Farewell, Romeo.

December 10, 2015

RomeoRomeo the Cat left us Saturday.

Ten years and 5 days after he curled up in our hearts Romeo left for a better place, taking a piece of us with him.

He’s been struggling lately. A couple of years ago he was diagnosed with Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD), a hereditary disease that causes cysts to grow in a cat’s kidneys and liver and eventually leads to kidney disease and failure. We’ve been on borrowed time and every day, week, month and year has been a gift.

But he’s been slowing down. He spent most of the past week by the refrigerator, which puts off a bit of heat from underneath it. Once we figured out why he liked it there, we got him a little space heater and a pillow and put it in the corner of the kitchen so he could stay in the middle of the action, where he always wanted to be.

When we realized he was declining fast and there was nothing more we could do for him, our kind vet came to our house and we freed our beloved boy from his pain. While he loved snuggling up next to us, he wasn’t big on being held. But that day he let me hold him against my chest as we cried.

♥♥♥

Boys on bed no room sizedWhen we met him, it was love at first sight. We’d decided to adopt a cat and my husband Chris happened to find Romeo’s photo on the site of a Persian rescue, Persian Purebred and Purrbaby, near his work. “Romeo is a red and white bi-colored persian who loves to eat” the description read.

On his lunch hour, Chris went to meet Romeo. Romeo’s interview was a complete disaster. He slunk around the room, not wanting to be picked up or petted. Plus, his permanently cranky expression wasn’t exactly inviting.

“He’s perfect. We want him,” Chris told the rescue. He knew there was something special about this boy.

And he was so, so right.

Romeo had been pulled by the rescue from a shelter in Kentucky. Apparently he had been returned there twice. The second time he was covered in fleas and a skin condition. Plus he was deaf in both ears. The rescue cleaned him up and nursed him through 8 surgeries on his ears to correct his hearing issues, leaving one of his ears permanently folded down. Along with his grumpy expression, he looked like a total “bad ass” as one of our friends commented.

But nothing could be further from the truth.

Once he was settled in, we discovered how appropriate the name “Romeo” really was. He was the sweetest, most loving cat one could ever meet. I only heard him hiss one time – when Pugsley came to live with us. Just one hiss to assert his ownership over his domain and then the two boys were best friends for life – Romeo & Pugsley.

Romeo HeartPugsley misses Romeo too. We couldn’t find him for a long time that day and discovered him curled up in a closet where he’d never gone before.

After a couple of years we gave Romeo his first shave down and were surprised to discover a heart shaped marking on Romeo’s side. We’ll never know if that was the true source of his name but it was so appropriate. He was marked with love from the start.

Romeo was with us through so much change over the last 10 years, steadfastly sitting next to us on the couch, patiently observing transition after transition. My husband and I were engaged, married, moved five times in three different cities, and, a couple of years apart, brought home two baby girls.

When the girls were infants and I would get up in the middle of the night to feed them, I would rock them back to sleep and Romeo would climb up on the back of the chair and rock along with us, purring.

As the girls grew, Romeo and Pugsley grew to trust and love them. I always knew where I could find Romeo – snuggled up next to a little girl who was watching TV or playing on her iPad.Romeo and audrey

Having Romeo and Pugsley has been so amazing for our daughters, teaching them how to be gentle and empathetic at a young age. Now, Romeo has helped teach them about love and loss.

He slept partly on my head most nights, eventually squeezing me off the pillow, but I didn’t mind. Then, when he was ready for breakfast he would start his wake up process, trying different tactics each morning – standing on our chests, meowing, pawing our noses, snuffling in our ears – until my husband or I would heave ourselves out of bed and go downstairs to get the food out, Romeo trotting eagerly behind us.

Because he was such a character, he inspired this blog after my co-workers teased me about putting Romeo on Twitter. I did, and a social media cat was born. From the start, we dedicated this site to raising money for shelters and rescues and since then, this little blog has raised $95,000 for homeless pets. Thank you for supporting our efforts. We’ll continue to honor Romeo’s memory by giving to pets in need.

Romeo has been such a Romeo face up close(1)huge part of our lives for over a decade and already our home is emptier without his silent meows, the feel of his soft fur and the sound of his purrs. I keep expecting to turn the corner from the kitchen and see him sleeping on his favorite chair.

We will miss you every day, Romeo.

Until we meet again, sweet boy….

