heart for animals, reading this broke my heart. Earlier in the year I chose a kitten from the Humane Society. It stayed at my mom's house, but she was my kitten. When they took her to get declawed, she was over-anesthesia-ed and we lost her. My heart is with you right now. Like Alivia said, animals are loved ones. You're lovely, and Rudy will always be with you.

  10. I'm so sorry for your loss!
    Goodness, this made me cry...
    I'm glad that he lived a happy kitty life for the brief time that it was.


  11. I'm so sorry to hear about the lose, pets are such a big part of a family. Glad he lived a good life surronded by good people.


  12. I'm crying with you :-( I am SO sorry to hear about sweet little Rudy. Anybody who says/thinks you shouldn't cry over a pet has obviously never had one! My kitties are my "kids" and I know what a huge amount of love they've brought into my life. I'm sure Rudy was the same with your family and I truly wish I could take the pain & sorrow away. This post is a beautiful tribute to a sweet kit kat :-) And that picture you have of him - GORGEOUS!! Huge hugs...

  13. Rudy was adorable! Those pictures are precious. Although short lived, clearly he touched your heart. Me & my son have a cat, she is going on 5 years old now, named Kitty and she brings so much joy to us. Have you & Gabe discussed a little furry friend?

  14. Little baby kitty : ( I'm so sorry. Losing pets is such a difficult and sad time. We grow so close to them. Sometimes, they know us better than we could even imagine. It's not easy.. but there are many more animals in the world to be loved!

  15. Rudy is now with all of my beloved pups and I'm sure they are living like kings in pet heaven.

    I'm sorry you had to say goodbye so early :-(

  16. I don't care what anyone says, pets are family. They creep into your heart and quietly take up space-- and you never realize how much space they have taken until they are gone.

    I had to put down two cats in 11 months, I know the sadness you feel. It never really goes away, but it does get better, I promise.

    I am going to say to you exactly what you said to me nearly two years ago when I had Murphy put down: Hope life brings you some much-needed cheer this week :)


  17. I'm so sorry to read about your loved one... I recently posted a similar one on my blog for the same reason. It's hard... really hard... There are times when I come home and open the door that I really expect to see him waiting for me there...

    It was a very nice post you wrote.


  18. Bethany,

    What a fitting tribute to my little buddy, Rudy. He left a huge impresion on my heart; one that will not soon be forgotten. He did get that hug and kiss from you before he left us.

  19. I'm so sorry about your Kitty. My mother and I put our 5 yr old dog Gracie to sleep 3 days after she got divorced from my dad. They were together 22 yrs and married for 20. The decision about Gracie was sudden, and was harder on both of us than the divorce. When I went to visit my dad over his birthday, my parakeet died.

    I saw a quote the other day that said this:“People are born so that they can learn how to live a good life – like loving everybody all the time and being nice, right?”

    The six-year-old continued, “Well, dogs already know how to do that, so they don’t have to stay as long.”

    I hope this helps. I'm sure it helped me, even if it was only about dogs, I know he must have meant all animals.

  20. I am so sorry :( Losing a per is so hard. I had to put my cat down at the end of last year and I still miss her. They make such an impact in our lives.

    RIP Rudy.

    x Jasmine

  21. oh sweet kitty! It's very hard saying goodbye to a pet- they love you unconditionally, whether you've cleaned out their litter or given them dry food when they surely enjoy wet food more.

    I know I haven't met you.. yet but I'm sending hugs your way!!!!

  22. Oh my goodness, I'm sorry about Rudy. I connect so much when I read your blog, this made me cry!! Thinking of you - chin up deary. Also might I add I think you are the cutest lady!!! I am so excited to see photos of your wedding!I am so thankful I have your blog to read while planning my own wedding!



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