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Death of my Old Cat - A Poem of Loss

Prince Albert in his final days

Prince Albert in his final days

Wiping up the floors in the bathroom

So clean and disinfected.

I’m not sure I like it.

They were his things.

And he’s not there anymore.

Just trying to help out

Make it all right again

Before the old prince spent his final days

Spreading fluids on the floor

Sampling foods I pushed on him.


Prince Albert with his tongue hanging out. Was it easier to just let it hang?

Prince Albert with his tongue hanging out. Was it easier to just let it hang?

His good eye looked up at me

Or did it really?

I like to think as I held him

That he looked inside me

And saw my soul as I saw his.

His soul was pure and the kindest of any

Coming indoors, blending into

A feline clan that

Mostly pushed him away

Except for one shy cat and a dog


My sweet prince napping

My sweet prince napping

Resilient and trusting in my care

He peered inside, and saw the others,

And knew when to push

And when to just ignore

And sneak on by to come inside.

Finally on the couch beside me

Climbing up on a pillow

The old prince found his place

A sort of Hospice

For his last sweet years.


While maybe not appreciated

By the cats he came in on

They will love what's left behind

The gifts he could not touch

That I prayed would help him live.

All kinds of savory cat food

And even baby food jars

Cans of tuna and salmon

Sardines left in the fridge

All just opened.



Christmas photo with dog Gizmo and cat Prince Albert at PetSmart 2010

Christmas photo with dog Gizmo and cat Prince Albert at PetSmart 2010

It will hurt to even empty them

The cans to the other cats

Still reminders of him

Like the bathroom

That no longer has his pee pad.

I never knew you as a kitten

Prince Albert as a young one

Would it have been harder to lose you

If I had known you then?

Is that how it works?


Consider the rewards of adopting an older cat!

But you became royalty, my prince,

In just a few short years.

I was honored to care for you

To clean up after you

Just to love you for you.

So when you looked up at me

When I held you in the blanket

Ready to rush you to the vet

As you struggled for breath

I trust you saw me there.


Prince Albert's food bowl, separate from the other cats

Prince Albert's food bowl, separate from the other cats

God knows I will beat myself up

obsessed with questions

of what I could have done

to save you from leaving.

Life gets so busy.

Did I give you enough attention?

Did I miss something?

More checkups or treats

or more fattening foods.

I will torture myself.


Prince Albert's table on the screened-in patio

Prince Albert's table on the screened-in patio

So I avoid the clean bathroom

and the medicines on the counter.

The vitamins and dropper

and the pills that go untouched

as I go through my day.

And I won’t look out on the patio

Where you jumped up to eat

Safe from other cats--

Old loner that you were--

to your bowl on the table..


It might stay there for a while.

The cross I made to mark Prince Albert's grave in the back yard

The cross I made to mark Prince Albert's grave in the back yard

Comments

Tabitha Fisher on March 28, 2019:

This poem makes me cry everytime i read it. As i write this comment my senior baby is sitting in his safe place on my chest, purring like mad. He is 22 and his age is starting to show. I know our time together is coming to an end and i feel the sadness in this poem every second of the day. Its good to know that I'm boot the only one.

Victoria Lynn (author) from Arkansas, USA on June 25, 2013:

I miss my sweet prince. It has been a year now.

Victoria Lynn (author) from Arkansas, USA on April 28, 2013:

onegreenparachute--Aw, that's sweet to share your tears. I miss my old Prince so much as the anniversary of his death is approaching. Such a sweet soul. Thanks for voting and sharing.

Carol from Greenwood, B.C., Canada on April 26, 2013:

My tears are rolling down my face. I am such a sop. But your poem pulled all sorts of emotions and memories from down deep where I`d let them hide for a while. I just love cats.

Thanks for this Vickie.

Voted up and shared.

Victoria Lynn (author) from Arkansas, USA on July 22, 2012:

Aw, christin. That's sad. I have a couple of sweethearts who are 12, and I can tell they aren't as spry as they used to be. Sorry for your loss. It's so hard.

