In the Face of Death a Friend Wants to Re-home a Beloved Cat

Robin Botie of ithaca, New York, photoshops a picture of cat that needs a new home because owner has end-stage cancer.A friend of mine has end-stage cancer. And she has a cat. An adored, lovable, beautiful cat that cuddles under her arm, comforting her through afternoon naps and long nights. My friend worries about what will happen to her beloved Cat-Man when she is no longer here. She wants to secure a good home for him. Before she dies.

“I have to find the right person. Someone who will love him to pieces,” she tells me. We both know it will not be me. Totally taken with my dog, I no longer have room left in my heart to love a cat. But I know how she feels. Even without cancer or other known threats to my life, I keep a certain other friend (who loves my dog) informed of where I stash the special sweet-potato-and-fish-formula dog-food, the rabbit-flavored dog candies, and handmade doggie blankets. “Just in case,” I say, with a lump in my throat, whenever I have to leave town.

Years ago my daughter, who also had cancer, willed me her dog. The dog was supposed to be Marika’s lifesaver. “Her life depends on getting this puppy,” family members had said, in the same tones as the doctors who insisted her life depended on getting a bone marrow transplant. The dog couldn’t save Marika in the end. But maybe this inherited dog is my lifesaver. When my world plummeted into darkness, she still had to be fed and walked. She slept with me at night and followed me as I paced the house for days, searching for whatever was left of our girl. She kept me going. And for a while, because of her feistiness, I thought the dog’s soul had been taken over by Marika’s. It was kinda like having my daughter back. Some innate need to love and nurture was fulfilled in taking care of this dog. She soon became a veritable connection to life. And to my daughter. And even though the relationship with my daughter was rocky, I am ever grateful that Marika knew I would love and spoil her dog like I loved and spoiled her.

So I understand my friend’s fierce wish to rehome her cat. Neither of us can bear to think of any creature suffering, especially the ones that fill the part of us our human babies used to fill. Cat-Man is her baby. He will need care and compassion when my friend is no longer here. And in return, he will offer some great comfort and cuddling.


Was there an animal in your life that helped you get through a tough time? Have you ever helped an animal in need?



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4 thoughts on “In the Face of Death a Friend Wants to Re-home a Beloved Cat

  1. Pam

    We were seeing our beloved dog Danni through her old age from the time Ian died, and when she died at about 19 last Oct. 4 she took the connection she had to Ian with her, leaving us further bereft if that was possible. She was a tremendous comfort all through the first 2 1/4 years. Unable to bear the emptiness any longer we got a new dog from the SPCA on the Sunday before Thanksgiving, and felt thankful at the way she could fill the emptiness a bit that Danni left, although nothing can fill the ongoing emptiness of Ian missing. I can tell Louise (new dog) about Ian in the way I used to talk to Danni about him.
    I really hope there is a home for your friend’s cat – if it were up to me I would trade him in an instant for ours that looks like him but has the nickname around here,, coincidentally, of ‘Bad Cat-man’.

    1. Robin Botie Post author

      Pam, I know what you mean about that connection. I am so worried about how the eventual absence of my dog, the one I inherited from Marika, will affect me. It will probably be like losing Marika all over again. Suki is so like her original girl that I sometimes think Marika inhabits her little fuzzy body. The feistiness, the way she sometimes listens to me but ignores what I’m asking her to do. The way she likes to pretend she is independent and doesn’t need me for anything. Not looking forward to the day she dies. She’s also my only partner now. Yow, am I asking for trouble, being a one-dog loving person. Better I should be able to have multiple cats like my friend who has CatMan.

  2. Elaine Mansfield

    I hope she finds someone for her cat. I have the word out at hospicare that I could take a beloved dog, but since I love birds and do not love kitty litter boxes, I can’t adopt a cat. I wish I could.

    My dog Willow is my best therapist–although she barfed a little in the hall last night as I realized when she wasn’t in her usual bed next to me bed and found a small mess in the hall. Would a good therapist do that? She had “I’m a bad girl” written all over her face. That disappeared after I gave her a morning pet.

    1. Robin Botie Post author

      Oh, Elaine, you just reminded me of all the cat-barfs and hairballs and pieces of birds I’d find all over when I had cats. Luckily, my dog is like me in that she has an iron stomach and rarely gets sick. I wish I could take my friend’s cat too as he’s a sweetheart, but there just isn’t any more room in my heart and I know what it’s like to live with a pet you don’t care for. Unfortunately, when I married last, my husband came with a dog. And I really resented that dog and every mess or flea or fart affiliated with her. I still feel guilty for the way I treated her and withheld my feelings around her. Not proud of how compassion-less I was at that time. So I don’t dare open my home to another creature that I cannot feel an attachment for. As for Willow, I think you should remember that even the greatest therapists barf now and then.


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