My Heart Hurts

One of my favorite pictures of Gwynnie

One of my favorite pictures of Gwynnie

I have not wanted to write for quite sometime. This morning I had a sudden urge to write as if my life depended on it. You see my cat, Gwynnie, is dying. As I wake up to puppies screaming and wanting attention I think of her life slowly ebbing away.  I take puppies outside to start their day and frolic in the sun. Then I go into our bathroom and open a can of wet food and close the door so the other cats don’t come in. Then I give Gwynnie some wet food. I watch her eat as I pat her and tell her that I love her. While I watch her, I softly cry.   I’m feeding wet feed a few times a day now because my fat cat is now rail thin. That hurts my heart.

We got Gwynnie about 10 years ago now.  She is about 17 or 18 years old now. When Mr. Bernie and I started to date, his cat Nice Kitty would get lonely with Mr. Bernie paying attention to me. We found an ad on Craig’s list for a British Short Hair cat who needed a home. Nice Kitty was a British Short Hair so we thought that would be perfect. Gwynnie was about 7 or 8 years old. The woman who had her was going to have her father move in with her. She needed to downsize her cats. Gwynnie was the cat that was cut from the Pride. She had a beautiful round face with round eyes. Grey and white and quite plump. I sat down on the floor and she came to me. I knew we were not leaving the house without this cat. The own told us, “She is standoffish. She MIGHT sit next to you but never on you. She doesn’t like attention.”  We brought her home and I was in love. She was quite vocal and made sounds that sounded like you were strangling her. Very charming indeed. She would not sit next to us but in our laps. She quickly felt at ease with us.

I was still living in a dumpy studio apartment in a bad part of town at that time. Mr. Bernie and I decided that I should take her to my apartment and when I would go to his place to spend the night, I would bring her with me. I used to come home from work and as I hit the top landing of the steps she would start screaming to greet me and to be fed. She has always had an internal clock about feeding time. I would come in and give her a can of food as soon as I walked in the door. She would eat and then we would curl up on my futon. Just having a body near me that loved me unconditionally, that thought of me as their own, was comforting. It helped me in some of my darkest days when I moved to Billings.  When we went to Mr. Bernie’s I would toss her in a duffel bag, which she as not a big fan of, and we would head to Mr. Bernie’s place.

When Gynnie and I moved into Mr. Bernie’s, she was in Heaven. She is quite the attention whore and would go lay on the sidewalk in hopes of someone stopping by to pet her. One time, Mr. Bernie was outside gardening and a man and his little girl just walked by Gwynnie. Gwynnie started following them and meowing. She tried three times to fall down in front of them to get some loving from them. Mr. Bernie had to stop the man and ask him if his daughter could please pet Gwynnie for a minute. That made us both laugh. She would love nothing more than to have someone pet her and tell her how pretty she was.

Gwynnie still lets us know when its time to eat. Starting at 3:50pm she starts her strangled screams as if to say, “Hey, feed me! It’s that time.” I split a can of  food between all 3 of the cats and she licks the gravy and picks at her food. Then she goes and curls up behind the toilet and rests for a while.  Later in the night I open a can of food and shut the bathroom door so she can have her fill. In the grand scheme of things it is not much food for her. By being alone she can have her own fill and isn’t run over by the other two cats.

She liked to hop up on my craft table and roll across all my papers. Batting things on the floor. I have a chair on my craft room for her and sometimes she would just curl up on there and sleep.  I would grumble about her messing up my stuff but secretly loved that she wanted to be with me. I loved watching her pick something up only to throw it on the floor. That doesn’t happen much any more. I’m going to miss that.

At nights I used to be able to say, “Gwynnie, bedtime” and she would fly into the bedroom and hit the bed before me. I would pet her for about 20 minutes and then she was done with me and go find someplace else to lay down for the night. Lately, she is slower and we have to have some wet food before bed. Our routine is not the same. Some nights she may not come on the bed. Other nights it’s for a short burst of time. Almost as if to say, “I’m going to lay with you for a bit Momma and then I have to go.” I told Mr. Bernie it’s almost as if she is preparing me for when she won’t be with me anymore. That makes me sad.

