Three Sweet Kitty Kats.

posted in: Day In The Life 17
An illustration of John (white and black) painting Puppy (gray) by Sophie Lucido Johnson.
An illustration of John (white and black) painting Puppy (gray) by Sophie Lucido Johnson.


When I wrote about Berlin and the terrorist, I spoke about my bosom friend Sophie’s kitty, how he was very sick. And yesterday, I told you that I had sad news to share. Here goes.

Sophie’s cat died.

Jean Baptiste Lucido Johnson Hoar de Galvan — “John” for short — was just one year old.

I have made the acquaintance of many a cat, but I said to Sophie on Sunday, when we spoke about me getting one of my own that I was especially fond of John. He was soft and gentle. He was a fluffy, furry, purrbox. I always felt at ease with him. John loved Sophie and Luke like crazy but I think he loved Puppy even more — Puppy is Sophie and Luke’s second cat. Those two cats were in loving cahoots, you better believe it. As Sophie put it in her blog, “[Puppy and John] were always together, lying so close to each other (even in summer, when it was too hot for that to feel good) that it was hard to tell where one cat ended and the other began.”

I wonder what Puppy is doing right now, if she feels sad.

It turned out that John had a severe heart disease that caused his blood to clot. On Sunday night, he meowed and meowed and this was highly unusual because John was not a meower, according to Sophie. After being sick and meowing and meowing for some time, suddenly John’s hind legs wouldn’t work. My friends took John to the emergency vet; for the next two days, the veterinarians did what they could, but they ultimately could not save the beloved pet. Yesterday morning, Sophie and Luke made the call. John was put down.

This year, my friend Heather had to put down good ol’ Steve McQueen, her cat for many years. And when I told Heather about John The Cat, she let me know that just last week, our mutual friend Holly — a quilter I admire a great deal and a person of inestimable warmth and goodness, I’ll have you know — had to put her cat to sleep.

Good grief, that’s three remarkable women with three remarkable cats and so much heartache. How many cups of tears could be measured out as a result of these deaths? It’s too much, too much. These animals were family members.

I am certain each of these friends would say that yes, pets die eventually and that that is terrible and sad but the alternative — not knowing these creatures at all, ever — would be worse. They would each agree it’s all worth it, I’m sure.

Still. When I hugged Sophie yesterday morning and felt how sad she was, so full of grief, I thought, “I am not that strong. Maybe I should wait.” But that thought, though not meant to be a consolation, was no consolation at all.

17 Responses

  1. Val
    | Reply

    Mary it is very hard to lose a pet, very, very hard. But to not know the love of a pet or to have the experience of loving a pet is a missing piece of the puzzle that is life. To be afraid of loss is natural, but the gains far outweigh the risk. Eventually we all die. Our lives would be very dull if we didn’t take the risk and love.

  2. Tammy
    | Reply

    Oh my, the same thing happened to our cat . Our vet did everthing he could do. We still miss him. We lost 3 of our dogs this year. Two of them were sisters, they were 15 years old. The other was a son of one of the sisters, he was almost 14. We miss them all, they brought so much joy to our lives. My dad always said it is better to have loved and lost than to never had loved before. He also said if you have pets you will lose them, so enjoy every minute with them.
    So sorry for the loss of John, my heart goes out to his family

  3. Elaine Theriault
    | Reply

    Mary – I’m a dog person, but I can understand the pain that your friends (and you) are going through. I feel that the hardest decision in the entire world is the one to make the call on a very sick pet.
    In 1997 when I lost my first dog, I waited five years before getting another one/ Then I got one dog and loved her so much that I got her a companion. Both of those dogs have gone to doggie heaven (2015 and 2016). I now have two more amazing dogs that fill my life with much happiness and entertainment.
    While it is VERY hard to make that call to the vet, the joy and love that I get from my girls softens that blow just a teeny bit. And I still tear up just thinking about my LIttle Sammy (2106) RIP.

    Go for it – get a kitty!!!!

  4. Debbie Holley
    | Reply

    Get two kitties! They will run and play and keep each other company while you’re away and bring you hours of joy and laughter. Everything else considered, life is hard because it is finite. But limiting the joy to spare the pain, takes the life right out of it.

  5. Siobhan
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    To have known love and lost it, is better than to never have known love at all.

    I’m truly sorry for your friends’ losses. Cats are a bit different than dogs in this regard, but the love of a pet is still unconditional and undemanding. Once you’ve known that kind of love it’s hard to live without it. I don’t want you to feel pushed in one direction or another– the ultimate decision is yours, but I think if you let the idea of loss stop you before you start, you’re truly missing out on some special relationships.

    Best of the season to yo and your family.

  6. Beverly R Letsche
    | Reply

    Loss is part of life. To hide from it, to avoid pain means you also hide from love, avoid joy. They are all braided together which means that together they make your life stronger, more durable than if you only had one strand. Go for the joy of loving a creature, embrace the pain when it occurs. You will be a better person, and your life will be incredibly richer. Hugs to all your friends who have had their furry friends leave for the Rainbow Bridge.

