Thursday, June 07, 2007

Farm Life, Farm Love, Farm Loss



New Cat was huddled in a dark corner of the cat cabin crying. Something was very wrong.

My guess is that he was bitten by a snake. The farm is thick with copperheads, and a bite to a small animal is deadly.

"He's not gonna make it, honey," Joe said softly.

"That's what I'm afraid of."

"He had a good run."

"Yes he did."

"He left a place where he obviously wasn't happy and came to live with us. That was what, five years ago?"

New Cat appeared one day out beyond the hayfield, but it was nearly a week before he made his way up to the house, having apparently decided that life here looked pretty good.




He moved into
the cat cabin with J2, who had shown up years ago at Windridge Farm in much the same way, and the two quickly became inseparable. I've never known two cats who were better friends.

In the 17 years that Joe has lived on this farm, which is miles from the nearest neighbor, he is the only cat to have simply turned up. New cat.

He wore a gorgeous superfluff suit each winter and shed it for a sleek look in summer. New cat.




He was terrified of Bear and Robin and spent most of his life above dog level. He seldom allowed me to pet him, and I can't remember ever picking him up.

"He may not have been all that friendly," said Joe, "but it sure was nice to look around the farm and see him."

My most recent memory of New Cat is from a week or so ago. It was early evening and he was in the garden, presiding over a large rabbit he had obviously just caught.

My favorite memory of New Cat took place one morning a few years ago. He and J2 were hanging out in the sunshine next to the cat cabin on a little table that Joe had once slapped together from scraps of wood. J2 was grooming himself, and New Cat wanted to play. He kept rolling around on the table, batting at J2 and trying to get his attention, but J2 ignored him. New Cat wouldn't give up, though, and after a couple minutes J2 stopped what he was doing, lifted his two front paws high in the air, and tackled New Cat with a massive hug.

New Cat died very early this morning while I slept fitfully next to him, my hand resting on the side of his curled-up body. I wanted to comfort him. I wanted him to know he wasn't alone. And this cat who rarely liked to be touched would start to cry if I took my hand away.

I buried New Cat in the garden next to Hansel cat and Lindy The Chicken, not far from the spot where he caught that rabbit. In early spring I planted a small clump of spiderwort there, and it has flourished. Today I addded some more.



He was a magnificent creature who was a joy to watch and photograph. He was our New Cat. He left us in his prime, but he had a good run. He is already missed.

More about Whitey and her new brood soon. The circle of farm life always continues.



© 2007 FarmgirlFare.com, the full on, fur loving foodie farm blog where Farmgirl Susan shares recipes, stories, and photos from her crazy country life on 240 remote Missouri acres.

100 comments:

  1. Good-bye, Bubb - enjoy that rabbit :)

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  2. Farmgirl, your beloved cat is surely safe with my beloved daughter who was an animal lover without equal. Today would have been her 28th birthday, and I am so glad I came to your site today to learn of your loss. I came to your site today because it comforts me to read about the small things which turn into the great things that make up our lives. I know that my girl has your New Cat in her arms right now. Her birthday gift today just might be your New Cat. I continue to take the most tender care of my daughter's 5 horses, 2 goats, 4 cats, and her remaining and much loved dog. I am comforted to know that your cat is safe in her arms. I am sorry that your heart is so sad.

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  3. I'm so sorry you lost your cat. you wrote a wonderful tribute to him. We lost one of our desert turtles on Sunday. We buried him in a raised flower bed beside one of our pets, Panda(dog), and a neighborhood cat.
    Your beautiful cat will be missed by all of us.

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  4. iaxfhcOne of the most important things animals teach us is how to pass away with grace and dignity.

    Sorry, and THANX

    SB

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  5. Damn, Susan. Now I'm crying, which doesn't help get the work done.

    I know how much you loved New Cat, and so did he. Every day he ran your farm was a day in cat paradise; I know, I watch mine with similar freedom. I know there are lots of reasons for inside cats, but for the cat, outside has to be the best thing ever, 'cause, you know, they evolved for it and all.

