Goodbye my sweet boy: Spilling over tea/coffee February 2019

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If anyone in my life ever “personafied” unconditional love, it was Gizmo. This was not the post I’d planned to write today, in fact a week ago I was expecting to still be hand feeding Gizmo every few hours. Over tea today I’ll be sharing all about Gizmo, and I understand if that’s not your cup of tea, but it’s what’s in my heart this week.

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We renamed him Gizmo because he was a dead ringer for the Gizmo from Gremlins

This will probably get really long, and it’s really more for me than you, so I understand if you don’t read it much, much less all.

Confessions of a Mother Runner

Pull up a chair and mug with Coco and Deborah and me for the ultimate coffee tea date

Most of the time he was in Bandit’s crate, not on top of it!

NY has not been kind to our furkids
We lived in VT 7 years. No furkid losses (the girls were only 8 when we left). We lived in TX 17 years, and both the girls crossed the rainbow bridge — but they both had long lives: Cleo was 16 and Puss was an amazing 21. They are still there; we buried them in our backyard and planted a rosebush by them. It used to comfort me to go out there and talk to them.

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I have photo after photo of the boys curled up together

However, we have lived in NY for 10 years, and this is our third loss. The first two, Simba (Gizmo’s brother — he was gone before I started this blog) and Chester (many readers remember Chester, I’m sure, as I wrote about him frequently, especially after he passed — read his story here) were too young — almost 12 and 10 respectively. I know that’s not really young, but both seemed far too young to go to me, and both suffered a lot towards the end.

Gizmo had a good, long life; he was almost 18. He was never sick a day in his life until this last year, and it’s really only in the last 6 weeks that he really started to decline. I miss him terribly, but I am consoled that he had a great life, and that I helped him to pass while he could still enjoy lap time with me.

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Normally I probably wouldn’t share this photo, because it’s definitely not my best photo. But it captures perfectly the love we had for each other. Gizmo was most definitely my cat. (And yes, this was during the brief time I colored my hair).

Loving that Gizmo is still purring and curling up on my lap
The above is what I wrote last month. Yes, he was still purring and curling up in my lap til the very end.

He also was barely eating. He really couldn’t stand for very long, which is why he would lay down to drink water, and why after a few bites he’d go over to his hammock and I’d have to spoon feed him to get him to eat a bit more.

He could have lived longer, but he no longer had the quality of life I wanted him to have. It was very, very difficult to make the decision to help him cross while he still wanted to lay on me, but I knew it was the right choice.

A sign?
I was stretching out after my run on Monday, and oddly enough I heard a lot of bird song. It’s the middle of winter, there’s snow on the ground, and it’s damn cold. I looked over and I saw what looked like a flock of Robins — I’m not sure they were Robins, I wasn’t close enough, but a few flew back and forth to a nearby tree and they definitely had red bellies (and were not cardinals).

Was it a sign for Gizmo? A sign that Spring is coming, despite the cold and snow going on? I have no idea, but I do know that it brightened my day — something I would never have seen if I hadn’t opted outside to run, which as you know I don’t always do — it was actually a lovely day to run (for winter).

At this point I was still grappling with the decision, and I would make the arrangements after I got home from this run.

Coming to peace
I woke up Monday crying. I’m don’t cry easily; ask Mr. Judy. I also woke up in the middle of the night crying. I didn’t feel like I had to use the bathroom, but I wasn’t falling back asleep so I did anyway. I spent some time praying to be at peace with my decision.

Eventually I fell back asleep, and when I woke up, I wasn’t crying any more. And I was actually at peace with my decision. It was still hard, and yes, I did cry later on, still do, but my prayer was answered.

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Like most cats, he loved his boxes and could squeeze into the smallest places. He also had what we called his OCD behavior — obsessively pushing down on the flap of a box over and over and over. Yes, we have video of that.

All his favorite things
It’s very, very difficult to make the decision to let them go while they’re still eating (even if only very little), still want to be with you (sometimes, there were days he spent mostly hidden away), and still purring.

I didn’t question myself (much) after making the decision, but I set out to give Gizmo as much happiness as I could on his last night/day on this earth. Mr. Judy grilled a steak — yes, outside — sort of, he has the grill pulled close to the house and uses a method where he doesn’t have to be monitoring it constantly, and while Giz didn’t eat much of it, he did eat some.

