loss of a pet

All posts tagged loss of a pet

Bennie: A Cat Worthy of a Radiant Diamond

Published May 13, 2019 by Maryanne

SAM_3266 (1)Rest in Peace Bennie Cat

It’s been almost three months since my husband and I had to put down our beloved Bennie. And it still hurts us.

Several weeks ago, the burden was lifted a bit. I adopted a 9-year-old “senior” cat from St. Hubert’s Animal Shelter, Madison, New Jersey. A little doll of a cat. A small 11-pounder that came with the name Simba (which we changed to Sammy). Sammy is a perfect angel; very kitten-like, which is why I put the word “senior” in quotes. He gets along beautifully with our Nicholas, who is 6. They play together, eat together, sleep together. It’s an absolute joy to have a household with two healthy cats living in harmony. The first time since 2014 when my Billy Cat and Derick, who both lived to 19, were still alive.

Bennie came into our lives last summer. He was a feral turned friendly. Together, my husband and I made the decision to bring him in. At the time he seemed healthy. We got a check from our vet. He had FIV, a feline auto-immune disorder, but the vet reassured us Bennie could live a long life. She said he was 3.

We were ecstatic to take in this cat who was not only gorgeous, but the best cat I ever had in my life. He just loved to be pet and snuggle. He preferred strokes along his back over food. He’s stop eating to look up to us as if to say, “Pet me.”

The thing is, it wasn’t harmonious with Nicholas around. Because Bennie was sick, he didn’t want to play with Nicholas. He actually hid from him. We had to separate them, giving Bennie one of the larger bedrooms upstairs as a comfort zone, and gated our upstairs so Nicholas couldn’t fight with him.

It was rough. But what was even rougher was watching Bennie’s health quickly go down hill. We took him to three different vets. He ate but kept losing weight. Then he lost his eyesight and started having tremors. The result was Bennie had a brain tumor and we put him down.

I was incredibly hard because he was young and there was no emotional preparation for this. After we was put down, I collapsed into my husband’s arms. And then I got really sick. I’ll spare my readers the gory details, but I learned the hard way, I needed to manage stress better. With the help of my nutritionist, I am back on track.

Nevertheless, my husband and I still think about how much we loved Bennie. Even with Nicholas and Sammy around to love and entertain us, we miss Bennie terribly. We fell asleep in each others arms last night thinking of Bennie.

This morning I woke up earlier than usual — in fact, I woke up because Nicholas was on my side of the bed purring loudly as he snuggled against me. It must have been fate because I used my extra time to do some enjoyable internet surfing, instead of the usual promoting my work on Facebook and Linked In.

I was THRILLED to come across this site, with examples of diamonds made from cat ashes: https://www.heart-in-diamond.com/pet-ashes-to-diamond/cat.html

I never knew that cat ashes could be made into diamonds! AND according to the color of the cat! Bennie was the only cat my husband and I had that was orange/yellow. It wasn’t planned that way, it just happened that way.

Heart in Diamond has the perfect orange/yellow Radiant cremation diamond, which will represent Bennie perfectly, as he always was our sunshine cat. (Coincidentally, the room we had him in was carpeted orange/yellow — the room that had the best sunlight!)

Heart in Diamond offers an authenticity check and an affordable payment plan, without interest. You can order more than one diamond, also. Why not? There are so many cuts to choose from, for both men and women.

No disrespect to the crematory who put together Bennie’s ashes in a most beautiful box, but getting a cremation diamond necklace made from Bennie’s ashes will always keep him close to my heart. Bennie deserves it! In his short time here on earth, he taught me — and my husband — an incredible lesson. The lesson was no matter what life throws your way, keep fighting. Bennie was our little fighter. And in both life and death, he is an inspiration.

Ashes to ashes, dust to dust, and ashes to diamonds. For our Bennie Cat, a true diamond in every sense of the word!

Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta can be reached at: maryannechristiano@gmail.com.

She is available for motivational speaking engagements and is the author of the following books: 

“Be (Extra)Ordinary: Ten Ways to Become Your Own Hero” will be available October 2019. To pre-order, go here: https://kicamprojects.com/shop/be-extraordinary/

“I Don’t Want to Be Like You” is available on Amazon. To get your copy, go here: https://www.amazon.com/Dont-Want-Be-Like-You/dp/1726273261

Rest in Peace, Dear Bennie Cat

Published February 15, 2019 by Maryanne

BennieBennie Grover Hemmingway

Earlier today we had to put down our sweet Bennie cat.

He was a feral who started showing up at our doorstep last August. My husband and I fed him. He was enticed by the food, but more so, the pets we’d give him. It seemed he was more starved for love than for food! He’d take a few bites, but then put his head up to be pet. Of course we fell in love.