    I've had a rough cat year myself and have one of these of my own to write. Later, after the cooking and cleaning. (Gak! How domestic does that sound?)

    Huge furry-pawed hugs, my friend.

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  6. Oh my. The pain of losing a pet is unbearable. Just the other day I told my white cat Violet that she is never allowed to get sick or die. I am sorry New Cat passed away, but happy that you had him for the time you did. And that he had you. Hugs.

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  7. Susan, I am so sorry. New Cat was a concept bigger than just a cat--the idea of New Cat was applied in my household to my younger daughter, to celebrities, to neighbors. "Maeve, she's got a little bit of New Cat going on," my husband would say, when we noticed that the 2 1/2 year old's facial structure had changed.

    What a bitter loss. I'm so sorry.

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  8. Farmgirl, I'm so sorry...

    In our family, we had two Very Important Cats: Figaro and Carmen. Carm was the last to go, and we felt her loss sorely. She was always so INVOLVED in family affairs, always there, always contributing in that soft, furry way of hers. She passed away just before Christmas a few years ago.

    One of her annual "traditions" was to climb our family's Christmas tree every year... we learned the hard way to wait to decorate until AFTER she had had her fun. That first Christmas we were without her... the fully decorated tree toppled over during the night. I am sure in my HEART that she wanted us to know she was still "around".

    New Cat will always be a part of your beautiful farm. The friends we love are always with us, as long as we remember them.

    Hugs to you tonight.

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  9. I am so very sorry for your loss of New Cat. I know how you must feel having lost one of mine about a month ago. Take care.

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  10. I am so very sorry :( and I'm so glad you stayed with New Cat...we all should all be so lucky to go from this world with someone who loves us nearby...

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  11. So sorry to hear about New Cat. I always enjoyed seeing photos of his big-o-fluffiness.

    Susan, thanks for being such a great human.

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  12. :-(

    I know just how you feel.

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  13. Susan, I am so very sorry. New Cat found a wonderful home with you, and knew he was loved until the very end. He is now whole and happy and healthy and chasing rabbits at the Rainbow Bridge.

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  14. So sad for your loss - and know that the farm is a tiny bit less shiny today because New Cat isn't there to reflect the glory. It is doggoned hard to live our lives knowing that to all things there is a season - and for some it feels too short. I hate it that our creatures sometimes have to suffer - but you give them what comfort we have available - a loving touch means everything. Hugs to you and Joe -

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  15. Oh Susan, I'm so very sorry for your loss.

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  16. I'm so sorry to hear about New Cat. What a lovely tribute to him. Last year we lost our aloof (never get within 10 ft) but well-loved cat, I still expect to see him when I go outside...

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  17. Thank you for sharing New Cat with us. What a blessing he was and you to him.

    To celebrate New Cat and all of our furry companions (with us and not)I am now going to play with my kitties: Emily and Kitty

    Hugs and love

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  18. Ah, Susan. My heart goes out to you. Pragmatic as you are about the cycles of life, I know it's hard when a dear soul departs and leaves that hole in your heart.

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  19. I'm so sorry about New Cat. It's terribly painful to lose a pet.

    You wrote a beautiful tribute to him. Clearly he was well loved and I'm glad you stayed with him till the end.

    I believe we'll see out pets again one day. Hugs to you.

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  20. Oh, I am so deeply touched. I'm so sorry about New Cat--but am so glad you were there for each other.

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  21. Aw Susan, I'm so very sorry... I know this doesn't seem fair...and must just really hurt so much right now. Know all of our thoughts are with you...

    We're just wrapping up purchase of a new home, where we'll have our first ever *yard*. Our plan is to bury my Notchie's ashes, after he passed away last summer, in the new yard, and to plant a catnip patch over him. Maybe I should look into your spiderwort plan...might be less likely to get devoured by any stray cats. Perhaps Notch and New Cat can play together now...

