Then years ago, on the Friday after Thanksgiving, I had to let my beloved Buckley go. Ever since then, Thanksgiving has always been associated with Buckley for me. And it’s not just because Thanksgiving Day 2008 was the last full day I spent with her. It’s also because when I count my blessings, the many gifts this gimpy little cat who captured my heart from the moment I first saw her brought into my life are always at the top of the list.
“Have you seen the little tortie in the back?” Liz asked. Everybody at the animal hospital knew I was partial to tortoiseshell cats.
“No, I haven’t,” I responded. “Where is she?”
Liz pointed to the bank of cages at the very back of the kennel, and I went to see Buckley for the first time. And I fell in love. Hard. And fast.
Without Buckley, I might not have become a writer. Without Buckley, The Conscious Cat might not exist. Even though Amber inspired this site, its original purpose, in addition to sharing my passion for making cats’ lives better, was to build a following prior to publishing Buckley’s Story. Most importantly, without her, my heart might not have been opened to the many wonderful lessons she taught me during her brief time with me.
She had been declining for several weeks prior to Thanksgiving, and a few days before the holiday, it became clear that she would not be with me much longer.
Thanksgiving Day dawned sunny and bright. … I only left for an hour that morning to go for a walk. … Once I returned, Buckley and I spent the day together on the loveseast – always our favorite spot. … The day passed quietly and peacefully. I tried to just enjoy being with Buckley without thinking about anything beyond this present moment.
By Thanksgiving night, I knew it was time to let her go. Up until then, I had hoped that maybe I could keep her with me through the holiday weekend, but by the time we went to bed, I knew this would be our last night together. If I kept her with me any longer, it would be for me, not for her. On Friday afternoon, she passed away peacefully in my arms with the gentle assistance of my dear friend and vet, Dr. Fern Crist.
Remembering my special little girl is always a big part of my Thanksgiving weekend. This little cat changed my life in ways I never could have imagined.
Remembering Buckley still brings tears every year. As the years have gone by, there have been more smiles than tears as I recall more happy memories than sad ones.
Buckley took a big chunk of my heart with her when she left, but a part of her is always with me. This weekend, I once again honor the memory of her wonderful spirit and the blessings she has brought into my life.
The words that best summarize Buckley’s spirit are the same words you’ll find on the last page of her book:
Buckley has always held a special spot in my heart. She taught me how to accept death and I think in many ways she also helped me become the writer I am today. Love and purrs from Deb and the Zee/Zoey gang and may your sweet Buckley be resting in peace.
Thank you for your beautiful words, Deb. It means so much to know how big an impact Buckley had on others.
Sometimes we don’t recognize angels until long after they are gone. Thinking of you. Anniversaries are bittersweet but precious.
What a healthy way to remember your precious girl. Many hugs to you.
For me it was Thanksgiving day 2013. I was still trying to deal with the loss of two other cats that year when 17-year old Lady Butterfly started to decline quickly. Thanksgiving day I had to call my veterinarian in for an emergency call to help Lady pass quietly. We were then alone that day, myself and the rest of my cats. I will take your example and try to remember Lady fondly, remembering the happy days.
What a beautiful name, “Lady Butterfly.” I am so sorry for your losses–and all in one year.
I’m so sorry about Lady Butterfly, Andrea.
I’m so sorry for your loss of Buckley, 10 years ago. Thank you for sharing her with us. It is so hard to say goodbye and let them go. But I’m so grateful for having had the time with them (I have lost many over the years, and a very special girl earlier this year).
Thanks, Janet, and I’m sorry about your losses.
Buckley’s story sits on my ‘special books’ shelf next to my writing desk. Your story–Buckley’s story–inspired me in rescuing and assisting feral cats, which I had just started doing when I read your book. Nine years and three colonies later, your words about Buckley–and her sweet picture–always bring tears to my eyes. I have given copies of her book to friends over the years–especially to friends with torties. (Although my house kitties are all tigers, you introduced me to the notion of “tortitude!”)
Many, many thanks and prayers and tears and blessings for sharing Buckley’s story with the world…My favorite part of your book is when you describe your nighttime gratitude ritual.
Oh Nancy, your beautiful words brought me to tears! It means so much that my little girl inspired so much good and helped so many cats!
This piece about loss has always given me comfort……
Everyone who leaves your life opens a subtle trail of loss that still connects you with that person. When you think of them, miss them, and want to be with them, your heart journeys out along that trail to where they now are.
There are whole regions of absence in every life. Losing a friend is the most frequent experience of absence. When you open yourself to friendship, you create a unique and warm space between you. The tone and shape of this space is something you share with no one else. Your friend struck a note in the chamber of your heart that no one else could reach.
The departure of the friend leaves this space sore with loss, some innocence within you is unwilling or unable to accept that one you gathered so close is now gone. It is the longing for the departed friend that makes the absence acute. Absence haunts you and makes your belonging sore.
What a beautiful way of expressing what loss of a friend means to us, Silvia. Thank you for sharing this.
I read “Buckley’s Story” not long after we adopted our first kitty, Anya. Your book touched me so much, that I have always wanted to “thank” Buckley for inspiring you to develop “The Conscious Cat” into the incredible source of information and help that it is today. Buckley, you may have been gone for ten years now, but your influence lives on. Thank you so much for your life and your inspiration.
Thank you, Will!
That was so beautiful Ingrid, my eyes are tearing up. I am sorry for your lost all those years ago. Buckley entered your life and started changing your life’s direction. Happy Thanksgiving and for that beautiful tribute for Buckley. ❤❤❤
So very sorry for ure loss.Ure cat was beautiful.Ure kitty is n cat heaven now.
I’m sending love and deepest sympathy to you as you remember your precious Buckley.
