Friday, July 13, 2012

I Hope There's Catnip in Kitty Heaven

Last week we had to say goodbye to our beloved Maine Coon of 13 years, Claude.  Back in the spring of 1999, Big Bill, a retired farmer who had a barn across the street from the cabin we rented, knocked on the door.  In his arms was an energetic ball of fur.  Paul wasn't home at the time, but I listened as Big Bill told me that his brother was dying of cancer.  He said that he bred the cats, and he had two kittens he needed to find homes for quickly because he needed to focus on his treatment.  He asked if we would take one.  I knew Paul wouldn't like it, as we already had four cats at the time, but how could I resist that story?
 Claude was a cat of many lives.  He had more trips to the ER and vet than any other cat we owned.  He had emergency stomach surgery as a kitten, surgery on his leg after he snuck out and got attacked by dogs, and surgery to have his thyroid removed.  For years he needed daily medications for his thyroid, and had a two year stint as a diabetic requiring shots.  Not to mention he ate special food for his IBS.  Yet through all his illnesses, Claude was larger than life.  He was always there by your side, welcoming attention, even in the form of grubby toddler hands.  I loved how gentle he was with the boys, even on days when he was obviously feeling badly.  Everyone who met Claude - vets, friends, even those who weren't cat people - everyone who met him fell in love.  He was the sort of cat that you couldn't help but pause to stroke his head and offer words of kindness.

Over the past few years, he has struggled a lot with his health.  He had an emergency treatment for a heart condition, and was hospitalized several times.  There were many times that we thought it was the end, when he miraculously bounced back.  But recently when he couldn't stand up on his own four feet anymore, we decided it was time. 

We brought him to the boys so that they could say goodbye.  Little boy voices saying, "We love you Claude.  You're a great cat, Claude" tugged at my heartstrings. 

Even in his weakened state, Claude purred loudly as the boys pet him one last time, and shared their love with him.

Claude now rests comfortably in the shade of the walnut tree, next to our siamese Boukie, our dog basenji/whippet cross Cameron, and our golden retriever Monty.  We thank Claude for all of the joy he brought our family.  He was a cat with no equal and will be greatly missed.

I will be taking Monday off from blogging, as the boys and I have an excursion planned.  See you on Tuesday!

57 comments:

Jacquelineand.... said...

I'm so sorry for your loss Lisa but I hope that you and the boys have a wonderful time Monday. It's obvious you're raising goodhearted and handsome young men.

andy said...

Sorry about your cat! !!! Have fun monday !!!!

JDaniel4's Mom said...

It sounds like he was a wonderful cate. I am so sorry for your loss.

Have fun with the boys on your day trip!

Beth said...

looks like a happy creature. so cute. (:

Buttons said...

RIP Claude you had a wonderful family and you blessed them with many happy memories.B

The Incredible Woody said...

Furry friends are the best. I am sorry for your loss.

Melanie said...

Lisa, I am so sorry for your loss. These little four legged creatures really get into your heart don't they? It is good that you and your family had the opportunity to have a creature so special in your lives!

Barbara said...

I am so sorry to hear about claude. He sounds like he was a great cat. I did start tearing up when I saw that picture of the boys and Claude. Poor little guy.

LOVE MELISSA:) said...

I am so sorry hun! It is so hard to lose a pet!

Jill said...

I am crying. My heart breaks for all of you. Claude was beautiful and very special. He will always be with you. I am so very sorry.

Andrea (ace1028) said...

Huge hugs, Lisa. I'm so sorry for your loss. I'm sure our fur-babies are playing together now and Claude has met his long-lost twin brother from New York. ;)

Kim said...

What a full and lovely life he had with you guys. We lost our cat two weeks ago too. It's hard to say goodbye to our furry family members.

Liz @ A Nut in a Nutshell said...

This just broke my heart!

Carolyn said...

Claude was blessed to be placed into your hands and he returned the blessing the only way a cat can. It's never easy to say goodbye. Catnip? absolutely it grows like wildflowers in Heaven!

Chicken Wrangler said...

What a sweet life story - you gave him a wonderful send off over the rainbow bridge. He must have had a great life with your family!

Jen said...

So sorry, Lisa...
xo

Out on the prairie said...

Sad to lose a member of your family

Tina Fariss Barbour said...

I am so very sorry about your loss. How lucky Claude was to have such a loving family.

It is so difficult to make that decision. We lost Wa 9 months ago today, and it seems like yesterday.

TexWisGirl said...

i am so sorry, lisa. i know you will miss him! i have a growing pet cemetery here, too. *sigh*

Sally said...

I applaud you and Paul for taking such good care of Claude through so much. Not everyone would be as thoughtful.

xoxo

Renae said...

Lisa -- it is too early to be tearing up! Oh especially at that cute picture of him looking so forlorn. I had 2 kitties,(bro & sis) named Poof and Switch. She lived 16 years and he lived 18. She died as I witnessed her last breath. We had to have him put down. He wouldn't give up. oh, im bawling now.........

Katherine Sullivan said...

So sorry about Claude, he sounds like a pretty awesome kitty. There's definitely lots of katnip in his future.

Valerie said...

I'm sorry to hear about Claude too. Saying goodbye to a pet is so hard, and hope the excursion you have planned will take all of your minds off of losing him-for a little while at least.

Have fun, and I can't wait to read about your trip!!

Gail Dixon (Louisiana Belle) said...

Very sorry for your loss of Claude. Sounds like he was a much-loved, special family member. :(

Marissa @Life On Our Mountain said...

I'm so sorry to hear about Claude. I had to fight back the tears and swallow the rising lump in my throat. He was a real beauty.

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GardenofDaisies said...

