Goodnight, Beautiful Angel

Published September 3, 2013 by Maryanne


Billy, as we knew and loved him, a wise old sage.

After a long summer of struggling to keep our 19-year-old baby, Billy Cat, comfortable, we had to make the decision to put him down.

He was our joy, our laughter, our love and our life. Billy was the best cat a person could ever have.

I remember when I got Billy. I was single and living alone. It was 1994 and I named him after Billy Corgan from Smashing Pumpkins because I  loved the band at the time. Billy was from the litter of a shop cat. My uncle told me the colors of the kittens and I said I wanted a gray one. I met my uncle at his shop and he was waiting for me, with Billy, in a box.

Before I took Billy home, I took him to meet my beloved Grandmother. She was the first person to say how cute he was and ever since then everyone was falling in love with Billy. He was a special cat.

When I brought him home as a kitten, he was scared. He cried and hid a lot. It took him a long time to come out of his shell. Two years later, I got Derick as a kitten and the two were comical together. The moved with me when I left one apartment for another. At the second apartment I sneaked them both in because I was only allowed to have ONE cat. What could I do? They were family!

After a year of dating my husband, I moved in with him. Of course Billy and Derick came along. My husband is a wonderful cat dad. He adored my babies to pieces. When we all settled in, it was just adorable how we were all one big family.

Billy did so many cute things over the years but two of them will stand out in my mind forever.

1. The time my husband was playing The Monkees and the song “Papa Gene’s Blues” came on. There’s a lyric that goes, “I love you and I know you love me.” During that part Billy came running down the stairs. It was the sweetest, cutest thing. So from that moment on, we said that was “Billy’s song.” Billy always loved music anyway. He used to sit right by one of the stereo speakers. We said he was like the RCA dog who sat by the old Victrola. Billy would always looked so deep in thought.

RCAReminds us of Billy!

2. I’ll never forget the Christmas my husband surprised me by getting cute collars for the cats. Derick got holly and Billy got a bow tie (see first photo!) My husband planned that both cats were going to come down the stairs together to surprise me. He even rehearsed with them. But Christmas day, Billy was so excited he ran down the stairs ahead of Derick. I wish you could have seen the look on my face when I saw my Billy parading around with his bow tie, looking all proud and cute.

These are just two stories that capture Billy’s personality. He was just a big, old, innocent cat. He never caused me any problems. My cats never destroyed speakers, curtains or anything in the home. They never chewed on wires. The worst they ever did was fight with each other and even that was comical.

Everyone who met Billy fell in love with him. We always heard how beautiful he was, what a pretty cat he was and how good he was. I had Billy for 19 years, and my husband had him for the seven that we’ve all been together — the package deal. There was never a dull moment, but one thing Billy knew how to do was give a lot of love. He was just this big ‘ol stuffed animal.

I would love to share many more pictures, but since Billy was an indoor cat, most photos were taken in our home and we like our privacy.

Earlier this summer we noticed Billy had some problems with his hind legs and lost some weight. We just chalked it up to old age. Until he stopped climbing the stairs to use the litter box. We immediately took him to the vet and turned out he had thyroid issues. We were treating him by going to a regular vet and then a holistic vet, giving him acupuncture (which I blogged about earlier this summer).

Regular treatments kept him going for awhile. Then he took a turn for the worse. Most recent x-rays showed he had bone cancer. He was down to just four pounds and had a body temperature of 93 which meant he was deteriorating. Our mutual decision was to put him out of his suffering. And the last two days, that cat did suffer. You never heard a peep out of him, but he was meowing out of desperation.

Today we, along with my brother-in-law Joe, said our last good-byes to Billy.

Beautiful angel, I’ll never forget you. And I’m positive, neither will a lot of other people.

BillyBilly, our beautiful angel

30 comments on “Goodnight, Beautiful Angel

  • Oh, Miss Maryanne, Mommy and I are so sorry to hear about Billy. He brought so much happiness and entertainment to you and everyone else in his life for so many years. I know his loss leaves a gaping hole in your heart. I hope that you will hold Derick and that your husband will hold the two of you, and that the three of you will remember and celebrate Billy’s special life and all he meant to you. You are all in our thoughts.

    • Thanks so much Miss Harper Lee. We’re taking it very hard. Last night we spent over two hours just reminiscing about the good times with Billy. There’s a big gap now with just the three of us. xo

  • Oh Maryanne, I felt like crying when I read this. Billy cat was so handsome and what love to have had for 19 years. Your baby boy was lucky to have 2 people that loved and cared for him so much. My heart goes out to the 2 of you. Many loves and hugs. I know how hard it is to put your pet down, even when its in their best interest. I’m truly truly sorry. Love Paula xx xxx. oooo

      • I could tell from the way you talked about him. The relationship all of you shared was beautiful. Though the pain of losing him will always be there, I hope the worst of your grief passes quickly. Billy is all better now, and wouldn’t want the 3 of you to stay sad…

      • Aw, thank you. This knocked us for a loop. We tried to prepare ourselves, but that never works. Not sure how long the initial grieving period is, but I remember when my grandmother died I was a zombie for two weeks straight.

  • I’m so sorry to read about the loss of your beloved cat. I lost my 18 year old cat, Oreo, six years ago so I know how you are feeling now. Even if you enjoyed every second you spent with your loved one, it doesn’t make the death any easier. The only conciliation is to know you took great care of your cat. Billy was lucky to have you loving and taking care of him. I know it’s hard to read but you may want to check out the poem called “Rainbow Bridge”.

  • Awww…I am so sorry Maryanne. We have two elderly dogs right now and I know that I am going to have to make difficult decisions in the very near future as they are both beginning to experience health problems. I don’t want to face it but quality of life is everything when it comes to pets. Obviously, it takes a great deal of courage and kindness to let a pet go when he/she is suffering. You loved him well. xoxo

    • Thank you, Maggie and I am so sorry to hear about your elderly dogs too. These animals, they just steal our hearts. Our house is not the same. We are all mourning terribly, including our little Derick kitty who is 17. The two always fought, but they loved each other too. xox

  • Maryanne, reading this page had me in tears. I know your heartache. He was such a sweet beautiful baby. I am sure he knew how much you both loved him. I know this day has to be very painful for you. You made your decision out of love. Know he is at peace and not suffering. I truly believe we will be with them once again. In the meantime, he is running a playing with other cats, maybe even mine 🙂 We have such sweet memories of our precious fur-babies. They will always be in our hearts.

    • Aw, Sarah, your kind thoughts and words brought tears to my eyes. Thank you so much! ❤ Yes, Billy knew how much he was loved, as he was the wise old "owl" cat. My husband and I have been calling Sept. 3 "Billy Cat Day" so we remember all the funny things he used to do, mixing laughter with the tears. We will all meet our fur- babies on the Rainbow Bridge again someday! ❤

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