The Hardest Goodbye

I’ve been putting off writing this because I wanted some time to privately grieve, but also I knew if I got even a single kind word or condolence from you, I wouldn’t be able to handle all that has been going on. But now it’s time to write this down, as so many of you loved this cat over these long years.

Sweet Cal is gone.

I try to convince myself that there’s comfort in the fact that he was fine and happy and silly, and then he was a little sick, and within three short months his body shut down. That until then he lived a big, long life of sixteen years filled with people who loved him. That if he had to go away forever, he went in the most peaceful, loving way possible.

But it’s hard to find comfort when all you want is your loved one back.

I joked throughout my first trimester that the cat and I were bonding on a whole new level. We’d sleep together all night, then get up, eat a little something, pee, and then curl up again for a nap. One Saturday we did this eight times. Eat, pee, nap. Eat, pee, nap. Finding new spots in each room that were comfy and warm and peaceful. Cal preferred sleeping in my arms, having me spoon him. This became more difficult during the second trimester, as his butt was getting bumped out by my stomach. He actually glared at me once, like, “Lady. Hit the treadmill. I’m gonna fall off the bed.”

This was before I knew he was sick. I’d soon learn we both had abdominal masses that were slowly growing, taxing our bodies, causing problems with our sleep, our digestion, our balance. The major difference was mine came with a diagnosis that brought life at the end of this struggle, while Cal’s result would be the opposite.

He was a very good companion throughout the night. Every time I got up to pee, he’d follow me to the bathroom. He’d rub my ankles in the dark with his head, and after I was done, he’d follow me into the bedroom, sometimes making a game of it where I’d lean down with my arms outstretched and he’d run right into my hands with a gleeful chirrup. Then I’d pick him up, carry him back to the bed, and he’d drop his head next to mine on my pillow. Every time I got up, he’d keep me company, every night. If he wasn’t already in the bed, I’d find him just outside the bathroom door when I got there.

And then recently, he wasn’t meeting me for bathroom breaks anymore. It started getting to where every time he peed, he’d need to immediately sit down and rest for a spell. Occasionally the resting spell turned into a small panting spell. He’d sit next to his water fountain and look wiped out. The vet said this was probably due to his anemia, but it could also be that the cancer was making him tired, his kidneys were making him tired, or his heart was weakening and needed to rest. “When a cat has one of these things, you can usually treat it and keep him around longer. But he’s got three at once. Treating one harms the other. The heart pills tax the kidneys; the fluids for his kidneys put strain on his heart. And then you’ve got that unknown tumor, right in the middle, causing even further complications.”

So in the middle of the night, when he wasn’t in his usual spots, I’d go to find him. He’d begin purring as soon as I touched him, so I’d pick him up, take him to bed, and he’d sleep in my arms until the morning.

His appetite dwindled as his weight kept dropping (appetite stimulants weren’t an option, as many of them would cause low blood pressure and he was already on beta blockers). He was sleeping more and more, but he kept to his routines. Porch in the morning to monitor stroller traffic before a nap on one of the chairs, soaking up sunbeams on the back couch or the window ledge in the afternoon while looking for squirrels or the neighbor’s cat, then evenings in the living room with us until bedtime at our feet or in my arms. As long as he seemed to be enjoying his days, even if they were a little slower, we knew we were doing the best we could for Cal, and he seemed to be happy about it. We built a small “apartment” for him in the back room near his water and litter so he didn’t have to walk all the way to the living room if he wanted to. We made a bed out of a heating pad, one of Jason’s t-shirts, and Cal’s favorite toy — one he’d taken to licking after every time he ate something. I’m not sure if that was the anemia or his upset stomach, but it became a security item for Cal. And yes, there were times when I was feeding him off my fingers, or helping him drink water from my own mug, when I thought, “We don’t have much longer together, sweet buddy.” Nights when I could feel how weak he was growing by the way he’d tuck his head into my chest and sigh. I knew we were down to weeks, not months, and I told him we wouldn’t keep him around any longer than he wanted to.

Then, quite abruptly, he refused to eat any food at all. He started spending long hours under the back room couch, which wouldn’t be too unusual except he didn’t come out to see us when we walked into the room, or when we came home after being gone for an hour or two. He stopped playing, stopped mewing, stopped his little chirpy sounds at birds or the songs we’d sing to him. He had grown very tired, and no longer wanted to take his medication, or even one lick of his food.

