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Losing a pet is never easy. Here is to my sweet cat, Turtle!

In Loving Memorial of My Sweet Cat, Turtle

As a long time pet parent, I know all too well that the time they spend with us is just not long enough. Every September on Pet Memorial Day I find myself remembering my furry family members who have left their paw prints forever in my heart.

This year, however, the loss is still quite fresh. Over Labor Day Weekend we had to say goodbye to our sweet Turtle, aka Turtie Cat.

Pin Me!

in loving memory of my sweet cat turtle pin

Our loss was sudden and unexpected, though I don’t think it would have been any easier if we’d had time to prepare ourselves. Turtle was always happy, friendly, and full of fun right up until the end. She saw the vet regularly, which is how we knew that she had mild cardiac disease that our vet was monitoring. There was no outward reason to suspect that her condition had progressed to the point that her life was in danger.

We had been out to dinner and returned to find that she had lost the use of her hind legs. We rushed her to BluePearl Veterinary Partners in Tampa, where she was seen by Dr. Benjamin. He diagnosed her with an arterial thromboembolism that had blocked the blood flow to her hind legs. While I’d never heard of it, it is a common occurrence in older cats with heart disease. And there’s little treatment that is feasible.

The staff at Blue Pearl Veterinary Partners was amazingly sympathetic and compassionate and urged us repeatedly to take our time and to ask as many questions as we needed to. After many tears and much kind counsel from Dr. Benjamin, we made the difficult decision to let her go. She passed away peacefully in my arms.

This year Pet Memorial Day was September 9. Even though it’s still difficult to talk about our loss, I wanted to dedicate this post in memory of my sweet Turtle.

Remembering Turtle

Not many people know this, but Turtle and her sister Olivia came to us following a tragic loss. A dear friend of ours lost her life the day after Thanksgiving 2012 in a freak horseback riding accident. In the aftermath, her wonderful husband Danny sought to find homes for many of Pam’s beloved pets so that he could sell the farm and move closer to family to begin his healing. We had recently lost our cat, Tank, to old age, and we had been thinking about adopting another cat. But this horrible loss of our friend made us decide we wanted to help however we could. So we adopted Turtle and Olivia.

My sweet Turtie girl - we'll always miss you!

No two cats were ever more different! Olivia is sassy, loud and demanding (in a cute and lovable way), but Turtle was sweet, soft spoken, and just happy to be in your presence.

Turtle was our first tortie and also our first tiny cat. For some reason, all of our previous cats have been large, or “big boned,” as they prefer to be called. But Turtle, at about five pounds of sweetness, was such a tiny delight. She was beautiful inside and out.

Sweet, Friendly, and Fun

Turtle was a people cat, and she provided our guests with plenty of love and amusement. I’m sure anyone who has ever stayed with us will remember her “hospitality.” She had her own bedroom, which we also used as the guest bedroom. Turtie was only too happy to greet her visitors, sit in suitcases, and snuggle on their heads as they slept. Our pet sitter, Kasey, recalls how funny it was to be woken every night to the sound of Turtle crunching kibble at 2 AM!

Remembering my sweet Turtie Cat on Pet Memorial Day

One of the things I will miss the most is my morning “Turtie Time.” Turtle and I would cuddle in the recliner and watch the morning news while I sipped on coffee with one hand and rubbed her head with the other. Morning just isn’t the same now without her.

Turtle spent her evenings with my husband, Paul. His fondest memory is of her chewing on his hair while he sat in his chair watching NCIS reruns!

Chilly loved Turtie because she would play “hide and chase” with him. She was really good at it. Even though she was getting older, clumsy Chilly could never catch her!

The first couple of nights Turtle was gone, I slept in her room just to feel closer to her. The house will never be the same without her, but I feel blessed that I got to have her as a part of my life. Turtie girl has given us seven years of wonderful memories that we wouldn’t trade for anything, and those will always be with us.

5 Ways to Remember a Beloved Pet

Our pets are an important part of our lives, and when we lose them they leave an empty space in our hearts. Finding meaningful ways to remember them can be an important step in the healing process.

1. Write a Letter or a Journal

Writing can be a therapeutic way to express feelings and to relive happy memories. Whether you choose to write a letter to your beloved pet or compile a journal of the silly, funny, or touching things your pet did, you’ll be creating a permanent reminder of the happiness they brought to your life.

2. Display a Picture

Many of us have a photo or two that totally capture what we loved the most about our pet. Framing it and displaying it can be a comforting reminder. Some pet parents even decide to have a portrait painted. A professional pet portrait artist can create a work of art that you’ll treasure forever.

3. Plant Something

Planting a tree, a shrub, or even a whole garden in a pet’s honor can help keep their memory alive for years to come.

4. Wear a Special Piece of Jewelry

A bracelet, a necklace, or a keychain with your pet’s name or photo can help you keep their memory close. It’s one way to bring a piece of them wherever you go. Some jewelry can even hold a tuft of fur, a photo, or a small amount of ashes.

5. Make a Donation

What better way to honor your pet’s life than to improve the life of other animals? Making a donation to a shelter or a rescue group is a great way to memorialize your pet. If you can’t make a monetary donation, you may consider volunteering or donating other goods.

Finding a way to memorialize our pets can help us to move beyond the grief and hold on to the happy memories. And though we will never stop missing them, it’s through those memories that they will continue to bring us joy forever.

