by hannah
(south carolina)

I remember that I got her when i was round 9 years old. She was a couple month old kitten with tan and black strips and I played with her the whole night instead of hanging out with my friend on her birthday. I stayed in my friend’s room with Ziggy all night and we had loved each other ever since.
I was going through extensive bullying and i was an introvert and shy and quiet girl so Ziggy was the only one that I felt I could turn to for comfort and love. My mom didn’t really show me any affection and neither did my dad. My sisters were older than me and didn’t want me around much because they were with their friends. I turned to Ziggy and grew more and more dependent on her for support and love.
9 1/2 years later and she starts to not eat. My mom starts to freak out for the next 2 months about every little thing. This is also the summer before I start my freshman year in college. I tell my mom not to worry as she did’t ever eat much to begin with and the thought of her leaving me made me break down and made me depressed for a few days after the thought occurred.
Turns out that Ziggy had lymphoma cancer and it was too far gone to treat. the vet gave us some steroids to ease her pain and he even took multiple giant needles worth of fluid out of her chest and lungs so that she could breathe better. We could’t do this again because it would hurt her too much and the vet gave her 5 days. She lasted a week, and in that week i stayed with her the whole time. She loved the outdoors so we let her go onto the patio from sunup to a little past sundown to give her the experience. I took my laptop to watch movies and music as i sat out there the whole time, not even coming in to eat so my parents took meals out to me.
Every day i sat outside with her no matter the weather and slept in my parents room so that she could be in the window sill at night. I cried as i watched liquid slowly fill her chest again the whole 7 days and I couldn’t stand that she was suffering but she looked so happy outside and not panicked as she became inside because she could feel it more without the distraction.
Monday came and we took her to the vet around noon. I kept trying to tell myself that they would be able to do something or that she would somehow come home with us even though i knew deep down that she wouldn’t. They tell us they can’t do anything and to think about what we wanted to do. After 20 minutes of loving her, holding her and crying the nurse came in and gave Ziggy the first shot of anesthesia to fall asleep. I kept asking why she wouldn’t close her eyes and the kind nurse told me that animals most times wont close their eyes when under anesthesia. I picked Ziggy up and held her as she breathed regularly in my arms like she would each night when i held her before we went to sleep each night for a few hours. I kissed her and petted her while she slept and then she just seemed to stretch and then stopped breathing in my arms. At the time i thought ‘aww she’s so tired, she’s stretching’. But that was the moment that she died and her body seized up. I set her on the table and unwrapped her to listen to try and find her breathe or her heart beat but she had passed. I cried over her for I don't know how long round 20-30 minutes but I couldn’t leave her. My body wouldn’t move from her and i kept kissing and petting her and calling her name. I always say ashiteru (I love you in Japanese) and i couldn’t stop telling her that as i seized with my screams but i didn’t scream. Even as i write this i am having this same reaction. I got some of her fur and put it in a bottle that the vet provided and then i picked Ziggy up again and held her one last time before i gave her to the nurse and asked her to make sure to give her the second shot of anesthesia to make sure. She also told me that the bad cases went with the first shot.
We had Ziggy cremated and the nurse mad a clay heart with Ziggy’s name, fur, and date, and her ashes went into a sealed tin that i keep with me. For the next week or so i had kept the bottle with her fur on me clutching it in my hands because i couldn't stand to not hold her and that was my lifeline then. I had promised Ziggy that we would always be together and that i would never leave her and that she would always be with me. I feel guilty that i made the decision but i knew she was suffering from cancer and hurting so bad and that it was the right decision. But i feel like i killed her and i blame myself. I haven’t told anyone this full story and the only other person that was there with me was my mom and she is dealing with it on her own so i feel alone in this. I miss her every moment I'm alive and i can’t say her name or hear it without crying. This happened a month before college started for me this past year and my friends here don't understand our connection. They say that she was just a cat and that i can get another. i did get a black kitten named Barracuda, Bari for short, and my parents are 10 minutes from campus so i can visit him frequently. But i still miss her with everything i have and i will never be able to forget her. she is still more to me than many people in my life. thank you for reading this.

Comments for Ziggy

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Nov 13, 2015
by: Doreen U.K.

Hannah I am so sorry for your loss of Ziggy. You had a strong bond with her that hurts so much now she is gone. There is so much going on here. More than you think.
Because you felt neglected by your parents, and your siblings got more attention you turned to a pet to bring you the comfort and love you feel you didn't get in your home life from your parents. You feel you didn't get the NURTURING that your cat Ziggy gave you. Now she is gone you feel LOST and very lonely. Your connection to Ziggy is stronger because you felt she was all you had, and she understood you, and you understood her. You may have many thoughts going through your mind right now and feel you can't talk to anyone about them. You can talk to a counsellor who will understand. OR You can talk to your mother and let her know how you have been feeling all these years without the love your siblings got and you felt left out. I guess your mother will feel hurt by this and realise that she was probably caught up with the older siblings and difficulties in life that you were overlooked but not meant to happen. You need to honour the way you feel and let out all your HURT and pain so you can move forward in life. This grief in different areas will affect you moving forward into healthier relationships.
You are leaning towards your peers at school thinking they will understand and when they offer you platitudes e.g. it is only a cat and you can get another seems insensitive and uncaring because they can't see or understand your relationship with Ziggy because it would mean you having to open up and discuss how you are really feeling about LIFE and your LOSS of Ziggy. A counsellor could benefit you more than you think. But don't share your feeling's or any counselling with your peers. Anyone who didn't understand could become cruel and utter insensitive statements that could set you back and retard your progress through grief. NURTURE yourself. Do good things for yourself each day to build yourself up and your world will start to change and other's will see you differently, and probably respect you more. This will be the foundation to improving your life and allowing it to become better. TAKE ONE DAY AT A TIME. Grief is painful, and it takes TIME to recover from grief. In time you may be able to put another pet in your life to enhance this. focus also in how you cared for Ziggy that made her life happier. It is what we give to others whether Pet or Person that will allow us to become happy and grow and learn that Life is still good despite our losses. Life will change with each experience we go through. We get up and live to fight another day. It is what we contribute to life and to another individual that will give us Joy that will remain.

Nov 02, 2015
I feel your pain
by: Marie

I am so sorry you lost your best friend. Its so hard to lose an animal that has given us so much happiness. I lost my Arne a Norwegian Forest cat to a coyote who jumped over my 6ft wall and killed him. It was horrible. I loved him like you loved Ziggy. He died July 17, 2014 and I still shed tears over him often. I never loved a cat the way I loved Arne. He was with me every moment . I walked him on a lease, he also traveled with me on my little motor home. I would rather be with him than people. I did the same as you, I got new kitties. I called it looking for Arne and ended up with 3 young kitties
Two Norwegian Forest cats and a Siberian Forest cat and guess what I never found a cat like Arne so I had to stop. They are wonderful cats but there will never be another Arne. I am taking him to the grave with me, his little ashes are on my dresser in a pretty box with his pictures. After her died I fought my HOA and won and now have coyote rollers over my walls so now I know my kitties have a safe place to enjoy the outside in my small walled yard. Just want you to know I understand the love you had for Ziggy he was not just a cat he was like your baby. I believe that we will see our kitties again, you know there are animals in heaven . I believe I will see Arne again. You seem like such a sweet young woman. Hope you do well in college and have a very happy life. Again I am so sorry you lost Ziggy. Just think of it this way, we were blessed to have these wonderful cats and they left some pretty big paw prints on our hearts. Marie

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