The next night he jumped off my lap and immediately fell to the side, panting, gasping for breath, hissing occasionally, as if he was frustrated and confused. It was clear he didn’t know what was going on, and wasn’t sure what to do. He’d walk toward me, then walk away, drop to his side again and pant. And we weren’t sure if we should touch him or leave him alone. A few minutes later he’d sit up, staying very still until he leaned over to lap water from the palm of my hand. He wouldn’t drink from the bowl; only my hand. Then he jumped into a chair and sat there quietly, not quite asleep, until he was having problems breathing again. He put his arms out flat in front of him and made sad little moans. We gave him some fluids, waited until the spell passed and he looked like he was feeling more like himself, and set him up with everything he might need through the night, as we didn’t want to move him or disturb him.

I checked on him every hour, and he remained in the chair, quietly perched, waiting. He’d look at me every time, and I’d sit with him for a few minutes before letting him rest again.

At four in the morning when I got up to check on him, I found him sitting on the floor of the bedroom, right by the door. When he saw me, he started walking toward me, trying to meow, but then dropped to his side again, tired, panting, hissing. This time we went to him and pet him, which instantly calmed him down. Jason grabbed some blankets and pillows, and we set ourselves up on either side of him, in the dark. We told him that we were here now, that we’d stay like this all night with him, and promised him that he’d never have another night like this one. Cal then took a few steps into my arms, dropped himself into my chest, and went to sleep against me. One last time we slept like that, together. This time all of us on the floor, letting Cal know he would never be alone again.

In the morning I called our vet who makes home euthanasia visits, and scheduled an appointment. I never thought I’d be able to do that for any animal. I just didn’t think I’d be strong enough, nor feel like it was ultimately the right thing. But I couldn’t let Cal go through any more struggle and I knew he needed me to help him find peace.

We made a spot for him in his favorite place in the living room, where he could see both out the front porch and through the side windows while still being in the center of all foot traffic, and beside the coffee table where he sometimes liked to stretch out. He sat very still, very quietly. He didn’t want to eat, drink, nor visit the litter box. Sometimes he’d drop his nose to the floor, like his weary head was done. Cal was an active, chirpy, curious cat who liked patrolling the house, especially in the morning. The fact that he didn’t even try to leave that spot let us know that Cal was no longer going to be any kind of okay.

When there was less than two hours left before the appointment, I sat down with him, my legs on either side, and as I pet him I told him what was going to happen. I explained that a nice, tall, redheaded lady from the vet was coming over at four, and she was going to help us let him go. That he wouldn’t be in pain anymore, and that he’d been a very good kitty to us, the best kitty he could’ve been. That he was loved by more people than he’d ever know, and that we were so lucky to have him in our lives. “You can go find Taylor if you want,” I said. “But I understand if you don’t. I’ll be looking for you one day, so don’t forget me. We have to start saying our goodbyes now.”

I’m not one who really believes that cats understand people on a speaking-conversational-words level, and I’m not someone who claims to be spiritual, but there are moments in your life when you realize you just can’t know what’s going on; your only job is to be paying attention. And right at this moment, right after I said all of that to Cal, he stood up, took a few steps closer to me, and curled himself into me. He tucked his head into my leg and purred. I pet him and kissed him and brushed him, and he stretched and offered his belly up for rubs (something he hadn’t done in a couple weeks) and we cuddled like old times. When Jason pet his stomach he remarked, “Oh, no. He’s all wet. Did he pee?” “No,” I had to admit. “Those are my tears.”

We sat like that for a while, petting Cal and telling him how wonderful he is, all the things we’d miss, all the parts of him that are so perfect. And at four on the dot, Cal stood up again, walked a couple feet away from me until he was under the coffee table, and sat like he was waiting for the front door to open.

And the nice, tall, redheaded doctor showed up soon after, and Cal came out when she called him, and she got down on her knees in the same place where we were, in Cal’s favorite spot in the living room, and she helped us let him go. He had his head in my hand, looking at us, as we told him how much we loved him, as we told him goodbye and that he was a good boy and that we’d miss him forever. And then he was gone.

It is hard being in this house without him. The space where he isn’t is so much bigger than the space where he was. Grief comes in these giant waves that knock me back, take my feet out from under me and make me feel sick. He is missing whenever I go to sleep, whenever I wake up, when I sit down to work, when I enter a room. He is missing. He is missed.

“This hurts so much worse than when Taylor went,” I said to Jason. “I guess because Taylor took so long and was pissed off every day he woke up that he was still alive. Even when he wasn’t sick. Maybe it hurts more because Taylor really wanted to go.”

