But That’s Grief, Isn’t It?

My cat Mitsus (pronounced Meat-Soosh), is a beautiful, beautiful boy. He has green eyes, and the shiniest coat around. He was my best friend for the longest time.

I don’t know what brought this on, but recently, I have been missing him quite terribly. My heart aches to think of his little paws stretched out next to me whilst I watch Netflix in my bed with a bag of Doritos and salsa.

Perhaps it is not my darling cat who I miss but everything he represents. My darling boy, as I called him. My boy who would come running to meet me when I was walking home from school. The young cat who lay on my chest all night when we first got him, dribbling onto my big, oversized shirt.

I feel a deep sense of guilt for my cat. I had to give him up to a family friend when we left our mum’s house. Obviously I couldn’t have my wonderful little cat running around my university halls with me.

I remember once, when I was crying late at night, he came all the way up to my head from where he’d sleep at my feet. He literally put his paws around my neck and bumped me on the head.

When I gave him up, it was quite sudden. I think he wanted to go. He was never the same after Mum passed away. His fur was missing in patches, and he was spending more time at other houses, and wouldn’t return for days on end.

Tears slipped down my face when my family mentioned that maybe it would be good for him to go that day, instead of preventing it for weeks later. They said we would be delaying the inevitable.

My darling boy, the last remnant of Mum I had, who too was slipping away from me.

Saying yes, was the hardest decision I have had to make solely for another being. With Mum, all the hard decisions were down to me and my sisters, a solid team who carefully thought everything through.

I remember wondering if I would ever be able to stop crying. The tears just kept coming. I remember after he left, I looked down at Rocky and Daisy and cried, knowing Daisy would stay with Katie, and Rocky would stay with the neighbours who loved him so much. Our cats each went to someone who loved them so deeply, you see.

Mitsus had always been mine, really. I asked Mum all the time if he was ‘my cat’. She always laughed or sternly said “he’s all of ours Evee.” I always wanted to know if he was mine, if he was mine forever. If he was mine, he wouldn’t be able to leave suddenly. I’m not sure why but I always promised him that we would always stay together. You must be reading this thinking I’m crazy.

I am pretty crazy. And very dramatic about cats, apparently.

Mummy and myself loved him so dearly that most of our messages used to be pictures of this lovely, lively cat who we’d find snuck into our beds, or sleeping in my laundry bin when I wasn’t there. I don’t think I realised until just now that by letting go of Mitsus, I was truly acknowledging to myself that My Old Life was never coming back.

Mitsus was my nanny’s cat, hence the interesting name, before he was mum’s, and then he was mine. That continuation was everything to me. It always struck me, but I am not sure why. We got Mitsus after my Nan passed away. When we first got him, Mummy was in two minds about keeping him. She said he was quite the handful, and that Nanny had told her about Mitsus climbing up her leg trying to get the cat food satchet she was trying to feed him.

I said to Mummy that I don’t want to keep him if he’s going to live somewhere else eventually. Everyone used to laugh at me when I would carry Mitsus around like a baby in a blanket which I quickly gave to him. They reminded me how “I didn’t want him” at the beginning. Later I’d tell my cat that I always had wanted him, I wanted him so much that I was afraid for him leaving.

If I could see him right now, if he came and jumped on my bed and butted heads with me, I would be overjoyed and so happy. My heart would probably break. I would not want to stroke his little chin or rub his nose as he liked so much, however. I could not bear saying goodbye to him a second time over. I couldn’t bare holding my hand up to my old life in the mirror before me. To wave at the 15 year old and her cat, who had everything.

It would be like seeing a passer by of someone you love get on a train and never come back to you. It would break your heart all over again, and you wouldn’t even be able to tell them about it.

I asked my uncle if he could get some pictures of Mitsus from the family friend for me. I think he forgot, and now I can’t even remind him because there’s that furball in my throat, almost afraid to see my cat in a new life where I am forgotten.

It was all so unfair back then. So unfair at all the decisions we had to make. To pack up our lives, move houses, and give up our cats.

If Mummy was there on that day he left, she would have held me as I cried and told me how cruel all this was. That I couldn’t even keep my cat in the midst of everything. That I was a brave girl, and I was moving on to new things. That Mitsus would be, and is, very very happy.

I think I’ve never let myself truly miss him because how can someone feel something so intensely for a cat?

But that’s grief, isn’t it? It comes when you least expect it. When you find a video you sent to your mum, of you in a pyjama set she bought you, tucked in a bed she kissed you goodnight in, cuddling the cat you both loved so much together.

It’s those moments when life seems unbearable, and everyone seems to always leave.

To my darling boy, Mitsus, I hope you are happy. I remember the lady you are with now telling Mummy that she missed the weight of you next to her in bed.

Well Sushi, it is 1:26am and I miss the weight of you in bed next to me. I hope you are too happy to remember me. Mummy and I love you forever.

46 thoughts on “But That’s Grief, Isn’t It?

  1. Cats! There are three in this room and at any moment one of them will fly at the other to play fight or scratch the furniture or pull at the curtain or creep next to my feet or meow to go out / come back in, for you see they are so demanding and there will be other cats, but that each one is unique like we are unique. Each having a personality different to the others. At some point you might want to make room for another cat to join you in life for a while. They’re worth the trouble they cause e.g. shredded furniture.

