Rest In Peace

I’ve never been a pet person.  But about 10 years ago, I decided I wanted a cat.  Just like that, out of the blue.  I was married without kids and felt like a pet would make our house feel like a home.

My husband humored me, and we went to the local SPCA to see what kitties were available.  When we walked in, there was a cage of new kittens — four or five of them.  Each weighed about a pound.  They were so tiny and pathetic.

Some were gray and some were orange tabby.  I had it in my head that I wanted a gray kitty, but one of the orange tabbies came right to the edge of the cage and started begging me to take him home.  I KNOW that’s what he was trying to say, he was mewing so desperately.  The worker took him out and let me hold him, and he fit into the palm of my hand.  I knew right away he was mine.

We took him home that night, stopping at Petsmart on the way for all the necessary paraphernalia.  We named him Peanut because he was so small.

Peanut was THE BEST CAT.  Seriously, he was like a dog.  He would sit in the front window sill when we left the house and watch us go.  He would run to the door and greet us when we returned home.  He loved to play, and when he was tired, he would lay down in my lap and go to sleep.  He was even sociable when we had company.

Over time, I developed “exercise induced asthma”.  And that turned into regular asthma.  Then I started getting bronchitis.  A lot.  And I got pregnant.  Over the two years that we had our cat, I had asthmatic bronchitis three times — bad cases of it, too.  I once missed almost two weeks of teaching school, I was so sick.

It became clear that the cat had to go.  I was devastated, but I knew that I had to take care of my health.

We started asking around to find a home, and one of our friends who already had a couple of cats volunteered to take Peanut.  They lived about 45 minutes away, and we didn’t visit them regularly, but we knew he would be in a good home.

I will never forget the night we took him away.  It was a dark, rainy night in the fall of 1999.  Peanut didn’t know what was happening as we loaded him and his food and crate into the car, but he knew something was not right.  He mewed pitifully the whole way there.

I cried the whole way.  My heart still hurts, just thinking about it.  When we arrived at our friends’ house, we took him in.  He acted very strange and scared.  We visited for a bit, said our good-byes, and left.  Alone.  It was a very quiet car ride home.  Even my husband was heart-broken.

For weeks, maybe even months, I missed our pet dreadfully.  I still say that giving Peanut away was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do.  And I mean it.

We kept tabs on him and learned that he adjusted well to his new home.  We visited Peanut once or twice.  Over the years, we occasionally saw our friends, and they told us how big he had gotten and how all the neighbors loved him.  He was really a special cat, and now I had proof that I didn’t feel that way just because he was mine.

Of course, the pain of losing him has faded, but we still think fondly of him and tell our kids about the cat we once had.

This past Saturday, the phone rang, but I was headed out to run errands so I didn’t pick it up.  When I got home, I found the following email.

Hey Jo-Lynne,

I just tried to call ya, but it kept ringing, so I couldn’t leave a
message.  So sorry to break the news via email, but we buried Peanut
this week.

He was wasting away the past few months, he went from 22 pounds down
to about 13 lbs.  He eventually succumbed to heat on Monday.  This was
the first cat we had that died at home, so Phil dug a hole on the
hottest day of the year and we all said our good-byes.  Even the
neighbors came over (they loooooved Peanut – kept a little bed in their
house for him – so if he was gone for a few days at a time we knew he
was just sleeping next door!  In fact the husband said his wife was in
the house in tears over it – that’s some cat, eh?)  I cried that night
when I came home from the store and he wasn’t there to greet me in the
driveway as usual.

Anyhow, thanks for sharing your cat with us long ago.  He was
probably the coolest cat we’ve ever had and our whole neighborhood
loved him too!

Hope all is well with you! 



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39 Responses

  1. they become family members (even ones who move away from home) and their loss is still a genuinely grieved loss. so sorry to hear that peanut is gone.

    our cat, george, was a bit like this. he was an indoor/outdoor fella who frequently made his rounds with the neighbors and they all adored him. we had a silver tag on his collar with his name engraved on it. it happened quite frequently that we’d be outside in the front yard hanging out with george and someone would walk by or stop their car and holler out the window, “HEY GEORGE!!!” or “look there’s george!” he knew more neighbors than we did. he died several years ago while we were away on vacation. our friend who was pet sitting burried him in the back yard. i still miss that old cat…

  2. ooo Peanut!! I am not usually a cat person.. but I like cats like Peanut that great you and play.

    Glad Peanut had a great life at your house and your friend’s house.

  3. Oh thanks so much for sharing this story. Its an inspiration to be cool cats ourselves and show love to all around us, it really leaves an impression doesnt it. Farewell Peanut.

  4. I’m really sorry for this loss. We had a close call with our cat recently as well. it sort of put things in perspective for me. Losing a pet is hard, harder than we expect, maybe. I hope you find some comfort in knowing he had a good life with many loving owners.

  5. I’m always amazed not only by my own capacity to love my pets but their capacity to love me. Thanks for sharing this story.

  6. Oh… I am so sorry for your loss. It is a very real hurt indeed when we lose a loved pet. I had a stray cat once that gave birth to her kittens early. She had 5 kittens and each day for the following 5 days, a kitten died. I was a horrible mess just pulling myself together over one and then BAM! another.
    I KNOW there is a place for them all in heaven or it wouldn’t be heaven to me.

