Only 10

0658/28th September 2023

Trudging solemnly out to the field behind Grant, I heard a flight of geese honking.

Crows were calling out raucously as they do when I take nuts out in the morning.

Otherwise, there was nothing to mark the procession of two sad humans.


Gimpy-crow and its mate were perched at the top of a dead tree down the hill.

Paying respect.

We tell ourselves what we must to soothe our aching hearts.

Grant had found a place in a far corner of the field, next to the woods where he could dig a deep enough grave.

Tears spilling down my face, I gently transferred the small corpse of our beloved Lucy to Grant who laid her in her resting place and covered her over.

The simplest possible burial. I had wrapped our little cat in a towel and one of the pink blankets she seemed to love, including inside her shroud a toy I had made and a little ball of felt that comprised fur from her housemates.


Pointless and sentimental.

Previously, the bodies of our deceased pets have been cremated. I’ve lost count of how many small boxes of ash there are.

When sorting out my aunt’s belongings, I found the remains of her various dogs. There was only one sensible action to take.


Quickly dumping the contents of a large glass jar, I rinsed it and refilled it with the ashes of the 5 cocker spaniels.

The funeral director was a sensible man who agreed to place the jar inside the coffin.

That much, at least, I got right.


On a Saturday morning, burial was the only sensible option for Lucy and as I hope this will be my final residence, it felt right to bury her here.

Perhaps in time all of our ashes will be spread there over her remains.


Once the spirit has left, does it make the slightest bit of difference?

When I inquired about how to dispose of two dead rabid raccoons, I was told: “Double bag and put them in the garbage.”

At the time I found this quite upsetting, but what is the shell in the end, but rubbish?


After we buried Lucy this morning, I didn’t know what else to do but write about it.

Late on Thursday, I noticed that Lucy was restless, constantly circling and behaving as cats do when they have urinary tract problems.

We couldn’t get an appointment until the next day but we had some medication and the vet told us to also administer gabapentin for the discomfort. It made Lucy dopey and she slept on my bed.


Yesterday, we dropped Lucy at the vet and waited anxiously for their report, which turned out to be optimistic.

As I wrote after, when we got her home, Lucy still seemed wobbly and unsettled.

As she was blind, we didn’t want her to stagger about and thought it best to make her comfortable in small spare room.


The night before, Lucy had seemed comforted when I cradled her in my arms but last night she didn’t want to be held.

What should I have done differently? I was really quite concerned, but we had taken her to the vet.

Additional handling was probably the last thing she would have wanted. I think it would have made no difference.


We will never know what caused Lucy’s sudden demise. I had a bad feeling when I went to bed last night but then, I am a worrier.

When I opened the door to Lucy’s room this morning, she was lying beneath a chest of drawers, having died sometime during the night.

Such a mixture of emotions came up but the grief did not kick in immediately.


Relief that this poor little creature was released from suffering.

Guilt that I had failed to help her.

Sorrow that she had died alone.

Anger? Why did she have to suffer?


Lucy lost her right eye when she was a small kitten. Probably from the claw of a littermate.

She and her mother and another kitten lived with a dysfunctional family that soon moved out of their house, leaving the cats to fend for themselves.

The realtor who was selling the house passed the cats into my care and the other two were soon adopted.

Lucy was feisty and I was hesitant about trying to place her. She didn’t like being handled and I felt very protective of her.


Before long we found out why Lucy didn’t like being touched. She had a really ghastly infestation of ear mites which had to be treated by a specialist in North Seattle.

With this sorted out, Lucy’s life improved, but I couldn’t move her out of the foster suite because I already had cats hanging from the rafters up there.

It isn’t fair to them, to have more cats than a space can absorb.


People came, periodically to meet the foster cats and if the right person had wanted to take Lucy, I would have let her go as I did so many others.

If you set out to help animals, helping is what you must do. Your own feelings cannot be a part of the equation.

All of those cats were special to me and they all took a piece of my heart but they deserved better than being part of a gang.


How you decide what constitutes a gang is a good question. I had purchased a huge house purposely to accommodate cats but still, there is a limit.