Ann-Christin from UK on July 22, 2012:

Lovely poem it reminds me of my first cat Frisky who I had from kittenhood until the age of 19. She became senile at the end and I had to make that awful decision to have her put to sleep. It's very sad losing a pet you've had for many years.

Victoria Lynn (author) from Arkansas, USA on June 25, 2012:

Aw, Sharyn, thanks. Prince Albert was a special guy. I miss him so much. We have to love them and lose them, don't we? Thanks.

Sharon Smith from Northeast Ohio USA on June 25, 2012:

Oh Vicki, I actually avoided reading this when you first wrote it. I felt so bad about all the feline kids moving on to a different life in such a short time. It really hit me and I fear the day when I will miss my girls. But now I read this and it is awesome. I feel like I really know Prince Albert and how much he meant to you. Thank you for sharing his life with us.

Sharyn

Victoria Lynn (author) from Arkansas, USA on June 14, 2012:

Thanks, Vinaya. I'm glad I captured the sadness. Thanks for your comments.

Vinaya Ghimire from Nepal on June 14, 2012:

I can understand how you feel about the loss of cat because I too, have witnessed so many deaths.

You have captured the sadness wonderfully.

Victoria Lynn (author) from Arkansas, USA on June 11, 2012:

dlegendre--I'm sorry about your Freckles. Soulmates are meant to meet again, though. I take comfort in that. Thanks for your comments.

Diane Blanchette from New Hampshire on June 11, 2012:

I feel your pain. This was difficult to read since I am still grieving over one of my dogs, Freckles, although it has been about 3 or so years. Yes, she also was my soulmate and I miss her so!

Victoria Lynn (author) from Arkansas, USA on June 11, 2012:

miss1magination--Prince Albert truly was a kind soul. You are very insightful in saying that he gave me a heart of gold. I never dreamed what he would bring to my life, how he would open up my heart. Treasure your Fruity while you can. Thanks for reading and commenting.

Victoria Lynn (author) from Arkansas, USA on June 11, 2012:

traslochimilano--I'm glad the poem shows my sadness about losing that sweet old Prince Albert. Thanks for reading and commenting.

miss1magination on June 11, 2012:

Just looking at your pictures albert looked like a kind soul so sorry:( but he has givern you a heart of gold!I also have a cat her name is fruity, you've reminded me how much she means to me, Thankyou for sharing

traslochimilano from USA on June 10, 2012:

So sorry for prince albert. This is not only poem but it's shows your sadness. Tanks for sharing with us...

Victoria Lynn (author) from Arkansas, USA on June 10, 2012:

Thanks, randomrose. He was a doll. So gentle and non-intrusive. It's hard to look at the familiar places he used to be. Thanks for the hugs. I really miss him.

Rose Clearfield from Milwaukee, Wisconsin on June 10, 2012:

So sorry for your loss, Vicki. It looks like he was such a sweetie. I've been there and second rahul's thoughts about how the loss of the pet is grieved just as much as any family member would be. *hugs*

Victoria Lynn (author) from Arkansas, USA on June 10, 2012:

Thanks, rahul. Your comments are so sweet and sincere. :-)

Victoria Lynn (author) from Arkansas, USA on June 10, 2012:

Jamie--I still remember and miss all the cats I've lost, too, over the years. Sorry about your Tiva. I always hated not knowing what happened to them....Shyshe is a pretty name. Take care of you and yours!

Jessee R from Gurgaon, India on June 10, 2012:

A magnificent tribute.. made me moist! Loss of a pet is as grieved as the loss of one from the family...

Nice poetry my friend!!

Victoria Lynn (author) from Arkansas, USA on June 10, 2012:

Hi, Dzy--Yeah, I always think I should have been more attentive or more vigilant and caught something. But old Albert lived out his life in relative peace in comfort in my home. I think when he did better when I took him to the vet was a quick fix that didn't last. (fluids and vitamins...) I can't keep beating myself up. Thanks for your condolences. I know they are heartfelt, and I pray that you get to enjoy our old cat for some time to come.

