Giving Thanks During The Highs and Lows

When challenged to think of what I’m thankful for my list isn’t very unique. Health, family, friends and my cats. The usual suspects. I also don’t think I’m alone in often taking these things for granted.

Thinking back on 2016 there are two events that come to mind for which I’m most grateful for having my friends, family and acquaintances (some of whom I’ve never met or spoken to beyond the world of social media).

The face and photo that literally launched ihavcat.com

The cat and photo that literally launched ihavcat.com

The two events are on complete opposite sides of the spectrum. One was one of the hardest things I’ve gone through. The other, one of the happiest.

While I’ve yet to write about on this blog, many of you may already know from the I HAVE CAT Facebook Page that Petie (aka Petie Bear, Petie Pants, Petie Pita Pants) my lovely, sweet, funny, painfully shy, chubby, grey tuxedo – the muse for this blog – passed away on July 18th at the age of ten.

ihavecat.com PetieBear

A few of the faces of Petie Bear

While I won’t get into the details right here, right now, he was diagnosed last December with a mass in his chest cavity (One of the first blog posts I ever wrote, The Cat’s Meow, is about him). 

I was fortunate to have friends, family and doctors spend time with me in person, texting and on the phone discussing test results, listening to me cry, helping me determine what questions to ask as I tried to navigate what was best for Petie versus what was best for me. What I would or wouldn’t end up regretting.

That sweet face - his pink nose and those soulful eyes. He was an old soul my Petie Bear.

That sweet face – that pink nose, the Fu Manchu whiskers and those soulful eyes. He was an old soul my Petie Bear.

As someone who’d never gone through the loss of a companion animal before I was devastated and didn’t have a belief system or “personal protocol” to fall back on.

Knowing Petie was loved by thousands all over the world, I felt it was my duty to post updates on social media about his situation. I was overwhelmed by the support I received and the people that cried with me upon learning of his situation.

i Have Cat Petie

Baby Petie on his first day in his home (approx. 6 months)

And when the time came, I had more than one friend offer to be with me so I wouldn’t be alone.

The outpouring of support I received was beyond overwhelming. Posts on social media expressing condolences and how much they would miss my Petie as well. The sympathy cards, Facebook posts, emails, text messages, books on grieving from friends, family as well as those I’d met once,or never at all. The flowers. The portraits. The donations made in his name. 

Cat Sympathy

A few of the beautiful flower arrangements I received at home and work.

The support from both fellow cat bloggers I’ve known for years and Instagram cat people I’d only met recently. I was, and still am so touched and  thankful to each and every person who cried with me, listened to me, tried to guide me and acknowledged how hard it is to lose a furry family member.

Custom Cat Portraits

min paper cat by Kooeepapercraft

I’m acutely aware of how fortunate I was because people shared with me that they were not as fortunate when they lost their companions. Their pain was dismissed. “It was only a cat,” “Get over it.” “There are people dying.” I’m thankful I never had to hear these words.

I believe I had more support, and validation than many receive for the loss of a parent or friend. I hope not, but I think sadly it’s very possible.

This cat is the boss

On the other end of the spectrum, I’m thankful for all the support I’ve received with the launch of my book the Shop Cats of New York. Friends and family reminding me what a great achievement this is (I’m super good at playing down my accomplishments #isthereaprizeforthat #iwin).

Friends, family and acquantences cheering me on, buying books (often more than they really needed!) to show their support. Coming to my book signings, posting about my book on social media. I’m thankful for their genuine happiness for me. There’s no jealousy. No competitiveness. Just pure, authentic joy in seeing something good happen to someone they care for (hope I’m not putting words in their mouths!). And that makes me feel blessed.

He never appreciated my forced love xo

He never appreciated my forced love xo

 

So thank you to everyone in my life who has been there in good times and hard. Who accepts me for who I am – it ain’t always pretty trust me! I only hope you feel the love coming at you from me, that I feel from you all.

Happy Thanksgiving to all the amazing I HAVE CAT community. I can’t believe this ride has continued for over 7 (?) years and for that I am also very grateful. If your read my recent post about my book, had it not been for this blog, it’s likely Shop Cats of New York would not exist today.

Just a few of Petie's favorites places to hid and things to lay on! LOL!

Just a few of Petie’s favorites places to hid and things to lay on! LOL!

And if you’re traveling today and want a bit of light reading, check out a few of my previous Thanksgiving posts:

  • Cat Gratitudes – The year I asked my cats what they were grateful for and get a bit personal about my struggles with gratitude.
  • Happy Thanksliving – In which I visit Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary for a vegan Thanksgiving and in the process drunkenly hug a turkey.

And before I sign off, in the spirit of giving, of paying it forward, I’d like to share this special fundraiser with you. A New York man who rescued cats off death row was very ill and had two cats he wanted to find homes for before he passed.

fundraiser Deceased Animal Advocate's Cat Puma

Though they never found a home, a friend stepped up and took them in temporarily and told the dying man they had a home. Sadly after he passed, it was found that one of them – Puma (the ginger above) – has cancer.  Their fundraiser has not gotten off to a great start and if you can donate even a dollar and perhaps share with a friend, it would go a long way

I leave you with this photo from a Thanksgiving past when my fur family was complete.