“No,” Jason said. “That’s not why. It’s because Cal was better.”

He really was just the best. Everyone who met Cal thought he was awesome, and I can’t imagine a single person telling me that these tears are unnecessary because Cal was “just a cat.” He wasn’t. He was a giant, cuddly, curious, loving, loyal, wonderful friend, and I’m never going to stop wishing he were still here.

Goodbye, sweet Cal. I miss you everywhere.

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  1. Sarah

    I’m so sorry to hear about Cal, Pamie. My husband doesn’t understand why I’m crying at my computer, but then again, he wasn’t there for “slen.”

    My best thoughts to you and Jason.

    1. Pamie

      You just made me add “slen” as a tag. I cannot believe how many people still remember that, and use it as Cal’s nickname to this day.

  2. JeniMull

    My condolences at the loss of your very special friend.

  3. Kirsten Grove

    I’m so sorry for your loss, Pamela! I’m teary eyed as I read this beautiful post. He seemed like such a blessing to everyone.

  4. Lesley

    I am so, so sorry for your loss.

  5. DinoNeil

    Oh, Pamie… I’m so sorry for your loss. My wife and I said goodbye to our sweet cat Darwin this past Sunday. He was with us for nearly all of his 20 years. Though you know it is time, you are never really ready.

    As I tweeted on Sunday: in a just world, cats would live forever and be awarded a brilliant diamond halo for every life they blessed. Cal would be sporting a stack of thousands by now. Thank you for sharing his awesomeness with us.

  6. Gina T.

    Oh Pamie…I am so, so sorry to hear this…I remember the dialogues and letters Cal and Taylor used to have on Squishy…Made me laugh so hard. I knew Cal must have been a very sweet, silly cat. May your memories of him comfort you right now…It’s good that he was loved so much. <3

  7. freakgirl

    I’m so sorry. I had to let my girl go when she was 18 and this brought it all back. You were such a good mommy and friend to Cal. He was loved by so many people who didn’t even know him…he had a good life and you made the end of it so comfortable for him. You both were lucky to have each other.

    This post was a lovely tribute. xoxo

  8. Jen

    I am so sorry for your loss. He was a lovely, funny friend and you were very lucky to have each other.

  9. Scott

    Pamie – So sorry for your loss. You were blessed to have him, and he was just as blessed to have you. Sending many happy thoughts your way.

  10. Fred Stoller

    Beautiful stated. So sorry for your loss. I’m gonna go pet my 17 year old cat now.

  11. Caitlin

    A very beautiful post for a very special cat. It moved me to tears a little, and during it, I kept thinking about how I’m starting my search for a kitten to adopt, after talking about it for too many years. This shows me just how much I’m really going to enjoy having a little partner around for a long time.

  12. Andrea

    I’m so sorry to hear this, Pamie. Cal seems like he was a wonderful friend and creature. I truly believe cats know when they are loved, and Cal obviously was, very much. Take care of yourself.

  13. Michael

    Pamie, I’m so sorry for your loss. You and Cal were lucky to have had each other.

  14. Heather

    Oh hi. Crying. Grabbing my dog. Crying.

    So so sorry Pamie.

  15. Claire Helene

    Oh god, I’m crying in my cubicle. I am so sorry for your loss. It’s been almost a year since I lost my Frank. He was a cat on Cal’s level. We are lucky to have had such wonderful animals in our lives.

    “Until one has loved an animal,
    a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.”
    – Anatole France

  16. Robyn Jamison

    Pam… I am so sorry for the loss of Cal. He was an awesome cat. I loved hanging with him when Bosie and I came to visit. He was a super cool cat. A few months ago, I had to do the same thing to my cat Zoë who was also 16. I too feel lost without her around and miss her constantly. My love to you and I hope your the joy of things to come can help get you through this devastating time. They are never just cats. They are family. I love you Pam. Be well.

  17. Katie

    I’m so sorry for your loss. I know Cal was a great cat (and a good-looking cat!) and he was lucky to have such a great mom.

  18. Cheryl P

    I’m trying to write this while still crying uncontrollably. You just put into words everything I went through with my cat Gal. It truly is heartbreaking. Time definitely helps ease the pain but never the memory. I am so very sorry for your loss. Cal has always been a favorite to read about here. :( From one cat mom to another – my deepest sympathies.

