in loving memory: sir halitosis maximus

Kitty Smirk

Dear Hal,

I spent the last hour or so carefully cleaning your spot in the laundry room. I threw away your blanket and that heated bed I bought for your old man cat bones, swept up the telltale black hair you’d left behind. Mopped. Not to erase you, but to remove the evidence of the suffering you went through at the end. Two cancers are really more than any one furry little guy should handle. But still, I thought we had more time. When you wouldn’t lift your head for a dish of cream, I knew it was time. I hated that knowledge. It hurt so much.

I tried to stay with you, in that spot where you spent your last night, curled up beneath the cabinet. I stayed as long as I could, but my body is not young anymore. I feel like you’d understand that. I couldn’t stay for the whole procedure at the animal hospital, either, because my heart doesn’t feel as young and strong as it used to. But that, you wouldn’t know much about. You stayed you until the end, until they gave you a shot and let me hold you until you fell into a deep sleep, your pink little tongue poking out between your front teeth and your breathing slow and steady, finally done with the pain. They took you away and I sat in the car and cried until I felt like I would be sick.

My grief at losing you is compounded by guilt, but I think that’s the way with humans. I’m so terribly sorry for being impatient with you. It’s a character flaw that runs pretty deep. You drove me nuts, you know, refusing to drink out of anything but the dripping sink. I’m sorry, too, for that last litter of kittens that caused you so much stress. Like I said, I thought we had more time.

Thank you for being a good friend. You healed a very deep hurt the minute Elana and I brought you home from that shelter in New York. I remember you slept next to me under the covers that night. What a weirdo! You stayed a weirdo, in the very best ways. Thank you for purring this morning when I petted you for one of the last times. It’s such a little thing, but I couldn’t bear the idea that you’d go out remembering only pain.

Telling my son stories about you will be so bitter sweet. I’ll always remember you.

I miss you. I love you. Thank you. And I’m sorry.



22 comments to in loving memory: sir halitosis maximus

  • I’m so sorry. I just lost my dog who also had two cancers. It’s not fair. I’ve read lots of posts about Hal over the years. There will always be a special corner of your heart that only Hal can fill.

  • Melissa

    I am so sorry. I have had so many pets over the years and have had to say so many goodbyes just the same. And they always hurt. Of course in time in gets better, but for the moment you just have a hole. Sending thoughts of peace your way.

  • Melanie

    I am so so sorry… I loved all the Hal stories over the years. Losing a pet is like having a piece of your heart carved out with a blunt object, and it is always worse when you know they are suffering. Sending you lots of internet hugs.

  • Catherine

    I’m so sorry:(.

  • Nicole

    Long time follower dropping in to say how sorry I am for your loss. Losing a pet is never easy and I hope that you find peace in your heart soon.

  • Jess

    I think our kitties always know how loved they are, even when they are annoying the crap out of us! It has always been abundantly evident what a wonderful cat mom you have been, to him and to all of the cats that clearly know to get sent your way. I am so sorry to read this and am sending lots of love and purring across the interwebs. He was an incredible friend.

  • Juanita

    I am so sorry for your loss. Hold onto those great memories of Hal. Know that you were a great mom to him and I am sure he appreciated it in his own way.

  • Steffi

    You’re a good person, Heather. I would live to be your friend.

  • Sharon

    This made me cry….I hope all your sweet memories of Hal will give you much comfort. And the picture of Charlie and Hal is just priceless. Thank you for putting into words what so many of us feel at the loss of our pets. Your sharing gives us all comfort.

  • I am so very sorry for your loss. I’v been reading for years and whenever you mentioned Sir Hal, that was a highlight for me. He will be missed by many, me included. I believe there is a very special kitty heaven and Sir Hal is there now.

  • Nilou

    Broke my heart. Terribly sorry for your loss. xo.

  • gunter

    I’m so sorry for your loss. I’m here at my office desk crying tears for dear Sir Hal.

  • I’m so sorry. I, too, loved Hal. And as Melissa said about so many goodbyes and how they all hurt. Why do we keep putting ourselves through it? I guess because all the love and joy we get from our pets makes it worthwhile. I have 2 elderly cats with medicated conditions. All’s well for the moment, but we all know how fast a small animal can go downhill when the time comes. I’m dreading it already. RIP, Hal.

  • Kristen H

    Heather, I was so sorry to read this. Losing a family member like Hal is incredibly painful, even when they are ready to go. Thank you for being such a great mom to him. I hope you can treat yourself gently and forgive yourself for the things you feel guilty about. You were the perfect parent for him, even though none of us are perfect. He had a great life with you. Well done.

  • CaliGal

    Oh Heather, I am so very sorry for your loss.

    I’m sorry to learn that Hal was struggling too but, I take comfort in knowing he’s now at peace.

    My thoughts are with you. xoxoxo

  • Jules

    there are no words…just hugs

  • Evelyn

    Oh Heather…
    This letter to Sir Hal is making me snuggle my own kittens a little tighter today…and maybe give them a few extra treats. You gave SH a great life, filled with so much love. May the memories you relive over the next while bring you comfort. I have enjoyed all SH stories on your site for many years now, and am tearing up for you. Sending hugs your way. <3

  • Heather…. i’m so sorry. I think this cat will be with you always, in spirit.

  • Ellen Jane

    Hi Heather- I’m so sorry. It’s such a rough thing. What a great cat life he had, and he knew it. I’ve been through similar stuff, and it stinks. I’ve had a little cry for you and Hal and hope you’re doing okay. xE

  • nerryna

    I’m so sorry, Heather. Hal was so loved.

  • ~Kabe

    My heart is heavy with yours. H.

    Goodbye, Sir Hal. Your stories were told with love and affection.

    I’m so sorry!