It’s been a rough 24 hours in our house, as we returned home from vacation to find our beloved Smokey had passed away. It feels like just a few short months ago we were mourning the death of her sister Pearl, so I wonder if the loss of her only feline companion shortened Smokey’s life by a few years.
I’m finding this loss significantly more difficult than I did Pearl’s, simply because Smokey was ‘my’ cat, she chose me as her favourite a few months after getting her, probably because I was the main source of food in the house. Always a little huskier, mainly due to her enormous amount of fur, Smokey was the more aggressive of the two. She would headbut people for attention, jump onto laps when she felt comfortable, and tuck herself into my arm at bedtime. My husband would complain because she’d push her face into our hands on the rare occasion we would sit down to watch television, and her nose was always shockingly cold and damp. After inserting herself into our personal space for a few minutes she would eventually settle onto my lap so I could brush her.
Her death is extra difficult for me because I carry some guilt about the last few years of her life. Before we had children, our lives felt like they revolved around Pearl and Smokey; we even took them on roadtrips with us, getting more than a few funny looks and questions when we’d cross the border into the United States. I was so diligent about brushing Smokey every day because her coat was thick and oily. But when we had our daughter, and then our son, brushing Smokey became an afterthought, and we stopped taking them on trips with us (which they were probably relieved about, quite honestly) but I never felt like I was giving Smokey enough of my attention. I joke that I’m a crazy cat lady-can I even call myself that now that we don’t have any cats left? I realize this post is veering into melodramatic territory here but I just can’t help myself…I’m heartbroken.
I’ve always equated the idea of reading with cats; Smokey would frequently sit with me while I read. Especially after we had children, it was one of the few but consistent opportunities she had to cuddle with me while I was awake, and I always found it reassuring and comfortable. I will most definitely continue on with my blog, but how do I do this without Smokey as a book model? Her participation in my photos and youtube videos are integral to what I do here, and I’m not sure what my posts will look like going forward without her. For the next few book reviews I have pictures of Smokey stored up on my phone, but those will soon run out. I’m thankful that I have such an extensive online cache of Smokey photos to enjoy, but it feels like a piece of me is now missing when I look back on them. As a few friends have pointed out, it’s nice to think that Smokey and Pearl are now reunited again, and I’ve tried to focus on that when I feel the tears coming. I know so many people can relate to how I’m feeling right now; it’s a special kind of pain when one loses a pet. Thank you to everyone who always made time to comment on Smokey’s photos, I know she held a special place in many people’s hearts, not just my own. I’m hoping that wherever she is now, there’s an endless supply of cat treats and warm laps to curl up in.
Oh, no, I’m so sorry ☹️😱
thank you! Much appreciated
So sorry for your loss. I’ve lost two cats as an adult—one who was “my cat” in a way no other cat ever has been. They came into our lives unexpectedly when the kids were fairly young. Now my adult son and I have another pair of cats, one of whom is definitely his. It’s uncanny the way some human/cat bonds form.
It is different isn’t it-I’ve never had a dog so I can’t compare it to any other kind of pet, but it does hurt when it’s ‘your’ pet
I’m sorry for your loss, sending you all the love 💛
So sorry. Unless you are a pet owner one doesn’t get how they become a family member.
so true Martie, thanks for your kind words
Oh Anne, I am so sorry to hear this. I have followed Pearl and Smokey since they arrived in your life. Our last cat (L.K. for “Little Kitty) had the same grey colouring with white bib only shorter hair. I don’t have a cat right now, so have enjoyed watching your book loving felines. Only fellow Cat People can fully understand. – Ellen
Thanks Ellen! It’s been a rough year losing both of them so close together, but luckily I’m blessed with two wonderful healthy children!
My heart goes out to you Anne. You will really miss Smokey.
Thanks Elaine-I sure do!
So very sorry about Smokey. No doubt this has also had a big impact on Ava. Animals are so precious and provide so much joy. She will be missed. 😘
She definitely will be!
Best friends really do come in all forms, Anne. Smokey will definitely live on in your heart—and all of your posts, which is a wonderful legacy. Feeling for you and your family. From a fellow ‘crazy cat lady’…
Thanks Cathy 🙂
I’m shedding some tears here as I read this, Anne. I’m so sorry. You know that I feel your pain having lost my Cleo last year. These long-haired cats sure do leave a hole in your heart when they move on to the next life. Thank you for sharing your kitties with us all this time.
Thanks Laila-and I like what you said about ‘moving onto their next life’, because it makes it seem like a new beginning for her, not an end!