Victoria Lynn (author) from Arkansas, USA on June 10, 2012:

teaches--I guess it's natural for us to wonder if we could have done more. Prince Albert was such a sweet, sweet old guy that it's hard not to have him still around. Thanks for your kind comments.

Victoria Lynn (author) from Arkansas, USA on June 10, 2012:

Dana--Interesting about rats. I never knew they could be pets like that. Yes, our old guy and old lady are probably bouncing around together in pet heaven. Thanks!

Jamie Lee Hamann from Reno NV on June 10, 2012:

I have had so many cats move on, and I loved them all so much. I still feel the pain of loss with everyone. By the way your kitty looks like one of my old kitties by the name of Tiva who ran away a long time ago.

Currently though Shyshe another grey short hair, sleeps on my head everynight. Jamie

Liz Elias from Oakley, CA on June 09, 2012:

Oh, how very sad. I know your pain, I feel your pain, for I have been there too. In 2008, we lost a much younger kitty to a mystery illness--I certainly know what you mean about 'beating yourself up.' Please don't--there's nothing more you could have done than what you did, which was to simply love him.

We have an aging cat, we've had her since a kitten, and though I half expect nearly every morning to find her 'gone,' no, it won't be any easier, having known and cared for her so long.

I offer you my deepest condolences on the loss of your special friend.

Dianna Mendez on June 09, 2012:

So sorry you lost Prince Albert. It sounds like he was a joy to know. As with my cat, I wondered if there was something more I could have done. I believe that you did do all you could.

Victoria Lynn (author) from Arkansas, USA on June 09, 2012:

Nellieanna--I don't think I've gotten there yet, to accept that is how life works. It's too scary for me, still. Thanks for pointing reminding me. I need to get there....Thanks so much.

Dana Strang from Ohio on June 09, 2012:

Vicki -rats are very smart and very affectionate (as long as they are raised to be handled). my girls were so sweet. loved to cuddle and play. and had great personalities. they came when called and everything. when i would pet one, the other would always be trying to stick herself in there too. louise loved to have her ears scratched and tugged. they were almost like kittens! Rats only live 3-5 years and usually pass away from respitory infection or tumors. unfortunately, i am allergic to rats, so no more for me..... i bet your "old guy" and my "old lady" woulda got along great. meaning they woulda just hung around being old and crotchety together! :) he reminds me a little of her. maybe they have met in pet heaven.

take care!

Nellieanna Hay from TEXAS on June 09, 2012:

Well, one begins to see it as the way life works, Victoria, and to look at the highlights rather than the caverns. Thank you.

Victoria Lynn (author) from Arkansas, USA on June 09, 2012:

Vellur--Prince Albert had such a sweet spirit. I will miss that sweet, trusting soul. Thanks.

Victoria Lynn (author) from Arkansas, USA on June 09, 2012:

You're right, Mhatter. He was not "just" a cat. Thanks for understanding.

Victoria Lynn (author) from Arkansas, USA on June 09, 2012:

Nellieanna--What a wonderful life with your George and RV full of two wonderful cats! I love that. I am so saddened by their untimely deaths, however. They sound like they still had more life in them to go! George has the cats again with him. I hope that you have found some peace about it; what great loss you have experienced. Thanks for sharing your special story.

Victoria Lynn (author) from Arkansas, USA on June 09, 2012:

Thanks, Effer. I hope that he felt how much I adored him. Yes, snuggle with Little Tommy Trouble. I've sure been spoiling my other cats--and dog--since Prince Albert left us. :-)

Victoria Lynn (author) from Arkansas, USA on June 09, 2012:

Aw, thanks, Dana. That's so sweet of you to say. Thanks for sharing about your cat. I often referred to Prince Albert as "the old guy." He was arthritic and blind in one eye, but he had a heart of gold. I'm curious about your pet rats. Are they affectionate? How long do they live? I'm sorry you miss them. Thanks for sharing.

Victoria Lynn (author) from Arkansas, USA on June 09, 2012:

Angelo--Thanks for sharing that. It's nice when they live long lives, but oh how we miss them!