One day he wasn’t around. I called, “Bennie!” He knew his name and ran through the grass like a gazelle! He had such a personality.

Before we took him in, we got him checked out by a vet and learned he had FIV, a feline auto-immune disorder. We wanted him anyway. We knew with FIV, he’d come with health problems, but we didn’t realize it would be so soon. He was only 3-years-old.

When he was officially inside, he loved it! He did this cute thing we called “Happy Paws.” He’d purr very loud and wiggle his paws. Sometimes he’d lie on his back with his happy paws up in the air. And he was so cute when he cocked his head to the side, like a puppy would do!

Bennie was a lazy cat. He loved to lay around and be pet constantly. He really liked butt rubs. And he loved music. I’m not a singer, but I’d sing to him and he’d stand up and look right at me, as if he was giving me a standing ovation! Even if I had a punk rock band, like The Dickies on the CD player, he’d sit right in front of the speaker and listen.

We only had him five months. He had brain cancer. And he was a little fighter too. He was determined to make a go of it, but unfortunately worse came to worse and the sad day had come. I collapsed in my husband’s arms. We were both devastated.

Our vet said Bennie knew he was sick and he came to us to give him a good home  before he passed. I know we did! And I’ll miss those purrs and that beautiful face.

Godspeed Bennie.

“Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.” –Anatole France

SAM_3260 (1)SAM_13251

Take the Road Less Traveled

Published June 7, 2016 by Maryanne

road-less-traveled-desktop-download

Bike riding is one of my favorite forms of exercise for several months out of the year; throughout New Jersey’s spring, summer, and fall seasons. Even in winter we may have some warm days to bike ride.

My husband surprised me with a beautiful bike before we were married, the first summer I was living with him. I was so proud of myself for learning the area fast and being somewhat independent, I loved taking bike rides to a favorite park in the area.

This particular park was beautiful. I’d see deer, ducks and ducklings, geese, and of course many dogs being walked. A 20-minute ride from our home to the park and back could turn into a 45- to 60-minute extravaganza, as I loved to diddly dally, stopping to pet every cute dog and pausing to see the deer and ducklings … or even a squirrel or rabbit. I’m just always so in awe of it.

From time to time I’d see my husband’s brother’s girlfriend, Eileen, in the park and we’re exchange pleasant words. She was retired, and with me being self-employed, we’d often be in the park when everyone else was at work. She’d greet me with a big smile and big, “Hi!” It always lifted my spirits to see her, she was just such a happy person.

Right after Thanksgiving of 2015, Eileen passed suddenly. She wasn’t ill, it was just one of those things that happens. And just as suddenly, I stopped going to the park because I couldn’t go without shedding tears thinking of her. One day I road my bike towards the park and when I got there, I turned around to come back home, as I was not about to enter; it was just too sad.

After a whole winter of not going to the park, I started again in the spring. However, once my 19-year-old cat Derick died, I couldn’t bring myself to go to the park again. It was just too depressing being out in the sunshine when I was once again mourning. Instead I stayed at home with the shades down.

When my spirits finally lifted and I tried heading out to the park again, I realized something about the park changed. It just didn’t have the same positive vibe it once had.

In one area, there’s this little bridge going over water and people are supposed to walk their bikes over it. One day as I was walking my bike, a guy was running with a stroller. He almost ran right into me and screamed at me, “Get out of my way!”

I called the town and tried to explain what happened — that no one should run with a stroller and they should possibly have an official moderating the park. What if I wasn’t such a petite person? If that guy banged into someone who was larger, the child could have went flying out of the stroller and possibly ended up going over the bridge and into the water.

There were other incidents, but after that particular, I stayed away from the park for another few weeks. What was going on? Was I attracting bad things coming my way because I was so down about the losses in my life? Or was I just in a world of my own, not paying attention because I wanted to shut out all the noise around me? Is this why my essence was attracting such negativity?

Or perhaps I just needed a change … for closure … two many things about that park reminded me of what I lost. Mainly seeing Eileen there. But also, whenever I stopped to talk to people about their dogs, I was always telling them about my cats — Derick who just died at the age of 19, and Billy Cat who died two years earlier, also at the age of 19. When I moved to this area to be with my husband, my two cats came with me … it’s as if we all embraced the wonderment of a new township together. Me, a person who commuted to NYC for work for so many years, now was driving a car. And the cats who always lived with me in apartments, now had free roam of a large house. And then back to Eileen, the one who told me how to pronounce the Indian name of the park. I considered that park “my” park since 2006 … and now life was so different.

That’s when it dawned on me … there was another park near our house that could possibly be better for my spirits. (This one had a name I knew how to pronounce on my own!) Maybe this “new” park had my name on it?

