A Little Dose Of Gratitude: Saying Goodbye

I take part in a weekly linkup called Ten Things of Thankful which is like a gratitude journal, except that multiple people do it and you get to read about all the wonderful things that they’re thankful for besides yourself!

I decided to join this linkup as a way of reminding myself how lucky I am, which can sometimes be difficult when life throws you a curve ball or two. If you’d like to find out more about the linkup, or join in, then you can click on the image below.

Ten Things of Thankful


These past couple of weeks it’s not been easy for me to be grateful. Only in my post on New Year’s Eve was I talking about how Charlie’s (my cat) health had been better in 2017 and that I hoped to have him for a few more years.

Sadly on New Year’s Day we had to make the decision to have Charlie put to sleep. I’m not ashamed to say that I’ve never felt pain like this before, and that it has hurt more than losing some family members. That’s not to diminish the love I have for the family who have passed on, but I had (have) a very deep love and connection to Charlie.

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Face of an angel. Don’t be fooled!

He was the first (and only) cat I’ve ever had. At the moment I’m grieving and processing my relationship with Charlie. Some people may think that a weird thing to say. They may say things like “He was just a cat” or “Just get another one”, and I think such people, sadly, have never had the opportunity to have the special bond that exists between a human and their pet. I don’t want children, so my pets are my children and are incredibly important to me.

This Ten Things of Thankful is dedicated to Charlie and how enriched my life is from having had him in it.

Where did it all start?

I’d never been a ‘cat person’. I’d always found them rather ‘aloof’, but that was based on the handful of cats I’d met over the years. In 2009 my first husband said he wanted to get a cat; I wasn’t keen but agreed nonetheless. We went to the local rescue centre and Charlie was the cat who stepped forward when we waited to see if any approached us. As my first husband worked a lot of late nights, Charlie would often come and sit on my lap as I worked on the computer or watched television.

When my marriage broke down Charlie was a great comfort. He’d sleep next to me on the bed and he’d nuzzle my head if I was upset. He’d wait on the stairs when I came in from work. I was so grateful when my first husband asked if I could take Charlie with me when I moved out as he was away too often with work.

Charlie the ‘healer’

I remember an insurance man came over once I’d moved into my own house. I knew the man already, but Charlie hadn’t met him before. As he sat down on my sofa Charlie stared at him. I warned the man that his black suit may get covered in fur; he laughed and said he was fine. As predicted, Charlie jumped onto the man’s lap and made himself comfortable. I found it touching that by the end of our conversation the man said he’d lost his cat a while ago and that Charlie had got him thinking about getting another 🙂

Charlie the ‘bruiser’

The lady at the cattery where I used to take Charlie described him as a ‘bruiser’. “If he was a man…”, she said “…he’d be one to have a few pints down the pub and then come home to sit in front of the television”. I liked that image. Charlie loved nothing more than eating and sleeping. He only ever roamed away from home once and arrived back the next morning looking shattered; he never left the garden again. He was a big-built cat who would ‘swagger’ and hardly ever broke into a run; that would exert far too much energy!

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Too cool for school.

Charlie the ‘big brother’

Just over three years’ ago we brought another child into the household; Cookie the dog. We deliberately got a puppy so that she knew Charlie was boss! Charlie was understandably wary of this little whirlwind and she got a few swipes over the years. However, there was one occasion where she had an abscess and was in pain. I remember Charlie walking straight up to her and sniffing her. He didn’t swipe at her; he knew she wasn’t well and seemed concerned. On another occasion my husband said he saw Charlie walk up to Cookie and lick her on the nose; she was petrified!

Likewise, whenever we brought Charlie home from the cattery or the vets, as soon as he was out of his box Cookie was wagging her tail and sniffing him. I’ve no doubt they loved each other in their own way.

A Little Dose Of Gratitude Saying Goodbye
Keeping out of the way of his little sister.

Charlie the ‘helper’

On the numerous occasions that I’d be doing university work, Charlie had no qualms about getting onto my lap leaving me no choice but to move my laptop! As part of an analysis I did for my thesis I had to cut up information on bits of paper and spread them on the floor; Charlie was on hand once again to assist me by sitting on the bits of paper. Wrapping Christmas presents was also interesting as Charlie would plonk himself down on the wrapping paper and look quite perturbed when I moved him. I remember one Christmas he even tried eating the sellotape while I was wrapping the presents!

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Charlie making sure I got my essays done.


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‘Helping’ me with my research analysis.

