Tuesday, February 11, 2014

In Memoriam Of Our Much-Loved Bonsai

There are some posts we never want to write. This is a post we would have put off forever if we could. But we couldn't. Not this time.
We saved Bonny's life probably once year for a decade.
And we were glad to do it. He enjoyed life immensely.
We did promise ourselves and him that the last time was the last time. His body simply didn't work well anymore, and all the repairs were always so hard on him. We told ourselves there were two thresholds that he could cross that would mean it was over. One would have been if he yowled through the night, unaware of his surroundings (which gratefully he never did). And the other was if he was unable to walk, which is what happened. And so it was for Bon-Boy, the last time.
Monday, B-man woke with his walking very impaired. He was unable to fully move his bowels. He was in obvious distress. He was suffering and in pain. He curled into a ball and stayed that way all day. All day. He didn't eat or drink a thing. He growled when we touched him, and only purred once when Roger lovingly brushed him the way he liked to be brushed a million times a day.
We called the vet. We knew it was time. And it broke our hearts. It broke our hearts to usher that boy out of this life. But we did. Because we love him. So the vet made a house call and helped us help Bonsai shuffle off this mortal coil.
Every morning, every evening I'd let BonBon out into the fenced yard and say, "You be careful out there, honey boy."
And so we say good bye to our beautiful furry companion of the past 12 1/2 years, and tell him, "You be careful out there, honey boy. We will always love and miss you, Bonsai."

Roger lovingly sat with Bonsai and the vet during the final moments of Bonsai's life. Roger told me he had been readying himself for this and had been saying "good bye" to Bonsai for a while. He writes:

"our feline companion of twelve years has died. his life had gotten smaller and smaller as he aged. his balance was shaky. his right hip, already dislocated and healed that way when we got him, was visibly more out of place. his slow gait was unsteady. he fell over often.  yet even a day ago he ventured out to sniff at the woodpile and check a few other interesting smells. his walk was short, as it had been for weeks, but full of discovery.

age. pain. constipation. it all overwhelmed him and on his last day he retreated into a curled ball, barely responsive. our compassionate vet came by after work, euthanized bonsai, which went very peacefully, and took his body away to be cremated. we will scatter his ashes in the ocean where my parents and robin’s dad’s ashes are."

PS Bonsai had a lot of nicknames, I used a few in here. There were plenty more!


  1. I feel your loss. Saying goodbye is the hardest thing to do. But when it is time, it is the right thing to do.

  2. Oh, my heart does ache for you!! I do know how heartbreaking it is to have to make this decision -- I had to last April when I had to let go of my best friend, Sam Schnauzer. There is still a very large hole in my life! My thoughts are with you both, sending much love!!


  3. Goodbye, Bonsai. Our cats are dear to us. They open our hearts in a lasting way.

  4. I know how hard this is from personal experience, having lost two this last year, one to old age and the other a terminal illness. You did the right thing and letting him go in his own home is the best gift you could give at the end of his life. It doesn't make it easier to lose a beloved pet. They are part of the family

  5. So very sorry to read this about Bonsai. I know how much it hurts to see a pet failing and have to make that decision, even when you know it's the best way to express your love and compassion. They leave such a big hole in our lives when they're gone. Take care of each other.

  6. I'm so sorry to hear this. You all have gone through a lot together. It seems like our pets have access to a part of our heart that humans can't get to. Thanks for being so unselfish and thinking of him first. I know exactly how it feels.

  7. I notice in one of the pictures, Bonsai appears to have what we call here "the summer cut". Makes him look dapper.

    Our 22 lb. Maine Coon cat, Buster gets the summer cut at least once a year. We have determined he actually likes it. But then he likes almost anything that incorporates petting and stroking.

    It makes him look bad ass.

  8. My sympathy to you both for this loss. These little sparks seem to be with us so briefly, but we do try to remember them always...