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  22. I am so sorry about your loss of New Cat. Thanks for sharing the memories with us. -Jill-

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  23. Oh I am so sorry for you... New Cat sounded like such a wonderful friend. You are a special person to have had such a special relationship.

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  24. Oh so sad about New Cat. It's so hard to lose a pet. He sure was beautiful.

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  25. I am so sorry about New Cat - as an owner of 5 farm cats I know exactly how you feel. I read this on another site. A verse by Isla Paschal Richardson.
    Grieve not, nor speak of me with tears, but laugh and talk of me, as if I were beside you...I loved you so - 'twas Heaven here with you.
    I think this says it all. Regards.
    Sara from farmingfriends

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  26. so sorry to hear about your loss.
    It was good that he was not alone when he had to go.
    You found wonderful words to describe New Cat - a great tribute to him and his life with you.

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  27. Toronto Lurker6/08/2007 8:09 AM

    New Cat will never be far away...

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  28. Wow, I know how much it hurts! What a great tribute to a great cat. I am so sorry for your loss.

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  29. Gosh, I'm sorry, you obviously made a difference to new cats life, and comforted her when she needed you.

    'One of the most important things animals teach us is how to pass away with grace and dignity.'

    What an insightful comment, its really stuck in my head. Well said.

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  30. Goodbye, New Cat. You brought a lot of beauty to that farm, and you were loved and missed. I'd write more, but this monitor seems to be all blurry.

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  31. What a wonderful tribute to New cat
    i have recently lose a cat myself. and he is forever in my thoughts, as New cat is in yours. this does not make it any easier but it helps to know he is no longer in pain. i only wish i could write as you do - it is a joy to read your blog. you have a way of saying how i feel.

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  32. I'm so very sorry that you've lost New Cat. He certainly had a wonderful life with you

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  33. We are very sorry that you had to lose New Cat. He was a beautiful boy.

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  34. I'm so sorry for your loss.

    Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge.

    When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge.
    There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together.
    There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.

    All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor; those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by.
    The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.

    They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent; His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.

    You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.

    Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together....

    Author unknown...

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  35. Beautifully written, Susan, in such a hard time. It always seems that we who live the farm life, pay for part of the joy with times like these. Being close to nature and our animals is a wonderful and terrible thing, all at once.
    Goodbye, New Cat. We'll miss you.

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  36. What a beautiful tribute to a wonderful animal. I'm so touched that you were there with him when he passed.

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  37. I'm so sorry. I know the loss of a pet, even a farm cat, leaves a hole in your heart. I'm glad you were there for him in his final hours. Good on you, for your loving touch and comfort you gave him.

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  38. Oh Susan I am so sorry. We lost a cat last year to what could have only been a snake bite. Even though she was only around a couple of months it was tough. She looked alot like New Cat during the summer months, and sounds like the two would have gotten along famously. She would climb the tree in our front yard jump onto the roof, and walk to the back of the house to see us when we were out there with the dogs. It used to drive them crazy!

    I am sure you gave him the best 5 years of his life!

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  39. Bless you for the wonderful home and the gentle passing that you provided for New Cat. We will ALL miss him...

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  40. My family lost our cat Carmen to the poisoned pet food this spring.

    I'm not one to cry over blogs, but reading about New Cat reminded me of how much we love her and miss her.

    Thank you for writing such a beautiful tribute to him.

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  41. I'm so sorry for you. I've lost several animals in recent years and it just breaks your heart. They are like family members...even the ones who don't like to be petted.
    New Cat is surely chasing rabbits and basking in the sunlight of a vast roof, on the other side of the Rainbow Bridge. He knew the utmost love in his last moments, and that is what is important.

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  42. I'm so sorry for your loss. New Cat was gorgeous wasn't he? What a fine looking kitty. I love the story of how he came to find you. Things like that give me faith that everything works out for the best.

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  43. I had tears in my eyes, and I'm decidedly not a cat lover. You really should write a book Susan! What a great piece.

