eagletree
Tomorrow morning at 10:00, will mark the one week anniversary of my Brown Cat's death. It was a sudden and traumatic death, though in retrospect, I was not admitting to myself how old he had become nor the grave impact his health conditions had been affecting his well-being. He was skinny as a rail and had been for some time, but all I could see was my beautiful young golden cat, because that was how he acted, he had not changed his temperament as his body became ravaged by age. Diabetes and asthma (related in some ways because the medication for asthma had wreaked havoc) and really advanced age, were signaling what would happen, but I guess I couldn't imagine life without him, and when it exploded that morning a week ago, I finally realized the impact. He was a permanent part of life in my mind, always there and always would be, and within an hour that all changed forever.

I posted here in 2016 about the almost simultaneous deaths of my two dogs (Sally and Gadder, Great Dane and Shiloh Shepherd). At that time, in grief, a champion arose for me. It was Brown. He had always been obsessed with me since as a young feral, he had to overcome a personality of living in a terrorizing environment for at least 3 years before he called out to my son and I one day 10 years ago, and seemingly had decided he wanted to be in a safe place rather than just a cat we would catch a glimpse of occasionally as he ran terrified away on seeing humans. He made the transition to house cat, which few do, and as he did, he chose me to be his everything, the place he finally found safety. For years I argued with anyone who would disagree with me, that I had a cat who actually was experiencing what I would call appreciation. He seemed thankful to have come in and have a good life. When the dogs died, there he was there for me, I believe even sitting on my lap as I posted about their deaths on this forum.

This relationship expanded greatly after that time to the point where we became quite inseparable. He trusted me for everything, including coming to me when he had breathing problems as if asking for me to give him his meds so he could feel normal again. His place to be was on my lap or beside me, in the living room, the office, or at night in my bedroom. If I went to the kitchen, he followed me and waited for me. If I went outside, he would be by the door waiting for me to come back in.

Though surprising, I was fully aware that he had rapidly become my closest companion ever. The difference was, I was always a "dog person" and it did seem odd that somehow, this cat, a species I thought of as aloof, had bonded with me in a way that I had never experienced before with anyone, perhaps human or other species. Because of this, he finally got from me, nearly as much love as he gave out. I was no longer able to just move "the cat" out of my way when I had to do something, I found myself giving conscious thought to treating this (sometimes irritating) love he exhibited, with the respect it deserved. I sit here today very thankful that I had made that transition. 

I don't really have a lot I can even say about this loss. It was horrific to see him struggle through his last moments in seizures. It was horrific to have to make auto-pilot decisions I had to make about putting him out of this suffering at the ER, a decision I will regret for the rest of my life, with probably no valid reason. It is horrific to go through each day, experiencing the massive void the house and my life exhibits without his presence.

About that void, I have my son, my other cat, a friendly but aloof feral born in the wild, my son's intelligent cat dedicated to him, and my dog, another Great Dane who is loving and needy with me. But Brown Cat filled a different sort of role, where his life was clearly dependent on mine in his mind. To have observed that relationship cementing and live within it for years, was not normal in life. It was very special.

His ashes returned to me yesterday afternoon. Like the silly man I am, I took them out and walked the property where he'd hung around for years before coming in out of the cold. I took him to the place he'd first called out to us as my son and I had walked one day (which started his long transition from feral to house cat). Now I have a vial of his ashes they provided, in my front pocket, and I find myself patting it occasionally to make sure it's still there. I make these silly little "memorial moments", but the fact is they are drama... I can't find any real way of justifying the loss of a being so important to me, no matter how many memorials I perform. My heart sort of keeps revolving in the circle of acceptance, and then the irrational desire to return to last Saturday morning before the seizures started, and somehow erase this loss, just sit there doing nothing, but holding him against my chest as he loved so much, feeling his purring and kneading return that love.

This is the tantrum I felt yesterday when, with his ashes, came the poem starting "You have become the wind that plays in my hair...". It sent me into illogical sobs and I had to leave the house for a moment to recover. I don't want him to be the wind in my hair. I don't want him to be gone. Whether you ascribe to a spiritual or a scientific approach, he is indeed now the wind that plays in my hair. I want him to be with me and show him how much I love him. I want to somehow cross the barrier of species to communicate that he was a beautiful and wonderful being to me, and his existence caused me to feel a deeply rich honor that no other human or animal ever made me feel. He chose me to be his protector and person, the being he would bestow his trust on, when his background could not trust anything. You can't just move on quickly from such a dramatic statement of worth. Brown Cat gave me worth and he is gone.

I would imagine that many coming to this forum would be experiencing a similar loss, and you have my condolences, and trust me, they are with an understanding of your pain. It is at least partially, that we live lives where very few others will mirror our true worth. Humans most certainly don't for the most part, even those closest to us, because we have our ego to contend with. These simpler creatures, devoid of ego, have no restrictions in heralding what we mean to them. They also don't judge our flaws and don't listen to our own self-judgement. They simply adore us, and they appreciate what we mean to their lives on simple and straightforward terms. The loss of that pure adoration is not something to take lightly and get over easily. I had the great honor to live with one such thankful and adoring creature and my life is so much richer because of it.

Here is Brown Cat's photo. This was after he'd lost the buff appearance of his youth, and just before he started the extreme frailty that would take him to his demise. But his eyes in this photo were exactly what I always saw when he'd look at me. Large and dilated, it was how he would always look as he was asking if he could get on my lap or come up to sit by me on my chair, as if he knew, the next moments were going to be euphoric security. It's hard to view the photo, because those eyes haunt me now.


