My Precious Meatball

by Hilary
(New York)

This is day 5 of my grief, and it is overwhelming. On Thursday, March 21st, 2013, my husband called me after work and told me our 5 year old cat Meatball had to be taken to the Emergency Animal Hospital because she was throwing up, had diarrhea, and couldn’t stand on her own. I rushed to the Emergency Animal Hospital, the whole time trying to convince myself that it was the Kitty flu or something treatable. The vet said that she was born with an enlarged heart and because of that, her red blood cells smashed together in her heart, causing a blood clot to be thrown out into her blood stream. She had congestive heart failure and was dying. Her lungs were filled with fluid, and the blood clot made it impossible for her to move her back legs. He said her breed (Manx) didn’t usually live very long, and somewhere in her genetic line there must have been this heart defect.

Even if we treated her, it would’ve taken weeks for her to recover and she would be very uncomfortable, and still not able to use her legs. Then the vet said she would probably have more blood clots after this one. Her quality of life would have been terrible. My husband and I made the hard decision to put her to sleep. She was in so much pain, just touching her lightly made her cry terribly. She didn’t even look like herself. Since she was dying, we had to make decisions quickly, and had to say our goodbyes fast, so she wasn’t suffering. We said our goodbyes, gave her lots of kisses, and told her what a great cat she was, and how much we loved her. Then we told her everything was going to be ok as the vet put her to sleep.

Our life is so empty now. We have two other cats, but our home feels so empty. Meatball was such a happy cat, who truly loved us. She was the kind of cat that was always around, giving us attention, begging for food, keeping us company in the bathroom, engaging the other cats in play, greeting us when we got home…basically, involved in all aspects of our lives. She had such a personality too. She was an over-eater and would steal her sisters’ food, she would play her heart out chasing the red dot from the laser pointer, and attacking the fake bird like it was real. She was always into everything (open cabinets, dirty laundry baskets) and had a strong love of boxes. Any box that was new would be immediately claimed by her (pizza boxes, Christmas boxes, UPS boxes, etc.). She snored when she slept, played with objects on the other side of doors, and loved pom-poms. She would kneed the softest of blankets so long that we had to make her stop, and would cuddle up with us. She would scratch all my shoes, even though she didn’t have claws, and make cute noises when we called her name. I used to pick her up when I got home and ask her how her day was, and ask her if she was nice to her sisters (sometimes she would play too hard). I used to sing “On Top of Spaghetti” to her, and dress her up in cat costumes, which she always tolerated. She loved one of our cats (Slim) so much that she was always right by her side. She would sit and sleep as close as possible to Slim; it was adorable. They were like Frick and Frack, and now every time I see Slim, it is a constant reminder that Meatball is gone. Slim looks really sad now, and keeps looking around…maybe she’s looking for Meatball? She makes weird noises and stares into space for long periods of time.

These cats are my babies, because I don’t have any kids yet. My husband works nights, so I’d come home to them and we’d eat, play, and cuddle. The hole in my heart is unbelievable. I just can’t get over the fact that she was fine when I left her Thursday morning, and a few hours later, she was dying. I kept saying in the vet’s office, “But I just saw her!” I made a decision to keep my cats indoors because I wouldn’t be able to handle it if they never came back one day. I would always tell people that my cats were going to live forever, because I couldn’t handle them not being with me. We have an older cat Buster, and I was sure she’d go first. But Meatball was the baby, and I only got 5 years with her. The most ironic part of this is that the night before Meatball died, we talked about taking Buster to the vet because we think her teeth are rotting. Never in a million years would I have thought Meatball would be dying…she was a healthy cat!

I keep playing the memories of Meatball over and over again in my head. I’m so worried I will forget how she used to sound and look. I am glad that she had some extra attention the night before she died. We keep the cats out of the bedroom usually, but I let her in as a special treat. She cuddled with me while I was on the phone, and I talked to her a lot after I got off the phone as she laid on the bed. I gave her kisses and hugs and let her sleep the night on the bed. When my husband got home from work Thursday morning, he made himself dinner and gave her some steak which she loved. I fed her breakfast like I always do before I went to work.

At first we opted to have a general cremation, because we thought we’d be sad every time we looked at her ashes. But we changed our minds, and had her cremated with all of her toys, her brush, her food dish, and a note from us. I’m so glad we changed our minds…it is comforting to know that she is with us at home, even though it is her ashes. Her ashes are in a small wooden box with her picture on the front. I still talk to her, I kiss the box, and I’ve slept with the box, just to be close to her. I miss her so much…I just want her back. I feel dead inside and still can’t believe she is gone. I’ve cried numerous times every day since. Nobody really seems all that supportive in my time of crisis. There have been a lot of people on Facebook giving their condolences, but I really want someone to come sit with me, listen to me, and not try to make me feel better-just be there for me. I have never felt this sad before, not even when a human close to me has died. I guess time will help eventually, but today is a very grim day…I love you Meatball; you will always be in my heart!