  9. MRmacrum-- Even when it's the right thing, it is still such a heartbreaker.

    Sylvia-- We are very sad and miss him terribly. His routines were our routines, and now he is gone. We still look for him at the door to see if he wants to come in.

    am-- Yes, Bonsai was and always will be a part of our hearts.

    Rain-- We always wish we could do more, but sometimes the kindest thing is to let them go in the most painless and gentle way. Still we grieve.

    minnie-- We are heartbroken and grieving. There is an emptiness that only time will fill.

    Pat-- We always wish we could do more, to help, but sometimes it really is the kindest thing to do, to end the suffering.

    MRMacrum-- Bonsai had the "lion cut" (as our vet called it) because he would get terribly matted fur that no matter how much we tried, we could never brush out. He didn't like getting the cut, but we always thought he looked rather handsome like that.

  10. Isabelita-- Oh yes, love the idea of Bonsai as a little spark. That was definitely him. Thank you.

  11. Aww robin and roger, I am so very sorry. I am struggling with tears for I know how you fought for that delightful animal. You have made the toughest decision a pet owner has to but sadly becomes necessary. How lovely the vet made a house call. Less stress on all of you.
    Healing thoughts to you both.

  12. Robin and Roger, I'm so sorry. Bonsai was a very special cat, and I was moved by your stories about his chronic condition and how he just went about his business, as you say about his outside walks. Those last few days are the most sad when it comes time.

    Good boy, and good on you and Roger for always being there for him.

  13. Oh, what a beautiful, albeit sorrowful, post. A wonderful tribute to your beloved pet. I'm so sorry,and I wish I could change it. Much love to you both. XO

  14. I have thought about you guys, knowing the days and nights that followed would find you somewhat off center as you began discovering how daily life would unfold without him. our lives and schedules are so intermingled with our pets - that's just how it is with "families." you and roger are in my thoughts and heart. <3

  15. Couldn't find this last night, but here it is. Friend sent it to me on the passing of a dear cat.

    jack kerouac's cats in heaven,

    mewing and mewling.
    he feeds them often.
    they come around purring to be held.
    jack picks up his kitties,
    noticing but not interrupting
    serious and joyful conversations
    with goethe, spengler, proust, nietzsche,
    hermann hesse, babe ruth and dizzy dean.
    groucho marx and w.c. fields stop by.
    neal is in the next room with women.
    count basie is leading the orchestra,
    consists of buddy bolden,
    lester young, charlie parker,
    louis armstrong and many others.
    jerry garcia on electric guitar.
    angel harpo on harp.
    kerouac pets his kitty tyke.
    his kitty davey rubs his leg.
    his mother is beaming but
    has finally let him go.
    tyke purrs, jack chuckles
    and laughs.
    he's talking to thomas wolfe
    about the american west.
    geronimo nods in corroboration.
    more cats purr.
    angel bartenders pour more beer.
    free beer!
    another lovely day for kerouac
    and his cats in heaven.
    they got no complaints.

  16. The poem is by Dan Barth.

  17. Sending you lots of love. You did the kind thing, but its never easy. Cats make this world a much nicer place.

  18. He was such a sweet boy, and so dear in your hearts. I am glad you had those years together. xoxxo

  19. Arkansas Patti-- I know you know how this feels. The heartbreak of losing a much-loved furry companion. We heal, but will always always remember.

    Wayne-- It's one of the toughest decisions to make about our pets, but when you love some them, you do what you can for them. Thank you for stopping by. It means a lot to us to hear from other devoted cat lovers.

    Yankee Transferred-- It's amazing how much kind words lifts our spirits and mends our hearts. Thank you.

    Sky-- You really do know how "off-centered" it feels in the days following this loss. The event itself was painful, but the disrupted routine of checking in on him all the time, of making his food in the morning, of letting him out-letting him in-letting him out-letting him-- that is really the source of such sadness.

    Minnie-- I love this poem. I would have never thought of Kerouac and Bonsai together, but the idea of it makes me smile. Thank you so much.

