My sweet, tabby boy…

Hershel came to live with me on October 29th, 2016. A tiny spit of a thing, he showed absolutely no fear in the face of either a bulldog or a chocolate lab. In fact, from the beginning, Hershel mostly thought he was one of the dogs. There’s a backstory there, of course. 

Our Hershel, you see, was the sole survivor of a litter dropped off in the dead of night at my then veterinarian’s office. The office manager there took him in and got him fixed up. There’s where I came into the picture. I mean I couldn’t really have that kind of fighter just dropped off at shelter, could I?

So, home he came and within the week, he was running both dogs and firmly ensconced as leader of my motley pack. Every day from then to now, he was the best cat a boy could ask for. After dinner, every single night, he tucked into his spot on my lap, purring happily while I read or grumbled at the television. After more than six years, you could have kept time with our routine. 

Sometime in the last 24 hours, Hershel suffered a blockage of his bladder or urinary tract. I found him sprawled on the floor, barely conscious when I got home this morning from a weekend trip. Thirty-five minutes later, after breaking most of the traffic laws in two states, we were rushed through to triage at the local emergency vet’s office. His kidneys were shut down, bloodwork was off the charts, and his temperature was described politely as “incompatible with life.” He was obviously in pain and there was virtually no chance of recovering. 

Letting him go and ending his suffering was the last kindness I could offer this magnificent member of the family. Even to the last, he took endless chin scratches and ear rubs as if they were simply his due. Under other circumstances, he would have almost looked happy. It’s certainly how I’d like to remember him, but mostly I’ll remember not being here last night when he was sick, and scared, and needed me most. I’ll carry that guilt every day from now until my own end.

I miss my sweet, tabby boy. I just walked around with the assumption that we’d have so much more time and I’m whatever it is that exists beyond broken. 

4 thoughts on “My sweet, tabby boy…

  1. I’m so sorry. Hershel was a beautiful cat and I’m sure a wonderful friend to you. You couldn’t have known. Be gentle with yourself Jeff. ❤️

  2. Sorry to hear that, Man. I have enjoyed the Hershel posts the most. Even I was in love with Hershel. My thoughts are with you, Jeff

  3. Dear Jeffrey, I am so sorry to hear about your loss of Hershel. We completely understand as we loss our URL, Gracie, and Freddie all within 5 months. We were devastated and still grieving to this day. Only piece of advice I can give you is to always remember you gave Hershel (and all his past and present siblings) the best of a loving home and in return he gave you many happy memories. We lost URL on August 1, 2021 and I had my first major back surgery on August 19th. I got home on September 1st from Georgetown University Hospital and on September 2nd Michael surprised me with Murl. You are never replacing our loved ones but it really helped me begin to mend my broken heart. All our kitties are from shelters and we added Carl after my 2nd surgery in January, 2022. As you settle in to your new reality I really recommend going to a shelter and find yourself a kitty who also needs your love and caring. You are a great kitty Dad and never forget that. If we can help you in any way never hesitate to call. Our love and share in your grief, Cindy & Michael

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