This park was a little quieter. Maybe too quiet. Without all the dogs and possibilities of running into someone I knew, it might be a lonely ride. I got on my bike and went anyway.

And, wow, what a great peaceful ride it was. At this park, people weren’t running with baby strollers. They weren’t even talking on cell phones. They seemed to be there to take in the scenery. And they were more polite. People moved out of each others way. People nodded or smiled. It was a more beautiful vibe.

There were less dogs. But there were also less geese and less geese droppings. There were less hills, but one clean straight path to just ride on as the sun hit my chest. All alone with my thoughts, my ideas, my inspirations. I was able to think about Eileen and the cats without feeling such a heaviness like I felt in the other park. The memories were now simply sweet … thanks to the peace of a quiet, less traveled road.

Yes, the road less traveled was a lovely one; and certainly a case of less equals more.

Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta is the author of “Love Cats” available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle editions: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1681020513

Rest in Peace, Derick “Mommy’s Little Heart” 6-24-96 to 4-29-16

Published April 30, 2016 by Maryanne

DerickBeautiful Derick

Last night my husband and I had to make that awful decision of putting down my 19-year-old cat, Derick. He had kidney failure and it was the humane thing to do, as he stopped eating over a week ago and was losing weight rapidly. Worst of all, he was lethargic … spacing out. And he had his last epileptic spell yesterday. We did everything we could, even left him at the vets a few nights hoping he’d have an amazing comeback. But that didn’t happen. The vet suggested taking him home to live out his life comfortably. Yet, he was anything but comfortable, and just hanging on — as the survivor. The last straw was that he could no longer stand to drink his weather — or walk. May he rest in peace, my beautiful little boy, Mommy’s little heart.

This cat gave me so much joy for 19-years. Back in the 1990s my friend Janet had a beautiful gray cat. When I learned this cat was pregnant, I just had to have one of the kittens. One was a beautiful orange and white cat. I choose that one, but Janet said, “That one is for my niece. She’ll kill me if I give her away.”

So Derick was my second choice. Janet said, “That’s a great choice. He does funny things.”

And for 19 years he continued to do funny things. Derick was my heart and soul. From the time he was a kitten, he slept with me every night, putting his paw around my arm, as if to say, “This is my chick!”

Derick was much more than a cat. He was very smart, as if a little person was inside him. And he played my husband like a steel guitar. Derick truly knew how to “work the cute.”

There were many legendary moments, but these are my top three favorite.

#1. There’s a movie about The Turtles called “My Dinner with Jimi.” Derick really seemed to take to the Turtles music and the first time we watched the movie, he watched it with us — from the opening song, to the ending credits. He’d sit with us and watch the entire movie. We watched it again, and he did the same thing. Even a third and fourth time. He just loved that movie. If we couldn’t find Derick in the house, all we had to do was put on “My Dinner with Jimi” and he’d come running into the room.

#2. Derick always picked on my other cat Billy. Derick was extremely jealous of Billy and would get into these terrible fights with him and we’d have to separate them. One time I caught him in the act — about to take a swat at Billy with his paw. Really loud, I scolded, “No, no, no!” Derick just froze, paw in mid-air, then in very slow motion brought his paw down and walked away, slowly, with his head down.

#3. The time my father-in-law was over watching baseball and Derick tried to hit the ball on the television with his paw.

#4. Derick adored my husband. The week before Derick passed, my husband came home a little later than usual. Derick heard the door and sprang off the couch and ran to him. Both of my cats did that. When my husband came home, they’d run to the door like dogs. And when I went out, my husband said, Derick would stand by the door and cry for me.

How could anyone not love the unconditional love of a pet?! Some say dogs are more lovable, but not in this house. If you provide a cat with a lot of love, he/she will give it back tenfold. They may seem aloof, but they are not really. Cats are just as mushy as dogs, if you let them be.

It’s said that dogs can make about 30 different sounds and cats can make 100. Well, Derick must have discovered all 100 sounds because his vocals were legendary — so much so that my husband and I would randomly pick a sound and mimic him just for a laugh. My favorites were “Mur-ROW” and “Et-OW!”

One night my husband and I were the in the audience of a cable show where his band was going to perform the following week. During the dead silence in between acts, my husband let out an “Et-OW!” in honor of Derick. It was funny to us, of course, but no one else knew what it was about. Our little cat secret.

We have so much love and respect for anyone who treats cats like family. I think both of my cats lived to the age of 19 because that’s exactly how I treated them. They were just there, as part of my life no matter what was going on. In 19 years, the cats were with me in three different homes — my first apartment that I sublet from my grandmother; my second apartment; and finally living in a house with my husband, a house both cats embraced and eventually took over. Our cats home, and we just live here. That’s exactly how it was and every pet owner understands it.