So sorry. It is a heart breaker when they leave us. We had to say goodbye to our little dog a month ago and it really was a tough one. We still expect her to be at the door greeting us when we come home. I know that time heals but I send you sympathy for your pain now.
Thanks so much for your kind words-I hope it gets easier as the days pass…
Aw, Anne. I am so very sorry. Grief is so overwhelming. For four-leggeds (she must have missed her sister so very much) and two-leggeds alike. Sending you warm and furry thoughts. *sniffles, awful-snotty sniffles*
Thanks! Us two-leggeds must soldier on 🙂
I’m sorry for your loss. I’ve always enjoyed seeing the pics a very lovely kitty. Thoughts and prayers to you and your family.
Thank you! I have a few more Smokey pics to post, but once those are done I’ll have to find something else as inspiration…
So sorry to read of the loss of your beautiful kitty.
Thank you Tierney. I know you’ve been dealing with a much bigger loss yourself these past few months, so your comment means alot to me 🙂
Oh, I’m so sorry. It’s heartbreaking to lose a furry member of your family. I will miss seeing Smokey in your book photos.
Oh no, Anne. I’m so sorry. I can feel that lump in your throat as I read this. Smokey and Pearl were two very lucky kitties to have you for their mother. ❤️
Thanks Naomi 🙂
So sorry to hear that!
Losing kitties is as heart-breaking as losing people. </3 <3
that’s the truth! Thanks for your comments.
Oh, my dear, I am so sorry! Please, please don’t feel guilty though – Smokey was one of the lucky cats of the world to find a home with someone who loved her so much. All our cats are important to us, but it is even harder to lose one we’ve developed a special bond with. In my case, it was a previous cat, Soxy, and I was completely heartbroken when she died, so I understand exactly how you feel. You will have other cats in time and you’ll bond with them too, but Smokey will always keep her place in your heart – you know one day the memory of her will make you smile rather than cry. Sending you hugs and best wishes… ❤
Thank you FF. I really appreciate your kind words. And strangely, I once had a cat named “Sox”, spelt that way! And you’re right, memories of her make me smile now 🙂
Anne I am so sorry for this loss. Aging pets and the loss of a comrade is so difficult to handle – nobody prepares you for this. I take comfort in knowing that Smokey was SO loved even if you feel like the last few years she had to share your time with your children. She knew her mama loved her, and loves her still. Hugs to you and your family in this awful time. <3
Aw thank you for your kind words Lindsay! Also, I hope you’re doing well! Thanks for stopping by 🙂
Very sorry to hear about Smokey. Losing a pet hurts.
Yes it does! thanks very much for your comment.
Oh, Anne. It’s never melodramatic when we feel deeply. My cat also likes to sit with me when I read, and when I read aloud to my husband, she sits next to him and listens. If he leaves for a few days for work, I still have to read aloud to the cat. I’m a bit flippant about her — her name is Kitty and I call her “the ol’ raggedy cat” and tell her to “stop putting her dumb head through the blinds” — but she is definitely like a housemate. And your post reminds me I should be nicer to my ol’ raggedy Craigslist cat 🙁
Please don’t stop blogging.
haha I love that story! Thank you. Smokey would put her head through our blinds too and it would drive me crazy 🙂
I definitely won’t stop blogging though, I enjoy it was too much!
I’m so glad!
It has been almost 1 month, and I am struggling with the loss of my ‘Smokey’.- Finding your post caused me to smile and cry- My Smokes could have been yours! We had no children, but life got in the way and I did not spend as much time with her as I should have. She hated to cuddle, hated her coat brushed, but loved me to ‘talk’ to her. These past 5 years I got wrapped up in my own mess–losing my job, lousy new marriage, and while I felt sorry for myself, I should have pulled her in closer. I knew she felt the tension in our new home with my new husband, but I felt more sorry for myself—I should have re-assured her that she would be ok no matter what, and I did not. I know that I rescued her from a shelter at 8 weeks, and had her for 22 years—18 with my late husband who adored her— and I screwed up MY life by remarrying a loser, which in turn caused stress to my poor Smokey. I will cherish every moment I had with her, and regret every second that I wasted by not showing it to her. Every day I struggle with how I let this poor cat down…..
Oh I’m sorry, I feel for you! But don’t feel guilty, many people’s comments pointed to the fact that I probably did more for Smokey than I realized, and I’m sure that’s the case for your Smokey too. Virtual hug!