Comments for My Precious Meatball

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May 26, 2013
Precious Meatball
by: Sherrie

I understand how you are feeling. I lost my fur baby January 6, 2013. I still shed a few tears each day and kiss her good morning and good night. Although I can't come and sit with you - please know that you are not alone.

Apr 04, 2013
Dear Hilary,
by: Pat in Missouri

I am soooo sorry you have lost your sweet Meatball. I am not a "cat" person, but I have 2 dogs I adore. I know I would feel as lost as you do, if either of my furry friends died. They have been a source of real comfort since I lost my fiance', my brother, and my father who all died in 2011. The German Shepherd I have was my fiance's dog. He is so smart and makes the pain of losing Frank (my fiance') a little more bearable. Frank really loved his dog and I can tell it. He is so affectionate and loyal.

I know it doesn't help that you have 2 other cats. I'm sure they miss Meatball too. In time, you will find a special place in your heart for your Meatball and will be able to visit that place whenever you want to remember special times with him. You are still in a state of shock right now. Death is not easy for anyone, but it is really part of the life cycle. We will all die one day. From what I hear, the Lord is waiting for us with a glorious new home. There is no pain there and no grief. So, think of Meatball sitting with his Heavenly Father. He is happy and free of pain and 1 day, you will be reunited. Give your other cats a big hug for me and spoil them with attention. They will love it and so will you. Take care.

Mar 27, 2013
Beautiful Meatball
by: Diane

I'm so very, very sorry for your loss,we do know on this site what it is like to lose one of our precious babies. My Chrissy has been gone for 3 months now, I wish I could tell you it gets better, but the pain and agony continue. Time does have a way of cushioning it a little bit, but something will remind me and I'll burst into tears. At least I'm not crying at work anymore. It seems that any joy in my life has left. I too have two other babies, I kiss them and tell them I love them everyday. We hurt so deeply because we loved so much. I feel more grief about my Chrissy's passing then any human that has passed, most likely because our furbabies love us unconditionally and are so innocent in their lives. Please accept my heartfelt condolences. RIP beautiful Meatball, wait for your family at the Rainbow Bridge.

Mar 27, 2013
My Precious Meatball
by: Doreen U.K.

Hillary I am so very sorry for your loss of your precious cat Meatball.
I have had to bury many a cockatiel bird and broke my heart. My lovebird ben climbed the cage slowly when he went blind. I watched his struggle. I couldn't bear it and reached into the cage and cupped him in my hands telling him I loved him and there he died in my cupped hands. Oh how I broke my heart. I will never forget all the joys we had but the loss was more than I could bear.
I lost more birds then gave the other one's to an Bird Rescue where the birds would have a better quality of life in an outdoor/indoor aviary rather than be in a cage. I MISS MY LITTLE DARLINGS. My heart broke forever. Losing a pet is different from losing a person. But saying this I lost my husband of 44yrs. 10 months ago to cancer and this is the WORST LOSS OF MY LIFE.
I know a pet would be good now, but I don't want to go through another loss right now.
Try and keep a pet journal of all your pets and write all the daily experiences and you will never forget. You will have this forever. It will also be therapeutic for you as you will get all this pain out of your system. Often other people cannot share our pain and feel the way we want them to. But I know what you mean when you say all you want is someone to sit with you and listen to you. WE ARE HERE. Wish I could be with you in person. May God comfort you in your sorrow and loss.

Mar 26, 2013
Crying with you
by: Anonymous

Dear Hilary, I am so far away from you in South Africa but I feel your pain. I am so sorry you lost your little baby Meatball. I lost my mom recently and my little dog also got ill, I was beside myself and convinced I would lose him too. He recovered, but I'm terrified of anything happening to him, i know I would feel exactly the same as you. I also come home to my little dog boy and also have no kids yet.

May The Lord comfort you, give you strength to heal and know your little baby is with the angels and you will see him again some day.


Mar 26, 2013
by: Judith in California

I pray for you to find peace in knowing tht Meatball is in Rainbow Bridge with all my Kitties that I so heartbreakingly had to put down in the last 8 months. Yes, I'm so sad and lonely for them but I know they were cared for and loved to no end just as yours was.

Your pictures show how much he was loved and a part of you.

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