Oh Lisa, I am so sorry about your kitty cat, Claude. I got a huge lump in my throat looking at those boys petting him. Saying goodbye to a beloved pet is so hard for children. Do you know the story "The Tenth Good Thing About Barney" by Judith Viorst ? I truly think it is one of the best books ever written to help children deal with losing a pet.
Take a peek inside the book here:
http://www.amazon.com/Tenth-Good-Thing-About-Barney/dp/0689206887

Mary said...

We just lost our Roscoe, smooth fox terrier toy, a WONDERDOG. He was amazing. He chased any ball, including making goals with a soccer ball that was as big as he was...bounced it with his nose. Amazing creatures, a testament that the great plan God has with us, animals are part of that. Such great characteristics and nobility.

Debby@Just Breathe said...

I am so sorry for you loss. I know our pets are important members of our family and it hurts when they leave us. ((HUGS))

Jack said...

Very sorry for your loss. Never easy to say goodbye to family.

Nancy Claeys said...

So sorry about Claude -- but it sounds like he had a wonderful life with you and your family over the years.

Enjoy your weekend! :)

Sonya @ Under the Desert Sky said...

So sorry about Claude, an important part of your family. I'm sure he'll be missed, but remembered fondly.

Chatty Crone said...

I am so sorry about your beloved kitty! sandie

My Journey With Candida said...

Oh Lisa!! So sorry.

This is just why I can't do pets anymore. I get so upset when they pass away. I miss them, but just am not going to go through that again.

Grandma Bonnie said...

I am sorry for your loss. It is always painful to say good bye to a beloved pet. After all they are a part of our family. I hope you enjoy your break.

Beth said...

My condolences on your loss....Maine Coons are amazing cats, and Claude sounds like quite a character. Your family is amazing for being the heroes he needed, and taking him in and loving him despite his medical needs.

Michelle said...

May Claude rest in peace. Losing a pet is like losing a part of the family.

Truth Ahad said...

What a beautiful cat! She looks just like my fluffy. I'm so sorry for your loss. I know very well how pets become part of the family....I really admire how you and your family were perfect family to your pet, even having a burial.

Betsy from Tennessee said...

OH how sad..... I'm so sorry that you lost your kitty, but it sounds like Claude lived a great life , through much adversity...

Have a great weekend --and Monday.
Hugs,
Betsy

heyBJK said...

Very sorry to hear of your loss, Lisa! I've been through it myself. I'm sure it was especially difficult for the boys. Kids and pets have great bonds.

SweetMarie said...

I'm so sorry to hear about Claude.
Hope you have a fun time this weekend and Monday!

Sorta Southern Single Mom said...

I'm so very sorry for your loss... I'm a "Cat Lady" and over the years, most of the ones I've had have lived to a ripe old age. It's hard to say goodbye.

Rita said...

Two years ago we agreed to foster two cats for a family that were returning to Brazil to care for aging and ill parents. The older of the two was not well from the start and got worst with time. We spent six months force feeding her with a syringe and she seemed to rebound for a time. Suddenly, she was worst and again could not eat or use the litter box. We were forced to make the same hard decision you did but it took us a while to realize it was the only option. So this Spring Midnight went to her rest.

You handled this situation perfectly for your boys sake and their having the pet cemetery near by will help their learning to understand the inevitable cycle of life.

Lexie Loo, Lily Boo, and Dylan Too! said...

I'm so sorry. Losing a pet is so difficult.

Michaele said...

This post made me tear up. Such a wonderful cat and a more wonderful you!

EG CameraGirl said...

Your story brought tears to my eyes! He sounds like he was a great member of your family.

Lin said...

Aw, gees, I'm so sorry to hear about your Claude. Even though he was old and not feeling well, it still hurts to say goodbye. :(

Sending love and hugs to all of you.

Tweedles -- that's me said...

I am so sorry that Claudes's life circle has ended. You gave him the best home ever, and I know he was so thankful.
My eyes cried as I read this story.
love
tweedles

el-mundo-en-colores said...

goodbye Claude!

Amish Stories said...

Lisa I'm so sorry about losing your little one, and I can say from the heart how you feel because I lost my own (my cat Tammy) in late April. And my grieving will be lasting as long as I live with this loss, and I get choked-up just thinking about her. And even though I very much consider myself to be a man, I'm not afraid to admit how I feel. We love animals and they become for a few much more than that, and I consider you part of that club along with myself. Richard

The Farmer's Daughter said...

I still have tears in my eyes as I write this. I have a Norwegian Forest cat whose life story mimics Claudes. He has Addisons disease and other health problems. He's been near death several times but seems to rally somehow. He's my constant companion and I'm convinced he thinks he's caring for me, instead of the other way around. I know the day will come when I'll have to make the decision you did--and I dread it. But, please know, your heartfelt story has given me some courage. Thanks you for sharing.
Hug to you and your family,
Dru

Christian said...

So sorry about your kitty. Feel good knowing what love and care you gave him. I have a Maine Coon and he is the sweetest, most loving cat. Not a mean bone in his body.

A Quiet Corner said...

You KNOW how I felt about Claude...and the pictures I have will stay with me forever! The little guy is adorable and will fit in nicely but I hope he has a personality like Claude not that whitish fur ball!!!...:)JP

Sandy said...

This made me cry. I am not a cat person, but a family pet is a family pet and it is so hard to lose them. Hugs all around!

Becky Jane said...

He looks like such a good friend. Your little pet cemetery looks like a beautiful spot.

alissa apel said...

I bet your sons were really upset by the death of your cat! Super hugs!

Maryann D. said...

I am so sorry for your loss. I do know how hard it is to lose a cat who is so loved, since mine passed away a few years ago also. You will always miss them, but it helps knowing you gave him a loving home and that it was a wonderful experience for your children to have a pet