    Annie-- We are so sad, but we know we helped him the best way we could. He really loved life, but his body would just not cooperate anymore. Deep sigh.

    kathy a-- Our lives were enriched by this crazy old cat. We shared our bed, our time, and our hearts with him. He accepted it all in his kitty cat way.

  20. Sending you love, have been there and it always feels like the first time. We are going through this with Bodhi Dog right now and feeling every second of it. Peace M&T

  21. I knew I would cry while reading about Bonsai, and I did. He was a beauty, and I know he will be sorely missed.

    RE your comment to my blog: Oh, how I'd love to read those letters now.

  22. karmanot-- Roger and I cried when we read that you are going through this with Bodhi Dog. Sadness all around. We send our good thoughts and love to you all.

    kenju-- Thank you for reading it and being moved by it. He was our little kit-kat king.

    About those love letters to George Harrison, I LOVE the idea of reading them now. It never occurred to, but wow, that would be a delight!

    1. Whoops, that's supposed to say it never occurred to me.

  23. I'm still feeling your loss and sending my best vibes your way.

  24. I am so sorry for the loss, the pain, the sad decision making process you had to complete. You both know I did the same with my beloved Flounder a few years ago ... so I feel it.
    Thank you for this sweet memorial post about Bonsai.

  25. John-- Thank you for that.

    Floridacracker-- I know you know how this feels. And the best part of the internet is that we can commiserate with each other over these losses. We remember Flounder, even though we never met him. That's magic.

  26. A lovely post and a beautiful cat. A lucky, lucky cat. I still listen for Charlie Macaw every time I walk into the studio. I fumble around in the dark trying to find stuff at night so I don't wake her up. Duh. But the heart takes a long time to learn. You will orbit aimlessly for awhile, and then stop wobbling. Wishing I could give you a steadying hug.

  27. He really was a beautiful cat, wasn't he? And it sounds like he had a personality to match. I've been thinking about you since I saw the post on Facebook last night, and I got a little choked up about it because of course it reminds me of my own beloved deceased pets. Lots of love to you and Roger.

  28. Julie-- Ah, the heart takes a long time to learn. That is so true in so many ways. I love your remembrance of Charlie Macaw. As I said to FC, the magic of the internet is that we know who Charlie Macaw is and why it is a balm to our hearts. Thank you, Julie.

    Miz S-- He really was a beautiful kitty cat and damaged from the first day we had him. Tonight at dinner we laughed at how he was our kitty cat overlord, and that our life was to do his bidding. We gladly made his life easier. That's love. Thank you for your kind words.

  29. So sorry for your loss. He knew he was loved; he always will be.

  30. The old lady next door and I have an average of 6 to 8 cats living in our yards that we feed. Two of them do come inside, mostly in the winter.

    But we are old country folk and when one gets old and at the end of the trail I take care of it myself, I don't like to see them suffer past a certain point.

    Sorry about your cat but they just don't live long lives compared to ours.

  31. Last evening we were visiting with an old friend and her affable half grown Himalayan kitten. When the topic of cat-like people arose, our friend mentioned a recent suggestion to her that those people are transitioning from past existence as a cat to a future fully human state. The implication was that this would be a step up the karmic ladder. I allowed that it might be DE-volvement, and assuredly would be considered as such by a cat. They ARE our overlords, as you admitted.

  32. Susannah-- Thank you for your kind words.

    BBC-- Endings are always sad times. It is what we do for our friends so they won't suffer.

    Minnie-- Yes, we sometimes called Bonsai the King.

  33. What beautiful tribute to your beloved kitty. Thank you for sharing Bonsai with us all these years. He will be missed by us, too.

  34. Oh, I'm crying now. I've come to love Bonsai, even back when we were blog friends, before FB. He was the same age as Sophie, give or take a few months so they sort of grew up as blog buddy cats, together. I'm so sorry for the two of you- it's a simple and profound loss. I have to say that the times I've had to do this I've felt terrible sadness but also relief, all around. It was such a kindness and a kindness too that the vet came to the house. So much better to die at home. Take good care of each other. He was a splendid fellow, very sweet and I will miss him.

