kirkf

Sorry this is so long. We had a cat. More appropriately, though my family all loved her, I should say I had a cat. She was 14 years old. Her name was Willow. She was very small and fairly typical looking as cats go - gray with a white spot on her chest that seemed to get bigger and smaller for no apparent reason. My cat was killed 3 days ago. She was 10 feet in front of me as I watched a Husky split her spine and toss her in the air like a doll in front of our house. The dog ran and I went to Willow. She was still alive and would be for maybe 20 more minutes as we drove her to the emergency clinic. I think she died in shock and hopefully not in pain. Animals and humans have a way of shutting off the pain during extreme conditions. At least I like to think so.

We have, and have had, a lot of cats over the years. Far more than average - right now we have five. It used to be six. I've loved all our cats. I've loved some more than others. We've had cats who have lived to be 18 and have been family members in every way. I've cried when they've died and grieved for them and for our family. This is different. I'm writing this after zero sleep, but my semi-delirious hope is that it may somehow help me deal with what I can only describe as utter and complete emotional devastation that, at least at this point, I can't see my way out of anytime soon. It's as if a piece of me has been ripped out and I'll never be whole again - ever. I know - it's just a cat. Sounds overly emotional and dramatic and probably embarrassing for a grown man to talk about in front of people, but at this point despite how private I normally am, that's not a concern. Maybe later I'll delete this.

I met Willow when she found us. She just showed up at our door and figured we looked like a family who likes cats, and she never left. We put signs out looking for someone missing a cat but luckily she was now ours. I remember the first second I saw her in our front yard. I remember it like it was yesterday and not 14 years ago. I love all our cats but this was my cat. This was MY cat and I was HER person in every way.

Because I work mostly at home, I've spent probably an average of 20 hours a day, every day, with Willow near or on me. Everyday tasks were never done alone whether going to the bathroom, cooking meals, eating meals, taking a shower, working at the computer - she had her very specific routine for each of those events and they rarely varied. She'd follow me up to bed every night - without fail. She'd run up the first flight of stairs ahead of me, wait on the landing for me and then run to the top to get there ahead of me. I'd brush my teeth and she'd sit at the very edge of the counter to be as close to me as possible so she could lean her head forward and we could rub foreheads while I brushed my teeth. Her bedtime routine was always the same. If I was watching tv in bed she had to lean up against me on my right side - always the right side, and other than occasionally sitting on my chest so all I saw where bits and pieces of the tv screen between her ears she would stay there until I turned the tv off. At that point I'd situate the pillows so that one was next to me keeping her up at my body level while she laid half on the pillow and half on my shoulder, head and neck until I went to sleep. She would always wait patiently while I got the pillows ready and then curl up to sleep. Sometime during the night she would move to a different area of the room or the bed - I think I move too much in my sleep, but every morning, without fail, at a time she deemed appropriate I'd feel a scratching at the sheets next to my chin and she would come under the covers. She would then get up as close to me as possible - facing me, with her front paws on my neck and/or face, her back feet on my stomach, and lay her head on my outstretched arm tilted up towards my head so we were literally breathing each other's air. Sometimes she'd stare at me, but usually we'd both still be tired and just go back to sleep. I've been to some amazing locations and seen some beautiful things over 50+ years, but nothing comes even remotely close to how I felt and how beautiful she looked during those moments. And it happened every single day. This was my cat.

There's a possibility that this sounds bizarre to some people who haven't loved an animal and it should in no way diminish the love I feel for my family which always comes first - but it's different. It's hard to describe the relationship that developed - my little girlfriend, best friend and daughter, and we were always there for each other. Always. Without fail. She helped me through some rough patches in life which adults all have now and then, some worse than others and I watched out for her every moment. Everyone in my family knew about Willow and I and they all "got it" thankfully. This was my cat and I was 100% her person. She made every second of my life the last 14 years more beautiful and I know I made every second of hers the same. I did and would do anything for that cat and I always protected her until yesterday, when a loose dog, whose owners undoubtedly have no idea the pain it has caused our family, ended one of the most special relationships I have had and will ever have in my life. I will never have that with a cat again and I don't want to. There was something beyond "we just loved each other" - it was a true bond. I've loved a lot of cats and have grieved when they've died. I've never felt like this and I literally can't see an end to it right now. She was unbelievably special. I know I'm not the only one to feel this way about an animal and I know she's just a cat, but not to diminish the tragedies and struggles in my life, this is the single most heartbreaking moment in 56 years.

