Tuesday, May 11, 2010


In the week of July fourth 2001, he picked me. I walked past him to get to the cute little grey kittens. They were tiny and playfully romping around their gage. The MO Feline Rescue Association brought cats into to Petsmart about once a month. A giant cat reached out of the cage and patted my arm with his paws. I stopped and stuck my fingers in the cage and he rubbed his face on my fingers and began to purr. He was pretty but I wanted a kitten, and he was huge. I turned again to walk to the cage full of kittens and he reached out and grabbed a mouthful of my arm to get my attention. He didn’t hurt me, he just wanted me. I don’t think I ever made it down to the “kittens.”

Stripes was a 16 week old Maine Coon. He followed me from room to room. He slept with me. He sat on top of my armchair, when I was in it, and somehow he managed to balance on the top of my office chair. He would pull my hair if I hit the snooze too many times. He didn’t like competing with the computer and often walked in front of the screen to get my attention. Over the last year his health declined. When we traveled, he protested when we got back. We started taking him with us to our cabin (about 10 hour drive) so he would be less stressed. He and the dog, Macy, would alternate sitting in my lap. Sometimes, they would both sit with me facing opposite directions. He just wanted to be with me.

I can’t even begin to explain how much Stripes will be missed. Yesterday was my first day home alone without him (everyone went back to work and school). It was very lonely. I’m sure I’ll get back to normal eventually, but right now I just need to be sad…


  1. A beautifuly written tribute to Stripes. I'm so sorry for your loss, Sharon.

  2. I'm sorry Sharon. That is such a hard thing to go through. My thoughts are with you.

  3. I feel your pain, and you're right. You just need to be sad. I've lost a few cats in my day, one of whom was a 6-toed Maine Coon named Missy. I hope you can find comfort in knowing that Stripes' life was better because he picked you...and you listened.

  4. Melody--Thanks.


    Wendy--Thanks. I'm sorry about Missy and thanks for saying his life was better because he picked me. :)

  5. I'm so sorry, Sharon. I know what it's like to love a cat that much. It sounds like Stripes was a very special cat, and you are a very special cat mama.

  6. Oh you poor thing!
    I'm so attached to my dogs, I can't imagine my life without one of them.
    Hold in there and stay strong. You loved your cat and he loved you, and that's the important thing to remember.

  7. You have every right to be sad. Losing a pet is hard, I lost my cat last March (09) and I still miss her. It takes a while to get used to not having that special animal around, but time will help to heal...

  8. I'm so sorry, Sharon ... it's difficult to lose such a constant companion.

  9. Linda--Thanks. He was.

    Megan R.--Thanks. I'm trying to get back into a routine. Tomorrow I'll try and go to the gym. We'll see...

    Megalicious--I don't think I ever recovered from my other cat dieing 14 years ago...I'm sorry for your loss.

    Kelly H-Y--Thanks...it is hard.

  10. Aww, Sharon, I'm so sad for you too. Sorry. I hate it when pets pass on. Thanks for sharing your feelings with us (and the gorgeous pictures of him). Take your time to grieve. We're here for you.

  11. I'm sorry to hear about the loss of your cat. I think it is so wonderful you adopted him instead of a kitten and have had such a wonderful time together. Think on those good moments and the quality of life you gave him.

  12. What a heartwarming story how he picked you for his family, Sharon. What a beautiful cat.
    Hugs to you and your family. The first few weeks are so hard to get through. Take care!

  13. What a special cat. What an enormous loss.

    Very sad to hear.

  14. Oh Sharon K Mayhew.

    I am so so so so sorry. I am truly sorry. What a beauty, what a lovely lovely precious cat and what a personality - just look at his intelligent sweet face. I am truly sorry.

    Big hugs to you and your family and dear Macy.

    Take care

  15. What a beautiful puss, Sharon. I'm so sorry. I often think the homeless cats make the best pets. They've been through that hardship and crave love. He was lucky he found you XX

  16. Sharon,

    You poor thing. I'm so sorry for your loss. At least you know Stripes is in a wonderful place.

    xoxo -- Hilary

  17. What a very loved and special cat Stripes was! You were both truly blessed to have each other. I'm so sorry you're hurting. :(

  18. You told a beautiful story, about how Stripes found you, Sharon! The best way to heal, I guess, is to think that he is in a good place, free of failing health!