  19. Monica

    Im hoping Cal can find Otto and they can tweak hard on some awesome afterlife catnip then find a cozy spot to lay in the sun. Just as we l love our friends uniquely we miss them uniquely. I think Jason is right Cal was just better. Rest easy Cal and cat lady hugs to you.

  20. Lora

    Pamie, I’m so sorry for your loss. I have three cats and they’re all fairly young and I haven’t had to go through anything like this yet but it’s heartbreaking. I hope you’ll be able to find some comfort and peace. I’m so sorry. They truly are the best friends.

  21. Fallah

    Bah. Genuine tears in my eyes. You did the right thing. Cal let you know that it was time. My dog Agnes went over the Rainbow Bridge last October. She was terribly ill from congestive heart failure and diabetes. I kept trying to fix her, hoping for the best. She died in my arms of a stroke or something similar. In retrospect I should have sucked it up & made a vet appointment sooner. I just hope that stories like yours will help someone else realize when it’s time to let a good friend move on. *hugs*

  22. Ally

    I already left a FB note, but I wanted to say again how sorry I am. It brought back memories of having to say goodbye to my sweet girl back in May. One day she was happy and silly and then she was sick. Her best pal died last September, so it was the first time (and still is) I’d ever been without a cat my entire life. The house still feels empty, and I am often caught off-guard when I come home and she’s not meowing. I’m glad you were able to be with Cal and comfort him and make sure he knew you were there. You clearly loved him so much. xoxo

  23. Rachel

    RIP, Cal. My dearest boy George is set to follow you soon, so can you keep an eye out for him when he gets there?

    I’m so sorry, Pam. In a perfect world, we’d all go at the same time. Lots of love to you and Jason.

  24. Elizabeth

    So sad to read this and sorry for this heartbreaking loss.

  25. Lisa D

    OK, I’m crying now :( I am so sorry for your loss. I am dreading the day I will have to make this decision for my sweet little GUS. I do think you made the right decision after reading about the state he was in. I truly hope you find peace.

  26. Terri in SF

    I’m new to you and your blog – about a year or so – and so I don’t have a history with you and Cal, and yet here I sit at my computer with tears steaming down my face. I lost my beautiful Shadow in a similar fashion, after 19 years of constant companionship. You wrote all the things I wish I was talented enough to express after she left me. Anybody who says Cal was “just a cat” simply doesn’t understand the everlasting bond we have with our beautiful beasties. I’m so sorry for your loss. Cal does sound like the best of all kitties.

  27. Stef

    Oh Pamie. My heart aches for you. I had to let my sweet, beautiful Sadie go almost 3 years ago – the love I had for her is similar to Cal. What a sweet, sweet boy and what a beautiful relationship the two of you had. Crying for you, for Jason and your giant Cal-shaped hole. So much love to you.

  28. Annie

    Oh Pamie. I’m so sorry for you. I’ve been there–my dog Elmer was my familiar and my best friend, and when he had to go, I was out of the country and my heart was broken. I’m so glad that you were there with your family and that he got to be with you.

  29. krystyn

    Oh, I am so sorry. This made me so weepy, because paying attention is so scary, when you know that time is coming, but it turns out to be the best way to love a pet, and it also sucks so much at the same time.

    G’bye, Cal, you were *so awesome.*

  30. Joanna

    So, so sorry to read about Cal. He really was a great cat. Hugs…

  31. AprilN

    I’m so sorry, Pamie, and I’m so glad you were able to say goodbye and spend those last few hours with Cal. I’m sobbing here at work (in a shared office, of course) – my beautiful Persy cat died unexpectedly 3 weeks ago, not even 10 years old, while at the vet for minor surgery, and I’m still so lost because I couldn’t say goodbye and tell him that he was the perfect kitty. We have another cat (who favors my husband), and had to let another cat go last year (tragically young), but Persy was my baby boy, and it hurts.

    Lots of hugs to you and Jason.

  32. sarawr

    I am so sorry for your loss. Cal’s going to have to run for Slenator of Kitty Heaven now. I know he’s got it in the bag.

  33. LucyEliza

    Your love for Cal gave me the courage to adopt my own cat and he’s on my lap right now. Thank you to you and Cal for that, and I’m sorry for your loss.

  34. Karen

    I am so sorry for your loss. Nothing compares to the grief we feel when we lose one of our furry friends. I lost my old dog Moe in April and I still miss him every day. Thank you for sharing your story. Huge hugs to you and Jason and RIP Cal.

