I adopted my beloved Allie cat from our local shelter in October 1997. She was a flea infested mess but I felt sorry for her and knew that she needed a good home. As I was driving home from the shelter, I was holding her in my arms. I looked down at her and felt the immediate bond....I loved her and she loved me. Because I didn't know her exact date of birth but knew she was somewhere around six weeks old, I gave her the birthday of my mother, September 4th.
At the time, I adopted Allie, my kids were 12 and 14. We also had an older cat at the time who really wanted nothing to do with the new kitten. It took Allie quite a while to feel comfortable in our house. She was very afraid so we approached her quietly and carefully. Over time she adapted to her new family and surroundings but all of her life was cautious of strangers.
We live close to the foothills where coyotes roam so Allie spent a lot of her time indoors. She was always a scaredy cat which kept her close to our home. She rarely ventured outside her own backyard. I remember when she was about two years old, she was in the backyard and my husband and I were watching her from the kitchen window. It was about 8:30 in the morning and the sun was shining. All of a sudden, we could tell she was stalking something in the bushes. The next thing we know, she comes running towards the house with a coyote chasing her. My husband ran outside and chased the animal away while I started looking for Allie. She was no where to be found and I was devastated. We looked everywhere for her. Finally, after many hours, we found her in the rafters in the garage. That was the very last time we ever let her in the yard by herself.
Time went on, my kids grew up and went off to college. By 2005 both kids had moved away and have not ever moved back home. Allie became my third child after my kids moved away. She was such a joy to play with, love and just take care of. She loved to eat and became a great big girl. She maxed out at 16 lbs.
Although I worked part time, I was home a lot and the bond we developed was very deep. Where ever I was in the house, she would be right there with me. We also spent a lot of time in the yard, by the pool, gardening, reading, napping, we were always together. When I would come home from errands or work, she would be waiting for me in the laundry room. Some of the memories I cherish are when she would nip at my leg while I was making her meal. She would come up on the bed in the middle of the night and start purring really loud so that either my husband or I would pet her. She would shake her tail when you told her how pretty she was. She would come running whenever she heard me open my bag of chips because she knew it was lunchtime. She loved to roll in the warm dirt and get filthy. I would take a damp paper towel and wipe her off before I let her back in the house and she loved it. She enjoyed perching on our upper deck so she had full view of the yard. She also loved to hunt. We have a large yard with lots of plants and she was an expert lizard catcher. Whenever she brought me her catch, I would scold her, she would drop it and then I'd have to chase it out of the house. We also have mice around our neighborhood and she caught her fair share. I don't like any living thing to hurt so I would make her drop it and then it would scamper off. I was not always able to intervene and sometimes I would find the remnants. Her yard was her absolute favorite place to be. Everyday, as soon as the sun was up, we would go out and she would make the rounds sniffing and investigating every corner. We have also had squirrels, raccoons, possums and snakes in our yard. I could always tell when something had been there because she would concentrate on one particular area of the yard. Oh how I miss watching her overseeing her domain.
In the fall of 2010 Allie started vomiting a lot. She had always been a grazer and I noticed her vomiting quite a bit of grass. I had rarely taken her to the vet and she had been healthy for 13 years. In the beginning of March 2011, the vomiting seemed to increase so I decided it was best to have her examined. The vet did blood work, urinalysis and x-rayed her belly. It was determined that she had a bladder infection and had a slightly increased thyroid level. He gave her antibiotics and nausea medication. Over the next couple of weeks, I noticed her appetite decreased and she appeared to be lethargic. I knew something wasn't right because my Allie cat loved to eat, it was one of her favorite things to do. I took her back to the vet. They did an ultrasound and she was diagnosed with intestinal lymphoma. I was devastated and terrified. Cancer was such a scary word and the thought of losing my baby was overwhelming. My vet explained to me that she could be treated with chemotherapy and anti-inflammatory drugs and she could have a relatively healthy life for several more years. My husband and I decided to go with the treatment and see how she does. Over the next eight months, she did really well. She was not easy to give medication to, so every three weeks, I would take her to the vet for four days in a row and they would give her her chemotherapy drugs. I was able to give her her anti-inflammatory drugs every other day by crushing it in her food. I should also say that on the same day she started her chemo, she suffered two seizures. This scared the heck out of me but the vet put her on anti-seizure medication which she took twice a day for the rest of her life. In the beginning, it took awhile for her to adjust to her medication. She was restless, very thirsty and always hungry. But, within a month, she was back to her old self. While being treated for the lymphoma she also had to withstand blood tests every six weeks and ultrasounds every four months. If I had for one moment thought that she was suffering, I would have stopped the treatment, but, she was alert, happy, and enjoying life. Taking care of her became my main focus. I could not allow her to eat any grass and she was on a hypoallergenic diet. I fed her three times a day and gave her medication every morning and night. I compare it to taking care of a two year old. I had to check on her every couple of minutes while she was outside to make sure she wasn't eating any grass or finding something in the yard that was not healthy for her to eat. The goal was to keep her from vomiting so that her intestines would not become inflamed.