Charlie the ‘sun-worshipper’

Charlie loved to be outside in the garden, more so in the summer, of course! There were different places he liked to position himself; under one of the bushes, on top of the wall, and on our garden table! If he got too warm he’d move to the paved area near the house for some shade. If we decided to get the sun loungers out then Charlie wouldn’t hesitate to get on either of our laps. A hot cat on your lap on a hot day isn’t ideal, but I’d leave him be most of the time as I wanted him to be comfortable!

A Little Dose Of Gratitude Saying Goodbye
The heat got too much!

Charlie the ‘softy’

Charlie was a volatile cat when I first got him. He was wary of men and had lashed out at me a few times, no doubt through fear. It took some time for him to trust my second husband, but over the years he mellowed hugely and loved nothing more than to settle down with us or on the nearest available lap if we had friends round.

Charlie loved to be fussed and even had a routine for the fussing. In the mornings he’d make a beeline for my husband’s lap, regardless of whether or not my husband’s lap had a bowl of cereal on it. Needless to say the bowl was moved and Charlie would make himself comfortable. In the evenings Charlie tended to settle on my lap or sit behind me at the top of the sofa (nearest the radiator!). He would happily settle on the floor while my husband brushed him; he loved to be pampered.

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Never mind your breakfast, I need a lap.


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Having a cuddle.

For all these things, and much much more, I’m so grateful to have had Charlie in my life; we both are. Having assumed that all cats were pretty disinterested in their owners, Charlie taught me that cats are actually incredibly loving creatures. I know that Charlie loved my husband and I, and we loved him in return; no strings on either side.

Charlie showed me that I have the capacity to love deeply and that, as painful as it can be, there is a ‘right time’ to say goodbye and act selflessly for the best interests of another. It was the hardest decision I’ve ever had to make, but I did it because I love Charlie so much.

Thank you, Charlie, for all you taught me. Sleep well, beautiful boy xxxxx


30 thoughts on “A Little Dose Of Gratitude: Saying Goodbye

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  1. Oh Jo! You’ve left me all a bit emotional. I 100% feel your pain. People who say “he was just a cat” just don’t know cats. There’s no such thing as “just” a cat. They are so loving and such great company. They truly are part of the family and leave such a hole when they go. It’s so bloody hard, dealing with the death of a pet. I still miss my fur baby that I lost 4 years ago. But he was so ace and I too am so grateful for having had him in my life. Beautiful photos of your baby, Jo. What a guy. Much love xx

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I did not have pets growing up. My kids talked us into a couple of bunnies years ago. My favorite one died after 8 years. I was so surprised by the level of grief I felt. Your post just brought that back to me so clearly. All these feelings…..just…yes! I understand. It makes my heart go out to you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, May. Yes, I always knew it would be hard when the time came but nothing prepared me for the pain I felt. I’m sorry for your loss; our pets leave a lasting imprint (or paw print) on our hearts.


  3. damn
    I will say what the others have said, my heart goes out for your loss.
    Can there be any greater, more terrible responsibility than being the person our cats/dogs look to when the ultimate choice is to be made?
    It is a measure of the love and the significance (in our lives) that animals (for some of us) play in our lives that makes the pain of loss all the greater.
    But stand up for them we do. They would do it for us.
    Time is only balm.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Charlie sounds like such a lovely friend. The story about climbing into your insurance man’s lap and how he locked Cookie’s nose reminded me that our furry friends know much much more than we give them credit for. No wonder you miss him. I’m so sorry he’s not with you anymore, but this post is an excellent honorarium of a life well-lived.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m so sorry for your loss 😦 We got our first cat (Luna) two years ago and nothing could prepare me for the pleasure she’s brought to our family. I can’t begin to imagine life without her so you must be devastated. Sending big hugs xxx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much, Shelley. Pets bring so much joy, don’t they? Even the not-so-endearing things that Charlie did (like clawing chunks from our clothes!) are things I miss because that was part of him. I’m glad we can focus our cuddles onto Cookie. It’s wonderful that Luna is bringing your family so much happiness. Take plenty of photos and videos of her; I’m glad we did 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  6. As mom to six furkids, and one who loves cats as much as you do, this beautiful tribute to Charlie tugged at my heart. I have had to let others go in the past, when it was their time, and Sophie’s time is likely coming, and I know how it knocks the breath right out of you and breaks your heart. No two cats are alike, each has their own habits and personalities just like humans do, and they are most assuredly loved as much as any family member could be. Charlie was with you through the bad times and the good times and new nothing but love and being spoiled, I think in my next life I should like very much to return as a cat in a home like that! Hugs and prayers to you as you journey through this time of sadness, Charlie has engraved so many wonderful memories in your heart! He will surely send you another to love just when the time is right. But there won’t ever be another Charlie, he was a special little furry soul, I can see that in your words! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

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