  7. Oh what a sweet story. I am in tears over here thinking about your loss. That was such a sweet story. I am so sorry. Thanks for sharing.

  8. Sorry for your loss! We had two cats (brothers) for 12 years, and the second one died a little over a year ago. It’s amazing how attached we become to them.

  9. It’s hard to lose a furry friend. Two years ago we buried 2 cats within a month of each other. Both had been ill. They sure do leave you good memories, though. Sounds like your Peanut was a really special one.

  10. Sounds like a marvelous cat!

    Our kitty is back home in the US waiting for our return. Unfortunately, there’s lots of indication our baby is allergic to cats – she developed eczema at 3 weeks that disappeared when we moved from the US at 6 weeks. I can’t imagine permanently giving him up, but life deals bad cards sometimes . . .

  11. Oh I am so sorry for this loss. OUr longtime cat friend is starting to lose weight like crazy and I’m terrified this is the beginning of the end for him.

    Thinking of you…

  12. Sounds like they shared the same love and care as you did for peanut! What a fortunate cat to have had two families with the same affection! So Sorry for the loss of peanut, one of the hardest times to face with owning a pet but the memories are always so wonderful to have.

  13. yup.
    there’s always one like that.
    mine was named Bootsie and I swear she could talk.
    such a smart girl, she was.

    I’m sorry for your loss but it sounds like she had a wonderful life with lots of love. I wish the same for her master.

  14. Oh so sorry. With just the right pet…a family is complete 🙂 I had a shih-tsu for 16 years and my husband had a yellow lab for 12. They both died a year of each other just last year. Our house hasn’t felt like home since they’ve been gone 🙁 We are taking a little “pet break”…I must say, it’s nice to just go for a long weekend trip without finding pet sitters, etc…but I’d give it all up for a great pet again! Soon…very soon! I’m sorry for your loss!

  15. Oohhh…I’m tearing up at work reading that. I’m such a cat lover. We have three right now and they are such a big part of all of our lives. So sorry to hear about Peanut!

  16. I am sorry for your lost. I know how it is to lose a pet. It is sooo hard. At least the kids were not attached. We have a 10 year old pug and he is all gray. I do not look forward to the day he passes. Not only will it break my husband and I but I can’t imagine what it will do to my two boys. I am so sorry again.

  17. I’m so sorry to hear about you losing your beloved pet. Losing pets is one of the hardest things EVER. Sending big hugs!!!

  18. Cool pets are the best. My cool pet was Gus. I will not share my story but I understand the meaning of love and loss thanks to Gus…he was such a good boy. I will stop typing now due to the tear filled eyes. Rest in peace Peanut. Sniff.

  19. Oh, I’m sorry Jo-Lynne. This breaks my heart ’cause I’ve been there. I am a big pet person and I’ve been so sad at every one that has reached their time on earth.
    We had to put our dog Britney to sleep when she was 14 because of a tumor in her neck. She was so sick she could barely get up, it was awful to watch.
    And one time we had to give away two of our cats. They also knew that something was not right and went into the arms of their new owners mewing and scrambling to get out.

  20. *sobs* You’re killing me! I even just wrote about my last gerbil’s passing today. But even if I hadn’t, this story makes me cry. At least he did go to a place he was loved and you got to keep up with him.
    Be in peace, sweet Peanut.

  21. Peanut sounds like an awesome cat. I am not a “cat person” but I know a good one when I see one. My husband’s grandparents had one with a similar personality named “Bunny” and everyone just loved her (she’s also in kitty heaven now…) That’s great that he was with such a loving family!

  22. I’m so sorry to hear that. Peanut sounded like a fantastic, one-of-a-kind pet that touched everyone around him.

    I had to make a phone call like that to my sister-in-law last November. My parents took in her Cairn Terrier, Bailey, about seven years ago when Bailey was already seven years old! She was the ripe old age of 14 at the time she died, but it was a hard call to make nonetheless.

  23. I had a cool cat one time too. He is greatly missed, and no cat that we’ve had since is nearly as wonderful. Yes, they’ve all be good cats, but not great. I know you understand that sentiment.

    My condolences…. {{Hugs}}

  24. So sorry for your lost. We’ve had so many Peanuts come in and out of our lives: Lummy, Jo-Jo, Buffy, Buster, Fluffy and Frisky. We currently have Ichibod, Ramses and Morgan. They’ve all been special in their own ways. Peanut was lucky to have so many people love him.

  25. Thanks for that lovely tribute to Peanut! Seven months later and I still cried reading about him. I do miss him so much. I believe our white kitty, Swiffer, misses him a great deal too. Since he passed away she has started trying to get outside and has made it out several times. Even just this morning she was staring longinly out the back door and looked up and mewed a few times. The kids and I still think she’s waiting for him to come home. Either that or she assumes it’s her turn to go in and out like Peanut always did:)

    Well, thanks for sharing him with us. He was the best cat we ever had and cannot ever be replaced. Each one has such a different personality and he indeed had the best!

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