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A Tribute to Mason

Many of you follow me on social media and already know my sad news. For those of you who don’t I’ll just rip the band aid off and tell you: my sweet Mason, my cat of 17 years, died peacefully at home on Sunday. It’s something I’ve known was coming, his health has been deteriorating for a while due to kidney troubles, but I was not ready. Frankly, I’m not sure I ever could have been ready.

I know that we were fortunate that his final decline was rapid. On Friday he was in my lap most of the day, purring contentedly while I was knitting or reading, protesting when I’d set him to my side because I had to get up or change positions. Jackie was with us in the evening while his parents attended a wedding and Mason happily ate the food that Jack threw on the floor during dinner. He let Jack pet him and he spent the better part of the night in Dale’s lap. In other words, it was a normal day at home with my kitty.

On Saturday, though, he just wasn’t himself. He didn’t eat and drank very little water. He was walking a little off kilter and he spent a fair amount of time under the dining room table rather than in front of the wood stove as he usually would. I was concerned and considered that perhaps this was the beginning of the end. I even told Sean, when we had dinner together that night, that I had a bad feeling. I cuddled with Mason before bed Saturday night and had a lot of apprehension when I got up on Sunday morning, wondering how I would find him. He was worse but still sat and waited for me outside the bathroom door like usual. He wouldn’t touch food or water and he was having difficulty walking. I told Dale when he got up that I thought this was it and that we might be having to make a difficult decision in the next day or so.

As it turned out, Mason had his own time frame. I held him for a long time in the late morning. He allowed it but after thirty minutes or so he attempted to get down. I helped him off the couch and he went over by the wood stove and stretched out. His breathing was slow but he didn’t seem to be in pain, just maybe uncomfortable. He attempted to get up every now and then but just couldn’t. I sat on the floor with him and petted him and talked to him and told him it was a good day to die, that he could go and be with Dixie, that I would love him and miss him forever. I eventually left the room to go in the kitchen. I peeked in at him and he lifted his head and looked at me and when I came back, not more than a minute or two later, I just knew he was gone. I’m beating myself up that I wasn’t in the room with him as he took his last breath, that I wasn’t stroking him and talking to him, but I can’t change it and I just have to accept it.

We wrapped him in one of my old flannel nightgowns and some quilt scraps and put him in a box with treats and a ball of yarn. We buried him in the backyard next to his old buddy Dixie. We toasted him as the good and loving and faithful cat that he was. And we cried.

Honestly, I feel like I haven’t stopped crying since. I see him in every corner of this house. I look for him under the dining room table and behind the wood stove. I wait for him to jump up on my lap when I sit down on the couch and to read or knit. I long to pick him up, to stroke his soft fur and hear him purr against my cheek.

This sadness, this mourning, this grief . . . it’s the price we pay for loving well and completely. It’s worth it and goodness knows that cat brought me a lot of joy. I miss him like hell but I smile when I think of the connection he and I had. I’ve had cats before and a beloved dog but there was something truly special between Mason and I. Now I just wish he could be here to help me through this sadness like he has so many times before when I’ve needed him by my side.

Goodbye, kitty of my heart. Tell Dixie we said hey.

This Post Has 44 Comments

  1. So very sorry for your loss. Some cats are truly special. I feel similarly about my 17 yo cat. She has started having a few bad spells, so I know she’s feeling her age. I gave her an extra hug and kiss this morning for you.

  2. I’m so very sorry. Mason does sound like a remarkable cat and companion. I’m glad you didn’t have to make a tough decision and Mason made his own choices. Maybe it’s the same for cats and humans; hospice workers told us that many people seem to ‘choose’ their time to go when people they love aren’t with them, so I bet Mason was trying to make it easier for you. Sending hugs and happy memories.

  3. Carole, he may have intentionally waited until you were out of the room for a minute. Animals do that sometimes. He clearly loves you very much. I’m so sorry for your loss. I wish our beloved furry family members had longer lifespans.

  4. Mason was so beautiful. Your tribute to him brought tears to my eyes and my heart aches for you.

  5. Oh I know how you feel. One of our cats also died when I left the room – I tell myself it’s like people, who tend to die when you go to get a coffee or go to the bathroom. But it is still awful and as my mother used to say, you don’t get over a death, you just get used to it. I think Mason’s last few days and minutes sound like they were full of love, and I hope my experience when it comes will be the same.

    Everyone at our house has said a special prayer. Take care.

  6. I’m so sorry Carole. You’ve brought tears to my eyes too. He was a lucky cat and clearly lived a long and happy life with you.

  7. Our 17 year old Bailey died a year ago with similar health problems. We miss him every day. Some cats are irreplaceable. (We try to not say that in front of the other two cats who lack Bailey’s sense of humor and affectionate possessiveness!)

  8. Oh Carole – what a sweet and loving tribute … crying here too (and I must admit – it feels much better to be crying about this with y’all than the other things we could be crying about – for that, I thank you!)

  9. A beautiful tribute to Mason and how much he added to your life. I am sitting here crying because I have a 20+ yo old cat and I know the time left with her is short. I travel a lot and my fear is that I will be away when she leaves. Like you, I want to be with her at the end. My heart goes out to you.

  10. Grief is the price of love, but ALL the love a pet gives can never be erased! I am so sorry you and Dale are grieving for your sweet Mason. Seeing him in every corner is such a lovely tribute to how integral he was in your daily life. Peace to you, dear Carole. Hugs to you, too. xox

  11. Ooof. It is so hard. I think I’ve had to say goodbye to five cats in my life and it just never gets easy. I’m glad Mason lived to a good old age and that you had some good time with him before he left for the Rainbow Bridge.