  35. Nicki

    Pamie and Jason, I’m so sorry for your loss. I’ve enjoyed reading about Cal over the years (Taylor and Lillith too). He will be missed by many people he never met. Keeping you in my thoughts and prayers.

  36. Kim

    I mostly lurk, Pamie, but I’ll uncloak here to say how sorry I am. No one ever thinks they’ll be able to make that decision…but I’ve learned that no one ever, ever makes it lightly because we love our furry loveys so much. Sweet dreams to sweet Cal.

  37. Hellcat13

    Oh, Pam. My husband is driving home and I am crying to him and just aching for you, and our two beloved kitties will get a special treat tonight when we get home in honour of Cal. They are never, never “just a cat.” They are friends and companions and confidantes and the loves of our lives. They comfort us when we’re sick and sad; they keep us company when we’re lonely; they are silly right back when we’re singing silly songs to them. Your writing about Cal had always exemplified the joy of sharing life with a pet, and we will all miss him and that joy that you’ve both brought to us. Thanks for sharing him with us.

  38. elsewise

    Goodbye, Cal. What a lucky cat you were, with a giant extended fan club and plenty of unauthorized mini biographies by way of your human family. You were loved.

    Pamie, I’m so sorry for your loss. You’ve been an amazing kitty mama. Thank you for taking such good care of him.

  39. meadowgirl

    oh, Pamie i am so so so very sorry. :( he was the best cat. i’ve loved you, your blog, your books and all the people in your life. i loved your cats too. i cried when Taylor passed and i’m crying now. he’s on the other side of the Rainbow Bridge. xoxoxo

    goodbye Cal. i hope there’s a lot of treats there. :)

  40. Angie

    If there’s anything after this life, I pray to god our pets are there, and if they aren’t, I’m not sure how they could call it heaven. Sending you lots of love!

  41. Sharon

    I’m not a pet person in the slightest, but I always loved reading your stories about Cal (and Taylor too), and this had me wishing I had a cat or dog around to give a hug to while I cried. Wishing you both peace as you grieve.

  42. Lydia Espineli

    Dear Pamie,

    Thanks for sharing your story about Cal, we just lost our Maine Coon cat Mikey who was just 9 1/2 years old, (he looked very much like Cal) a week ago, we never had the chance to share in his pain as our vet told us that if we want to spare Mikey pain, we need “to put him down”. My husband and I thought that he just needed some medications or even a shot to make his labored breathing better but we were told after the X-ray that he had tumors and that it was already mestasized into his lungs and ribs. Right then and there, we left him, we were so devastated as he was very close to me too, he sleeps above my head and always rested his head on top of mine every single night and always coddles with me even when I read books. Anyway, we still miss him so much and will never forget him, everyday, he reminds of us of his presence. He was a wonderful cat and took care of the others, he cleans their ears, play with them, etc.

    I am so so sorry for your loss and I am crying while I am writing this as Cal is so much like our Mikey.

    I hope that someday soon, our pain will ease
    and wish that both of them are now in cat Heaven.

    All the best,

  43. Gillian W

    My heart is breaking for you. Cal sounded like the most wonderful cat. Thank-you for sharing him with us.

  44. Jen S

    I’m so sorry for your loss. I went through this with my Rasputin two years ago, and I miss him every day. It sucks.

  45. Tracie

    I am so sorry for your loss. Cal was a great cat, and an important member of your family.

  46. Krista

    Goodbye, Cal. And thank you.

    Thank you, Pamie, for writing about Cal always, the good and the hard.

  47. J.C.

    Oh, God, Pamie…your words are so perfect. I had to let my girl, Luna, go in a similar fashion but she was only 7 years old (or so). She was my college-girl cat and my first pet on my own as “an adult”. It broke my heart in about a million different ways and into a million pieces.

    Thank you for writing this, for loving Cal and for doing the right thing for him. Even though I have been without Luna for 5+ years, your words are so perfect and priceless.

    R.I.P, Cal. You are missed by so many…

    My very best to you, Pam–and your family!

  48. Barry

    Beautiful account of a special friendship, and remarkably attentive handling of her transition through failing health. Your cat so reminded me of mine in both the close attachment, bathroom scenes, and look. I have a Torby that’s seven years old, a remarkable friend with doglike behaviors, and I will dread this day. But I have tenderly, caringly let go before, cats in my arms at the vet’s. I had never heard of house calls to euthanize a cat, but I think that is quite a beautiful way to handle it, and my cat (Trouble) will likely get the same now thanks to your story. I feel for you and know the loss is hard to bare. You obviously gave him a good life filled with love, and carefully measured his quality of life to protect him from needless suffering. You will see him again and must live on till then. Do your best and be well. Cheers from NYC.