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  44. My heart goes out to you Farmgirl as fresh tears keep welling up in my eyes. I was with two of my cats this past winter as they died. New Cat was lucky and wise to have found and chosen your farm to live.

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  45. I'm sorry for your loss Susan but find it so wonderful that in this tumultuous, always busy world of ours that you take the time to comfort another creature in his last minutes. He knew he was loved. May the love you give come back to you 10-fold.

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  46. I cry for new cat, for filou, for benjamin ...
    thank your for sharing and thanks to all these creatures for living with and accompanying us. they teach us so much.

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  47. I'm so sorry...but glad you found him and he didn't have to die alone. A severe mercy....

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  48. I know how you feel. My cat is very ill and I'm expecting the worst. We took him to the vet and the can't tell what is wrong with him without doing $500 worth of tests. Of course this happens just as my husband is laid off and taking a new job at a huge pay cut. The vet won't take payments either, they want the money up front. So right now my cat is not eating or drinking, we are giving him antibiotics, water (with a syringe) and he is having very laboured breathing. It's so depressing when a pet is sick/dying. They can't tell you what is wrong and you can't verbally comfort them.

    And now I'm crying.

    Jen

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  49. *Soft under belly exposed*

    terribly sorry.

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  50. New Cat was so beautiful. I'm very sorry about your loss.

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  51. Susan in California6/08/2007 2:10 PM

    New cat is in kitty heaven now. You were such a good mom to him. I'll miss him.

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  52. What a lucky cat he was to have found you. So sorry for your loss.

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  53. i'm a new visitor but just wanted to send you my condolences - what a great/sad post and what a wonderful cat you had... i could cry at the thought of losing mine so i can't imagine what you're going thru... circle of life, they say... (hug)

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  54. New Cat was lucky to know you, and you him. Treasuring the moments that are our lives is all that matters. Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow may never come.

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  55. Long time lurker, first time leaving you a note

    I take so much pleasure from following your daily life in the farm, it is time to thank you and say I wish you did not have to go through this sadness.

    anyonymous, your post about the loss of your daughter brought a ton of tears to my eyes.

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  56. I am so very sorry for your loss. I will keep you and your Family in my thoughts and prayers. From all us critters,
    Peg (2-legs)
    Max, Sam and Jazz and Hunnybunny (4-legs)

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  57. Such a wonderful tribute, with magnificent pictures. NewCat certainly knew he was loved.

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  58. Susan,

    Tears flowed when I read about your loss today. Your love for New Cat and his for you certainly came through in your post. May his memories and those lovely photos of him ease your pain.

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  59. So sad. And so beautifully written. New Cat obviously stayed where he was loved the most. I'm so sorry for your loss.

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  60. I am so sorry for your loss. You did a wonderful thing not letting him pass alone, God bless you.

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  61. I'm awfully sorry to hear that you have lost New Cat. He was such a beautiful creature with a very sweet face. It's so sad...
    It must be a very painful experience . I can't imagine how I will feel the day my cats will leave.

    In thoughts with you,

    Rosa

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  62. I am sorry that New Cat passed but glad that he passed with a loving soul by his side.

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  63. FG, this made me cry. What a beautiful and fitting tribute to New Cat. No doubt he's crossed over the Rainbow Bridge to be with all the other critters. It was so kind of you to be there to comfort him. You gave your sweet, fluffy orange boy what he needed most: a mom's comforting hand when he was hurting.

    Indeed, the circle of life always goes on on a farm. You, Joe & the other cats and animals are in my thoughts and prayers.

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  64. Dreams crash every minute. Most of the crash much harder than this.

    My man recently said this. Not that it helps, or helps lessen loss, but it it true even when applied to lives.

    What helps is that you weren't apart, neither of you alone, when New died. That helps, I think.

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  65. Rest in peace.

    He is lucky to have had you at his side when he passed.

