A Pet, Passing

A Pet, Passing July 10, 2023


A Pet, Passing

My household familiars are more than just pets. They are more than just familiars. They are an integral part of my family. I cherish their presence in my life as family, as a Nature Spirit. About five years ago, we took in two cat brothers who were abandoned in our neighborhood. One was a Maine Coon, the other was a sweet tabby cat who captured my heart immediately. We had them both tested for feline leukemia and slowly integrated them into the feline family in our home.


Fluffy, the Maine Coon, sadly passed away last year and his departure left a gaping hole in our family and in the animal dynamic that existed in our home. After he was gone, Baby Kitty, or BK, his brother, was in a deep funk over the loss of his friend. The arrival of a new puppy last year, one who had the same color markings as Fluffy, lifted Baby out of his funk and he and Humphrey became fast friends, sleeping together, playing together, etc.

A change of habit

Baby had some health issues, so we needed to watch him closely because he was prone to anemia. I gave him pureed liver every morning, to help with his iron levels and as a medium to put crushed pills in. It worked wonders on both fronts. It was hard for me to prepare the liver because, as a vegetarian, it is one of the last foods I ever want to work with, but for Baby, it was worth it.

We took Baby in every six months to get a full panel of blood work done, just to make sure that everything was where it should be. Because he took regular steroids, he had a healthy appetite. Last month, there were several days where his appetite was waning, and it seemed as though something wasn’t right. A visit to the vet and some supplemental antibiotics and prednisolone seemed to bring things back into line.


On Tuesday, Baby was just like his old self: exploring, playing, it was a joy to behold. On Wednesday night, he didn’t eat very well, and I gave him a serving of liver which he nibbled at, and then walked away. Thursday morning came around and he didn’t want to eat at all. I won’t go into the other details, but it became obvious on Thursday morning, that he was not doing very well. We made an appointment with the vet to bring him in, but I was worried that he wouldn’t make it there.

He came a laid at my feet and I just petted him. The house was still and as silent as I have ever heard it. The other five cats sat around the room quietly, just watching. They didn’t make a sound. I once wrote a prayer to Manannan mac Lir to be used when someone was ready to cross over. I did my best to recall and recite the prayer to Manannan as I was petting and comforting Baby. Here is the text of that prayer:


To Manannan


Hail, Manannan mac Lir,

I have a friend who needs a guide,

They will be heading out with you,

On a not too distant tide.


While their time here is ending,

As they head for that distant shore,

The Sun will always shine on them,

Their cares will be no more.


And while we will remember them,

For forever and a day,

Please guide them as they walk along,

Hold their light as they make their way.


And as you travel outwards,

Past ninth waves and past fog,

May they dance life unencumbered,

When they reach Tir Na Nog.


A little help from my friends

I called out to my father, as an Ancestor. He passed away about 5 years ago and I still feel his presence. I asked him to help Baby Kitty in his transition. While I rarely feel my father’s presence in the waking world, I felt him very close that day. My wife’s grandmother is one of the protective household spirits that inhabits this house. When I called out to my father, I smelled cigarette smoke, while no one was smoking in or around the house. I felt that Grandma Ronnie was here with me as well. I made Baby Kitty as comfortable as possible, and we took him to the vet.

Help from others

When we arrived at the vet, a blood test quickly confirmed how severely anemic Baby was and he was very low energy and seemed uncomfortable. We made the difficult decision at that point to help release him, gently, from the bonds that held him here. I petted him until he decided to follow those that had come to lead him to his next destination. I was devasted, of course.

When our pets leave, there is a tremendous hole that is left in our lives. In so many ways, they love us unconditionally and their gentle passing leaves empty space. When I waked through my house, as I walked through my life, when I looked for Baby, where I expected to find him, I found no one instead. The rest of my animal companions seemed off for a few days as well. They felt the change in their world as well.

Feeling the space

I knew that Baby wasn’t as healthy as the other cats, and I always had a special place for him in my daily workings. A little extra care in the workings we do is sometimes needed for those we care about and for ourselves. While I knew that he might not be with us as long as the other friends in our home, I always expected it to be longer. I guess this is always the case.

A change of plans

During the next day, I had to pay special attention in my daily workings to move Baby Kitty from the position of asking for healing to his new presence as an Ancestor. I found it very difficult to move him from one place to the other, in this change of plan, and even more difficult to say his name, in the list of Ancestors I speak aloud every day. After the first time, it became easier, and his place among the Ancestors became his new home in my workings.

I think about him often throughout the day. I have included him in my hearth fire lighting in the mornings and I can’t help but remember him as each day progresses. Our animal friends paint their presence on the canvas of our lives and while their absence leaves us wanting, the recollection of their presence is a gift that never diminishes. I know that one day, we will be together again, and I will keep him in my thoughts and prayers until that day when rejoinder will be ours.

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