      1. I know Beloved, for there are these bonds of love made with each and we don’t want to feel like we are betraying them, but that new love doesn’t take from the old ones. I know how the heart strings playing such sad songs for other sentient beings, not just other people in our lives. 🐈 🐕 🐎 🐖 🐓 I feel it is essential to let love flow through these interactions. Even showing love to the snooty cats, who demand we treat then like gods and do their bidding and still get scratched by them! 😬 Bloody cats! 😁

  2. Oh my, an extraordinary post. From the beautiful photos, to the amazing writing and the deep, heartfelt emotions, your entry warmed the heart and brought a lump to the throat. Simultaneously.

    It may surprise you to read Mitsus remembers you. Think about it – you haven’t forgotten him, have you? Cats don’t forget a kindness either, and particularly not the lifetime of them you provided. The love you share is one of the most powerful emotions, both for you and for Mitsus.

    Going forward, and when you know the time is right, I most definitely would recommend bringing home another feline friend. If it’s an option, adopting from a shelter is the very best of the possibilities. You’ll rescue a lonely, abandoned cat and you’ll give him/her a loving “forever” home.

    All of this advice has been road-tested in the “real” (i.e., my) world, as so much of what you write stirs similar memories and emotions in my own experience.

    1. Hello, thank you for such a lovely comment 🤍
      That is wonderful for you to share with me. I never expected to receive any comfort from me posting this. I wrote it when I felt like my heart was breaking.
      So to have your response warms my heart 🤍
      Hopefully, indeed, I will get a feline friend for myself in the future. I can’t wait 🤍
      Have a wonderful day x

  3. The bond of love that’s created between an animal and a human produces emotions that are intense and seem directly injected into the heart. For me, grieving is a way to express my position in a bittersweet universe where I will eventually lose everything. That means when I find that bond of love it means everything to me while it lasts and the eventual loss tears at my soul. Because for a time, the sweet overshadows the bitter. This was well written and so well said. Thank you for the sharing.

  4. I understand the loss and pain. But I also believe our pets’ energy never leave us. I wake up in the middle of the night sometimes petting my dog Henry, who passed almost 7 years ago!

  5. Best Gift
    We Gain
    From
    Missing
    Is To Replace
    That MiSSinG
    With Yes
    More

    Love

    To Give

    And Share

    To All Of

    Nature

    Then The

    Love We Give

    Is No Different

    Than

    Receive

    Love

    We

    Become

    ‘i
    Am’

    To Shine For
    Never Forget

    We Come
    From Star Dust

    Of Super
    Nova
    Star

    Flowers

    Exploding

    In Crucible

    Fire

    Death

    Seeding

    Us Indeed

    We aRe

    Star
    FLoWeRS
    And Seeds

    THeRE

    Is No

    Real

    Separation

    Or Difference

    Yet New

    Colors

    We Bloom

    Give Share For

    Free

    Star

    Dust

    Resurrecting

    Eternally Now Love Free

    This

    Force

    This

    Energy

    This God

    This Love

    Energy Spreading

    Now Beyond Space

    Time Distance

    Matter

    Yes

    This Dance

    And Song

    LiVES oN

    LoVES oN

    Forever Now

    You

    Are

    Never

    Alone As

    LonG As

    Give Is Receive

    All Puppy Dog
    Eyes, Tales Wagging

    And
    Cat

    Purrs

    Warm
    And

    Fuzzy

    Need No
    Words

    To

    Spread
    This

    Truth
    And
    Light

    In

    Sunshine
    Star Warmth☺️💫

  6. Wow. This eviscerated me. I had to go and hug my cat, Ellis, who I have a similarly intense connection with. Lovely tribute to Mitsus and a very relatable exploration of grief.

  7. Of course you’d (as would I) immensely miss such a beautiful animal and pet. …

    Whenever I observe stress in the facial expression of my mother, a typical senior, I also observe how that stress drains from her face and is replaced with joyful adoration when our pet feline enters the room: “Hi, sweetheart,” she’ll say. And I know that countless other seniors—not to mention myself (whether consciously or subconsciously)—with pets also experience the emotional benefits of hosting a cherished pet.

    She appreciates the healthy reciprocal relationships—some animal lovers would go as far as to describe them as somewhat symbiotic—that can exist between pet animals (many of us see them as family members) and their loving and appreciative human hosts, especially physically and/or mentally ill hosts.

    Indeed, animals have a beneficial influence over humanity that many people still cannot fathom; and this beautiful reality of animals’ positive effect on their human hosts can also be beneficial to the animals.

    Besides numerous studies revealing the health-benefits to humans (their high blood pressure is alleviated, for example) when in proximity, and especially when in physical contact, with a domesticated animal, the fact is, when a cat or dog, for instance, is lovingly petted down along its back, it acts as a sort of soothing and healing massage, and that animal’s lifespan and good health increase considerably.

    Many health-care homes are already adopting cats and/or dogs to reside at the facilities, and the data available has revealed the improvement in the health of many patients since the facilities’ adoptions of such pets.

    In a June 14, 2000, Vancouver Sun article it was written that scientific proof reveals a “powerful man-beast bond that transforms lives, alleviates depression and disease, gives direction to the blind and comfort to the lonely and fills homes with a measure of uncomplicated joy that is impossible to fully appreciate until it is gone.”

    This fact has but vastly increased in awareness and even measurability since then and will almost certainly continue to do so.

    Being a fan of felines myself, I often enjoy the presence of others’ pet felines. In fact, when I got my days mixed up and made the long trip from White Rock to Vancouver apparently for naught, I still felt some gratitude by the fact that I got to visit and pet the large black cat—who happens to look just like our family cat—at the veterinarian clinic near my destination.

    (Frank Sterle Jr.)

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