  35. ah, should not have read this while at work-I'm dabbing my eyes and looking for the Visine. A nice tribute to the Boni Boy. If there is a cat heaven, he can run and scamper freely, and say hello to our Snickers, who left this planet 2012. We have her heart-shaped contact info 'cat tag' hanging on the fence in Santa Cruz.

  36. jeanne marie-- Thank you for your kind words. We like knowing that he had a lot of friends that he never met.

    amarkonmywall-- We do fall in love with our blogging friends and their pets. They become part of our lives and personal folklore. We all grieve together.

    lindaj-- Roger and I were just talking about Snickers last night. We remember her too, and it's been such a long time. I like knowing that her cat tag is hanging on the fence. Sweet remembrance.

  37. {{{Robin and Roger}}} I'm just seeing this and I cannot tell you how sorry I am that your beautiful sweet Bonsai is gone. He was blessed to have you for his family. You gave him a wonderful life filled with love and compassionate care, including ending his suffering. The loss of a beloved will reshape your heart forever, but you know that already.
    Once you've scattered his ashes in the ocean, you will know that he's part of every beautiful thing you see. He'll always be with you.

  38. I've been there with four dogs, and it's never easy. But I do think it's often right, and I wonder if we'll ever become enlightened enough to know it's also right for some humans in certain conditions, if they desire it.

  39. CCorax-- I have been thinking of you, knowing how your heart would respond when you read this post. I love the sense of knowing that Bonsai will be a part of every beautiful thing we see. That is a gift that will last forever. Thank you for your heartfelt compassion.

    Banjo52-- It is an interesting responsibility to end someone's life. We proceed with as much heartfelt compassion as we have. I did think about the "Death with Dignity" and "Aid in Dying" movements happening now in many states. It is so important for people to be able to choose. I read that of the 122 requests for death with dignity in Oregon last year, only 71 used them, the rest dying naturally with the pills in a drawer. It's about choice, and I am absolutely onboard. Thank you for stopping by. We appreciate hearing from you.

  40. Oh, so sorry to hear about Bonsai. You managed to help him come through some terrible times, but then it was time. And you and Roger had the courage to help Bonsai one more time.

    There are times when I wish Ellie's death had not been so sudden, and then others when I realize how difficult that decision becomes to allow death with dignity. Each one hurts to the core. I'll be thinking of you both in the coming days.

  41. NCmountainwoman-- I know you know how it feels to say good-bye to a much-loved pet. They become so much a part of our hearts. I thought of Ellie when I wrote this post. We come to know our blogging friends' dogs and cats like they were our dear neighbors.

  42. Hi, I'm a friend of Anne's over at the cozy shack. I'm sorry to hear about your furry boy. I'm sure he had a loving and adventurous life with your two. Cat are furry little angels, he will be with you always and maybe send you a new one to take care of and love

  43. Honey P. Sunshine-- Thank you for stopping by and leaving us your very kind words. We appreciate it immensely. Bonsai did have a loving and adventurous life with us, and we were totally glad to share our world with him. We miss him like crazy.

  44. I'm sitting here reading with tears in my eyes and choked-up throat. I'm so sorry.

    The only thing I can add is that I heard a veterinarian on a talk show recently say that animals live in the moment with little or no anticipation for the future. (How he knows this, I haven't a clue--but that's another story.) In any case, he continued by saying that if an animal is miserable in the present, we do it no favor by prolonging its life if we know that there's no hope for a brighter tomorrow on the horizon.

    You did the right thing, but I know how difficult it is. You have my sincere sympathy.

  45. Scott-- I had read online a similar thing that animals live in the moment. I also wondered how such a thing could be surmised. Bonsai was definitely suffering, and we did for him what we would like someone to do for us in our last days. If we can ease the pain of suffering, that is our last best gift to those we love. Thank you for your thoughtful condolences.

  46. So sorry to read this...I'm still not over losing Angel even though I know we did the right thing by her as well.



  47. alan-- Thank you. We will always miss our much-loved furry companions.