Farewell, Beowulf

Yesterday we said goodbye to our remaining cat, Beowulf. Her sister, Britty, died in March 2008, and we still haven’t fully gotten used to that loss.

Beowulf’s decline wasn’t quite the mystery that Britty’s was—she had recently developed some age-related (she was nearly 16 and a half) health problems that were clear contributors. She’d not been doing well for two weeks took a sharp downturn over the weekend. When the vet saw her yesterday, he told us that her systems were basically shutting down.

Jan and I had already discussed this possibility (with each other and with Sylvia), so we were ready to tell the vet our decision. The three of us went back to the vet’s office to say goodbye to Beowulf (we did not stay for the procedure, but we knew she was in caring hands), and Sylvia really lost it. She was closer to Britty, but now she’s old enough to really comprehend loss and grief, so she was having a hard time.

But even though she’s sad about losing Beowulf, Sylvia does understand why this is the right choice. Jan and I explained to her (as we did with Britty) that if you have pets, one of your jobs is to help them die when it’s time, because they can’t do it for themselves. As I mentioned last spring, this is something that Jan and I very strongly believe, and it’s a lesson we want to be sure to impart to Sylvia.

It’s strange to be in cat-free house (I keep looking for the water dish to see if it needs a refill). We may very well have other furry friends with us in the house one day, but not just yet. For now, it’s just the three of us and the fish in Sylvia’s room.

We’re all sad, but doing all right. I have some thoughts for other posts—maybe in a few days or next week. In the meantime, I leave you with one of my favorite photos of Beowulf. Yes, she is indeed doing what you think she’s doing!*


*This was taken in our apartment. Unfortunately, when we moved to our house, Beowulf completely forgot how to use a toilet and went back to the litter box.

9 Responses to “Farewell, Beowulf”

  1. Chrison 08 Jul 2009 at 10:37 am

    Oh, I’m so sorry to hear about Beowulf! *hugs* to all of you. And that is a great picture – she was a big girl!

  2. Katie Jon 08 Jul 2009 at 12:58 pm

    As you know, our thoughts are with you, Jan and Sylvia. Thanks for posting about something that’s so difficult, yet so important.

  3. Deborahon 08 Jul 2009 at 8:42 pm

    Big hugs!!!! I am so sorry for ya’lls loss. I know it’s hard. I absolutely love the picture. Hang in there.

  4. Pixieon 08 Jul 2009 at 9:13 pm

    I’m sorry…*hug*….you made the most loving decision.

  5. Frankon 09 Jul 2009 at 11:37 pm

    I’m sorry about your loss.

  6. knittymamaon 10 Jul 2009 at 6:12 pm

    Oh, I’m so sorry. Poor Sylvia, it’s so hard on the little ones.

    That is a fabulous picture.

  7. Marshaon 12 Jul 2009 at 9:38 pm

    Thanks, everyone, for your kind words. (By the way, Chris: Beowulf wasn’t really that big–only about nine or ten pounds at most. Her fur made her look a lot larger than she was. But when she got wet–she loved to go swimming, if you can believe it–she looked like a large rat.)

  8. JDon 13 Jul 2009 at 12:39 am

    Thanks for sharing, it helps me understand a lot better people’s relationship with their pets (not a natural inclination of mine). I’m sorry for your loss.

  9. Shannahon 15 Jul 2009 at 11:49 am

    I’m so sorry. Thoughts are with you on your loss of a very clever cat!