Our furbabies are certainly some of the greatest loves and joys of our lives, and they leave their footprints on our hearts forever.
Thank you, Jane.
Buckley was so sweet looking! How lucky you were to have found her..She knew she was loved, and that was the greatest gift you could have given her..When they have to go, it’s always so sad, and they truely do leave footprints on your heart, and you always remember the love..
You are so right, Catherine – we always remember the love.
I was just in Sarasota & bought Buckleys Story at the Cat Depot. Can’t wait to read it.
I hope you enjoy the book, Michelle!
Hugs from all of us as you remember your beautiful gal.
Sending purrs and hugs.
Thank you, Sue.
I can see how special Buckley was to you. This is the perfect tribute to her. I know how hard this time of year is for you now. We lost Pono the day after Easter and I know that is going to be a tough day for us when it comes. Just hold onto all of those good memories. Those are the things no one can ever take away.
Thank you, Janine. You’re so right, we’ll always have the memories.
This year will be the first Christmas in 13 years I won’t have my cat Blade with me, it feels surreal still. I still think I see him or hear him at the window, or see him outside. He will forever have a place in my heart. I still cry over him, I still cry over my other cat whom I lost years earlier too. I don’t think I’ll ever get over the loss of them. I will always love them both. It’s nice to know that other people understand the attachment.
I love your girl! I have a 9year old named Maggie who lives inBrasil. Still speak with her! I miss you!! so happy she lives Rosangela. Do you remember I was lost for a month and I found her after a month she was good health and and had lost 7 lbs. she is so happy now!! Miss you so much!
We never stop missing them, do we, Ange.
Ingrid… I thought I’d let you know that I lost Casey Jones on Tuesday. He passed in my arms and on Wednesday I found myself at the mortuary looking at his sweet beautiful face, touching his soft fur and nuzzling him for the last time. No more purrs, no more laying on my chest kneading into my neck. No more holding him in my arms like a 2 yr old baby slow dancing in the middle of the night. I’ll never hear his little duck like call acknowledging me when I walked in the room… My heart is broken.
He suddenly took ill 7 days prior. I spent the next 5 days in and out of the vet, the ER .. maybe 7 trips or so. A virus, allergies, then not eating or drinking. Hiding in unusual places. An x-ray showed what they thought was a tumor on an enlarged heart and a mass in his belly separating organs and intestines. Ultrasounds showed no cancer, but instead advanced heart disease which the doctor found surprising because his heart sounded normal. Lungs sounded normal … But Casey started snorting and couldn’t breathe. Mucous and runny eyes indicated a virus but 3 antibiotics, and hundreds of dollars of emergency visits & scrips were not helping. They disagreed on whether it was valley fever or URI. But they all thought he’d get past whatever virus was causing him such misery. I knew that after this infection, I would only let him enjoy some time playing with his sister and brothers… Spoiling him more than I had (if possible) but that I would let him go because although the cardiologist gave me diuretics to help with the fluid around his heart and something to help prevent him from throwing a clot… I was never going to risk him having that horrendously painful experience. His aortic valve was twisted and the blood was pooling. It would be more when than if it would happen….. But Casey wasn’t getting any better. Four days later, humidifiers, fluids, nothing was helping him. He’d walk to his water fountain, stand over it and do his little routine only he’d just lay down rather than drink. 3 days he rejected any kind of food and the only fluids were being IV administered. He sounded horrible and had blood mixed with his mucous.
I hated the idea that he wasn’t going to get over this to have a couple of peaceful weeks. The only time he urinated was a few times on me when I held him close, and I believe once as he slept because he’d been getting fluids….
I miss him. My heart is broken. I feel like I failed him because I wanted to give him a chance to fight what his doctors thought he could. But I think you know my baby boy had been through so much in his little life … He just didn’t have the strength for this last battle. As small as it should’ve been, it overtook him.
He seemed to rally just before his last hour and I tried to entice him with his favorite foods. He couldn’t breathe well, so he couldn’t eat. He seemed like he wanted so much more than he was able to manage – I felt like it was torture for him. I made a choice I never thought I’d make. My heart died with him… The last thing he did on his own accord was reach up placing his paws on my cheeks as I carried him for the last time. I’ll never forget the feeling…
I’m sorry for anyone who has suffered this loss themselves. People say they understand but many don’t and probably won’t ever.
It’s something only a pet parent knows painfully well. Our connection was amazing even to people who never had the same thing. I can’t tell you how many times people shook their heads and said that kid was like a human child…. Casey is my heart.
Thanks for letting me share….
Thank you Angela. I appreciate that.
I’m so sorry about Casey, Joyce. I’m crying after reading your comment. Be gentle with yourself as you mourn your beautiful boy.
Over my lifetime to date beginning from childhood had all types of pets and the passing away of each of my pets over the decades made me realize the quote by Poet Ralph. Emerson, quote “ITS BETTER TO HAVE LOVED AND LOST THAN NEVER TO HAVE LOVED AT ALL “. I can understand what the loss of Buckley means because similar to you without my pets I would have not been the writer / blogger that I am.
I’ve always liked that quote, Rudolph.
Even though I know her story and how beautiful it is I still am never prepared for when you post about her. She was beautiful and so special. Having lost my Barkie this year I’m extra moved and need to stop being so sad and more grateful. I made the mistake you were stronger to do right. I held on too long still pretending treatment would work even though I knew. I hope you know the impact Buckley’s story gas had on so many. I know everyone will agree but I can definitively speak for myself, mom and daughter. Wishing you a peaceful Sunday with happy memories that aren’t too sad. Give the girls extra nose boops from us.
Thank you for your beautiful words, Raine. I know how much you miss your Barkie.