  7. MrsB
    | Reply

    Good old Winnie the Pooh says ” How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard”.

    My DIL sent me that when I lost 7 year old Minnie pie very suddenly and thought it again when my 14 year Mr. Kitty lost his battle with lymphoma last year. I cried a million tears. I miss them every day.

    But every kitty I’ve ever had has been a rescue. I had no idea what their medical histories were. They had wonderful lives. They gave me so much joy. I have now a handsome snow white long haired boy kitty that showed up at my door 4 years ago. They love unconditionally. Get that kitty. Rescue something that will give you back more than you’ll ever know. Your heart will love you for it.

    My sympathies to your friends.

  8. Helen
    | Reply

    Mary, I have loved and “lost” many dogs and cats over the years. But hardest was losing my husband of nearly 50 years in 2015. I keep going with the love of family and friends. They tell me I am so strong, but they don’t see me in the long nights. We adopted two male rescue kittens nine years ago, . Two at one time is good and they are good together. Five years ago we got a feral kitten (bought at a yard sale) for my husband’s birthday. He bonded with with my husband. So much so that he still looks for him; not so much any more but once or twice a month, he cries at the doors until I open them and he can look for himself. I totally agree with the above comment, it is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all. Go for it (whatever “it” is)!

  9. Kathi Bryan
    | Reply

    I am so very sorry for your friends’ loss and yours. My babies (5 cats) are my family and every loss hits hard.

  10. Mary Says Sew!
    | Reply


    Yes, get a cat! Get a cat! Or two cats!

    You need a cat (or two), you just don’t know it yet. You’ll realize it once they have you.

    There’s a cat (or two) who needs you waiting for you.

    Yes, it hurts when we lose them, but that means we love them. We don’t keep people out of our lives because we might lose them, do we? No, of course not.

    You can’t block out hurt by refusing to love. Just the opposite.

    I purposefully avoid remembering the dates of my loved ones’ deaths, both human and my other loved ones. That way I can focus on and cherish their lives and their love. It’s harder when their leaving coincides with a holiday, but don’t let that block out all the great holiday memories from their lives.

    And what wonderful material a cat (or two!) will provide for your writing! And your quiltmaking. So many quilt patterns are named for cats! Put that Animals in Literature class you just took into action!

    So, go out there and give a cat, or two, a wonderful life!

  11. Deb KimballS H5
    | Reply

    Mary, I too had two wonderful kitties, Purr-C and Sir Oliver the Invisible. Both were rescued kitties, 6 months apart, and about the same age at rescue – 6 months. I lost Oliver to chronic IBS in 2014, and my beloved Purr-C in late October to renal failure. She was almost 17. I went to the quilt show in Houston on November 1, and when I returned, I was stunned about how empty my house was, and how silent. The very next morning, I went to my no-kill shelter and adopted two senior kitties with chronic conditions- Tux and Parker, both with chronic conditions. Tux had been at the shelter for 9 years! I now have a full, house, a very full heart, and I know I’ll love these kitties for as long as they are with me. I am not being noble or anything like that. They needed a happy home, I needed a happy heart. Both conditions were met. No regrets. It’s never to soon to bring warmth and purrs into your life.

    • Ann Bailey
      | Reply

      Deb, you are amazing to love and care for two senior sick kitties, giving them care in the last years of their lives.

  12. Judy Hart
    | Reply

    We just picked up the cremains of one of our kitties yesterday. It’s a hole that never is filled. Miss our big orange guy.

  13. Barbara
    | Reply

    Mary, to experience sadness is to have loved.

  14. Linda
    | Reply

    There is a saying that pets will give you many of the happiest days of your life and one of the worst. I’m sorry your friends have gone through one of the worst but I guarantee those happy memories will be life long.

    Pets are such wonderful parts of a person’s life. They give more unconditional love than anything else in your life (except maybe grandchildren!). Paw prints on your heart never really go away. You’ll never regret bringing fur kids into your life. And, I’m willing to bet that when the time is right your friends will do it again too.

  15. marci piraro
    | Reply

    Hi. I lost my tuxedo cat in June after 18 and a half years. I have lived alone for over ten years and she and I were like an old married couple. She would come down the hall to the living room if I didn’t go to bed on time. If she took a nap, when she woke up, she came looking for me, just like a toddler. She waited for me to come home. I miss her every day but I don’t regret having her for one second. If it feels right for you, go ahead and rescue a cat or two. So many need homes. Just know that you don’t own them, they own you. And be grateful.

  16. Betty Elliott
    | Reply

    I had three cats (siblings) with that same heart condition. After the first one died, I had a ghost cat for a few years until the second one died. I guess he was just waiting for his sister to make the trip with him. The third one lived to a fairly old age and was one of the best cats I’ve ever had. I can’t imagine not having at least one cat around.

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