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  66. New Cat lived a good ol' farm cat life. God Bless you, Farmgirl. I'm so sorry to hear of your loss.
    Julia

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  67. One of my very favorite books that I read to my Kindergarteners the other day is:

    http://www.amazon.com/Cat-Heaven-Cynthia-Rylant/dp/0590100548

    "Cat Heaven"

    by Cynthia Rylant

    they loved it and being the cat lover that I am... it made my cry!!

    It is so sweet and tells the wonderful story of where the wonderful place cats go when they leave us...

    So sorry for your loss...

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  68. I am truly sorry for your loss. The don't make anti-venom for the poor kitty's.

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  69. Awww. I'm so sorry to hear this. Big hugs from all of us.

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  70. Oh Susan, have been away a few days and just saw this. So sorry. Have been there too many times myself and doubtless will again. The pain is still worth it rather than a life devoid of their unconditional love. All my Love, Bev.

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  71. Crying too hard to say much more...so sorry for your loss, Farmgirl. RIP New Cat

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  72. Just add my best thoughts to the others. I cried when I read your tribute and the comments are simply too sad for words, too. I love animals. And for you, sweetheart with the daughter and her birthday, a big hug, too. I'm thinking she and New cat are having a lot of fun right now. Bless everyone's heart.

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  73. Farmgirl, I'm so sorry for your loss... I still remember how much it hurt when my cat died years ago. But New Cat was a wonderful cat and had a wonderful life with you. That you will have forever. Thank you for sharing your story.

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  74. I'm so sorry. That's one of the toughest things we have to face on the farm.

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  75. God, he was a gorgeous cat. I am sorry for the loss of a wonderful creature you were blessed with knowing and enjoying.
    I appreciate hearing your stories and you obvious love of animals is conveyed beautifully in your blog. Thank you for sharing.

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  76. I'm so sorry to read about New Cat!

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  77. Susan,

    So, so sorry to hear about New Cat. What a joy their presence brings... and what a hole their absence leaves behind!

    Crying hard now. Must find Kleenex... and my cat!

    Brin
    www.messythrillinglife.blogspot.com

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  78. I have been a silent visitor to your blog, and I wanted to say how sorry I am for your loss. I have read somewhere that Death leaves a heartache no one can heal, love leaves a memory no one can steal.

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  79. Poor you that's so sad, especially after all the fun of Whitey and her little ones. All you can do is know that you did your best for New Cat in every way and that you were there for him when he really did, finally, need you. You will see him in every patch of orange fuzzy sunshine around the farm, and that's no bad thing.
    Hugs and blessings.

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  80. This post made me especially sad since I had a Ragamuffin named Griffin who looked exactly like your beautiful golden cat. He was with me for years and years and we went through everything together. College, cross country moves, the works. When he died unexpectedly, it took me months to get over it and honestly, I don't know if I will ever think of him and not feel sad. I am so sorry for your loss and I hope that like me, you will be able to chase the blues away a bit with memories of your lovely cat and take solace in the fact that he lived a sweet life in your care.

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  81. This entry made me cry. My condolences to you and your large family of cherished animals--you've clearly given them so much care and love it's moving.

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  82. My condolences Farmgirl. New Cat was beautiful.

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  83. I'm so sorry. Have you read the book Cat Heaven?

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  84. Your pictures of New Cat are wonderful. I'm so glad you were able to be with him when he passed. I agree that your tribute is wonderful.

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  85. I'm rather shocked that you didn't take the cat to be put down humanely by a vet. Instead you let it die an agonizing death. Rather disgusting....

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  86. Bugger! N.C. was my favorite of all of your cats!

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  87. to anonymous, each of us has our own understanding of what is humane and what is not. we make personal decisions whether to intervene with nature's processes, or how much. what these decisions are based on, be it experience, spirituality, emotions, money, education, time, or simply that innate voice of the heart, it is not for anyone to judge...nor is it for susan to explain or defend.

    new cat is free from pain. new cat is as peaceful as any living being could ever hope to be. that is what matters now.

    bless his soul, and susan's as well...