  49. Jena

    I’m so sorry for your loss; it’s so hard to let go of someone who has been such a large part of your life for so long. When my Ginger passed away, I’d watched him be born when I was in grade school and he’d been with me over twenty years. He’d been with me for so much of my life that it hurt at first, but now I’m so glad that I have those memories… Cal will be with you in spirit as you go forward and will be waiting for you, sacked out in the best sunbeam ever.

  50. Janice

    Pamie – what a beautiful tribute to Cal. You must be missing him terribly.


    So sorry to read about Cal. It seems as though you’re surrounded by people who understand that a cat isn’t just “a cat”, and I hope that helps just a little bit. I think what strikes home for me is the realization about your observation of the amount of space a cat doesn’t take up as opposed to the amount of space they do occupy. I gotta go hug my cat now.

  52. kris

    OK, so I am (sorry!) not a cat lover by any stretch of the imagination…but this post had me in tears. This is why I keep coming back to your site all these years later. I’m so sorry about Cal.

  53. Kat

    Couldn’t read it all at once, had to take a break. Gosh I feel for you. Hope you are coping ok.

    Hard to believe that he was 16… I have been reading your blogs for 14 years it seems. Time flies.

    Big hugs to you.

  54. angie

    i am so sorry for you loss Pam
    i send you much much love


  55. John

    Thanks 4 writing this – I thought I am the only one that grieves 4 their pets – they can b every bit as important as any human relationship. Rip Cal.

  56. Adrien

    I’m so incredibly sorry for your loss, Pamie. Cal was greatly loved. It took me a while to get through this because I recently lost my sweet 17 year old girl and I have not properly dealt with it. I know that’s not healthy but I just can’t. Amazingly cats like that don’t come around often, you know? We are the lucky ones, you and me.

  57. Michelle

    Poor Cal. Poor Pamie. I am heartbroken for you. Cal was one of my very favorite Internet cats. Slen forever.

  58. Carol

    That was so beautifully written. I’m sorry for your loss.

  59. Heather

    Pamie, I’m so sorry to hear about Cal. He really was one in a million.

  60. CJ

    I’m sending you guys all our love. I’m so sorry for your loss. Thank you for sharing it with us. I hope it makes the load a tiny bit lighter.

  61. Elizabeth Kiker

    Words fail. I’m so terribly sorry for your loss.

  62. Stig

    So sorry for your loss. Brings back memories of doing this too many times and thinking it does not get any easier. It also brought back many more pleasant memories. And some tears.

    Our thoughts are with you

  63. Heidi

    He was loved. So are you. I’m so very sorry, Pam.

  64. alopecia

    It hurts to lose a family member, and Cal certainly was that; he was just a little smaller and hairier than the rest of the family. Nothing anyone can say or do—certainly nothing we out here on the internets can say or do—can make that hurt go away for even a moment (we would if we could), but we can share the loss and the hurt and the tears, and perhaps in some small way help you honor Cal.

    Condolences to you and Jason and everyone who knew and loved Cal.

  65. Kim

    So sorry for your loss. I really appreciate you writing this and how beautiful it was. We had to put our dog down today and no one quite understands what the loss of a pet is except other pet owners.

    Its so true that the space where they aren’t is so much bigger than the space they used to be. So well put.

  66. Paul Tabachneck

    A beautiful eulogy, and one fitting for the king of cats that Cal clearly was. Thank you for sharing this, and him, with us.

  67. Stace

    I am so sorry Pam! It is not the first time you’ve made me cry with your writing. A beautiful tribute for a cat I never met but loved.

  68. Tamara

    I always loved Cal stories and I’m so sorry to hear he’s gone. xo

  69. Kara

    I’m so sorry for your loss.

    It’s hell gauging the ‘when’ and very selfishly, I really appreciate your sharing what happened for you and Cal because it provides me with some signposts on that road.

  70. Katie

    So very sorry for your loss, Pam. I just had to explain to my husband why I was all teared up in the middle of a football game and, good man that he is, he does not think I’m crazy at all. He sends his condolences too.

    Cookie kitty will get extra snuggles tonight in Cal’s memory. Take some comfort in knowing how amazing you were in his last days – well, all of his days. I hope I am half the kitty parent you are! Much love and good, peaceful vibes coming your way.