Victoria Lynn (author) from Arkansas, USA on June 09, 2012:

Yes, Debbie, I know you must understand. It's so hard. Thanks for the sweet words and blessing. Glad you came by.

Victoria Lynn (author) from Arkansas, USA on June 09, 2012:

Hi, kelley! Cagsil is so good to share things. I think you're right in that guilt is often natural; what else could I have done? If only.... Thanks for the encouragement. Glad you saw this one, too.

Victoria Lynn (author) from Arkansas, USA on June 09, 2012:

Hey, arb, "a time to be born, a time to die." Your words are so compassionate. I just hope that Albert felt that love that I felt for him. Thanks for your beautiful comments. I want to read your hub, too.

Victoria Lynn (author) from Arkansas, USA on June 09, 2012:

Thanks, Joyce. Although Prince Albert wasn't perfect, he had a perfect heart. I miss that. Thanks for your sweet words.

Victoria Lynn (author) from Arkansas, USA on June 09, 2012:

Thanks, JThomp. I do imagine Prince Albert jumping around like a carefree kitten now. Thanks for your kind words. Much appreciated.

Victoria Lynn (author) from Arkansas, USA on June 09, 2012:

Thanks, Bill. Glad you think the poem is beautiful. Prince Albert deserves a proper tribute.:-)

Victoria Lynn (author) from Arkansas, USA on June 09, 2012:

Thanks, Vincent. Your words are comforting. I keep questioning myself, wishing I had done this or that, wishing I had just held him more. We never know when our time has come, and I have to believe that it was his no matter what I tried. I will find peace in time. Thank you, my friend.

Victoria Lynn (author) from Arkansas, USA on June 09, 2012:

Yes, Marlene, I really miss my prince. Such a sweet soul he was. Thanks for reading.

Nithya Venkat from Dubai on June 09, 2012:

I'm really sorry. I hope thoughts of your cat will keep you going. Must have been a really special one.

Martin Kloess from San Francisco on June 08, 2012:

this was not (just) a cat...

Nellieanna Hay from TEXAS on June 08, 2012:

Dear Victoria Lynn. My heart goes out to you for your Prince Alber. (My Dad's name, by the way!) My childhood cat I loved was blue-gray, too. I called her Lady Blue.

George and I had two beloved cats, Toulouse and Camille, brother and sister. They were born in the bottom of my closet in August of 1985 in a litter of 5. We only intended to keep one but these two both stole our hearts. They were so healthy - we saw to it - and happy. They traveled with us - but in our RV, which we really bought for them. But in a trip without it - it was a one-day trip - we decided to stop and stay over with some family for Christmas and the cats were in the motel, while we were with our folks. It was Dec. 2002. They got a hold of some kind of deadly toxin and Camile died almost as soon as we got home, on Dec. 28th. Both had symptoms but Toulouse rallied and lived till March 17, 2003, when he suddenly exhibited those symptoms and went as suddenly as his sister. They were 17, never sick a day and we actually had become concerned that they'd outlive us and be orphaned.

They'd been with us always. The only time, not, was when we went to England and had a 'critter sitter' come to the house to care for them. They hardly spoke to us for awhile when we got back! They surely would have lived many more years. They were like two kittens at 17!

When my beloved George died in 2008, just at the moment he was slipping away, I heard the cats meowing. What can I say? I felt they were waiting to greet him.

I miss all of them so much.

Suzie from Carson City on June 08, 2012:

Vee....this is a sad one that tugged at my heart. How sweet to write this for your late Prince Albert. You were a blessing to him and never doubt that your love and care was the best of his life. You did everything any Mom could have done.

I have a need to go find my Little Tommy Trouble and snuggle with him now....and let him play with my yarn! UP +

Dana Strang from Ohio on June 08, 2012:

Oh how sweet. Just knowing you a little tells me that you gave him more care, love, and attention than anyone else would have or could have. What a lucky cat.

It is always hard to lose a friend. this reminds me of my cat that passed away roughly 18 months ago at 17 years old. For the last few years I simply called her old lady because that is how she acted. She passed away quietly at home.

