Letting Go Doesn’t Get Easier

August 9, 2020 — 18 Comments

Reese’s health has been declining for a little over two weeks. Kidney issues. At this point she is no longer eating and can only use her back legs for staggering. Tomorrow, my husband and I will send her off after a good, long life.

It was maybe 13 or 14 years ago when she showed up in our front yard. It was night, and my husband and I were hosting a party. I was sitting on the porch swing surrounded by intoxicated friends when one of them heard a mewing under our boisterous conversation. We were shushed, and as the small crowd quieted down, I heard it, too. It was coming from the darkness beyond the porch light, right at the edge of our front yard. Moments later, a tiny, white kitten with a black smudge on its head crossed into the light, so small she had to high-step the grass. When I picked her up, her tiny body fit on the palm of my hand.

You will never fully understand the persuasive power of drunk friends until you confess your plan of taking the stray to a no-kill shelter at dawn. That is what I made the mistake of doing, and the outcry was instant, overwhelming, and pretty slurred considering how much they had to drink. It was a belligerence that didn’t settle until I promised that we would keep her. Hell, why not? We already had two too many cats. Why not make it three?

And so she stayed.

The husband and I couldn’t come up with a clever name for the new stray, so we ended up naming her after the street on which she was found: Reese. She had nicknames, though. My husband sometimes called her Pretty Pretty Princess because of her long, flowing white fur. I called her The Whore because I believed that when she came to our yard, she was actually “on duty.” You see, she wasn’t mewing for help; she was asking if we had any cats inside that wanted a good time.

Over time, her hobbies included chasing the red string, mimicking the sound of the squirrels she watched in the back yard, judging people, hiding from strangers, and telling you that she wants to be petted but walking away when you try to pet her. She was a finicky eater but ate well if you stayed and rested your hand on her back. And she once inspired poetry about shit scissors and comedy gold about how to keep cats out of Christmas trees.

This is our third goodbye, and it never gets easier. Right now, I hurt thinking that she doesn’t know this is the last day of her life, that tomorrow, my husband will wrap her in a towel, and I will drive us to her final destination. There we will give her pets as we say goodbye, and she’ll drift to sleep for good. My husband and I will come home empty-handed and with heavy hearts.

The sadness will fade sooner or later. It has before. It’s the getting through it that sucks. I hope that life gives us time to grieve. No stressful work situations. No family crisis. Just time to reflect and mourn for the Pretty Pretty Princess Whore.

18 responses to Letting Go Doesn’t Get Easier


    I’m so sorry. I know how hard that decision is, and how difficult it is to know when the time is right. You gave her the very best life, and the easiest passing, that you could. I wish for your hearts‘ comfort and healing.

    Liked by 1 person


    Love you and your cats Cary. Hang in.

    Liked by 1 person


    Dearest Friend,
    Unfortunately, almost all pet owners at one point are standing right in front of the very same, extremely hard and sad decision. I’m not going into stories how hard my past decisions were… but I oddly found comfort in telling myself, that at least I had the chance to save my kitties unnecessary pain and hardship. I let them go into kitty heaven. (Not that they appreciated the mice – they detested life mice)… but you get the point.
    Maybe there’s one comfort for you and your hubby: Know that she loved you back, even if she had a weird way of showing it, know that her being with you was her own decision and that’s something you can be proud of, and also know that her life with you left her paw prints on your heart, something that will always be with you, as long as you live! Sending you both hugs! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    Geoffrey Fenlong August 10, 2020 at 4:25 pm

    I’m so sorry to hear that you both had to go through this. We just had to do the same for Wayne’s 17 yr old cat, Vesper. I guess I’ve been fortunate to never have had to go through that before. It was heartbreaking, but I know we did the right thing. Much love to you and Steven.

    Liked by 1 person


    The best we can hope for is that when our time comes, there’s a decent person there to pull the plug.

    Liked by 1 person


    Sending hugs since that is what seems to work best. Hugging Freeta-the-Floozy (my mom’s nickname for her)/Freeta-the-Fatty (MY nickname for her) is still what I miss most. That, and afternoon Ring-Around-the-Rosie on the kitchen floor in the summertime (I would lie on the cool ceramic-tile floor and Freeta would run over and do never-ending circles around me always stopping to rub her face against my forehead. *I was going to call it “endless circle-rubs” but that hits different :/ ) So sorry for you & your husband – this is always a terrible decision to have to make but you ultimately do it for the right reasons. I hope that makes you feel at least a little better… =^. .^=

    Liked by 1 person


    My heart is heavy with you. It is not an easy choice to make.

    Liked by 1 person


    Kidney problems are so awful to watch…but I’m glad y’all have made this decision. She was lucky to have you two. ❤ It definitely never gets easier, but I hope you take comfort in the fact that you're easing her suffering…and at least you'll be able to be with her when she goes. I'm so sorry you're having to go through this.

    Liked by 1 person


    This is such a hard thing we have to do for them, but it’s part of the contract we make when we take them in: to ease their passing. She was well loved and had a good life with you. A lucky little cat.

    Liked by 2 people


      You definitely put that well (“it’s part of the contract we make when we take them in”). I was telling the husband earlier today that it sometimes stinks that we live longer than them, but it has to be that way.



    I am so, so sorry to hear this. I’ve lost two to kidney failure and it’s an awful thing to deal with. Big hugs and a hairball or three from my crew. Take comfort in knowing she had a good, loving home for a good, long time.

    Liked by 1 person


      I appreciate it a lot! When my husband texted our vet to let her know, she said we were making a “wise but difficult decision.” My husband is still having a tough time with the decision, and it breaks my heart.


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