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  88. Hugs to you, Susan. I'm glad you were able to to be with New Cat at the end, and that he had so many happy years with you.

    Xo Angie

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  89. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  90. Well my eyeballs are certainly clean now! I am so sorry for your loss, and I dread the day we have to go through something like this. Your stories are wonderful - thanks for sharing.

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  91. I've been meaning to leave a comment since I first read the post--six days ago! The tears have made it difficult to think. (I've come back each day since, but continue to cry each time.) Your tribute to New Cat really touched me. It made me think of all the people--animal and human--who have come and gone from my life. It's so hard to say goodbye to a loved one. You showed true caring by staying with New Cat through his suffering and his passing. Suffering is an unavoidable part of life, and it is the fortunate person who has someone to accompany him through it. Bless you, Susan. I hope New Cat is playing with my Jules and Romeo and Otto. They were dearly loved cats too.

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  92. No way can I read the comments 'cause I know it will make me tear up more. That darn unconditional love pets give us just makes it all the more harder, doesn't it? When we moved into this house, we had 4 cats and 1 dog. Next week, we're moving to a new house, and I realize that our original brood are all gone. Sad. Just makes me appreciate our current pets even more.

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  93. Susan, I read this post soon after getting out of the hospital for an emergency condition of my own. Having come close to death only last week makes me appreciate life so much more. Your tribute is beautiful, touching, and a great reminder of how we should appreciate the life we have and the ones we love around us. Thank you.

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  94. Susan,
    I am late posting a comment about your loss of New Cat. What a beautiful friend he was and how wise he was to choose your wonderful and life to be his. You were perfectly right in choosing to let him pass peacefully next to you, feeling your touch, and NOT suffering the trauma of a trip to the vet.
    My thoughts are with you and all your big and little farm friends. As always, you make us all feel such a part of your life through your beautiful and poignant words.

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  95. Dear Farmgirl, I am sorry to hear about the loss of Newcat. I lost my two 10 year old siamese cats 3 years ago. I buried them on the side of the road on the way home, so I make sure that there is not a single day that I don't think of them... THank you for your blog. B (Tenerife, Spain)

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  96. Hello. I came across your site while doing research and I read everything and what a wonderful life you are having. I wanted to contact you but leaving a comment is the only way I see. This is a long shot but I will explain my situation as quickly as possible. I have 3 cats that are about 7 years old. I grew up in Denver and that is where i got them. I moved to LA because I am involved in the arts and I brought them with me. They have always loved to be outside almost all the time. When they are not outside they are unhappy and I have gotten to have a lifestyle of traveling a lot because of work. I have always grown up with cats in our family and have always had all of them until they have died. But, my cats just are not happy and its killing me. I see pictures of your cats and where you live and thats what I want for my cats because I know how happy they would be, but it is so hard for me to think about finding a better home for them, but i know with whats happening for me in the future is not fair to them and I want them to be happy and this situation is all I think about everyday. My question is are you at all looking to have a few more cats running around your place? I know this is a long shot but when I see where you are and how much you love animals it makes me happy thinking it's possible for me to give my cats a better home.
    I so badly want to find them a home where I can trust they would be happy and I am writing you now.
    If you are interested and can help in anyway please let me know, i will never give my cats away to somewhere I am not comfortable so I know this may be a long process to wherever I eventually find them a home. And if anyone else reading knows of something as well please help.
    thank you for your time and the odd request
    Marguerite
    mendsley12@hotmai.com

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  97. Was New Cat bitten by a snake, did you ever find out? Bless him he has passed over to Rainbow Bridge, bless you for taking such good care of him, I'm sure he was very very happy with you and your family. Does you town have a spay and neuter program for ferals? Just asking becasue we have that for the ferals in our towns to reduce the population of ferals so they don't keep multiplying.
    Blessings Cheryl

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  98. If you have copperheads then you need some King Snakes - they kill other snakes but don't bother people or farm animals. They are good protection against all other snakes.

    Peaches

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