And then they steal our hearts … with the unconditional love, their funny ways, the late night snuggling … as they go from kittenhood, to kitten/cat, to cat, and then old cat. They grow with us and change as the years go on. There’s always something to learn from a cat. While my oldest Billy Cat taught me to slow down and embrace life; Derick taught me to be strong. Derick was always the survivor, the true meaning of a cat having nine lives. While Billy was never sick until his old age, Derick was always in and out of vet’s offices. I still can’t believe he made it to 19. But as one vet said, “Feisty and stubborn.” That was our Derick, and that’s what we love about him.

My God! I will miss that little critter terribly.

Last night a big chunk of our hearts — ripped out and tossed to the curb.

But he is no longer suffering … waiting for us, in greener pastures, out of his suffering and kitten-like again.

Derick, you will always be Mommy’s little heart, and our little kitten in heaven. ❤

MareDerickIn my old apartment in Montclair

SexyeyesDerickShowing off and looking pretty!

Derick hugging DennisHugging my husband — Derick loved his Daddy! ❤

SAM_9982Last photo of us together at animal hospital

I Dreamed My Cat Was Alive

Published September 6, 2015 by Maryanne

Billy in the SkyBilly Cat, in Heaven on the Rainbow Bridge

September 3, 2013, my beloved Billy Cat passed away. He was 19. This is the blog I wrote on that horrible day: https://maryannemistretta.wordpress.com/2013/09/03/goodnight-beautiful-angel/

For the past two years, I was always sad during the reunion date of his death. Billy was not just a cat, he was family, as you can read in the previous blog.

Last night I believe I was on the Rainbow Bridge, as our baby came back to us in a dream.

It was so realistic, Billy was alive again. The dream felt like a dream. I thought he was a ghost visiting us on his death date. Then it was several days — maybe 20? I said to my husband, “Billy is still here.”

He said, “Don’t question it, just enjoy Billy.”

I said, “There has to be an answer for this.”

Then my husband said that Billy never died. When he was sick he put him under a tree. He heard about neighbors talking about “a cat.” Billy came home to us. He was better and alive.

When I woke up in the middle of the night, my heart was racing. I really thought Billy was alive! Then I realized, my husband never put Billy “under a tree.” We were together on that sad day we brought him to the vet and had no choice but to put him to sleep. Our baby had bone cancer and was down to four pounds. It was the humane thing to do.

I woke my husband up and told him about the dream. We hugged.

I went back to sleep and dreamed:

I saw a cat in the back seat of someone’s car. I opened the car door and there was a key. I turned it so the car could be warm for the cat. It was dark and again — the cat looked like Billy Cat.

Neighbors came out and I told them I wasn’t stealing the car, I just wanted the cat to be warm. A woman picked up the cat and his dark tiger stripes turned orange. It wasn’t Billy.

I woke up again and was so happy that Billy was on my mind so much that I got to dream about him. It was like having my little guy back, even if it wasn’t real, the surreal Billy was extremely rewarding to have.

Damn, I miss that little guy! ❤

Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta is the author of “Love Cats” available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle editions: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1681020513

Missing Grandma and Billy Cat

Published December 20, 2014 by Maryanne

Billy in the SkyMy baby, the late Billy Cat in Heaven (1994 to 2013)

In the days leading up to Christmas, I am fine that I am so sensitive that I miss my Grandmother and late Billy Cat terribly and I am constantly crying. And during this time if people feel that I should instead rejoice that their souls are on to a new life, I’d appreciate if you kept your mouths shut. I never want to be THAT person. Sorry if this means I’m not “evolved” enough, but I prefer to be here on earth while I AM here. I’ll worry about the afterlife when it gets here. I miss my cherished loved ones very much. Fuck.

Billy in the Sky

Published September 20, 2013 by Maryanne

Billy in the Sky“Billy in the Sky” (Art collaboration between my husband and his friend Patrick, photos by me)

Dennis and I are still very heart-broken over the loss of our Billy Cat, who we had to put to sleep at age 19, on September 3.

The other night we received Billy’s ashes and paw print from our vet. It was done so beautifully, the little box has a gold name plate and the paw print has a little heart on it.

I’m still having a hard time getting through the day. My heart is pained and the loss is so great. I have to be honest and say that it’s sad that some people just don’t get it, which makes the loss even more painful and harder to heal.

I am so grateful for all the animal lover friends and family I have that do get it. Those who have helped in the most heartfelt ways. I will never forget the kindness.

In honor of Billy, I had his picture put on new address labels I had printed and I wrote a dedication to him in my upcoming October newsletter.

I still miss him terribly. Our home still feels empty without his presence.

We will always love you, Billy.