What I do when I miss my cat + book announcement
As happens around the holidays, when I am missing my feline soul mate, Bastet, who has gone on to other realms, I may feel a tenderness and heaviness in my chest and a tightening in my throat. Can you relate?
Here’s what I do
I breathe gentleness and kindness into those tender places in my chest and throat.
If I’m at home, I light a tiny candle on a little altar that has a small cat statue (the Egyptian cat goddess) and I whisper some words to my Bastet. These are personal words of love. Like a prayer, just between the two of us.
I think about that place that I’ve read about—the place described by people who have had near-death experiences. They describe a place that feels more even more real than this world. They describe a sense of love greater than they’ve ever known.
And I think of this poem by Henry Scott Howard:
Death is nothing at all.
I have only slipped away to the next room.
I am I and you are you.
Whatever we were to each other,
That, we still are.
Call me by my old familiar name.
Speak to me in the easy way
which you always used.
Put no difference into your tone.
Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow.
Laugh as we always laughed at the little jokes we enjoyed together.
Play, smile, think of me. Pray for me.
Let my name be ever the household word that it always was.
Let it be spoken without effect.
Without the trace of a shadow on it.
Life means all that it ever meant.
It is the same that it ever was.
There is absolute unbroken continuity.
Why should I be out of mind because I am out of sight?
I am but waiting for you for an interval.
Somewhere. Very near.
Just around the corner.
All is well.
I created this blog as a response to losing Bastet. I created it in hopes of uniting with cat lovers around the world around the theme of figuring out how to help our cats have longer, healthier, happier lives.
But it’s also about affirming the soul connection we feel with these feline friends.
Writing about cat food is only half the story for me
There was something else that I longed to talk about with you.
So this year I found myself writing a book called Soul Comfort for Cat Lovers: Coping Wisdom for Heart and Soul After the Loss of a Beloved Feline, which includes Henry’s poem and so much more.
If you’re interested, it’s officially out as of today in paperback and on Kindle.
I just had to put my 16 year old Neo to sleep a week ago. He was a Siamese whom I found sick in my backyard at 3 weeks old. He was my best friend and soul pet. He was sick for a year with heart disease but fought it extremely well. In the end he wound up having Liver cancer that no one knew about (as late as february it didnt show up on any x rays or Ultra Sounds, and he literally went from the day before chasing my other cat emma around to not being able to eat or move around much. When I took him to the Vet thats when they saw the Tumor and internal bleeding and with his heart disease surgery wasnt even an option. I am lost without him and I go through the days on autopilot. I know it will get better but the pain is still crushing me. Anyway just needed to get that off my chest and say I miss him aloud to others who might understand
I cry, as I did now. My cat Luna died a few years ago, she had pneumonia. She’d been sick for a few days so I took her to the vet, whom I knew for several years. Instead of directing me to the hospital and explaining the dire situation to me, the vet admitted her to his make-shift basement hospital, and then proceeded to leave her there. Her lungs filled up w fluid and she basically died choking. I’ll never get over it. He had the audacity to describe to me what he saw on the camera the next morning.It breaks my heart every time I think abt it. I’ll never forgive myself for leaving her there, I should’ve used better judgement. Now she’s gone forever and what’s worse, she suffered so much before dying!
I just stumbled upon your blog, and I am going to check out your book. I had to euthanize my kitty Zesty 3 weeks ago, and I miss her so. That was the hardest thing I have ever had to do, and I have doubted myself ever since. Wondering if I did it too soon. I cannot believe I will never see her again, and I still talk to her. She and her ‘sister’ Topaz and I have been together 14 years, 10 years just the 3 of us. No one really understands what her loss means to me. She may have been just a cat, but to me she was so much more.
I lost my little girl Mika last Thursday. She would have been 20 years old this July. I love her so much. I used to say to her “I don’t love anyone or anything more than I love you and I never will”. Then kiss her face – she used to hate it when I got her smack – right on the lips! She was my heart.
I nursed her through 3 years of diabetes and got her off insulin. Feline nutrition was a huge education for me then. I had no idea about carbs, etc.
But that education gave me another 9 years with her for which I am so grateful. But, I miss her so much it hurts. I still can’t find a place to put my grief. I had to bring her to the vet to be put to sleep and they were wonderful but I keep replaying the whole thing in my head. I don’t think people understand when I say I can’t believe she’s gone since she was almost 20 but it’s true. I still look for her, go over to freshen her water, walk downstairs to clean her litter box.
I am waiting for her ashes and will take everyone’s advice and set up a little memorial for her. I try talking to her like she is still here but I just end up sobbing. I hope time eases the pain.
Thank you, Liz for this wonderful web site. I have already passed it along to my cat-loving friends!