  71. Jenn

    I put off reading this for a few days because when I saw the title, I knew (I lost my own sweet boy just a few months ago). Thank you so much for sharing Cal with us for all these years. He was so special and so, so loved. Just as blessed as you were to have him, he was to have you and all of his friends. I’m deeply sorry for your loss, Pamie.

  72. Hamish

    I remembered reading about Taylor’s death, years later when I had to say goodbye to my own, uniquely wonderful cat. Thank you for writing about this because it means so much to know there’s people out there who share these connections with our animals and also share the terrible grief when they go.
    I’m so sorry to hear about Cal. I know there’ll be a lot of cats getting extra special love and care today in his honor.

  73. Heidi

    I was remiss in my earlier note. Condolences to Jason, who loved, and was loved by, Cal, too.

  74. Christina

    My condolences, Pamie.

  75. Renee from GA

    Oh, Pam. Cal was the awesomest cat! Thank you for sharing Slen with the world. I am so, so sorry for your loss.

  76. Suz

    Dear Pam-
    Thank you for sharing Cal with us, through it all. He loved you, and that’s the best gift he could give you.
    Treat each other gently. Grief sucks. Suz

  77. JoAnna

    Pamie ~ I am sobbing in my kitchen reading your post. I am so, so, so sorry and yet I know it doesn’t matter at all what I say. Please know that I’m sending you warm hugs and the very best thoughts, but I also know nothing can ever, ever replace Cal. I’m glad you had so many good times together and that he went peacefully.

  78. Mariel

    I’m sorry for your loss Pam. :( I’ve been rooting for Cal.

  79. cait

    So, so sorry for your loss.

  80. Tobie

    Long time reader, very infrequent (if ever) commenter, you’re in my thoughts and prayers, so sorry for your great loss.

  81. Susan

    I just saw this, I am so sorry. Sweet Cal, what a good friend.

    My cat Leo is a little confused as to why I’m crying and insisting on snuggles.

  82. Marieka

    Oh, Pamie, this is so sad! Cal was so much a part of your blog and both his personality and your bond just leapt out of every post that mentioned him! I hate that we have to lose our pets–why can’t they live as long as we do?

    I lost my cat of seventeen years over twelve years ago, and I still miss his sweet black and white face.

    Condolences on your loss of Sweet Cal. He was a special guy.

  83. Shannon H.

    Pamie, so glad you could be there to hold and say farewell to your beloved Cal. Such a lovely and well written tribute. I’m all verklempt now. My condolences for your loss.

  84. Rachel

    I am so very sorry for your loss. I haven’t been here for a while and decided to stop in this morning to see what you’ve been up to… Only to have this be the first thing that I see. Tears came to my eyes as soon as I started reading.

    I have six pets of my own, 3 dogs and 3 cats, and I love each of them as if they’re my children. I dread the day that I have to say goodbye to one of them. I can only imagine what a horrible time that will be and I am so sorry that you’re going through it.

  85. Kayla

    Oh, sadness. I’m so sorry, Pam. I hope things get easier for you and Jason sooner rather than later. If I was there, I would bring you boxes and boxes of tissue.

  86. Tracey

    Pam, I am so sorry. Cal was a beautiful boy, and so loved.

  87. Heather

    Pamie, I’m so sorry. I’ve been reading since the days of “Pamie’s Panties” and feel like I knew Cal personally, and I cried as I read this post. My heart goes out to you. <3

  88. Madeleine

    I cried. He’s with Taylor, Senator, and Buffy now. Happy fat cats.

    1. Pamie

      Spike must live on for all of them!

  89. Vanessa

    Couldn’t read this all the way through because of the tears. Love to you all and to Cal in kitty heaven.

  90. mosprott

    So very very sorry…he knew you loved him, and he loved you every bit as much.

  91. Jeanette

    What a lovely tribute to a beloved friend. So sorry for your loss.

  92. Shay

    I am sorry for your loss. This was the second post I have read of yours, and though I knew nothing about Cal, this post hit me pretty hard in the face. I can get pretty attached to animals really fast and you drew a vivid enough picture of him in just one post that I had to go cry on one of my cats.
    He sounded like an excellent guy. And it sounds like you both gave him the best goodbye.

  93. Lucia

    I’m really sorry to hear about Cal’s passing. I’ve been reading for more than a decade now (wow, that long?) and your stories about Taylor and Cal were like the original LOLCats for me.
    I vicariously became a cat person through you and eventually adopted my own cat and enjoyed her SO much. When she died, reading your archives and the stories of Lilith helped me deal with it. I guess that the pain of dealing with a pet’s death comes with having pets with shorter life spans than ours, but it still sucks.
    Here’s a little hug from Mexico to let you know you share your sadness with a lot of us who felt like we knew Cal too.

