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Thursday, January 30, 2014

A year ago today I had to say goodbye to my best friend of 14 years - one of the best I ever had on four legs. I hope wherever Howie's spirit may be, it's always Caturday.


Oh my sweet Howie... How I loved you so.

I promised myself I would try to keep it together as I write this. But here I am, chopping onions on my keyboard as I write this post in memoriam to the best lawyer cat who ever laid across a bar.

This time last year I shared my concerns on this site as I was a complete wreck when I realized something was wrong with Howie. All of you were incredibly supportive. I wish I hadn't lost him as quickly and tragically as I did. Grieving a pet is an isolated grief and not everyone understands why it hurts the way it does. I can't explain it. It just does.

Howie was my one constant companion in a 14-year span where I moved five times, my marriage happened and an eight-year-long friendship ended. There was the birth of my daughter, postpartum depression and the sudden death of my Uncle Leon -- a pain that hurt so bad, I wanted to die too -- just to be with him. I cried so many times into that cat's fur that I'm sure those tears were the reason why he loved water so much.

Out of all the cats I've had, he remains by far, my cat. Howie's good friend Georgie is a wonderful companion - a constant reminder of the loyalty Howie possessed. It's uncanny how Georgie has adapted many of Howie's quirky habits since his death. It makes me wonder if animals grieve similarly to us. There is no doubt in my mind that Georgie misses Howie.

I miss him too.

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

Only pet owners understand this kind of loss.No need to explain

Bicky said...

Some of us have been down that road too. It's never easy to deal with.

Michael Suddard said...

A great post CJ on your lawyer cat.

In legal terms, I would expect Howie got called to be a Supreme Court Judge. Good lawyers get that call and have to move on.

Hopefully Georgie will walk in Howie's footsteps and, based on your writing, sounds like it.

C.J. Smith said...

^ Made me smile. Yes, a court where cats rule the land.

Anonymous said...

I can't even begin to comprehend the pain. I've grieved family pets which ripped me apart. I have my first cat of my own and I cannot imagine the pain if I lost her. You're in our thoughts and so is Howie! I'm sure he's lawyering up there in kitty heaven!

Sylv said...

I never had pets growing up, but have two dogs now. I can't even let my mind consider the thought, but I know that saying goodbye is the price we pay for being loved by them.

Anonymous said...

awwwwwwww....
but I can't even being to imagine when my puppy will leave me one day...(I get teary every time i think of it...)
She's 7 and we are hoping for another 10 years..she's my first dog and I raised her from a 10 week old puppy...I call her my baby...
When she's sick, I get worried just like a parent is worried about their kid...

Squiggles said...

As bad as this could sound: it was better that Howie went quickly. Tobes (my baby) lingered for months in renal failure (being treated) until I came the realisation that he was no longer my kitty.

And I went through all of that again this past fall with Numbnuts. He almost didn't make it after his surgery. But he was only 7, so that was why we did the surgery and hopefully D(ecision)-Day will be many moons from now.

It is and will always be the hardest decision of your life. 3 years later, I still think of that day.

I feel for you, and I gotta agree with Michael that he is now a Supreme Cat Judge.

Anonymous said...

I feel the tears coming as I read this, I have a beautiful 19 year old cat that has been with me through thick and thin as well, he is quirky, affectionate and even says hello to me every morning (youtube video to prove it lol). His kidneys have been failing over the past year, he's not in pain but slowing down and I know the day is coming that will break my heart. I can completely understand your profound sadness at losing Howie and I haven't been there yet. Hugs.

C.J. Smith said...

Knowing we have to say goodbye to them is a terrifying and profound emotion. Yet, the joy and love they provide and have provided is worth every tear. I'd do it all over again with Howie in a heartbeat.

AllanVS said...

Not having pets doesn't mean we don't understand the pain. When you visit close friends, you get attached to their pets... I did at least. When one died it made me cry as I realized he wouldn't bark in greeting at me, or snuggle as we sat watching tv and talking.

C.J. Smith said...

Allan - okay, you got me there.
Generally, I dislike dogs. I tried to own one and it was a HUGE mistake. Luckily we were able to give Murphy the home he needed and loved with someone else but I knew owning a dog was not for me after that and I swore I wouldn't do that to another dog.

BUT... my husband's boss owned a lab cross named Leni. I loved Leni. I became very attached to Leni. I hugged her and she would sit quietly with me the times I would come to Chad's work for a visit and just let me sit with my arm around her. She absolutely loved me.

Leni died in the Fall. My husband didn't want to tell me at first. I bawled for a long time when I realized I'd never see her again. Never got to say good bye. Never got to hug her and kiss her one last time.

So yes, you're right, you don't need to be a pet owner or animal lover to understand. You just need to realize the connection and why it hurts like it does when it's broken.

Michael Suddard said...

Just came across this on Facebook.

A new cat cafe in Montreal. I think they have it wrong, it's a lawyer's office with complimentary catnip and coffee.

http://www.mtlblog.com/2014/01/montreal-opens-first-ever-north-american-cat-cafe/

Anonymous said...

Your post brought to mind my beloved Sassy who we lost in 2012 at the age of 15. To this day we still see her out of the corner of our eye and can swear that we still hear her jumping off the bed upstairs on occassion. We miss her terribly. She was a wonderful cat. I know how you feel.

C.J. Smith said...

I have this lamp with a marmalade coloured shade. Sometimes I'll be startled if I snap on the light too quickly in my bedroom and I swear Howie was *just* sitting on the nightstand.
So mind-blowingly odd. I know it's a damn lamp!

Kelly said...

Aww CJ. I've told you before, my cat Tiger will be 17 this March. Been with me since I first lived on my own, second year university. Moved I think 7 times? Not a people person. Loves me and my sister, that's it. OK with grandma (my mom). Has put up with me getting married so my husband, then the dog (still hates her), my son (after 5 years now tolerates him and lets him pet him). I absolutely FREAK OUT at the thought of him not being around anymore. I feel your pain. As someone who cries regularly over sad animal stories.