My cat is dying. My cat is dying and I don’t want her to. My cat is dying and I don’t know what to do. Every morning I wake up and wonder if she will wake up too. Then she comes screaming at me and I silently thank God that she lived through the night. It’s only a matter of time, I know.  Mr. Bernie and I whisper  about her diminishing health in the deep stillness of the night. It doesn’t seem right to use a normal voice when speaking of such things. By writing this, it makes it real. The hushed whispers finally have to be spoken loudly in order to make it real.

I have to make one of the hardest decisions of a pet parent. She has lived a long happy life and I have to decide when enough is too much for her. I pray I make the right decision and at the right time.

My cat is dying and my heart hurts.



  1. Rebecca says:

    I know exactly what you’re going through. Junior Cat was mine and hubby’s baby before we had our baby. He was not an extreme cuddler, but he knew he was needed. He would help me balance my checkbook every month (by laying on it, of course), and when we brought baby home from the hospital he would check his room every night for monsters before I could put baby in his crib, and then stand guard outside the door until baby was asleep. This past July he got sick and stopped eating (he was only 7 years old). Over a few months he wasted away from 13lbs. down to 8lbs. and I was having to syringe feed him wet food every few hours, and even give him sub-cutaneous i.v. fluids a couple times a day. Taking him to the vet that last day was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do, but he just looked in my eyes and told me he was ready to go. No one will ever be able to convince me that my furbaby was just a cat.

    Best wishes for you whatever comes.

  2. benzeknees says:

    I’m so sorry your kitty will be leaving you! It is a very hard thing to go through – I did it just 3 years ago this month with my beloved Bandit (dog – see Avatar). I still miss him! Like you, we noticed the signs first – difficulty getting up on the bed, slower to do everything, some incontinence. When it appeared he was starting to experience pain, we made the hard decision & took him to the vet where he went to sleep very quietly in my arms as I whispered in his ear how much he was loved, how good a dog he had always been, how Mommy would always love him.
    Our little fur babies steal our hearts, just as they should.

  3. Auntie Jack says:

    Oh Bernie I am so sorry my heart is hurting for you. This is so sad, please re read Micheles post
    excellent, hope it comforts you sure made me feel better.. Love You and Roy you will make the right choice no doubt about it.

  4. I am so sorry. I can only imagine how hard this is for you and Roy. Hugs and love.

  5. This is a beautiful post. I am so sorry for what you are going through.

  6. Joshlin says:

    Oh Bernie, im so sorry! Im sending up prayers for yall now.

  7. I feel what you are going through. This past Sunday night/Monday morning (June 2, 2014), I came home from the weekend to find my 19-yo Birman Rusalka laying in the hallway, not moving. It was quite warm in my home, so I thought perhaps she was just relaxing cause it was warm.

    Later, when she hadn’t come to get on the chair with me, I saw she hadn’t moved. She never really liked being carried, but I was easily able to pick her up and carry her onto my bed. That scared me. Even on the bed she wasn’t moving. She was breathing, and her eyes were open, but she was so still.

    One trip to the emergency vet later, and they found that her kidneys were in severe failure mode. Yes, I could do dialysis for her, but would that give her a good quality of life? I had to make the hardest decision I have ever made – and I let her go. I loved her, and always will, and I still wonder if I made the right decision.

  8. I am so sorry. It is hard.<3

  9. I am crying with you, nothing is harder than having that choice before you. What I do know is that you will have those beautiful memories for the rest of your life, no distance can take those away. You have made her years full of love and joy, and she has done the same for you both. I have always believed that as hard as it is it has been a blessing to be with our animals when they have passed, either from that hard choice or naturally, because the last thing they saw was someone who they knew loved them and will never stop. It seems that when they enter your life they fill your heart to capacity, and when they leave they crush it beyond measure. But the heart is an amazing thing, it is like a sponge, and when the time is right another will fill it beyond capacity. I love you and am here for you if you need to talk.

  10. I have no words…my heart hurts for you.

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