 

Dear Friends, so many of you have emailed me directly or left Facebook comments, thank you! I am sorry but something was wrong with the ability to comment here for a couple of days but I finally had a moment to get it fixed. Love you all so much and thank you for loving our boy, too. xoxo 

{ 13 comments }

Leigh November 8, 2016 at

As with all pet parents, losing a pet is really heartbreaking. I’m sorry for your loss.

Elise Gray October 2, 2016 at

:( I have lost 4 pets (3 cats 1 dog) for various reasons. I’m sooo sorry!!!

kapush August 24, 2016 at

I have been running my self-funded stray shelter since 2002. It has been a wonderful experience but I wish I hadn’t gone down that path.

Sure, I’d love to help animals, and did, even before I began my own rescue work, but being so close to them also means seeing them die. In many cases, it is worse than that. People just love to hurt strays, especially after they have learned to trust humans.

Every time one of them disappears or dies a part of me dies as well. There must be a lot of me to keep dying countless times.

Where I come from it is a popular belief that you pay for your sins in your next life. Anyone who works for animal welfare in any way must have been a sinner in a past life.

And when I look at people whose only definition of life seems to be to go on trips and post photos on Facebook I can’t help wondering how lucky they must be. Would I want to lead their life? No, but I still feel they are the lucky ones. Sorry about the morbid attitude. Just felt like letting it out because there are precious few places where people will even try to relate.

I am glad Romeo died with his loving family around him, and knowing he was loved.

Incidentally, my own site was started in 2008 after two of my cats died. I changed domains after that and this is where the story is now:
http://kapush.org/about/

Paula July 7, 2016 at

Pets are indeed a blessing, and we want them to live as long as possible. There is now a product that can extend their lives significantly. It stimulates an enzyme that slows down and often lengthens the telomeres in their cells, thereby keeping their cells alive longer, and keeping them alive and healthier longer. You can find out about this product, TeloMore for pets, at http://www.viachemllc.com.

Rob April 15, 2016 at

Sorry to hear about your sad loss. Our two cats, Bob and Dylan both had to be put down around Christmas because of cancer. We tried to our best to save them with Chemo, but to no avail. Somehow, when you’re put in the position of having to make a decision like that it leaves you with a great sense of guilt. :(

Lisa April 12, 2016 at

Haven’t been by your site for quite a while, and was very sad to see the news about sweet Romeo’s passing. You were great parents two times over: first for rescuing him, and second for taking such good care of him and loving him as he was (I remember the post about you moving into a new place and putting down plastic all over the floor in case he had an accident–I thought, “now that’s love! Many people would have taken him back to the shelter”. I hope the happy memories stay with and comfort you always.

Gama March 30, 2016 at

Wow enjoyed reading, pets are the amazing creatures.
https://pkgama.wordpress.com/2016/03/30/my-mile-2/?preview=true

jansfunnyfarm March 19, 2016 at

Oh, no, we were so sure we left a comment when we first heard the news. Perhaps we forgot because we were so sad. Or because our own Sam was sick at the time. Whatever the reason, we would not want to forget to tell you how much we always loved reading Romeo’s blog stories. He was loved and we know he is greatly missed. A warm hug.

Judy February 17, 2016 at

It’s so hard when we lose a pet because they are family. Our cat also had kidney disease and it was so hard to make the decision that it was time to let her go. Very sorry for your loss.

Jessica February 6, 2016 at

Your story conveys perfectly the bond between a shelter kitty and his (or her) furever parents. I am mama to five amazing rescued kitties, and have had two more little loves who we lost to chronic illnesses (CLL and CRF) in the past few years – truly there is nothing more heartbreaking (and yet also an act so full of selflessness and love) than when it is time to send our fur babies across the rainbow bridge. Sending up prayers of healing for you and your family (both two and four-legged varieties). ❤️

Nanük February 3, 2016 at

Gentle wooos, we hope you are finding peace,

nuk

Carol, Peaches & Paprika January 24, 2016 at

Hello, parents of Romeo, we wanted to express our very late condolences for the great loss of Romeo. We wanted to tell you also that Romeo will be honored in a Rainbow Slideshow along with other kitties who crossed the bridge in 2015. You could check our blog next week for the exact date the show will be online.We read your goodbye post and are sorry you had to lose Romeo so soon. You must have really savored all his antics. He was obviously a unique cat and amazingly tolerant to accept a new cat in the household with only one hiss! Best wishes again and so sorry for this great loss. Carol, Peaches & Paprika

Natali January 26, 2016 at

Pet are blessings. Companions who never judge. My condolences.

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