R.I.P. Bandito, 1996-2010.

December 27, 2010 at 4:36 pm (By Amba)

Woke up in the country on Christmas Eve morning, feeling extraordinarily good — so much so that I jumped out of bed and worked out first thing in the morning.  Maybe it was the air, maybe the view out my bedroom window from this high house surrounded

by plunging ravines full of plumbline-straight beech trunks, so that it feels like it’s in the treetops; maybe it was the roaring fire in the huge fireplace, the Christmas tree sized to match, the warmhearted and welcoming company, the flowing eggnog and wine, the challenge of wrapping artistically classic Christmas packages

… it might have been my first springy step on this new road, except that the phone rang around 4 P.M. and I happened to answer.

It was my cat care person; she was in tears.  “One of your cats has passed away,” she said.

I would have been totally shocked if it was anyone but Dito; but it was him, of course — going on 15 years old, on meds for hyperthyroidism, showing signs of kidney atrophy, and suffering from bad teeth because after I lost my job I could not afford veterinary surgery — I’d been aware of his pain and looking forward to soon being able to take care of it at last.  He’d been uncomfortable but not remotely terminal.  Something sudden happened to him, the feline equivalent of a stroke or heart attack or pulmonary embolism.  The chronic inflammation must have been a contributing factor.  If I could have done his teeth in time, he might have lived another year or two, especially with subcutaneous fluids for his kidneys.  But he was not young.

Chris said, “Well?  He was Jacques’ cat.”  Nathan, who rescued him as a tiny kitten from a Korean mountainside with us in mind, speculated with me that one way to look at it is that Jacques waited till I was out of the way, then came and got him.

I groped in the empty space where Jacques should have been to share the sadness with.


  1. sara said,

    that sounds just right– what your friend said. i’m so sorry for the loss, though, and i’m sending you all my love! xoxox sara

  2. Melinda said,

    Hate those empty spaces.

  3. Peter Hoh said,

    I’m sorry to hear this. Pets leave a void.

    I really appreciated your advice and kind words when the end was drawing near for my black and white cat back in June.

  4. Icepick said,

    Annie, I still don’t know what to say….

  5. A said,

    The version you and Nathan came up with seems as right as anything we can

  6. karen said,

    I’m so sorry, amba.

    Some days i can deal w/all of our losses on the farm, multiplied by the oh-so-many animals we have. The calf we lost to a heart defect when i was really hoping the vet was wrong- the cow we had to shoot because she had cancer and was not able to get her huge body to stand any longer and the current issues we are facing now- they say that the longer you farm, the more you see things you’ve never seen before. Just when you think you can’t learn anything new…

    Yet, when you have fewer pets, they cannot be lumped into the many, they are singular and special and their loss(on top of loss) seems to cut deeper, i’m sure. I know J and Dito are together again. Please don’t look for reasons of it being your fault.

  7. Dave Schuler said,


    I think this is one of the areas in which Aquinas was wrong. If we have souls, I’m convinced that at least some other animals do, too. I know that I miss the very special spirits that each of our dogs who is no longer with us had.

  8. amba12 said,

    I’ve said this before, but as J was dying, I said the names to him of both cats and people he might see again, if we do see those we love and lose again. Every cat we’ve lost remains distinctive in my heart.

  9. reader_iam said,

    When all else fails, light a candle and remember. And hope, therefore.


  10. RLC said,

    May he rest in peace. Maybe he was okay with going there.

  11. Maxwell James said,

    Their lives are too short. My wife and I have three cats, and while I have been through many pet deaths, including one that was almost unbearable, our current three are her first. For her sake I hope every day that they all live as long as feline-ly possible.

  12. david said,

    I will miss Dito, but, to be honest, I am relieved that he will no longer try to kill me (his ghost: that’s another matter altogether).

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