We had a wonderful spring and summer with Allie. The kids would come home to visit and she loved seeing them. She spent many afternoons napping in her favorite chair on the patio. She loved to lay on the warm cement and be brushed. After I watered the plants she enjoyed finding little puddles and lapping up the cool water. On really hot days she would find a cool spot under a bush and sleep. Sometimes I would have to look all over the yard to find her.
On October 26th I took Allie to the vet for her ultrasound. I always hated doing this because they had to shave her soft belly fur and I missed feeling it. She liked to lay on her back and let me stroke her belly fur. On Monday, October 31st, I took her back to the vet to get her blood drawn. While there, she apparently suffered a stroke. When I went to pick her up the vet explained to me that she was not able to see and that she was not walking very well but that she would probably recover. How can this be? I dropped off a fairly healthy cat and when I picked her up she wasn't the same. To be honest, I was angry, very angry and I felt tremendous guilt. I brought her home and hovered over her for days. She was eating but hardly able to walk and obviously blind. I cried and cried. Within about four days, I noticed her eyesight was returning. She was also able to get around pretty well but was still wobbly. She was eating well and appeared to be comfortable. She was able to jump up onto the bed and her favorite chair and was still investigating the yard. During this time she was suppose to be receiving her chemotherapy but I made the very difficult decision to withdraw her cancer treatment. I couldn't put her through any more trips to the vets, tests, poking and prodding. The vet told me that she could last a week, a month, several months, he just didn't know when the cancer would take her. I decided that from that point on, Allie would remain at home where she felt safe and comfortable. I contacted a vet that would come to my home when it was time for Allie to go. I dreaded the thought of making the appointment, waiting for the vet to arrive, hearing the doorbell ring, watching the procedure and wondering if I had made the right decision. I was heartsick over the thought of losing my precious kitty.
Allie's last good day was Friday, November 11th. She ate really well, wandered around the yard, rolled in the dirt and sat with my husband and I on the patio. Saturday she didn't eat very much but was still able to walk, get to her litter box and find a comfortable place to sleep. Sunday was much of the same. By Monday, she was quite weak. She hadn't eaten much for a couple of days but was still drinking water and moving around a bit. I carried her around to all of her favorite spots in the yard and laid her on the warm cement so she could sun herself. She was able to get up and walk to the dirt to go potty. By Monday evening, she was hardly moving. I placed her on her bed and she just laid there. I knew it was time to make that dreaded phone call but I was sick to my stomach just thinking about it. Finally at about 6:00 p.m. I called the vet and made the appointment for 2:00 the next afternoon. I didn't want to be alone so my husband would be home from work by then. That night, I slept next to her. Every time I opened my eyes, she would be looking at me. I wondered if she had closed her eyes at all. She just laid there. I moved her from side to side every couple of hours. At about 1:00 a.m. I took her to her litter box and she went potty. I offered her water and she drank a little. At about 7:00 a.m. she appeared to be having difficulty breathing so I picked her up and held her upright. She was so weak she could hardly hold her head up. I put her back on her bed and petted her and cried. Within an hour I knew she was going. She drew a couple of deep breaths and then gasped a little. By 7:50 a.m., she was gone. She was in her own bed, in her own home and went on her own time. I was so very grateful that neither she nor I had to go through having the vet come to our home. There was no question in my mind that it was her time to go. I was so grateful that the final decision was not mine to make. I sat with Allie for three hours, petting her, hugging her, kissing her and telling her how much I love her and miss her. I was grateful that I had that time alone with her. It gave me time to grieve and a chance to think about what I wanted to do with her body, another thing that I had been obsessing over. I knew that Allie needed to remain in her own yard, the place she loved most. I didn't want her to be taken anywhere. When my husband came home from work, I told him what I had decided. He loved Allie but she was my baby. He was more concerned about my feelings and my loss. He dug a hole for Allie in the middle of our rose garden. He placed her in a plastic bag, put her in the ground and took her favorite box and put it on top of her. He then cut four roses from our garden, one for each of Allie's family members and put them on top of the box. He covered her up then put a small rock on top of her grave as a headstone. He cut another beautiful rose and handed it to me. Then he cut one more, long stemmed, red rose and placed it on top of her grave. Ten days later, it is still there. It's not quite as bright, but it is still beautiful.