My habit over the last few weeks was to get up, scoop the litter boxes, feed Giz, then go downstairs and do some yoga, then meditate, then pray a little. On his last day I wanted to spend as much time with him as he wanted, so I sat down after feeding him and let him lay on me until it was time to feed the dogs. And then I let him lay on me some more.

I got up to make a snack of some yogurt and granola. I really wasn’t hungry, but Giz loved yogurt — and he actually went to town pretty good on what I left for him. After that Gizmo went to his bed in a box (literally a cat bed we’d put in a box), so Mr. Judy and I took the dogs out for a very short walk (it was really cold).

Then I cooked a big batch of chicken thighs in the Instant Pot — I’m planning to make chicken noodles soup later this week — and fed him a bit of of the chicken. Again, he didn’t eat much at all, but he really enjoyed what he ate.

I am grateful that he was able to enjoy some of his favorite things on his last day.

Best toy ever
I didn’t used to feed Gizmo when I got up. It’s a really good way to get a cat scratching at your bedroom door. So for about 16 years, the first thing we’d do in the morning is play with his cat dancer (the Website is here, but you can buy it many places and it’s very inexpensive).

Best cat toy ever. Seriously. Very few cats don’t appreciate it (Simba wasn’t really impressed with it, but he’s the exception); I used to volunteer at a small cat rescue and few cats could resist the cat dancer.

Gizmo never tired of it, day in and day out, not until he got very old and arthritic.

Where’s mom?

Although Gizmo was annoyingly attached to me — seriously, when he was healthier, he would follow me around the house just willing me to lay down — occasionally he deigned to lay on Mr. Judy. He did so this past weekend. Mr. Judy felt he was saying goodbye.

Trying to nudge Bandit out of the bed

Giz really was not happy when dogs came into his life. Every time we went away and came back and there were no dogs, he was so happy. Towards the end, though, he really didn’t care. He’d walk all over them to get what he wanted — usually me or a bed.

Cats can sleep in the most uncomfortable looking places

Long ago I painted this on my large suitcase. It kind of comforted me to “take Giz with me”. That suitcase is also coming to the end of a long life, so I guess I won’t be able to take Giz with me anymore, except in my heart.

A thoughtful gesture

Our vet sent this Live Oak acorn to plant. They did the same when we lost Chester. We actually got that to grow into a small sapling, but we could never seem to decide where to plant it, an early snow came, and that was it. Oy. Can we keep this one going?

Mr. Judy has been trying to remove all the cat paraphernalia. We had boxes all over the house. In fact, it made me sad when I opened the box for the oak plantling — we almost always put down the boxes for Giz to play with before we recycled them (and some became permanent “furniture”). But now there is no one to play with a box, to jump in and out of it, to curl up into it even though it doesn’t look like it would hold him.

There are multiple cat trees. Multiple litterboxes. Beds. Scratchers. It didn’t make me happy to see them around, and it definitely makes our house much more open with them gone, but it doesn’t make me happy to see all signs of a cat in my home disappear, either.

For many reasons, I don’t plan to be adopting a cat in the near future. It’s the first time pretty much in my entire life I haven’t had a cat. Some day, I hope that we will have a cat/cats. For now we are once again settling into our new normal.

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The boys, in better days (and before cell phones!)

I still feel you
Gizmo was put to sleep in our home — if you’re local to the Albany, NY area, In the Comfort of Home — find their Website here—  will come to your home and they’re very kind and it was quick and peaceful; I do recommend them. It’s not the first time we’ve had furkids put to sleep at home, although the first time a stranger has done it.

I still kind of feel his presence, or maybe it’s just wishful thinking. I keep thinking I hear him or see him out of the corner of my eye, and just feel him doing the things he used to do when he was younger and healthy. It both comforts me and saddens me.

I also know he is reunited with Simba, and with all the many cats (and dogs) I have loved in my life. That is what I choose to believe, anyway.

I could go on and on for days. Seriously. When they were kittens I had an entire Website devoted to them. Yes, I am that crazy cat lady. People were so shocked when I wanted dogs, too, but that’s how I grew up, with both.

I actually started to work on copying that Website into a new blog when Chester passed, but it’s time consuming work. I didn’t finish and I hadn’t made it public.

