There are a few animals, like elephants, who can live into their sixties and beyond. Unfortunately, family pets do not fall into this category. If you love big dogs and want one, you know they will only be with you for about twelve years. Small dogs may live up to sixteen years. And cat owners are luckier. Cats can live into their twenties. And incredibly, my husband tells me that there’s a cat on record who has lived to be 35.

But for most of us, the joy of bringing home an adorable puppy or kitten is going to end in the sadness of having to say goodbye to our beloved fur baby.

I’ve been thinking about this because we just lost Ozzie, our longest living cat, a few days ago. And I’m coping with the feelings of sadness and disorientation I have now.

We adopted her in 2001. We thought she was a year old because she had a litter of kittens. But we didn’t know for sure. And now she’s gone, leaving Harriet, the cute little daughter we adopted along with her. Harriet was born in March 2001. So, we do know her age. Now she’s got both glaucoma and cataracts and also high blood pressure, and when we go on a trip, we must hire a cat sitter who can administer eye drops and BP medication. Because she’s almost blind, she hangs out mostly in our room, but she does take occasional trips downstairs.

Here are Ozzie and Harriet in their prime–both gorgeous and both Maine Coon mixes. Harriet is on the left, and Ozzie is on the right.

Someone on Facebook sent me this wonderful poem:

I have read it over and over, and every time I do, I cry. But it’s a lovely tribute to a beloved pet. And everyone reading this who has a furry companion will want to take the words to heart.

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About Rebecca York

NY Times & USA Today best-seller, Rebecca York, is the author of over 150 books. She has written paranormal romantic thrillers for Berkley and romantic thrillers for Harlequin Intrigue. Her new romantic-suspense series, Decorah Security, is set at a detective agency where agents have paranormal powers or work paranormal cases. She also writes an Off-World series where each story is a science fiction romance taking place on a distant planet in the far future.  View website

10 Replies to “OUR PETS”

  1. You were a good mom, Ruth. Ozzie lived a good life and knew she was loved. And still knows it. Don’t be surprised if you catch glimpses of her. She’ll be keeping an eye on you and her daughter. You’re still her mom.

  2. You and Ozzie were so fortunate to have each other for such a long time. You gave her a wonderful life and she gave you the kind of love that only cats are willing (able?) to give–not unconditional, heaven forbid but, from a feline’s lofty perspective, well earned. My longest lived cat was Carrie. A tiny (never more than six pounds), fireball, she graced us with her presence for twenty-two years. It’s been more than ten years since she left us and I still keep a framed photo of her next to my laptop. My heartfelt condolences, Ruth.

  3. You gave her a long, good life. And she gave you companionship (when she felt like it!). Hope that after grieving a little you can enjoy the memories and gently, peacefully move on.

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