I miss my precious Allie cat and think about her all of the time. Sometimes the grief just overwhelms me and I can't stop myself from sobbing. I miss taking care of her, having her greet me at the door, sleeping next to her, petting her and kissing her sweet face. How can it be that I have made it through 10 days without her and how am I suppose to go on for the rest of my life without her? Yesterday was Thanksgiving and although I have a lot to be thankful for, I am struggling to find any joy in my life. I want my life back and I want my Allie cat in it. How long before I get on the other side of this grief? I love her so and miss her.
12-15-11 - It rained here the other day and as I watched the water puddle up on the patio, I pictured you drinking from each little puddle...you loved to do that. Christmas is fast approaching but, I am not in the holiday spirit. The house is decorated, the tree is up, the presents are wrapped but it's just not the same. Your Santa doll is sitting on the sofa but you're not here to enjoy him. One month...sometimes it seems like only yesterday and other times it seems like eternity. I really am trying to get better but I miss you Allie.
1-15-12 - Two months ago at this very moment you were breathing your last breath. I was stroking your soft fur and crying my eyes out telling you how much I love you and how much I will miss you. I found out, I really didn't have a clue at that time how much losing you was going to affect me. These past two months have just been so surreal to me. I continue to expect to see you when I open the back door. I continue to hear you walking up the stairs. I continue to picture you laying in your favorite spots and I have not been able to get rid of your food or sit outside on the patio. I am better than I was a month ago but I still miss you so much my precious girl.
2-15-12 - Three months, 92 days, you've been gone. It is still so difficult for me to believe. Sometimes I still expect to see you when I open the back door. It breaks my heart when you are not there to greet me. I miss you so much Allie. For some reason it hurts the most when I say your name out loud. When you were here with me I would talk to you just as if you were a person. Now, when I talk to you it reminds me that you are no longer here and never will be again. I've had a really rough few days. It still seems to go in waves. Most days I am okay but sometimes I still feel the overwhelming since of loss. I think about you everyday and I wuv, wuv, wuv you my baby girl.
5-15-2012 - Although you've been gone for six months, sometimes, I still feel like it was just yesterday. I remember the feeling of your fur and the sound of your purr so vividly. I'm wondering if this feeling will ever change. The weather is beautiful and I want you to sit out on the patio with me. We have an abundance of lizards in the yard and they all have tails on them. We never had a lizard with a tail while you were here. I miss watching you roll in the warm dirt and turn from a black kitty to a grey kitty. I miss watching you get a drink from the pool. I miss watching you run and seeing your baggy belly sway from side to side. Will these memories stay with me forever? So many memories, so much love and so missed.
9-15-2012 - Allie....I still miss you everyday. It's been nine months. I can still picture you standing at the top of the stairs, waiting by your food bowl and sleeping in all of your favorite spots. When someone brings you up, it still brings tears to my eyes. I just don't know if that will ever change. I love you my fatty cat and I always will!
11-15-2012 - A whole year! You've been gone a whole year and I still can't believe it. One year ago at this time I was petting you and telling you how much I love you. I still think of you every day and miss you so much. I am grateful to have had you in my life for 14 years and that you went in peace. I just wish it could have been longer. Today I will place a rose on your grave and reflect on the wonderful memories I have of you. Still.....so loved and so missed.
11-15-13 - How can it be two years since you left me? Sometimes it seems like only yesterday and sometimes it seems like an eternity since I was able to hold you and pet you. I still think of you everyday Allie. I can picture you sitting and laying in all of your favorite places. Soon I will be getting out the Christmas decorations and I will be thinking of you. You loved to play in the tissue paper and investigate between the boxes. I will bring out your Santa doll that you loved to lay on. I have no doubt it will make me cry. It is chilly outside today but I will place a rose on your grave and think about all of the happy years that we had together. I miss you and I love you.
11-15-14 - Another year has gone by sweet Allie and I still miss you. It's been three years and I think of you everyday. The holidays will never be the same for me. When I get out your Santa doll every year my heart breaks. The other day I was able to share your story with a fellow cat lover who lost their feline friend last year. It brought back so many memories talking about you. Dad placed a white rose on your grave the other day and it brought tears to my eyes. Today, I will place a fresh rose on your grave and try to focus on all of the fun years we had. I love you and always will.