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Kristen Levine is a nationally acclaimed pet expert, influencer, and Fear Free Certified® Professional with over 30 years of experience working with pets.

Through this blog and her book, Pampered Pets on a Budget, Kristen has helped millions of pet parents solve problems and provide the best care for their dogs and cats.

Working alongside hundreds of pet professionals, including veterinarians, behaviorists and trainers inspired Kristen to become a pet parenting “guide”, providing readers with reliable information about health, wellness and lifestyle for dogs and cats and the people who love them.

A dogged advocate for pet adoption and rescue, Kristen has featured over 1,000 adoptable dogs and cats from the SPCA on live television and radio appearances to get them adopted. Her blog, KristenLevine.com has been featured in over 100 media outlets – including the New York Times, USA Today, FOX & Friends, Good Morning America, Women's Day, Reader's Digest, Good Housekeeping, Pop Sugar and more.

To stay up to date on the latest health and lifestyle trends for pets, Kristen regularly attends the top veterinary and pet product conferences, where she’s often a featured speaker.

This Post Has 16 Comments

  1. I will miss seeing sweet Turtle on social media! My first cat was a tortie named Bernice. Turtle chewed on hair! My cat, Cher, does that too!

  2. I’m sorry for your loss of Turtle. My husband and I recently lost our Pug Oscar. Making that final decision is extremely difficult. It’s been about 2 months now and I still feel like it was yesterday but it has gotten easier. My thoughts are with your family.

  3. Sorry for your loss Kristen. I lost my 3 dogs Samantha, Camila and Winnie because of age problems and it is so hard to let them go, but it is the way we have to let them become angels. My dog Samantha was 12, Camila 16 and a half and Winnie 15 and a half. I wrote letters to all of them. I can imagine how beautiful the pet rainbow is and the place where your cat lives now… I am sure that place is so close to your heart and your cat is living there now. Hugs for you and your family.

  4. Turtle came to you in such a special way.. my condolences to you and to your family.

    Oddly this avatar thingy is in remembrance of a very special cat name Tan’na (sounds like Donna with a T) This was done by a friend after he passed away in 1998 hence the wings he was an oddly human like siamese cat.. He was such a special boy and his cremains will be placed with me. He died of cancer and he was also a senior at 18.
    I feed feral colonies do TNR and of course have pets that own me. Besides Tan’na there were cats before and after we have lost. Each holds a special place. Each loss has cut deeply. be they long timers or short timers . They each had beautiful souls.

    Right now all of our inside cats are seniors. I dread the day it happens, but we are getting older too old for a kitten now so if we socialize feral kittens it is imperative they have a home lined up.

    And dogs.. I have always had a dog around. I love all animals. Jiffy stands out, she was a gift from my brother, a beautiful girl never forgotten. Our current dog Odin is 16, blind and diabetic. He is a loving, wonderful boy.

    They all leave pawprints on our hearts, we hear their clicks across the floor or a soft mew and urn and they are gone…. and we miss them. To love and be loved is the goal in life, your Turtle had it all. May your family find peace and comfort, she sure looked like a wonderful tiny angel.

  5. I loved reading all about your precious furbaby. It was so beautiful. I can’t even see for the tears as I’m typing this. I lost my furbaby, Furby, a year ago to liver failure and it had been the hardest thing I’ve ever been through .Losing my dad at 14 still wasn’t the same. It has felt like I lost an actual child of mine, especially since I can’t have children. He was 12½ and I had had him since he was a week old and bottle fed. Truly the depression has been the hardest but I constantly remind myself that because I loved and still love him so strongly is why I hurt and miss him so strongly. I refuse to thing I will never see him again and know one day when I’m gone I’ll have my furbaby back. I wish none of us pet owners would have to go through the pain of saying goodbye but that’s not how this life works. I made a cat door in my closet and that’s where his food dish was as well as all his toys since he was a kitten. I now have his toys and a framed picture of him on my shelf in my closet like a memorial shrine so that everyday when I look at all his things, I feel closer to him for that moment. Non pet owners just don’t understand how much our babies mean to us and thank you so so much for sharing your story as well as allowing me to share mine. Just know I will be thinking about you.

  6. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/fd853bad392996b02625a0ea511460a9938dc82d8ae03b5419d974aced3f284a.jpg so sorry for your lost. i had 2 pit bulls and a cat, wilma, micheal(my cat), and my beatuiful gracie. she was my best friend. i lost all three of them within a year along with my mom. thats been 6 yrs. ago and i still miss them sooooo much. i have pictures of them with my grandkids, because they were my family. my husband finally got me a rescue pit/boxer mix, miss sissy, but i still think of my babies everyday. people tell me to suck it up they were just animals, but they were more than animals to me. so its ok to be sad that they are gone.

  7. So sorry to hear about the loss of Turtle. It’s so hard on us after they leave. My cat Chelsea is getting up there in age and I can’t imagine what that time will be like. Here is a big hug for you! You gave Turtle a good life!

  8. Kristen and Paul, My sincerest condolences on the loss of your dear Turtie. You might remember me telling you that she is a look-alike of my cat, Cali. I hope you will see messages from Turtie from time to time, as I have from my pets who have crossed over. Whenever I see a butterfly, I know it’s my Hector Hound saying hello, for instance. You gave her a wonderful life, and I can tell from the story that she loved you as much, if not more, as you both loved her. Take the time you need to grieve and heal. There are no rules, and no timeline on grief. They take a piece of our hearts, and never let go.

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