I would post a photo of her but I can't look at one. Maybe one day I will be able to look. Maybe not. I would like to erase the image I see, with my eyes shut or open, of her in the back of a cat carrier with a twisted back and blood covering her tongue. I would like to never see that again and only remember her in bed, curled up against me breathing the same air, but I think it will just take time. She was the most beautiful thing in the world to me - I know, just a cat.

I'm not a religious person but sometimes extreme emotions can do things to you and screw with your sensibilities. I don't know if there's a god or a supreme being but I admit, maybe for the first time, hoping that if there is, she, he or it, will see fit to let me spend eternity with Willow. I'm usually pretty tough emotionally and prefer to remain removed and stoic, but this is different. I've lost the greatest friend I've ever had and the best companion anyone could ever ask for. There is some solace in the fact that Willow knew, without question, that she was the most loved cat in the world. She knew I was her human and she was my cat and she had a great life. I often would think that if she could somehow gain the gift of language and understand what's asked of her, she would respond to "what's your name?" with "I love you Willow" because that's what she heard more than anything else every hour, every day for 14 years. I find myself saying it out loud even last night and today, and often, as if it somehow makes me close to her again. In every sense of the world that matters in the end, I love you Willow. You were my cat and I was your human.

Maybe this will help someone who feels the same way knowing they're not alone. Maybe this will prepare someone for the inevitable, but I don't think that's possible. While I knew this day would come, I wasn't prepared for it to be this way - and I don't think I was prepared for it any way. It's a scary thing to love something so much.

I'm posting this here because I am at a total loss. My best friend... I feel that some people don't understand. Luckily my wife does, but I need to know I'm not alone, that other people have felt like this and though I NEVER expect to get over it, I do hope that it gets better. It's unbearable. I told my wife I want to move and she is ok with that. Everywhere I look I just see Willow and places she was. When I look across the street out our front window I see the spot where she was taken and it's something I can't deal with. Unbelievable pain. I guess every post is depressing - that's the nature of this site, but I hope to gain some positive from someone who can tell me it gets better because I don't see how. I love that cat so much. I am a normal person - two grown kids, wonderful wife of 30 years, very rational and sane but I feel out of control. Thanks for reading if you've gotten this far. Sorry about the length.

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miztina249
I'm so sorry for your loss, there really aren't words that are adequate in these situations. I can tell you that I do understand the depth of your bond with WIllow. I felt the same with my dog Polo, my husband did too. There are probably people out there, non animal people (aka psychos) that just don't get it or think we are crazy...You aren't going to hear that here. I think we all sadly understand your grief. You've experienced a huge loss, it is going to take some time for things to stop feeling so sharp and raw, no doubt. I'm grieving the loss of my second dog who we had to put to sleep 2 weeks ago, he was almost 14. My husband and I are still pretty raw. Before that I lost my much loved dog of 7 years, I didn't think I could get over that...You never get "over it" you just sort of get accustomed to the pain...
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kirkf
miztina249 wrote:
Before that I lost my much loved dog of 7 years, I didn't think I could get over that...You never get "over it" you just sort of get accustomed to the pain...


Thank you. I don't expect to ever get over it either. I just want the really bad pain to end. So dramatic! I feel ridiculous but I can't help it. I loved that cat so much and she was such a friend to me, we were like one and the same. I know others like you have felt the same and I joined this group today to know that I'm not alone and others may never get over but that it does get better. It's been 3 days and I can't imagine it getting better but hearing from others help. Thank you again.
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miztina249
It will get easier with time. You had something so very special and I don't think it sounds ridiculous at all. I had that same type of bond with my dog Polo. He would sleep curled up next to my head every night and in the morning when he wanted me to take him out he'd pounce on my shoulder and lick my nose or stick his tongue right in my mouth! And I'd wake up laughing every day, I'd kiss his little head and take him out and we'd spend almost all day side by side. It is a huge loss, I don't know what to do with myself. I imagine you are feeling the same. As I said to another member, I've lost people in my life and didn't grieve them as hard as I am grieving Polo.