So many photos. So many memories. 18 years is a long time, of morning and evening lap time, playing, feeding, scooping, and just purr/pure love.

I actually do have more I want to write, but I think maybe I’ll join up with Amanda’s Talking Out Loud next Thursday for the first time in a long time hereand share some more photos and more stories.

No questions today, just give your furkids some extra loving from us

I am also linking up with the  Fridays with Fairytales and Fitness from Fairytales & Fitness.

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46 thoughts on “Goodbye my sweet boy: Spilling over tea/coffee February 2019

  1. Well you know I understand since I just lost my favorite cat who luckily lived almost 21 years.

    I still cry almost every morning sitting alone without him on my lap.

    Maybe it would help me share my grief in my blog. Not sure. I try to stick to mostly running stuff.

    Hopefully this post helped you. I’m sure it did And Lola and Bandit are there for you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Everyone deals with grief differently. It always helps me to write things out. I don’t really expect people to read it, like I said, more for myself.

      Bandit gets up with me but he doesn’t lay on me — and he definitely doesn’t purr. 😦

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  2. Oh, I’m so sorry, Judy. I know it is really hard to lose a pet. It is striking how they leave such a big hole that make us miss them every moment. You’ve got lots of great pictures and lots of great memories. xxooxx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I know you do understand, Coco. Yes, there are many happy memories. And so many photos you wouldn’t believe!

      There are very few photos of one of my first cats, Cleo, no cell phones back then — not even digital cameras when I first adopted her! Now it’s so easy to take photos. Lots & lots of photos. 🙂

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  3. I was so sorry to read about Gizmo’s passing on Instagram earlier this week. Losing a pet is so sad because they really are like our family members. You gave Gizmo a great life and I hope you can take some comfort in that.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Kim. Gizmo had a great, long life and I definitely take comfort from that. There have just been too many losses too close together, but you always work your way through them and I always am grateful to have had a furkid in my life — despite the inevitable pain of losing them.

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  4. I, too, have found that writing and sharing my thoughts, happy and sad, when losing a pet helps to cope with the profound grief. I sob when mine cross the rainbow bridge and know and understand your pain. Your piece is not too long. I send hugs and condolences.
    Thank you for sharing your Gizmo in words and pictures. He was a beautiful boy.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. You know I feel you on this. Pets are so special and saying goodbye is the worst. I feel Carlo around me too. The morning after we put him to sleep there was the most beautiful sunrise. They’re always with us. Gizmo is a handsome guy. : )

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, I know you feel my pain too. I wish I could say there was a beautiful sunrise that morning for Gizmo, but it was a typical cloudy snow day. Much like Simba, much like Chester, they all passed in January. 😦

      I did feel said that I wasn’t able to take him outside one more time — he loved his kennel! It was far too cold. Although Simba actually did go outside his last day. I remember going outside (cold & snowy) because I seriously didn’t think he could make it back inside on his own, but he did.

      Anyway. Thank you, Marcia, and hugs back at you.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I am so, so, so sorry for your loss. :[ It’s so hard to lose someone you love! Gizmo sounds like he had a long and happy life though, and it’s good that you were able to spend time with him! Sending you so much love and hugs. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I am so so sorry for your loss. Losing a pet is hard and I wish I had a way to make it easier. It’s clear you gave him a great life and have great memories. Sending you lots of hugs!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Meranda, I totally understand. Lola is 13 . . . I am definitely hopeful she has several more healthy years ahead of her, but even though she’s a small dog, that’s still old.

      Baylee always sounds like she’s doing so well! I hope you have lots more quality time together.

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  8. Oh, Judy, I am so sorry to read about Gizmo. I know there is nothing I could say to make it better for you, but you have to know that you are a great kitty mommy! You spoiled your boys and Gizmo lived a long, happy life. Sending hugs your way. Hope you feel better soon, friend!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Judy, I am so sorry for the loss of your sweet Gizmo. This was a very touching tribute and I sobbed the whole way through. I know you and I are very alike in how much we love and connect with our fur babies. I really could feel the love you have for Gizmo and the connectedness you shared with him. I hate that you have to go through this and please know I’m thinking of you now and in the days to come. ❤ I'm so sorry.

    Liked by 1 person

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