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Yaoyao
Hi there,

I'm so sorry for your loss! Brown had a good life because he met you and you gave him the best life you could. I understand what you went through as I went through a very similar situation with my Albert. It is hard for us to accept  the fact that one day they will be gone. Albert was losing weight significantly the last couple months of his life, he was 21 years old and had kidney and heart problems. But all I could see was my handsome and wise baby. He had a stroke last Monday night, and I rushed him to the ER, and before long the doctor called and said I needed to make that decision. Everything happened so fast. I had to make the decision asap because he was in pain. Don't blame yourself for that or regret it, I know it's hard because I do it too! But it's the right decision for him. Being alive without a quality life is no way to live. Letting go is never easy, but  we sometimes have to because we love them.

My best wishes for you my friend. Take care!

Yaoyao
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eagletree
I am sorry for your loss, just a day apart from when I lost Brown. He had 4 seizures and it was obviously hurting him. He kept crying out to me since I'd helped him through every situation in his life. It was gut wrenching, and like you, I had to make the decision in a split second. As I was saying the words "yes, do it" my inner voice was screaming at me "NO". I also didn't go into the clinic to be with him as he died because of Covid-19. I could not justify in my mind risking their entire staff though they would have permitted me in even through the lockdown, and even at that decision, I was cursing myself. I didn't even feel I should take him in at all, but just allow him to die in my arms, but he would have suffered further first, the seizures were so violent. Aside from seeing him go through such a painful and terrified circumstance, not being able to be there was my biggest regret, but I couldn't see how I could justify it. No, there seemed to be no choice but make the decisions I made. Your words are correct about quality of life and the importance of making the right decisions.  That doesn't change that we have to live with those decisions. I know the regret will fade. 

I hear you about seeing your handsome and wise baby. It was always like that in the last couple of years, he looked beautiful to me just as he was. My son would joke and say petting him was like petting a dinosaur, yet to me, he felt precious to touch. Even between his seizures, he still responded with purring and love when I picked him up, held and petted him. Before I left the house, even knowing how emergent it was, I stopped to lean back in my recliner and hold him on my chest one more time, as we had spent so many hours doing and he so loved. He purred and kneaded just like always and even bit my chin, something I'd taught him wasn't the way to show love so many years ago, yet in this situation, he reverted to his very initial way of showing affection. It was hard to accept putting him down when he was still filled with love for our connection.

Thank you very much for your words.
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MLovesRuby
Eagletree…..your words are profound.  It's hard to read though my tears.  Your words are so gentle and full of deep deep love.  Brown Cat is beautiful.  The love and trust in his eyes is pure.  The connection you have with him is everlasting.  Your hearts are one in the same.  

I lost my Ruby Tuesday one week ago today.  I too had to make the split decision to let my baby rest.  And because of the virus, I was not with her.  Soooo hard and something that I will regret forever.

The ache to hold her is agonizing.  Just one more hug, one more kiss, one more time smelling her fur, one more time face to face blinking slowly at each other.  I cannot even find the proper words to describe the pain.  

We are all connected here....we come together for each other.  We are helping each other to find some comfort.  

Thank you for sharing Brown Cat with us.
Michelle
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eagletree
So close together they went, and so similar the reasons for not having that last embrace. I feel your tears coming through as my own. I'm so sorry about Ruby Tuesday and authentically commiserate about those last moments and even the important reasons they could not be what we needed them to be. I knew when it was happening that it would be lifetime regret, and yet there was nothing that could be done to change that. 

I know intimately the ache you speak of. I knew it as I drove from the clinic making it difficult to drive. I knew it the next day when all I could think of was that I wanted time to roll back, reverse what had happened and just sit with Brown and hold him. Impossible, but it's all I wanted and nothing else would suffice. And as you say, "face to face", that is always how I would see his eyes, adoring, as if he were hopelessly in love with his human friend. That was what the feeling was when I'd lean back in my chair and he would climb on my chest, like this being needed no purpose in life but to love me, and he would project that feeling into me too. Where do you go with something like that when they are so quickly gone? That was apparently Ruby Tuesday for you, eyes locked in an embrace that transcends species and how love is supposed to work in our reality. 

Thank you for sharing Ruby Tuesday, I am certain we, and others here, know the same feelings all too well at this time.
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MLovesRuby
I feel too that my purpose in my life was to love my girl with every cell in my body from the moment we met.  16 years...and my love grew more and more for her.  No arguing, no silent treatment, no anger.  She never did anything that made me upset.  She never clawed the furniture, never jumped on the counter, never had any accidents on the floor.  She just knew me.  She knew how to make me happy.  This home was bliss.  As you said, where do we go when it is so abruptly gone?  My heart is shattered.   One day at a time...……..
Michelle
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eagletree
I'm hearing you accurately I think. What is living if it's not to be connected in harmony. These creatures allowed us to connect in that synchronicity. It's not easy to do with people, because as I mentioned in the first post, they/we have ego getting in the way of the simplicity of appreciation. Brown Cat seemed to have no restrictions on how much he would give, nor how much he could accept in love. He could not be mad, he could not be offended. He just knew he felt security from me, and loved it. He couldn't ponder whether I'd made myself undesirable by giving too much, and he could neither be angry that I'd given too little. It was pure acceptance and desire for what I could give him, and it was always good enough. That's what we get from these little creatures, I suppose it's most tragic that we can't get that from our own species. His feral terror, when converted to his house cat security was bullish on wanting what he'd found. These animals can know true gratefulness like we humans don't seem to be able to easily know, yet we can with them, hence we rise above ourselves in a more perfect love through knowing them. 

I'm trying to figure out the lessons I need to learn from this interaction and it's outcome, I think the above is a big part of it. 

Yes, a few short days ago, I felt the bliss too for this odd family of my son and animals. It is a shattering, but it will go back together. I think the sad part is that we have to experience that reconstruction without some very beloved animals. I guess the only solace in that, is that we do so with our spirits changed by what they've shown us.
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