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19 Happy Years (long Post)


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Let me say that this post will be long. I'm so sorry for your losses. I have a story about my cat Alex. I had her for half of my life. I'll shorten the story as much as I can.

On Tuesday Aug. 17, 2004 I lost my cat Alex after 19 happy years together. I miss her terribly, my heart has been truly broken. I know that I was blessed to have her for so long, and I cherish the memories. My Alex came to me 19 years ago when I was a teenager. She was an orphaned kitten only a few weeks old. The mother cat and the rest of the litter had been taken away by the county 5 days earlier, somehow; she wondered away from the litter and was left behind. Someone heard her crying in the bushes and rescued her. She had to be bottle fed and needed lots of TLC. She grew quickly and of course we bonded. I didn't mean to get attached it just happened. We were supposed to "just keep her long enough to get her healthy and then find her a good home" my Mom said, yeah right. I think she found herself a home. When I left home a few years later I couldn't leave her behind. We made a life for ourselves in a tiny apt. despite the NO PETS rule. We continued together through lots of life's ups and downs, bad relationships, changing jobs, friendships going bad, moving 4 times, more bad relationships, going back to school and so on. But, the one thing that I could count on was Alex's love. She made me laugh, she taught me the meaning of unconditional love, she helped me learn responsibility, I think she taught me a lot about how to truly love, and not to be selfish. I promised her a long time ago that I would always take care of her. Once, I thought we would be homeless, I cried and cried and I prayed, and I told her that I would never leave her. That wherever I went, she too would go.

She would always greet me at the door glad to see me. Always there when I was sick, purring and petting me with the tip of her tail. On June 10th of this year I lost my first baby at 5 months gestation. I was devastated. When I got home after 3 days in the hospital Alex greeted me. AsI lie in bed crying my heart out grieving the loss of my unborn child Alex never left my side. She purred beside me and petted me with her tail day after endless day. I realized that she wasn't even grooming herself. Finally, one day I said to her, look at us we're a mess. I got her brush and brushed her wiped her face, I showered and fixed my hair and we had tuna for lunch. She was my constant companion. One month later I was in a car accident, I was badly shaken by it. As I lay in bed recuperating, there was Alex right beside me. One month after that I got hurt at work I was at home again for a few days, you can guess where Alex was. One week after that the roles were reversed and I was by her side trying to comfort her. I came home on Monday night around 8:15 I was greeted as usual by Alex's meow, I said hello to her, I gave my husband a hug and a kiss and proceeded to pet her. As my husband I talked exchanging stories about our day, she got between us as usual, her way of saying hey, I want to be the center of attention, we laughed, petted her and went on talking. She got up went to another room and started to vomit. Not a big deal around here, she does that sometimes. She went on to do it 4 more times. I was worried, my husband thought it was no big deal. But, I kept watching her and she didn't look right. She seemed to be out of it. Finally at 3:30 am I called the animal hospital. I took her in and we got there and she seemed better. She was alert and all she wanted was to get back in her carrier. She was given sub-q fluids and sent home. We got home 20 min. later and she was extremely lethargic again. I was terrified. I made the decision to go to work and leave her alone thinking the vet didn't think she was in immediate danger and it was probably an upset stomach, she just needed some time to start feeling better. I went to work and I prayed that she would still be alive when I got home. I didn't want her to die alone. I cried all day and left early. When I got home I knew she was going right in front of my eyes. She could barely hold her head up. But, she kept trying. As I lay on the floor face to face with her she lifted her head and let out a huge cry and I caught her head so it wouldn't hit the floor. I kissed her and said OK. I knew that this was it. She was ready to go. I knew I had to let her go. I told her it was OK to go, that I would be OK. She held out until my Mom got there and we took her to the hospital and had her put to sleep. I stayed with her until her heart stopped. I kissed her good-bye one final time. This has been the hardest time of my life. I feel so empty right now, so hurt, so alone. I can't stop crying. I can't understand why I'm suffering so much grief in these last few months and so many bad things are happening.

