Wednesday, August 28, 2019

It's Just a Cat! NOT!

How many of you have heard someone say to you, "it's just a cat" when you're upset about an illness or death of your furry companion? I clearly remember a colleague (who I respected) saying these exact words to me when I returned to work after losing my heart-kitty, Sweet Praline, to cancer.

Graphic of Sweet Praline (April 2011)

I don't know why people think it's okay to tell someone this, especially after the death of a beloved pet. I quickly told this person that Praline was part of my family and I didn't appreciate his words. I wanted to say, "how would you feel if I said that about one of your children," but I didn't want to be as insensitive as he was.

Death is part of life but that doesn't make it any easier for those of us who are left behind. 

Today is Rainbow Bridge Remembrance Day, which was founded by Deb Barnes from Zee & Zoey's Cat Chronicles. Deb designed this day as a special day for pet guardians to honor the memory of those beloved pets in their lives they've loved and lost, but never forgotten. I shared the history of all of the furry companions (both dogs and cats) who were part of my life and are now at the Rainbow Bridge. The collage below is of the felines who've found a special place in my heart. Muff (19 yr) was my first cat and she taught me about the unique personalities of felines. Sweet Praline (15 1/2 yr) was my "heart kitty" and helped me through a lot of challenges in my life. Beignet was Truffle's little brother and was scheduled to live with us, but the nasty cancer took him away from us at 11 weeks of age.


Cats who were part of my life

Many people have the mistaken belief that cats are aloof and non-friendly. I like to think that cats are independent furry creatures who have discriminating tastes when it comes to relationships with humans. I believe cats can sense when someone is dangerous or has the tendency to hurt them. Sweet Praline was generally friendly with people who came to visit me, but there was one friend who Praline wanted nothing to do with. This friend was in cat rescue and loved cats, but no matter how much she tried to get Praline to come to her, Praline kept a safe distance. Sometime during that year, this "friend" hurt me deeply and walked away from the friendship. Praline knew she wasn't good for me. I've shared the story of Praline with another friend's son who has Down's Syndrome. Praline wasn't overly friendly as she got older and rarely let strangers pet her. Cody came to my house one day and sat on the floor to see if Praline would let him pet her. Not only did she let him pet her, she licked his hand, which she usually reserved for me. Praline lived with me for almost 16 years and helped me survive a divorce, earn a Ph.D., recover from a job loss, transition to a new career in my 40s, and recuperate from over 13 surgeries during a 5 year period. Praline would greet me at the door when I came home from work and would turn on her loud purr engine when I pet her. Praline taught me what unconditional love really meant. 

Sweet Praline and Mom Paula


I treasure the life experiences my previous cats provided me over the past 40 years. They will always hold a special place in my heart.

To those who say, "It's just a cat," I respond, "yes, she's a part of my family who's shown me more love than any human could every possibly do. She's provided me comfort in times of sadness; healing purrs in times of illness; laughter and joy in times of boredom; and unconditional love every day! Can you show me any human who could do the same?"

I hope you remember those furry companions who've enriched your lives with love and a smile today.

23 comments:

  1. No, it's not just a cat, it's a family member.

    Have a blessed Rainbow Bridge Remembrance Day. ♥

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  2. It is never ever "just a" cat ... it is your special one who holds the key to your heart, who waits for you to come home, who is there for you when you are sad, who curls beside you as you rest, who needs you as much as you need her ... it is never "just" ... it is always so very much more. And it is so loved, and when it leaves to move on ... there is a hole in your heart that "just" will not be filled.

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  3. I never worry about those who say it's just a cat...they are just idiots. Hugs as you remember your sweeties.

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  4. When TW went into the office hours after helping Autumn to the RB, she got the opposite reaction—hugs all around. She hadn't cried at the vet but let loose with all the hugs. Thanks for sharing your heart with these kitties and sharing them with us. They'll always be with you and live in your heart.