Pilgrim cat cat turkey Were there specific positive or difficult times in your life when you became most aware of what you were most thankful for in your life?  Feel free to share your thoughts below. 

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  • pilch92 .

    I know how close you were to Petie, the holidays are tough when you lose a beloved kitty. I was happy to see your book reviewed in Catster.

    • Thank yoU! I hope people enjoy it and that it does well! Thank you for taking the time to read today’s post and leave a comment. All the best to you and yours =^^=

  • Sherri Watson Lehman

    Thanksgiving blessings to you and your two rascals at home, and much love to the Petie Bear, wherever his spirit takes him today.

    • Thank you so very much – all the best to you and yours x0

  • Happy Thanksgiving, Tamar. Sometimes sharing our lives on social media can be hard, but when the support rolls in, it’s all worth it. If it weren’t for social media we wouldn’t know each other, and I’m thankful for that.

    • So true! It’s a double edged sword for sure! Hope you and the kitties had a =^^^= lovely Thanksgiving –

  • luvhistory

    Happy Thanksgiving, Tamar. I made a small donation in memory of Petie. I lost my beautiful Che this year, and both of my parents in the year before that. Support from others is vital for healing. Cat people are inspirational and help sustain my confidence in humanity.

    Sarah

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/72865a89abba966223e471ab90d077937706daee770721f4dafdeec8353ac74c.jpg

    • I’m so very sorry for the loss of your baby and THANK YOU for making a donation in my baby’s name =^^=

  • jmuhj

    I do not celebrate this day due to my cultural history, but I wish you and yours a happy day and weekend, Tamar. How blessed we are to have digital cameras and massive storage in our computers for lots and lots of beautiful photos of our beloved ones who have gone on before us! What a sweet and handsome little man your Petie was; surely he watches over his beloved ones now, until you can all be reunited in due time.
    We have lost 3 beloved ones in 4 months this year, and it is almost unbearable for me as I look around and see the places usually occupied by these sweet ones. Now we are only three plus me, and the house feels so empty sometimes. Through feeling grief for myself and for us, I am comforted by those three sweet faces still looking at me with love, and I am given that love so that I can go on. Through the many tragedies and hardships life seems to bring us in these times, we go on, knowing we are loved. Those of us who are fortunate enough to know the most unconditional and loyal love that only cats can bring are rich indeed.

    • So true about having all the photos……I do miss the era of albums….so many photos on hard drive everywhere – wish I organized better.

      So sorry for the loss of your sweet babies in such a short period of time. xo

  • Cathy Keisha

    Our wish is that love be bountiful this Thanksgiving for you and your’s from La Condo Keisha.

    • THank you and all the very best to you! =^^=

  • Kat-Renee Kittel

    Happy Thanksgiving and loves to your furbabies.. Thank you for sharing Petie with us – he was a furry loving boy who didn’t mind a big hug from his Mommy. Missing your Bear too. Hugs and Purrz, Katie Kat of Katiez Furry Mewz

    • =^^= It was so lovely that he touched so many people and they all loved him so much. All the best to you and your kitty crew =^^=

  • Connie KittyBlog

    such a beautiful post.. it can be hard to look forward and back when so much has happened. I am so glad you had the support you did, I know how much it means.

    • Thank you – yes, I have been very fortunate. Thank you for reading and leaving a comment =^^=

  • Such a great post. Happy Thanksgiving to you, Tamar. The support of friends is such a blessing, isn’t it?

    • Thank you and so true – we are fortunate to have such a great community =^^=

  • Esmeralda Esmeralda

    I love you Petey. RIP. Be strong Tamar

  • annameow

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/e623290e6727c4538aa5f8ffa4270c010e2769cec40d6693468cb6f5e54014b3.jpg

    What a beautiful post, Tamar! Petie lives forever though your memories, your writing and in the hearts of I Have Cat fans worldwide. I’ve had many cats in my life and their passing never gets easier. You experience deep pain because you shared deep, deep love. Blessings to you and your furry family; we, your fans, are grateful for you, your talent, and your generous sharing with us. We are better people because of you. Can’t wait to get your book! Hugs from the mew crew at meow.com!

    • Thank you Anna – can’t wait to hear what you think of the book! You are too kind =^^=

  • catchatcaren

    Sending YOU so much LOVE!! You KNOW that I not only adored you when I first started reading your blog oh so long ago, but when I first met you at BlogPaws in (2011 I think?) that cemented you in my heart!!! You probably don’t even remember something so touching you said to me back then, but I DO!! It meant the world to me, and YOU will ALWAYS mean the world to me! Love you!!

  • Gwedo TTJ

    Check out a cool little Cat Island called Tashirojima in Miyagi Prefecture. Stay in Cat Cabins, Pay your respects at the Cat Shrine, and Spend your day playing a feed the Kitties.

    https://youtu.be/ZLtncT7lLGk

  • Ann Boyajian

    Tamar, this is a beautiful post. I know I am late in responding, but I just want to say I know how hard it is to make the decision about the end of life for a beloved pet. I don’t know if I will have the strength to share my grief when the time comes for Skootch, my dear eldercat. It is so important to have friends supporting you. I also wanted you to know that I have back-ordered two copies of your book – one for me, and one for my sister.
    I will send in a donation for Puma.

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