  12. Mason brought so much love in his beautiful life. You will always have a loving place for him in your heart.

  13. I am so sorry for your loss. I know how hard it is to lose a loving pet. We lost our puppy in May and I still get sad when I think of him but then I think how sad it would have been if I never had him in my life. Our pets add so much to our homes.

  14. Carole, so sorry to hear that Mason has passed on across the rainbow bridge to be with Dixie. Our pets are so much a part of our daily lives that losing tHem interrupts the pattern of our daily lives in unique ways.

  15. Oh Carole, what a lovely tribute and I’m crying now. This reminds me so much of what it was like when Maestro passed away. We had raised her from day 1, feeding her with an eye dropper, etc. And she, too, waited until we had left the room. It’s been years, but sometimes I think I see her coming across the yard. Sending you hugs and love.

  16. I did see this on IG and I have no wise words or particularly helpful thoughts of comfort. Sometimes we just have to hurt as we realize the magnitude of our loss, and do our best to remember the joy and love our furry family members brought us. Here’s to more loving memories and less hurt.

  17. It is just so hard to say good bye to our fur babies…what a great tribute to Mason. Sounds like he was one heck of cat!

  18. Oh Carole, I’m so sorry for your loss. I’m crying with you. It’s never easy to lose these special family members.

  19. I’m so very sorry for your loss. We lost our beloved dog, Petey on August 31 and I still look for him every time that I walk into the house. Losing a fur baby is so hard and I am keeping you in my thoughts. Don’t beat yourself up about not being right there in the room. I believe that sometimes they need us to not be right there at the very end; I’ve seen it before with both animals and people.

  20. Our furry friends leave paw prints on our hearts. It is so worth it to love unconditionally as we do with our pets and to be love in return. I am sure he is purring beside his buddy Dixie!

  21. Carole, I, too, share what others have said about Mason waiting for you to leave the room for him to pass. I have been a nurse for 40+ years and have attended many deaths. I firmly believe that the passing when a loved one has left the room is the dying patient’s final expression of love for those left behind. It is no different with Mason. He knew his leaving would be traumatic for you. I suspect you will continue to see and hear him around you until you are strong enough to let him go. ((hugs))

  22. I am so very sorry for the loss of your sweet kitty. I know how hard it is to lose a pet. We lost our Golden Retriever, Jake” after 16 years. We never got another dog after that day in 2010. Mason was loved and I am sure he knew it! Hugs to you! (p.s., my kitty is almost 16 so I know my day is coming… )

  23. You’ll cry a good long while. Every furkid is special but a Siamese is something else again. Mason and Meezer are finally together at the Bridge. I’d have liked to see that meetup!

  24. Oh, Carole, I am so sorry. Loving Mason for 17 years is going to leave a huge hole in your life for a while. It will take some time to stop crying and mourning. I will tell you what my vet told me when I had to put my last dog to sleep. He said that my pet might not go to heaven, but that he had heaven on earth just being here with me. It’s true, you know. They do love us back, and we do what we can for them while we can and love them back. It’s no small thing. I will be thinking of you in the next few days and wishing you peace and love and great memories of time with Mason.

  25. Carol , I follow your blog daily . I just want to tell you how sorry I am about your precious kitty . It is so painful . I am a nurse, and I have seen more people die moments when loved one step away for a brief moment . It was explained to
    Me early in my career that this person would not leave you in life when you needed them . Therefore they would not leave you in death , I hope this comforts . Mason was a very lucky kitty

  26. Elizabeth’s comment above (from a fellow nurse) says what was in my heart. You gave him a wonderful last day, and followed his lead all the way. I am so sorry that this time has come. As you may recall, I know how difficult it is to write a blog post as a tribute to a fine feline, and I hurt for you.

  27. Oh my friend. I’m so sorry. I lost my 18 year old cat much the same way a few years ago. Such a faithful guy, I’m sure you will feel his loss for a good while. Take time to grieve. You and Dale are in my thoughts.

  28. I’m so sorry for your loss. It’s obvious that Mason was cherished and well-loved. It’s so hard when it’s time to say goodbye to our four-legged family members. Be kind to yourselves as you grieve, and take comfort in the knowledge that someday the memories will bring more smiles and fewer tears. You were lucky to have had each other.

  29. I am so sorry for your loss. My cat Majic died 5 years ago. She was my “familiar” and I still miss her every single day. I’ve had dogs and cats before and after, they’ve been loved and love me, but it’s not the same. Take the time to grieve and know that Mason knew he was loved.

  30. I’m so sorry, Carole. I’ve seen this post and, to be honest, I’ve avoided reading it. We’ve lost some special cats… we seem to get them in pair/siblings as kittens, and they live a good long time (16-20 years), so those heartbreaks tend to come in pairs, too. I know that heartbreak. Anyway, I’ve avoided it but I knew what it was about and have been thinking of you. xoxox

  31. So sorry to hear this, Carole. It’s been a year since we lost our Mocha, and it’s still hard. A favorite children’s book helped comfort me; its Cat Heaven by Cynthia Rylant. Sending big hugs.

  32. I know the pain you are feeling having lost many pets over the years. He is still with you and watching over you all. Sending hugs [just a little late]

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