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  5. Wow, I can't believe someone would say something like that. You showed a lot more restraint than I think I would have. Sending you love as you remember your beloved angel babies.

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  6. Nobody ever says that to my human... because a) she works for herself, hence no day-to-day colleagues, and b) if it were a friend or relative that said that, they would be cut out of her life because who needs that type of person cluttering up your time?

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  7. Praline was a wonderful companion to you! It drives me crazy when others don't understand how much people like you and me love and treasure our furry companions. They give us so much.

    And yes, they are very intuitive. I've started joking with my friends that it's bad news if they can't pass the "Carmine test." Haha! In all seriousness, though, if Carmine reacts poorly to someone, it raises huge red flags for me - something I've come to know that I cannot ignore. Cats are such wonderful judges of character. <3

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  8. Mama read this and asked, "Did that person ever meet you?"! Because it's always been clear Praline was your everything (and the girls were very lucky she led you to them).

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  9. Hugs and purrs on the Remembrance Day, and I try very hard to NOT remember the unloving things that my own family said when Chuck was first diagnosed with a bad heart, and after putting his to sleep.

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  10. People who says things like that have either never had a cat or had one that they did not deserve.

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  11. I am sorry that happened to you at such a painful time. That is a beautiful photo of Praline, absolutely lovely.

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  12. Your response to "it's just a cat" is absolute perfection. I've never had that said to my face, but I'm sure those around me have thought that. They would probably rue the day if they ever did!

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  13. Beautiful post. No such thing s just a cat, they are all unique and special. XO

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  14. Just a cat? Never! And those that think that are wrong.

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  15. Praline was stunningly gorgeous! We could look at her all day long. And I understand exactly what you said about how much cats can save a life - Bear saved mine in much the same way.

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  16. I love this post and of course seeing the pictures of your beautiful kitties. People can absolutely be incredibly insensitive, and to be honest I feel sorry for those who have the attitude of "it's just a cat or dog." To me they're missing out on a special bond that, like you say, few humans can ever measure up to.

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  17. I hate when people say things like "it's just a ...insert type of pet here". It's happened to me over the years with various types of pets and it's always upsetting. Pets are family! I guess not everyone understands how special they can be. In that way I consider myself to be so, so privileged to know how it feels to share such a special bond with an animal.

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  18. I always remember Baby in a special way on Rainbow Remembrance Day like I remember all my other past pets and the list must be a mile long. Our bonds with each one is unique and not forgotten

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  19. I always get riled up when I hear people say such cold things as that. They do that with dogs as well. No, they are not just a "just." Our beloved pets are so much more, and loved deeply and bring so much joy and companionship. It's such a special bond we have with our pets...one that I believe makes me a better person! I love that photo of you with your Praline. Beautiful.

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  20. I couldn't agree more. Pets are family,period. I totally understand your frustration with such insensitive people. I'd want to give them a Randy Orton RKO but I have to refrain. It absolutely baffles me how insensitive people can be. Absolutely clueless. Thanks for sharing this post and going down memory lane. I remember you mentioning Beignet & Praline but didn't recall Muff. Awww...RIP sweet angels. They were all so beautiful with personalities to match.

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  21. If anyone ever dared say 'it's just a cat' to me I would go up like a rocket and they would be so sorry they even drew breath before they said it.

    I am over being 'understanding' about the people who don't understand pet grief and pet loss. No more Mrs Nice Lady, I stand up and I speak.

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  22. I'm so sorry for your loss of Praline, she sounds like a wonderful and protective cat. Thank you for reminding me of Rainbow Bridge Remembrance Day. I've had many dogs that I like to remember, several of whom have been my heart dogs.

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  23. Mom feels the same about pussycats as you do, Miss Paula. She took a day off from work when her pussycat before me went OTRB and the next day her coworker couldn't understand her grief saying it "was just a cat." Mom says that person just didn't get it. Luvs for you Truffle and Brûlée.

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