My thoughts are with you, know that you are not alone. There are a lot of caring people on this board who all share your pain.
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kirkf
It's unbelievable. I just see everywhere in the house we were together and it breaks my heart everywhere I look. Things will improve I know and thank you again. 
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Epowell
Dear Kirk,

Please don't delete your beautiful tribute to Willow. Soulmates come in all types and can be a best friend, grandma, wife, and a special pet. I think most of us have had a pet at some point in our lifetime who is a soulmate.

Ever since I was a kid, I have believed in reincarnation even before I truly understood what it meant. Since you have had so many pets during your lifetime, you may have noticed some who have been very similar. Or, a new kitty appeared in your life shortly after a pet passed away. I believe our pets who have crossed place the new animal in our path and sometimes it will be our former pet's soul in a new body.

I have had a very difficult year in having to say goodbye to my three boys. No amount of time would ever be enough, but I feel so blessed that God chose them to be a part of our life for the time they were physically with us. I believe we all have soul contracts and our lives are determined before we are even born.

Our souls never die. We are 100% energy and that energy just changes forms.

Just over the past few months, two of my kitties (one passed away 2 weeks ago) would do things that only my other two kitties did when they were alive. One passed of a heart attack and the other of a stroke. Neither was sick or showed symptoms of being ill. What was so special is that I KNOW without a doubt that they were coming through my other two cats even for a few minutes or few hours just to let me know they are ok and still with me. I did research on this and it is call OVER SOULING. As much as I have studied about Guardian angels, angels, souls, and God - I have never heard that term, but it happens and even my husband recognized it, we just didn't know what to call it.

I have a feeling your sweet Willow will find many ways to let you know she is still right next to you. I told another fellow tonight who is also experiencing heartache to look for these things..,

Butterflies hovering around you
Red cardinals
Finding pennies and dimes
Seeing quick glimpses of a shadow of your pet in places she used to lay
Finding feathers in odd places - this is perhaps the most special sign as feathers are so closely related to Angels.

There are more signs and you can research more about when pets and people cross over. Please know you are not alone and your grief will ease over time. That doesn't mean you will ever forget Willow. We just find ways to live without them physically with us while knowing we can always talk to them and know they are beside us in spirit. Someday, we will be reunited and that doesn't always mean we have to wait until we cross over if you believe in reincarnation.

May God bless you, Willow and your family. He will give you the strength to get through this.....
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kirkf
Soulmate is the perfect word. I believe what you are telling me and I so want it to be so. Thank you. I will look for those things.
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Epowell
You may find some comfort in Brent Atwater who is a pet communicator. She was given a truly special gift by God and has a website, pet radio station and all kinds of articles and even a YouTube channel. I only stumbled upon her a couple weeks ago after our Colby passed away.
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miztina249
How are you doing today Kirk?
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kirkf
miztina249 wrote:
How are you doing today Kirk?


Last evening was really, really bad. I did get some sleep. Today is a little better. I'm still walking around saying "I love you Willow" and talking to her, but there are moments when I don't forget what happened but I manage to also think about what I'm doing or something else. I'm sure I mentioned it but the part I can't get over and pretty sure I never will be able to is that she was attacked in front of our house. I literally can't go to the mailbox or even look out the window at all without doing it sideways and shielding part of the view. We bought this house because it's across from the river and the view is nice. We would sit out on the deck with the two cats that did come out with us during the day (one of which was Willow) and just enjoy the view. Never again. My wife agrees with me that we may have to move. Sounds drastic, but I don't see NOT getting sick everytime I see the spot where the dog flipped her up in the air. Our other cats seem sad, too. She had a "brother" - the cat who would spend a few hours outside with her and who both "found us". He always sleeps above my wife's head on a pillow. Last night he came over and sat where Willow would sleep every night with me and just looked sad and smelled the pillows. Really heartbreaking around here. It is getting better though and I thank you for asking.
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miztina249
I can understand where you'd be having a PTSD reaction to what happened. It doesn't sound drastic to me to want to move to me, I completely understand. Give it some time and see how you feel. I lost a family member in a violent and tragic way and I have a very hard time even being in the state where it happened much less the house.

It sounds like Willow's brother needs some extra TLC right now too bless the poor little guy.
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