A week ago we received a lovely, heartfelt letter from a reader named Leslie Froelich who had just lost one of her cats (Minze) to cancer and felt deeply inspired to write about it. We were so touched by her letter, and having lost one of our own furbabies in June, we decided to publish it.
Here is Leslie’s letter to her sweet cat Minze:
It’s been one week since you left us. One week since the moment that we looked in your eyes, and you told us that it was your time. We so badly wanted to keep you here with us, but we knew we had to be selfless and let you go. It was one of the most difficult decisions we’ve ever had to make.
The clinic just called to tell me your ashes are ready to be picked up. Maybe that should make this all feel more real, but it doesn’t. Because everywhere I look, I see you and feel you.
And it hurts.
It’s in the patch of sunlight streaming through our front door, where you would normally be splayed out on the hardwood floors in all your 25-pound glory, purring loudly and contentedly.
It’s when I make our bed and you aren’t there, playfully swatting at the fitted sheet and burrowing underneath, then pouncing like a stealth, miniature lion.
It’s in the plush new bed I got for you to help keep you comfortable these last few months, once the cancer began waging its vicious war against your body. I can’t seem to make myself move or wash it, because it still bears some of your hairs and your scent.
It’s in the barely touched cans of wet food I just threw out, the ones that I couldn’t get you to eat because you just didn’t want to. It broke my heart to witness.
It’s in the change of vocabulary that I begrudgingly use now to say goodbye to your cat brother when I leave the house: “Goodbye Liberty, be back soon,” instead of: “Goodbye boys, be back soon.” It tears me apart every time.
It’s in our bathroom, where you would methodically lick at the toilet paper roll for God knows what reason. Or where you would always be patiently waiting for me by the door when I got out of the shower.
And it’s a thousand other things and smells and sounds that remind me of you every day, all the time.
I know I should be grateful for the time we had with you: 10 memory-filled years that included marriage, a bevy of foster cats, an out-of-state move, new jobs, our first home, pregnancy, loss of a child, and the arrival of more children.
I know I should be relieved you are no longer suffering. And yes, I am glad that your body is restored and no longer in pain from an illness that has taken too many precious lives, both human and animal alike. But I feel robbed of the years and time we thought we had left with you. It just hurts so much that you are no longer here, and I miss you so much.
I miss your long, sleek tail that twitched when you were excited or happy.
I miss how the little black mask-looking shape on your white face made you look like some sort of feline superhero.
I miss how you would always hear me – no matter where you were in the house at the time – climbing into bed and how you would jump in with me literally within nine seconds, heralding your arrival with a meow that somehow sounded like a dolphin. You always knew a cuddling session was just on the horizon.
I miss how you would shamelessly throw yourself onto my chest and headbutt yourself into me and knead and knead on me with your gigantic paws until you would fall asleep, then proceed to snore like an old man.
I miss the way you would passionately lick smelly tuna off your face after finishing eating, like you had just won the cat lottery.
I miss watching you cackle and chirp at birds and neighborhood cats outside the window. I know you must have been telling them something so important.
I miss seeing you and your brother groom each other and saunter around the house like little partners in crime.
Now, even with your dad and I and your sisters and Liberty, our house feels… empty. Quieter. Like something is missing.
Because it is. You aren’t here.
I am confident that you are frolicking in a glorious meadow, sunbathing and chasing birds and being doted on by the human sister you never got to meet. I don’t believe it’s a coincidence that you left this earth on the eve of her birthday.
So I know all this, but the fact remains that I miss you more than I can adequately put into words, and my heart literally and physically aches in your absence. You were the best cat, full of affection and love and life.
For the rest of my days, I will never, ever forget the look on your face as the medicine began to work and you felt its sweet relief, and your body became free again.
Rest in peace, my sweet Minze, we will never forget you. You will always be a part of our family.
Although it’s difficult today to see beyond the sorrow, may looking back in memory help comfort you tomorrow.
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We’re considering adding a section on the website for readers to submit their own ‘love letters to kitty’ whether still alive or having passed over the rainbow bridge. Please let us know your thoughts by submitting a comment in the “Leave a Reply” box below.
“Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.” ~ Anatole France