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Friday, August 27, 2010


Kitty was the best cat in the world. She was a stray that adopted us over 4 years ago... one night, shortly after Cory and I were married, she wandered up to our apartment deck and politely asked for a bite to eat. Within a week, she had gone from a skittish feral cat to a sweet and loving pet. We tried to give her a real name, but nothing but "Kitty" ever stuck. Although she was as docile as could be, she refused to come inside, not even to sleep at night.... too used to the fresh air and freedom, I guess. When we bought a house, she moved with us to the nice open yard and quiet street. She was the happiest cat, and perfect too. Never roamed around, never picked fights, never caused any trouble. She was sweet with our nephew, letting him tug on her ears and squeeze her too tightly. She was our little guard, and no one got through without her friendly greeting. She would follow us around while we worked in the yard, and would trot alongside us on short walks. If we stopped at a neighbor's house to chat, she'd wait patiently at the door. She had the sweetest little meow, a very friendly sort of chirp. She moved so gracefully. She was so brave and strong and gentle. Her fur always smelled good, like leaves and fresh-cut grass. She was our best friend and our baby.

Two nights ago, a pack of dogs grabbed Kitty right off our porch while she was sleeping. We heard the commotion and ran outside. By the time we realized what had happened, they took off down the street, dropping her body as they went. I thought she was already gone. She was lifeless, no heartbeat and no breathing. She was soaking wet, drenched from our neighbor's pool that they had dragged her through. Then as we bent over her, touching her and calling her name, she started to come back, and made the tiniest little purr. Her chest moved again, taking short, shallow breaths. There were no exterior wounds, but it was obvious she had major internal problems and most likely a broken neck. We rushed her to the emergency vet, we had to try. I pleaded with her the whole way there, telling her she could do it, that she couldn't leave us yet. Once we arrived, she went into cardiac arrest. They were able to resuscitate her, and managed to keep her heart beating. She hung on for a while, deteriorating slowly, then it became clear we had to let her go.

She shouldn't have died like that, on that metal table under those fluorescent lights. She should have just fallen asleep in a sunny spot, stretched out on the warm grass, surveying her kingdom. She shouldn't have had to suffer.

With her last ounce of strength, she had managed to bite the vet, so we weren't allowed to take her body until we provided her rabies paperwork. We drove home in silence, it was now 4 am. Cory dug a grave in the moonlight, then we we went back for her.

I don't know what the worst part was... the image I can't shake of her lying there in the street... knowing how scared she must have been, knowing how they hurt her... seeing her cold body in that little cardboard box.

It doesn't feel real. I keep expecting to open the door and see her sitting there, to hear her sweet voice greeting me in the morning. Anyone who's had a pet that they loved like family knows exactly what I mean. This type of grief is hard to explain if you haven't been through it, and to people that aren't animal lovers, it just sounds ridiculous.

I'm sorry to end the week on such a sad note. I didn't intend to share this story here, but for some reason I felt like if I didn't tell people, then she wasn't important and she didn't matter, which couldn't be farther from the truth. She was the best cat in the world. We loved her and will miss her every day.

Update: Thank you all for your kind words, it means a lot to us.


Gwendolyn said...

I'm so sorry :(
Losing a pet is like losing a family it doesn't sound ridiculous.
I just feel awful that you had to witness this and that she had to suffer it :(

Lib said...

This had to be so hard to write, but I'm so glad you did. Everyone deserves to hear about your wonderful Kitty.

Esther Ellis said...

I'm so sorry Erin! I completely understand and I am glad she had you & Cory there with her. That was a lovely tribute. I am praying for you guys.

mollie said...

i'm so sorry, erin. that's so, so sad. my mom just had to have her cat put to sleep because he had liver failure. he kind of made her house home for me. animals we love really are family.

cranny + b said...

this makes me so sad for you!
how awful.
awful, awful, awful.
i am so sorry for your loss!

Christin said...

so sorry to hear about Kitty. so awful to lose a pet in any way, but especially this way. Glad you have happy memories of her in your and Cory's life to remember. She was lovely and will be missed.

Melissa Marks said...

I am sending you and Cory warm healing light to help guide you through this grief. I am so very sorry that this happened to Kitty and to you. You are all in my thoughts.

Maria said...

This made me so sad. I'm so sorry.
I just gave my own little (well big) kitty a hug... They are very, very special.

Kate said...

I've got two cats of my own and they might as well be my children, but I can't imagine the pain you and Cory are going through. She sounded wonderful and this was a beautiful memory to her. I read it at work earlier and it made me cry, so I wanted to let you know you guys are in my thoughts.

Cate Raff said...

I was SO sad to hear about this, Erin. :( Praying for you guys.

Erin Neiner said...

I am sorry. What a tragedy. You were a good momma! :)

Frau S said...

Oh this story just broke my heart.

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