11-15-15 - It's been four years now since you left me. My life is busy with my job, the house, your siblings and your nephew and new niece. I still have not brought home another pet and I just don't know if I ever will. The pain is too great when they leave. I still think of you often and look at the pictures of you around the house. Dad placed a couple of fresh roses on your grave the other day and I am posting a picture of them here. I miss you Allie and I will love you always.
11-15-16 - This time, right now, five years ago you were laying on your bed and I was laying on the floor next to you. I knew that you were not going to be with me much longer so I couldn't leave you. Sometimes it seems like only yesterday and sometimes it seems much longer than five years. We are still petless in this house. I miss having a furry companion but selfishly, I never want to go through losing another pet again. I think of you often, Allie, and I miss you still. I love you....
11-15-17 - Six years! Wow! I can remember the day you left like it was yesterday. I am still so grateful that you were here, at home, in your own bed and I was with you. I still miss you, Allie. I think about you often and dad still puts a rose on your grave quite often. We have new neighbors that brought a cat with them when they moved in. Although they feed Rosie, she sleeps on our patio and stays in our yard most of the time. They have two big dogs that the poor little kitty is afraid of. I enjoy petting her and visiting with her but I just can not have another kitty yet. Maybe I will never be ready. I love you my Allie cat.
11-15-18 - I can hardly believe you have been gone for seven years. Sometimes it seems like forever and sometimes it seems like you left me just yesterday. I still think of you often and remember some of the funny things you did. As I was decorating the house for Halloween this year, I remembered spidey and how you used to bite the heck out of him and throw him down. It was so funny! My little neighbor kitty, Rosie, who I befriended this year disappeared in February. It made me very sad. I was really getting attached to her. Soon I will be getting out your Santa that you used to lay on. So many memories of you in this house Allie. I miss you every day.
11-15-19 - You've been gone eight years today. I still remember the day vividly and when I think about it it makes me very sad. This past year on March 19, 2019, we lost your brother cat, Harley. It was so sad to say goodbye to him. Little Audrey still talks about him often. I still have no desire to get another pet. Although, I do feel very sorry for homeless animals. I still miss your nasty personality, Allie. I think of you often and I probably always will.
11-15-20 - Nine years ago at this time you were already gone and we were in the process of burying you in our rose garden. I still look at the rock that marks your grave every time I go outside. We still put roses on your grave from time to time. I still think about you almost daily. I no longer cry but sometimes I laugh when a memory of you pops in my head. I remember Spidey and how you used to grab him, bite him and throw him down from your perch in the family room. Andrea adopted a kitty in June and they named him Oliver. Sadly, Oliver was adopted with a wounded paw and he (and Andrea and me too) have been through a lot. He has been operated on but will not leave his paw alone. Poor guy. He has worn a cone on his head for almost the entire time that Andrea has had him. I don't know what the future holds for Oliver. Your favorite time of the year is approaching. You used to love to lay under the Christmas tree and hide in tissue paper while I was decorating. Every time I get your Santa doll out, it tugs at my heart. I miss you still, nine years later.
11-15-21 - Ten years! So hard to believe. Andrea's kitty, Oliver, had his front leg amputated in January because he would not leave the wound alone. He now is happy and runs around all over the place like a regular cat. He has a bit of a nasty personality like you did. If you pet him too long, he bites you. I still think about you often. I look out the dining room window and can see your grave. Dad sometimes still puts a rose on it. Love and miss you always.
11-15-22 - I can't believe that you have been gone for 11 years. Sometimes it seems like forever and sometimes it seems like only yesterday. I think of you often and miss having a kitty in my home. I remember you running inside the house when you heard me open the Lays potato chip bag because you knew you were going to get to lick the tuna can. I remember how you loved your box. Anything I put on the floor, newspaper, wrapping paper, etc. you thought was for you and you laid on it. I can picture you standing at the top of the stairs watching me in the living room. All of these years later I still miss you and have not been able to get another kitty.
11-15-23 - Twelve years! How can it be? I have thought about you so much today. Every year on your adoption day and the day you left I donate money to the Upland Animal Shelter in your memory. I don't think I will ever get another pet. At 68 years old, a pet could outlive me. I still think of you often and look at your grave in our rose garden. You were the best nasty kitty!