Lucy took the last trip to the vet today.  She was still acting normally this morning when I got up, and then about halfway through the work day I got the phone call with the slightly tearful, “She can’t stand up, I think she hit the stage in the cancer where everything goes wrong.”  I picked up the kids from school so that they could say goodbye before Kitty left for the vet.  Her heart stopped before she got her last injection.

Eighteen is a well lived life for a housecat.

She was the essence of a cat: fiercely independent, very individual, and imperious.  Unlike Maddy (who left us just over a year ago), Lucy was not intimidated by visitors in the home – she didn’t want random people touching her, mind you, but she wanted to sit around and check out what the crazy humans were doing.  She was still intimidating the dog two days ago, reminding him in no uncertain terms, “I’m still in charge here and if that means I feel like drinking out of your water bowl I’m going to do that and you’re going to sit out there and wait your turn.  And by ‘your turn’ I mean ‘when I’m damn good and ready and feel like moving’, not when I’m done drinking.”

Kitty found her in the bushes as a kitten when she was early in her graduate school career; Lucy spent almost twice as many years with my wife as I have.  The kids, of course, have never known life without a cat in the house.  They are resilient in that odd oscillating way that children are… Hannah’s outside laughing and playing with the dog right now, ten minutes ago she was saying that she missed the cat, tonight she’ll probably be sad again.

Have a drink in memory of any of the pets you’ve lost this evening.


Patrick is a mid-40 year old geek with an undergraduate degree in mathematics and a master's degree in Information Systems. Nothing he says here has anything to do with the official position of his employer or any other institution.


  1. I’m sorry to hear that Lucy finally passed. You are correct; 18 years is a long time. But it’s always a long time for a cat in theory, not one that is [art of the family.

    Thoughts, prayers, and a raised glass.

  2. My heartfelt condolences on the passing of Lucy. We are shaped by who and what we love, but we are shaped more by those who love us. Our animals become integral parts of our families, our lives, part of the reason we come home of nights.

    As you may know, I recently lost a kitty. I quickly replaced her with another kitten, presently thundering around the apartment, lying in wait to ambush the dog.

    There’s an old haiku by Issa

    Rise up from sleep, old cat,
    And with great yawns and stretchings
    Stroll out for love

  3. I’m sorry to hear that, Patrick.

    We have a dog just going on 7. She’s healthy, but most likely on the back-stretch of her life. It will be sad to lose her, but I dread equally telling the girls that their puppy is gone.

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