  19. It's okay to be sad. that is an important part of the process and shouldn't be denied. hugs being sent from here, friend.

  20. I'm sad for you! I remember writing a post like this for my dog two years ago and crying the whole way through it.

    Pets are like no other love.

    Praying the memories will make the sadness less bitter.

  21. i'm so sorry to hear about your kitty.

  22. So sorry to hear about this, Sharon. . . . that was a beautiful tribute to Stripes. I can just imagine how great a companion he was to you--he looked SO PRECIOUS! You have every right to be sad . . . just take it one day at a time. Here's a *HUG*!

  23. I want to thank everyone for their support and encouragement. It's been a rough week...I've tried to reply to everyone either via their blogs or email. Thank you...

  24. I'm so sorry for your loss, Sharon. It's so difficult to lose a pet--they become family members.

    Stripes was beautiful, and it sounds like his personality matched his good looks. :) Cherish the memories and know you gave a great cat a wonderful life.


  25. Sharon, I'm so sorry for your loss. As the mummy of three cats and a dog, I do know and appreciate the wonderful bond between animals and humans. Lucky Stripes that he had such a great family, and lucky you for being blessed with him for so many great years.

    The saddest part of having pets is that they are like our children in so many ways and yet inevitably age faster. The losses are always so hard.

    Lots of hugs,

  26. Sending my sympathies, Sharon.

  27. A touching tribite. I have had the same two cats for over 10 years and have never lost a pet before. I don't know how I'd deal with it. Have you heard Pablo Neruda's poem to his dog after it passed away? I did a post a while back on human relationships with pets and the poem is there - it is very moving

  28. Just in case you do not have the time, here it is:

    My dog has died.
    I buried him in the garden
    next to a rusted old machine.

    Some day I'll join him right there,
    but now he's gone with his shaggy coat,
    his bad manners and his cold nose,
    and I, the materialist, who never believed
    in any promised heaven in the sky
    for any human being,
    I believe in a heaven I'll never enter.
    Yes, I believe in a heaven for all dogdom
    where my dog waits for my arrival
    waving his fan-like tail in friendship.

    Ai, I'll not speak of sadness here on earth,
    of having lost a companion
    who was never servile.
    His friendship for me, like that of a porcupine
    withholding its authority,
    was the friendship of a star, aloof,
    with no more intimacy than was called for,
    with no exaggerations:
    he never climbed all over my clothes
    filling me full of his hair or his mange,
    he never rubbed up against my knee
    like other dogs obsessed with sex.

    No, my dog used to gaze at me,
    paying me the attention I need,
    the attention required
    to make a vain person like me understand
    that, being a dog, he was wasting time,
    but, with those eyes so much purer than mine,
    he'd keep on gazing at me
    with a look that reserved for me alone
    all his sweet and shaggy life,
    always near me, never troubling me,
    and asking nothing.

    Ai, how many times have I envied his tail
    as we walked together on the shores of the sea
    in the lonely winter of Isla Negra
    where the wintering birds filled the sky
    and my hairy dog was jumping about
    full of the voltage of the sea's movement:
    my wandering dog, sniffing away
    with his golden tail held high,
    face to face with the ocean's spray.

    Joyful, joyful, joyful,
    as only dogs know how to be happy
    with only the autonomy
    of their shameless spirit.

    There are no good-byes for my dog who has died,
    and we don't now and never did lie to each other.

    So now he's gone and I buried him,
    and that's all there is to it.

  29. What a lovely story of how you met. I'm so sorry, Sharon. Thinking of you.

  30. so sorry - my dog is 15 and getting old. my boxer died last year. its hard losing pets :(

  31. I'd like to thank everyone who has stopped by and offered kind words of encouragement. I've tried to respond to each of you personally via my gmail account, but I'm not sure if I'm doing it right. Again, thanks so much for your thoughts, prayers and sharing your stories with me. It helps...

  32. My heart breaks for you. I still miss all those who've gone on (Olivia, Felicia, and Maude), and I"m dealing with Elsa's serious illness now. She was originally misdiagnosed, but I've found a new vet whose treatments are working better (she is an older cat), so at least she'll have a good quality of life for however long we still have together. She picked me when she was 7 weeks old, and I can't imagine life without her.

  33. Hey, it's me again. Your sweet baby looks like my late brother Ivan. Very sad.