The Heartbreak of Animals

“We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals.” Immanuel Kant

This lovely ginger cat is called George. My son picked him out of a litter after his first cat died. I was a little worried how the dogs would react to such a tiny kitten. I was worried that we’d lose him in our huge house. It turns out I didn’t need to be worried about any of it. The dogs immediately ran over to him and licked him all over. Our female dog followed him everywhere. We always knew where the kitty was because she followed him. If she was looking under the sofa, we knew George was under the sofa. If she went downstairs slowly, then George was going down the stairs slowly. We’ve had him for 6 years and he’s the only cat who allows the dogs near him. He’s fat and happy and we adore him.

This cat is called Bridget. We got her and her brother after my youngest son broke his leg and was stuck on the sofa. My sister and I saw a sign posted at the 7-11 that there were free kitties to give away. So we called and went out to see them. The mother of the kitties was taken in by two kind men who had seen her thrown from a car. They rescued her and took her to the vet who had to amputate her tail because it was badly broken. They think she was thrown away because she was pregnant. She had three of the cutest little babies I’ve ever seen. We took two of them home. She is the only survivor. Her older brother, Dragon, had to be put down because of kidney problems. He’s buried in a grave at my Mum’s house. But Bridget’s still running around. My son’s friends call her Kinja because they say she’s a kitty-ninja. She can jump from the ground to the top of our 7 foot entertainment stand. Our other kitties watched her with jealousy so much that we had to build a ladder for them to climb up so they could enjoy it too. 

This is Cleopatra but we call her Cleo. We got her to be company for our older dog who destroyed the house every time we left. He was lonely and she was good company for him. They were close friends for 8 years until he had to be put down only last year. Now she follows us around, lost. We try to take her places in the car but she still gets so excited. She won’t sit still. You’d think an arthritic 10 year old labrador retriever would sit down as much as possible but she’s still as energetic as when we got her years ago, small enough to fit in a handbag.

This is Stripe. This was his last photo. We got him in Portland, Oregon. My older son picked him out of the litter and he’s our longest lived pet of 16 years. We got two kitties when we got him but the other one, a white one, called Yeti, ran away. He came back only one time and we were so excited to see him but in the morning he was gone. We never saw him again. Stripe came to Alberta with us so he’s an international traveler. He was an indoor/outdoor cat for a long time but when he started to get cataracts a couple of years ago, we kept him inside. He became a permanent fixture on my bed which has a heated blanket I turned on to keep him warm. We knew he didn’t have much time left when he started losing weight. And he would meow loudly as if he were lost. I think he was getting Alzheimer’s and just didn’t know where he was. And on the last day, my older son and I both knew he didn’t have much time left. He couldn’t walk anymore. We took him to the emergency vet to be put down. My brother came to my rescue so I could hold him. I didn’t want his last trip to be in an animal carrier. We took him and told him what a good cat he was and let him go. We’ll take him to my Mum’s house to put him in the ground with Dragon.

Animals break our hearts. They creep in through the hard exteriors that grow around us. They love us no matter what we do. I shut Stripe in a closet once and he was there for 3 days. I was thinking he ran away but my younger son heard him meowing at night and let him out of the closet I had shut him in. And he still loved me. They love us even when we don’t deserve to be loved. They love us even when we don’t want to be loved. And we keep looking for that acceptance that we rarely get from humans. We look for love. We put ourselves in a position to be hurt and we get hurt. And still we look for that connection. Just like when we look for love in humans. Only animals are better than humans. And when we take them for their last journey, we can’t explain what we’re doing. They don’t understand what’s going on. We can’t say good bye in words they will understand. And we see in them our own humanity, our own end, our own final journey. Will we see them again? Is there a life beyond this one? These animals of ours will know the answers to these questions before we do. We love them even though we’ll never be good enough to deserve their love. We love them and that’s enough.

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50 thoughts on “The Heartbreak of Animals

    1. I know what you mean. I have just moved and my son volunteered to keep the dog in the home where she grew up. I said I’d take her with me but she didn’t do well. She’s a senior now and she just can’t get used to the new place. I had to take her back and it broke my heart. Good for you taking care of a found animal. All mine are found too. I think they found me, not the other way around.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Cats are such weird creatures. They can be loving or they can ignore you. They have crazy periods and calm periods. And every cat I’ve ever had has found their way to me because somehow, they knew I couldn’t see an animal go homeless.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. this is such a touching post. I have had to say goodbye to dogs and to horses as well. They aleays take a big piece of my heart with them. But in time i heal. But i never forget them. Thank you for this nice post.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. George looks like my marmalade mog; but Lui doesn’t like anything or anyone in the world except me. I didn’t set out to create this situation: I would love him to come and greet my friends.
    You’re fortunate in having an animal family amongst the human one, Dale; I believe you guys must be Real People. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 2 people

  3. i love cats
    but the only cat i still have is my old female of more than 15 years old
    she was a fat cat but now she is so skinny that i am desperate
    but she seem fine she run she jump she ask for food , she have 5 bowls full but i give her fancy catfood in can she lick it and ask for more because she only lick the sauce
    when i eat she jump on the table and i give her small pièces of meat and cheese until she stop eating
    what do we do for them ??

    Liked by 1 person

  4. i think she can be diabetic
    but she seem to be better
    she run she jump she likes to go outdoor
    i am diabetic too so i know
    she seem happy so i let it go
    vets are a long way from my home
    i am in an isolated town

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I understand. But if you have a blood sugar machine you could check her blood sugar. Animals have the same normal blood sugars as people. You poke her ear.


  5. Cats; we know that they are manipulative creatures who like food, warmth and comfort
    But they never lie about it or pretend to be anything else, so we tolerate and come to love thier personality quirks and even if we know they only cuddle up to us for warmth or to cheer us up in aid of earning rewards…

    Though we know this there is a truth true cat people know; that little furball that leaves us cold by taking the best spot on the bed, ate our dinner and left a hairball on the floor
    It’s thier way of showing respect, as if to say “you will do human” and we know that out of all the poor suckers they con, we are who they chose to come home to because we are their family
    And that is the greatest form of respect they can give us

    Liked by 1 person

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