Sorry this was so long.


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Dear Gina,

I'm so very sorry to learn of the cumulative losses you've suffered these last few months, beginning with the death of your unborn child in June and culminating in the loss of your cherished companion Alex last Tuesday. Since this kitty was the one who stuck by you for 19 years and saw you through so many of life’s trials and tribulations, I can only imagine how devastating it must be for you to lose her, especially when you haven’t fully recovered from everything else that’s happened to you this summer.

It strikes me that both the death of your unborn child and the death of your beloved kitty are losses that typically could be trivialized by others as insignificant ones, which can leave you feeling very hurt, angry, isolated and alone. Your heartache may be misunderstood by others, which may give you the impression that it is inappropriate and even abnormal to be mourning either one of these deaths, much less both of them, as deeply as you are.

It’s important to understand that the death of any baby is worthy of tears and grief, even a baby who has yet to be born. Your attachment to your baby began the moment you learned you were pregnant, and when your pregnancy ended, so suddenly and unexpectedly, you lost much more than your baby. You lost all the hopes and dreams you may have had for your little one as well, including the opportunity to hold, to love and to mother your child, and to watch your little one grow up. As for the death of your dear cat Alex, once again you lost much more than a pet. You lost the one who was always there for you, supporting you through every crisis you’ve endured. Is it any wonder that you feel so bereft?

Discovering that your reactions are healthy and normal can be very healing, Gina. You might begin by exploring some of the many caring sites on the Internet specifically devoted to the trauma of miscarriage as well as the agony of pet loss. Go to the Links to Bereavement and Loss Sites page on my Grief Healing Web site and click on the category labeled DEATH OF AN INFANT / CHILD / GRANDCHILD, and you will find links to several excellent sites. See especially Perinatal Death: The Invisible Loss.

See also my Pet Loss Links page for links to dozens of pet loss resources. See especially my article, Coping with Pet Loss: "Am I Crazy to Feel So Sad About This?"

I hope you’ll find someone you can talk to about both these losses, Gina -- to confront your pain and find some way to express it, so that all your feelings can be experienced, worked through and released. There is plenty of help available to you if you're willing to reach out and ask for it. You need not continue to suffer all of this in silence and alone.

None of us can take away your pain, but we certainly can offer you companionship and support along the way. You do not have to bear these burdens all alone. At the very least, please know that we are thinking of you.

Wishing you peace and healing,

Marty T

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Gina, I'm terribly sorry about Alex. I just had to reply, because your story reminds me of my 1st cat, Cleo, a tuxedo girl who passed at 16. I was 20 and a full-time student at college when I adopted her as a 2-month-old. She was my best friend and like a daughter to me who saw my trial & tribulations in the real world. We were both so cute living in a large studio apt. It was just me & her. She passed in 2001, and I still miss her greatly.

After she went, I adopted a 1-year-old red/white Persian kitty who was named Rudy, after he was returned to the breeder by a previous owner for personal reasons. Sadly, I had to send him over the Rainbow Bridge of a genetic kidney disease at 4 years old, just 3 months ago, and I was beyond devastated. (I told that breeder about him, and she's doing more testings to be sure no more Persians are brought to the world with this awful incurable disease). I guess part of me was spoiled by having Cleo living so long on me and then Rudy leaving so fast. It hurt so bad. A month went by after Rudy, I adopted an adult cream flamepoint Persian cat I renamed Brandy, at an animal hosp. rescue center. This time, I was more educated and requested that the hosp. do an ultrasound to be sure Brandy tested negative of this particular kidney disease that hits alot of Persian cats. I refused to let this disease turn me away from being loyal to Persians. Happily, Brandy passed with flying colors.

Anyhow, since Cleo was my 1st pet, she's always special to me.

BTW, I also have an 11-year-old Shih Tzu dog named Beau who's very healthy...

For more, here are my Websites:


"Cleo Memoriam Page"



"Rudy Memoriam Page"






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