THANK YOU SO MUCH for this wonderful book. My husband and I lost our sweet, sweet friend and “pet” — a beautiful white, deaf cat named Mitten last Wednesday. I searched on Amazon for cats and grief and I found you wonderful book and I have enjoyed every word. My husband is reading the book when he gets home tonight and I think this is the best resource we have found to help us navigate through our emotions, our grief, and our mourning. Thank you so very, very much for taking the time to write this book. I have needed it more than you could ever know. We are going to start lighting a candle and are going to create our own ritual tomorrow night on the 1-week anniversary of Mitten’s passing. I truly cannot thank you enough for writing this resource and having it available exactly when we needed it most. (((((((((((((((((((((((((BIG BIG BIG hugs to you!))))))))))))))))))))))))))))
I adore both your blog and your book, “Soul Comfort For Cat Lovers” so very much. It is so healing and your words are of greatest comfort to me now, during one of the hardest times of my life.
Just a few days ago, on Sunday, January 20th, 2013 at 4pm, my exquisite black cat, my kitty soulmate, Fletcher, passed away ever so peacefully in my arms. An incredible home vet and hospice spiritual advisor were there to make my angelic Fletchy’s transition gentle and beautiful. He was 17 years old almost, and oh what a wonderful life he had. When in December 4th, 2012 he was diagnosed with very advanced cancer, I was devastated. Enlisting a team of the best vet and pet hospice helpers were crucial in helping Fletchy enjoy his remaining weeks with management of pain and discomfort. We got to share through the holidays that sacred quiet time, with him purring beside me and placing his paw on my heart.
Now with his absence so acutely felt that I can barely speak without sobbing, I find comfort in sitting at the altar I made for him today. With a beautiful statue of Bastet, dried lavender sprigs, and a white candle, I await the delivery of his ashes this evening. I sing to him, I speak to him, and I read him passages of poetry, I can feel his beautiful, freed spirit everywhere here as can his feline brothers..he is still my Fletcher, and our bond of love eternal…
We connected on the facebook page earlier, but I also wanted to thank you for kind words and for sharing so much of your Fletcher story with us here. Very moving and inspiring. Sending a hug.
Bless you Liz. Always so hard to deal with such a great loss. Thinking of you during this holiday season! XOXO
You are so sweet Jessica, thank you.
I witnessed the death of my beautiful Persian, Tookie, at 2:15 pm on November 17th, 2012, only one month after she was diagnosed with cardiomyopathy. She had just turned 13. I miss her so much. I talk to her every day. I talk to her picture and her remains. I go outside, turn my face to the heavens and listen for her spirit. It might be the wind, a bird singing or the diamond sparkle on the snow. I feel her there and I hear her saying “Mama, please don’t cry, I am not there but I did not die”
Carol, I love this. Thank you so much for your beautiful words about Tookie. I absolutely know that feeling that her presence is still there.
Carol, this is beautiful….I’m so sorry for your loss… know your Tookie is with you always….Heather
Campbell passed on August 13, 2012. He was 17 years and 4 months. I hate people saying well he lived a long time, people that doesn’t help. I never thought of being a person who was lonely until now. I have always had a cat since I moved to England 35 yrs ago so I don’t like living alone. I’m going to wait until after the holiday season and then I’ll get a new companion.
The other night I cried when I saw a chef make pecan puffs on tv. Why? I remembered my first cat Simon (my daughter named him). I was making the same pecan puffs years ago. I had to go to the bathroom and when I got back there were paw prints in the icing sugar.
I am seriously going to the gp to up my anti depression pill.
Oh Carol, I so understand where you are at with your loss. Campbell sounds like a very special cat, a very special soul. The bond can be so deep. Feeling it fully is pure and healthy. It gives sorrow the space to transform…love and connection endures always between you.
I talk with my sweet Max at least daily. He’s out there, watching over me and my cats. I long for the day of being reunited with him, which will come. Grieving his death will be a life long process. At time I feel his spirit connecting with me through one of my other cats.
Cat guy, I know just what you mean. I have had the same sense about Bastet and my childhood cat too—that they are there and also communicating at times through other cats.
My precious Sasha died on October 15, 2012, at the age of 19. She was a very sweet, gentle natured blue point Himalayan who provided me with a lifetime of sweet companionship, and I loved her dearly. I have designated a shelf over my bed where I keep the fur that the vet gave me from her along with a heart shaped clay cast with her paw prints and her ashes. She slept with me every night of her life on my bed, so I wanted her to be near the spot in the sun that she loved so much. When I miss her, I talk to her and tell her what a wonderful pet she was to me and how blessed i was to have her to love for 19 years. I can feel her gentle soul near me when I talk to her, and I see her beautiful blue eyes and her sweet face. I will never forget my beloved girl.
Pat, that is so beautiful. I love that you found the perfect place (her favorite place) to honor and connect with her spirit.
I’ve just purchased the Kindle edition. My father died recently, and I had a beloved cat pass away 4 years ago, and I still miss her so much.
I have a dog and a cat who are in their senior years now, and I’m needing support, too, for what’s to come.
Thank you for this. I’m looking forward to reading it.
Pam, I understand, and my heart goes out to you. In some ways I think I wanted to gather up everything I knew and could find that helps and put it in a book so that I too will have something to refer to when coping with the loss of *any* loved one in the future.