  94. Tim

    It’s tough to lose a loved one that you had for so long in your life. In August I had to put my best friend of 20 years Dapper down. He was already on meds because of weight loss due to his thyroid. He kinda showed the same signs because he had lost his appetite, if I hand fed him he would eat some but eventually he stopped eating and would only drink water. I took him to vet and they said he had an issue with his liver(I forget the terminology) where it wasnt totally filtering his blood. I wanted to do whatever it would take to help him but my vet said that at his age there was nothing that could be done. I felt so horrible that I had to put him down. I always knew that it would happen but I kinda always hoped that either he would pass in the night or I would come home to find he passed. Saying goodbye to someone you held so dear is hardest thing you can do, but they will always be fondly remembered.

  95. emilia

    I almost didn’t read this post, mostly because when I saw it named “the hardest goodbye” with a picture of Cal, I knew exactly what it was going to be about.

    It mirrored my post … “the hardest goodbye” that i wrote in august when I had to make a decision to let my beloved Theodore go, who was suffering – coincidently again, from growing abdominal masses in his belly.

    I knew it was going to be hard, and the similarities would be all to poignant … and they were, but it’s somehow comforting to know that there are others that would understand why I still tear up when I think about Theodore, even though it’s been months and even though I’ve already adopted a new kitty to fill a hole that can’t be replaced.

    A sweet ode to your sweet Cal. When you’re ready, you’ll be able to love another and open up again with another one to love, and one your new baby will love.

  96. Eryn

    I am so sorry. We lost our perfect kitty this year, too. He was awesome & everyone loved him, just like everyone loved Cal.

    He was the first pet I’ve ever bought a memorial stone for. I found a cement kitty, curled up with his belly pointed up, like he’s napping in an afternoon sunbeam. I’m going to plant catnip there in the spring, where it can grow around the little cement kitty.

    Cat was not “just a cat.” He was your friend & companion & part of your family. I’m sorry you lost him when you’re just about to bring in a new member of your family. You’ll miss him for a long time, but it’ll get better. We’re so lucky to have had them while we had them with us, even if it hurts this bad when they go.

  97. Ashley, the Accidental Olympian


    The hardest thing about owning cats and dogs is that we love them so fiercely, and then they leave us. It’s the cruelest of relationships.

    I am so sorry for your loss.

  98. amanda

    This touched my heart SO MUCH. So sorry to hear about this loss. What a great friend to have had.

  99. Sara

    I stumbled upon your blog from the “Urban Legend” post someone linked me (Kontaku, I believe). I have a 16-year-old ailing kitty as well, which led me to read your posts about Cal. First, I’m so sorry for your loss; I was tearing up (at work, urgh, why did I read it here!) just reading about it. Second, my elderly cat (I’ve had him since I was 9) also has a strange mass in his abdomen, but the vet said surgical removal wouldn’t necessarily give him more time anyway because of his age and the physical trauma/risk of surgery, so as long as he keeps eating (as the mass grows, it could be uncomfortable for him to eat) and enjoying his old kitty life, he’s still chugging along, but I know that someday his constant interest in anything edible will cease and I’ll have to have him euthanized =( I halfway hope he just goes peacefully in his sleep so I don’t have to bring it just to end pain. Pets bring us so much joy, bonding over so many years, and yet they don’t share our lifespan and it just isn’t fair =(

  100. schmei

    I’m so, so sorry. We lost our perfect, beautiful kitty when I was pregnant, too. I have never cried so hard or so long in my life.

  101. Donna

    I.CAN’T. STOP.CRYING. I’m so sorry for your loss and that it took me so long to get around to reading this. I follow you on twitter so I knew he was gone, but reading this… I’ve been away from my cats now for 8 weeks due to hospitalization and I miss them so much, that this kills me even more. But at least they are there when I DO get home. XOXO

  102. Heather

    So sorry to hear about Cal. I am glad he is not in any pain anymore, but it sucks that he is gone.

  103. Stephanie

    Oh my gosh – I am so behind on your entries and I just saw this one. I am now sitting at my computer at work crying. I am so sorry for your loss, especially as you were going through your pregnancy (congratulations btw). I’m sure he is at peace and is waiting for you at the Rainbow Bridge