Strangely, I had acquired another one-eyed Himalayan, Georgi. He had been rescued from an awful situation. He was old and I only got to love him for a year.


My other dearly beloved Himalayan, Thimphu was suddenly gone as well.

So the loss of two other Himalayans left open a space for Lucy.

She became a part of my permanent upstairs group and settled in well with the others.


Lily had arrived a year before Lucy.

For a while, there seemed to be a competition to see who would be allowed to sit closer to me.

But after we moved here, Lily changed her allegiance and went downstairs to hang out with Grant.


Lucy was my funny little bossy-boots.

Each morning she fussed about as I did chores, trying to round me up. Then she would settle down beside me at my desk.

She was very naughty about appropriating any bed or blanket Willow seemed interested in.

Lucy didn’t want to sleep on my bed but she didn’t want Willow to either.


Often I called her Lucy LaFluff because she was like a powder puff.

When you talked to her she had a funny little cry: “Eh!” It was her sound.

In June this year Lucy became blind and her world shrank. I tried to imagine what it was like for her and tried to make her feel safe.


It happened very suddenly and must have been so confusing for her. I had to force myself to hold back my help knowing she must learn to find what she needed.

All I could do was make sure things did not get moved.

As animals do, she adjusted.


Just a couple of weeks ago Grant took a picture of Lucy asleep on her penguin pillow while Muffin helped me with Wordle.

How can a house seem so empty with 10 cats in residence?

Grief kicked in.

22 thoughts on “Only 10

  1. While it is a time of grief for you, Carolyn, Lucy is free of life that wasn’t as happy as could be, because of her blindness. It would be the worst possible thing to happen to me.
    Thank you for sharing your sad news, Carolyn, and I hope that in time, the nature around you will heal you.

    Joanna x

    1. Thank you Joanna. I keep telling myself that she is free from suffering, free of her compromised little body. It always takes me time. Some people think it is inappropriate to grieve so for animals but they are the ones who comforted me and loved me without conditions. Thank you for caring.

  2. Oh, Carolyn, my heart breaks for you. I have come to love all of your cats through your blog, and I am sad for the loss of Lucy even way out here in Missouri. She had some bad luck in her life, but that was outweighed by the good fortune she had in becoming a part of your family. She was well loved, and that is a rare gift. R.I.P. little Lucy. Peace to you and Grant, Carolyn, and thank you for writing about Lucy on such a sad day.

    1. Well, you have had two such recently. It doesn’t get easier, does it? Thank you for your kind thoughts. It is nice that people far away were thinking of Lucy.

  3. I’m sorry for your loss. It’s horrible when a pet dies. I believe that Lucy had a good life with you and she was lucky to have a good home with you. X

  4. So sorry. I know Lucy had the best possible home with you and there is comfort in knowing that.


  5. My condolences, Carolyn. I understand the grief of losing a beloved pet. You made the right decision to give her a respectful burial close to home, and we all know what tender love and care you gave her throughout her life.
    Best wishes, Pete. x

  6. Oh Carolyn, that’s so sad 😥. I have grown to love dear Lucy so much through your posts. But this I do know … she found the best home possible at your house. Sleep tight dearest Lucy – I will miss you.

    1. Thank you. I am glad that at least she did not have a protracted illness and that she died without the need for another vet visit which would have been torment for her.

  7. I’m so very sorry for the loss of sweet little Lucy. She overcame many obstacles with the love and care provided by you and Grant. I know how much it hurts to lose one of your beloved family members. All of our pets are buried in our back yard, close to their loved ones.

    1. Thank you. It was all so sudden but I am glad at least that it did not drag out and involve going back and forth to the vet as she hated all that so much. Poor sweetie did not deserve to suffer, having been through so much already.

  8. Carolyn and Grant,
    I am so, so sorry for your loss, of your sweet family member.
    Our precious pets fill us up with so much joy and companionship, and always will take a piece of our heart, with them, when they leave.
    Thank you for sharing Lucy’s sweet story with all of us.
    Please find comfort in your memories of her. 💜


  9. Lucy was much loved, and so very well looked after, and a cat sized hole can be very very big. Time will heal a little. Love and hugs to you, and to Grant (if he’s willing to accept).

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