This year I lost both of my pet rats. One of them just last night. When I went to take her out of her cage I could just tell she was ready to go. I miss her :(

Thank you for a beautiful story of friendship and loss.

Angelo52 on June 08, 2012:

We lost our cat, Cleo, a couple of years ago from old age. She was 21 years old. She died peacefully while lying on my girlfriends chest. Just closed her eyes and stopped breathing. Thanks for sharing this lovely poem.

Deborah Brooks Langford from Brownsville,TX on June 08, 2012:

Oh Victoria.. I know how you feel.. I lost my cat Muffin.. a couple of months ago. I had her for 14 years.. It hurts so bad because they are part of your family..

I love your poem.. bless you my friend

Debbie

kelleyward on June 08, 2012:

Victoria! I just now came across this beautiful poem shared by Cagsil and now I see Prince Albert! He was a beautiful cat! I had one that looked similar to him growing up we named Sassy. I know you gave him a wonderful home. I think every caring pet owner goes through the guilt you shared wondering what else they could have done but you gave him a wonderful loving home and cared for him the best you could! So glad I saw this today! Hugs! Kelley

arb from oregon on June 08, 2012:

Hi Victoria, "there is a season for all things under heaven" I too, wrote a hub, called moon eyes about the passing of my dog. We can not write such things lest they are bathed in the heart of our love. That love is evident here and I have learned, we had no greater gift to give than our love. What a wonderful way to spend ones life, in the luxury of forever love. That is how he lived and that was his comfort in going. You "did well, good and faithful servant". I pray you find comfort in the knowledge,that he lived in the arms of love.

Joyce Haragsim from Southern Nevada on June 08, 2012:

Hugs coming from me. Prince Albert sound like a perfect cat. Your other cats will feel for you and keep you company.

Voted up and beautifully touching, Joyce.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on June 08, 2012:

That is so beautiful, Vicki! We all feel the pain I'm sure; who among us has not lost a beloved pet? Great job, as always.

Victoria Lynn (author) from Arkansas, USA on June 08, 2012:

CAGS!!! Good to see you. Thanks for coming by and giving hugs. I'm thinking about the good times with my old guy, which I'm sure will be more prominent as time goes on. Thanks so much.

Vincent Moore on June 08, 2012:

My sweet Victoria I am so touched by your soft loving kind heart towards your Prince. Remember that he knows how you cared for him with all your love. Cat's are spirits and they know our hearts. I to have a feline, her name is Sabrina and it would be very difficult on me if I lost her. Prince will always be in your spirit, go in peace and know that you have done all you could. It was his time as it will be ours when our name is called on high. Peace and blessings to you my friend.

Victoria Lynn (author) from Arkansas, USA on June 08, 2012:

Thanks, Susan. You're right; only time will replace the pain with sweet memories. Thanks for the hugs.

Marlene Bertrand from USA on June 08, 2012:

Oh, how you must miss your prince. Thank you, Victoria for sharing your treasured memories with us.

Raymond D Choiniere from USA on June 08, 2012:

Hey Victoria, I haven't lost a pet in years and I can understand what it feels like to miss one. (((Hugs))) for your loss and I hope you will always remember the best of times you've had with him. :) Nicely written. :) Voted up.

Victoria Lynn (author) from Arkansas, USA on June 08, 2012:

Thanks, gypzeeme. It's the only thing I've been able to write about the last few days. It helps to write about him. Thanks for your kind comments.

Susan Zutautas from Ontario, Canada on June 08, 2012:

Vicki your poem has me in tears. I know how you feel and there's nothing I can say to take away the heartache that you're feeling. This is such a sad poem but yet so beautiful. I hope in time you'll feel better. Take care. Sending you hugs.

gypzeeme from Englewood, Colorado on June 08, 2012:

oh Victoria....what a magnificent tribute to Prince Albert....i'm sitting here with tears rolling down my cheeks....even more so now that i see that this happened just a few days ago...i am so sorry for your loss...and thank you for sharing this with us....

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