Catching Fireflies

finding magic along the way

Goodbye, again…

We have known it was coming for a few months now. Sometimes your pet is so sick you know there is no returning them to their previous health, and you start the process of making them comfortable and happy for the time you have left with them.

We have never had the luxury of this in the past. Our cats have thankfully always been either healthy right up until the very end and then Wham! or they have had a chronic illness that they bravely fought and in the end they were in the hospital and we were forced to make the call while they were hooked up to tubes and oxygen and so on. Neither way is easier than the other. It is always heartbreaking and it is always so very hard to breathe once you realize they are gone.

Miss Shaina

Miss Shaina

With Miss Shaina, we were able to draw the line in the sand. No more invasive tests and procedures. No, we don’t need to know if the cancer is in the spleen or in the pancreas, because the outcome will be the same. Leave our baby alone. So we spent the last six weeks giving her extra love, extra food whenever she would eat it, B12 injections and kitty prozac, steroids to help with inflammation, and we watched her very closely.

Miss Shaina

Miss Shaina

See, the thing that no one can tell you is when exactly enough is truly enough. How can you tell for sure that today’s lack of appetite won’t improve tomorrow? How can you tell when the accident outside the litter box is just an accident and not the start of a frustrating pattern of her trying to tell you that she is tired? How can you tell when she is worn out and has had enough? How can you tell when the pain is too difficult for her to bear?

The sad truth is – you can’t. Not really. Not completely.

Cats hide their pain and illness extremely well. By the time they are showing symptoms, it is often pretty far along. And we, in our burning need to keep them with us as long as possible, are very willing to overlook a small sign that something is wrong. This is when you have to sit down and really think about the pet that you have been head over in love with since you first met. Because keeping them longer at that point, is for us. And they love us so much they would do anything to make us happy, even if it is killing them.

Shadow, Miss Shaina and Lil Scamp

Shadow, Miss Shaina and Lil Scamp

We had to make the call again, not even six weeks after losing Lil Scamp. As much as this tore us up, we take solace in the fact that somewhere, Miss Shaina and her boy have been reunited in a sunbeam large enough to accommodate them both. They are snuggled together, purring to beat the band. 🙂 For now all we can do is lavish her other boy, Shadow, with as much love as he will tolerate (and thankfully, he usually tolerates quite a bit!) We have other kitties to entertain us and hopefully they will keep their big brother Shadow from falling into too deep a funk.

We were blessed the day when Shaina wandered into our yard with her two kittens in tow. We were further blessed when she decided to trust us with her little family and become a part of ours. Because of that, our house has been filled to the rafters with kitten purrs and chortles, napping partners, and happiness. You will never be forgotten.

Miss Shaina, always helping with the yarn.

Miss Shaina, always helping with the yarn.


  1. Anonymous

    Such a welll written goodbye. As i said earlier Cheryl my heart breaks for you,sad a prayer for all the kitties who have been in my life. Hugs ,Cindy

    • Thanks Cindy! Losing two in such a short timeframe has really been an emotional roller coaster for us. Trying to treat myself gently these next weeks as we start to heal a little.

  2. Aww, Cheryl, I’m so sorry for your losses. We just love them so much, it’s hard to let them go when the time comes.

    • That is so very true. Losing two so close together has thrown me for a loop, but thank goodness for the babies! They are helping our hearts heal.

  3. I’m so sorry about your cats. Ours was very old when we had to let him go but it still broke my heart. I can’t imagine losing two like that.

    • We have lost them both old and young. It doesn’t get any easier knowing they had a good long life. 😦 I still feel as though they are watching over us though and that helps.

  4. This was one of your most beautiful posts. When the spirit of another living being touches our hearts in such a deep and profound way, it is so hard to cope with their physical loss. It does not matter if it is a two or four legged being! Know that Shaina’s spirit will be with you always, watching over you like the little kitty angel that she is now. Our higher power works in mysterious ways Miss Cheryl… I wonder if those two beautiful kittens were sent your way from above to help you cope with this loss. You are in my thoughts and prayers during this difficult time. With much love and a big hug, Chrissy

    • Thanks, Chrissy. I believe you are on to something! It seems we have always rescued kittens within six months or so of losing another. It is the universe’s way of helping us heal.

  5. My condolences. I think I have lost a cat every possible way, car accidents, disappearance, long slow painful cancer, sudden unexpected seizure, old age and organ failure, even distemper in a newly adopted kitten. All very, very hard. I suffered the most shock from the sudden seizure, but am consoled by the fact that Bayswater probably didn’t suffer at all. But I think the one that haunts me the most is Scooter, whose terminal jaw cancer I tried to treat with Naturopathy. I was obviously in denial, and thought I was helping him, but when I think back, I regret not letting him go sooner, and sparing him some of his suffering. You are very wise in your decision to let Miss Shaina go when you did. As I’ve grown older, I’ve also grown less afraid of dying, and whatever might lay beyond, whether for my beloved pets or for myself.

    • Trying to decide when our girl was tired and ready to go was the hardest part of the process. With Lil Scamp, his body decided for us and started to shut down quickly. But Shaina was holding on with B12 shots and steroids for so long. These decisions are never easy and I don’t know there is ever a perfectly right time. But I do know that I don’t ever want my “kids” to suffer needlessly. Just pray I don’t need to make a decision like that again for a long time.

  6. Oh honey I’m so sorry (((((hugs)))))


    • Thanks Vikki! It is amazing how much virtual hugs actually help! 🙂

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