My cat died in my bedroom while I was still asleep and I feel guilty because I might have heard her die

I wonder how many cat owners have been through the experience described in the title. It must be very rare. And the person shouldn’t feel guilty. If anything he or she should feel blessed that their cat came to their room and died in their presence. It’s a sign of affection. Indeed of love.

Shawn and Elvis

Shawn Strange had a similar experience. When he was at college a kitten entered his life. He became very attached to this kitten and they grew up together. He grew up into a responsible man and his kitten grew up into a beautiful tabby cat and they went through thick and thin together.

He named his cat Elvis and at the age of 16 he started to slow down and was “walking angles”. It looks like he had arthritis. Previously, he had had an operation for cancer. Elvis had a hard time eating so Shawn fed him by hand. He couldn’t use the litter box any more so Shawn “put pine shavings in old cookie sheets around the house”.

Shaun’s wife suggested euthanasia but he couldn’t bring himself to do it. One night when Shawn was hand feeding Elvis his cat bit him. He bit him hard enough to draw blood. Shawn was shocked because it had never happened before. Shawn took it as a sign that it was time to take Elvis to the veterinarian to end his life humanely.

He called the veterinarian and left a message on his voicemail to say that he’d be coming in next morning to put him to sleep. His wife offered to do it for him to spare him the pain but Shawn couldn’t bear to abandon him in his last moments.

That night Elvis came out of his daughter’s room where he’d been sleeping for several years beside her. He came into Shawn’s bed with him and laid across his feet just like he’d had done when he was at college. Shawn became nostalgic and “the warmth washed over me like nothing I had ever experienced”.

Elvis was purring so loudly that he thought he was getting better. He fantasised that the veterinarian could find some drug that would save him. Sometime during the night Elvis moved up to Shawn’s torso and lay sideways next to him.

“He passed away next to me while I was sleeping”.

The next morning when Shawn woke up he realised that Elvis was gone. His cat had spared him the pain of putting him down and he was crushed “beyond tears”. He said that his guilt and his sorrow were unbearable until his daughter grabbed him and he realised that he was sharing his grief with her. His young daughter cried uncontrollably in grief – not as a toddler. He realised he had to be an adult and take Elvis to the veterinarian to be cremated.

A beautiful story of cat companionship. His next cat was called “Presley”. And his daughter is allergic to cats!


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Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 71-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I have a girlfriend, Michelle. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare.

View Comments

  • A very touching story, well written.

    What a good cat man, he sounds truly involved with the whole of Elvis.

    Caring for a being for a whole life can heal us, often better than any medicine or shrinks.

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