Losing a Pet and ROW80

Welcome to Scarlet Thread Sunday, the day I share something I’ve learned in the labyrinth of life. This post is shorter than usual, since I’m mostly on blogging vacation.

Last week I found out that one of our cats had advanced kidney disease. He had reached the point of not eating much, moving very little, and even stumbling. There was little we could do for him, and the most compassionate choice was putting him down.

So we did. My husband and I stood nearby in the vet’s office and petted him as he passed peacefully.

So what have I learned? Well, this is the second time we’ve had to put a cat down, and the fifth time I’ve lost a pet. Yet as hard as it is to care for pets and then lose them, it’s been worth it to me. I experience a better life and become a better person by caring for others, even furry others.

So rest in peace, Hermes. You were a good cat…and a great mouser.

Hermes the cat

One final note: When I posted about my loss on Facebook and Twitter, the outpouring from the writer community was beautiful. My thanks to all who graciously expressed their sympathy and well-wishes.

ROW80 Update

As you can imagine, two days were pretty much blown from taking our cat to the vet, then putting him down and grieving his loss. I also visited family and friends on a couple of days last week, so my report is pretty light.

1. Edit/rewrite SHARING HUNTER, a YA contemporary novel. No more progress.

2. Edit two short stories–one needs a final polish, the other a full edit. Finished earlier.

3. Read 10 fiction books: Six so farWhite CatRed Gloveand Black Heart by Holly Black; Firelands by Piper Bayard; Almost a Scandal by Elizabeth Essex; and Rise of the Machines: Human Authors in a Digital World by Kristen Lamb. I’m currently re-reading The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams with my son and starting The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle by Avi today.

4. Finish craft book: Writing Young Adult Fiction for Dummies by Deborah Halverson. (I read the first half last round.) Typed up a lot of notes. This is a great craft book, by the way. I am on track to finish the book before the round is up.

5. Visit and comment on five ROW80 blog posts per week. Half-done.

6. Attend at least one RWA meeting. Attended West Houston RWA meeting yesterday, where I heard from a panel of local booksellers.

Do you have pets? Have you ever lost a pet? Have you ever had to put a pet down? Do you think your life has been richer in some way because of a pet?

26 thoughts on “Losing a Pet and ROW80

  1. I’m so sorry about your cat. I’ve lost pets (and had to put some down), and it’s a terrible pain. I do think it’s all worth it, though. My pets bring so much love and brightness into my life. The end hurts, but I wouldn’t trade my time with them for anything.

    RIP, Hermes.

  2. So sorry to hear about losing your cat.

    The first pet I had in my adult life was a black cat who looked much like Hermes. We too had to put her to sleep when she had kidney issues at age 19. Later we had to put down Pebbles, the most beautiful calico and world’s best mouser. There was also my cocker Shadow and my dad’s dog Mac. But I think the hardest was when my sister had to put down her own dog Mandy. My sister had been fighting cancer at the time, and it seems like once Mandy was gone, that the cancer started getting the best of her. Thankfully, all dogs go to heaven, so my sister is with her Mandy for eternity.

    1. My heart breaks at the loss of your pets, but especially your sister. I lost a close friend to cancer, and I miss her so much. I can’t imagine losing a sibling. Condolences to you, Chris.

      Now my Hermes might have wanted to challenge Pebbles on that “world’s best mouser” title. 😉 He “gifted” us with such delights as lizards, mice, birds, and squirrels. I always said, “Good boy,” when I was really thinking, “Gross.”

      By the way, the cat I expected to lose first is a 16 year old named…Shadow.

      1. Right after I posted this comment, another one of my cats, Betty, came out of the woods with a chipmunk in her mouth! She knew what I was writing about just then!

  3. A couple years ago I had to have my first cat put down. Kiki was a maine coon and she had this beautiful Stevie Nicks look about her. She was a big flirt. So, I just know she’s showing Hermes a good time. It was so hard to lose her, but I’m so glad she was in my life. My life is definitely richer for it. Hang in there, Julie.
    Yeah for good reads. Words can be the best healer. 🙂

  4. So sorry about your kitty. My cat, Jackie, passed away in 2011 while I was in the hospital having knee surgery. It took me a long time to decide to get another cat, but I finally adopted Jay in November. He is so different from Jackie, and from any other cat I’ve had. They all have such different personalities.

    1. Thanks, Nancy. How difficult to lose a pet while you were away! I’m glad you’ve found another cat to brighten your life. I have other cats besides Hermes, and yes, they are all so different (while still being lazy cats at times 😉 ).

  5. Hugs on the kitty, Julie! Pets really do make a difference in our lives. We have two dogs, two gerbils, a turtle, and a fish. I can’t imagine life without critters! We’ve had to put dogs and gerbils down before, and it’s the hardest decision I’ve ever made. The gerbil was my favorite one ever – and we’ve had dozens over the years – so that was just as bad as the dogs, for me. They all do have their own personality, even the tiny ones. Our turtle will probably live another 20-30 more years – it’s going to be awful when she goes!

    On another note, congrats on making progress despite losing Hermes, and hope you had fun at RWA!

    1. Thanks so much, Jennette. You have quite the menagerie of pets! As to the turtle, the traffic on our main street came to a complete halt the other day as we waited for a turtle to cross. They are pretty cool creatures!

      Thanks also for the kudos!

  6. So sorry to hear about your cat, Julie. I’m rather new to pet ownership (got my first in 2008), so I haven’t had to face your situation yet. Our Weimaraner was very sick a couple of years ago; we were so worried and afraid he might not make it, I cannot imagine if he hadn’t pulled through.

    Try to be gentle with yourself about meeting goals, and give yourself some time to grieve. The words will be there when you get back to them. {hugs}

    1. Thanks, Elizabeth. I had to look up Weimaraner because I wasn’t familiar with that breed, but the dogs look beautiful. I’m glad your dog pulled through the illness.

  7. So sorry to hear about Hermes, Julie. We’ve only had our Bobby for 11 months and have cried thinking of losing him, already. Pets are more than the furry thing curled up on the sofa. But he couldn’t suffer, so you did the right thing (though it must have been so hard).

    Well done on getting stuff done, nevertheless. Hugs and best wishes. XX

    Shah X


  8. Condolences for your loss. Hermes was a beautiful guy, looks very much like one of our two furry companions. Having lost quite a few pets over the years (the “joy” of having children), I find that focusing on the good memories we had with each passing friend helps to temper the grief of the loss. May Hermes rest comfortably in such memories and visit you in peace often.

    Despite the week chaos, you still made progress and that is what counts. Have a great week, Julie. 🙂

  9. Read this somewhere else: “Grief is the wage we pay for [our pet’s] friendship.”

    I reached the same conclusion you did. It was not too high of a wage. In fact, I may have gotten the better end of the bargain.

  10. Hi Julie. So sorry about the loss of your pet. We have had to also put down some pets in the past. It never gets easier, as they are family members, and the pain of grief is very hard. I do believe as you that caring for a pet does make your life better.

  11. So sorry to hear of your loss. Been there before but it doesn’t make it any easier and it won’t stop me from taking more animals into my home. I’m sure the same is true for you.

    1. Thank you, Donna. Yes, I still have (and I’m a little embarrassed about this, but…) three cats. We wanted two, and then reached our hearts out to two others who needed us. And if all of these went away, I still think we’d get another.

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