Sherlock, 2008-2021

Today, during a pandemic, during a snowstorm, we had to bring our cat Sherlock to the vets and have him put down. A day or two ago, he had what was most likely a stroke although we didn’t know it at the time.  We noted stiffness in Sherlock’s back leg and thought it might be arthritis. We had planned to mention it to the vet in a spring appointment.

However, by this morning Sherlock was dragging himself around by his front paws, unable to stand or walk. He wouldn’t eat or drink, and we could tell by looking into his eyes that the end could be measured in days rather than months or years. Because of the pandemic, we couldn’t be with Sherlock when he was euthanized, and that was hard. All we could do was watch as the assistant took him away.

We made the right choice, and we know this, but it was not an easy one. Our fur buddies mean a lot to us, and the decision to have one of them put down always fills me with grief, which, in a strange way, seems fitting. To expand love to a creature from another species strikes me as a very, very good thing, especially when you think of how often it is that we don’t even love members of our own species. The  more we can widen our circle of love, the better it is.

Sherlock was not what you would call an easy cat. From the moment I brought him and his litter mate Ms. Watson home, I knew Sherlock was going to be a challenge. That first day, he climbed my back ten times as I tried to work. Not exactly a laid-back cat, and this picture Clif took of Sherlock as a kitten shows his “cat-attitude.” But he sure was cute, wasn’t he?

Sherlock had the lamentable habit of biting the hand that patted him. He was also a bully, and Sherlock kept the meeker Ms. Watson in a constant state of agitation. And yet. As our daughter Shannon put it, Sherlock was a punk, but he could also be very sweet. Yes, he could.  Sherlock loved to lie on my lap on top of “his” special fleece blanket. (Without the blanket, it was no good, and unless the evening was stinking hot, I had the blanket on my lap for him.) Despite the biting, Sherlock was extremely social, and, as our other daughter Dee observed, he always liked to be part of the action and usually attended our Zoom meetings.

At any rate, we loved this punk, and we already miss him.

Here are some pictures of Sherlock from his younger, better days.

Farewell, orange cat!

101 thoughts on “Sherlock, 2008-2021”

  1. Such a sad day. They just don’t live long enough. I’ve been thinking about him and you guys all day. I’m going to miss his punky, sweet self.

  2. I’m sorry to learn of Sherlock’s stroke and that you couldn’t be with him at his end. The hardest part of pet ownership is making that final decision. 😦 I hope the good memories and the remaining Ms. Watson give you some comfort at this sad time. ❤

  3. We’re so sorry for your loss dear Laurie 💔 Sherlock seemed such a spirited cat and letting him go was the kindest thing you could do for him. Run free sweet boy 🌈💜🕊

    1. So sad to hear about Sherlock’s passing. He was a good boy in his own way. I was thinking about him yesterday, because we have a new cat with a similar temperament. May Sherlock remains in your hearts for many years to come.

  4. Im so sorry- losing our pets is so very difficult as they are with us unconditionally and constantly. My thoughts are with you and Cliff right now – he was a beautiful fur baby❤️

  5. Oh, Laurie and Clif, this made me cry. I am so sorry for the loss of your babe. We, too have a jerkish kind of guy at our house, and somehow he is a favorite – all that personality means something. And to have to say goodbye under COVID conditions is just too tough. I’m sure the vets made it just as it should be for him.

    Hugs to you all.
    Love, Jodie

  6. Aww, so sorry you couldn’t be with him at the last. We had to put our “Patch Cat” down a couple years ago, and her owner, my son , was away at the time so he got on the phone and talked to Patchy as he she went to sleep. Still makes me cry. You love ’em so much.

  7. i am so sorry for you loss. It is so hard to lose our companions especially in such stressful times. He was a lovely kittie and sounds like quite the character. Plus his pictures are adorable. My thoughts are with you and the rest of your pack.

  8. So sorry for your loss, Clif and Laurie.
    My heart breaks as I read your tribute to Sherlock – trying (well-named he was) yet so obviously beloved.
    It must have been so difficult to make the decision to let him go. I had to drive each of my 4 family dogs (really, my 4-legged brothers & sisters) to the vet for this purpose, and it never got easier. And I still tear up with I think of those days.

    1. Thank you so very much! Yes, 4-legged brothers and sisters. It certainly doesn’t get any easier, no matter how many times it has been done and no matter how old you are.

  9. My heart goes out to you both. We still remember each of our dogs and cats with great fondness. It is strange the way such memories pop up out of nowhere even years after their passing.I reckon it shows how much we loved them – as you obviously have loved Sherlock.

  10. This is just so sad, Laurie. I hate that you weren’t able to be with Sherlock at the end, but it’s good that despite all the complications, you were able to arrange for him to be well cared for. Having added Dixie Rose to my current post, I’ve been thinking about how they never really leave us. Sherlock won’t leave you, either. Love never ends.

  11. Miss Watson, Laurie and Clif, I am so sorry for your loss of Sherlock! He was a handsome kitty, and well taken care of by you all these years. He will have flowers in the memory garden here. 🌈🐾 Hugs from all of us here.

  12. So sorry to hear about Sherlock, especially that you couldn’t be with him at the end. I love the photo of Sherlock when he is lying down with his paws out, with those big eyes…he certainly looked like a character. I too, think it is such a rewarding part of life to love a pet, and it teaches us so much in a compassionate way. Take care, and good to know you have Miss Watson there to keep you company.

    1. He was definitely a character, but how we loved him. You expressed it so beautifully about how rewarding it is to love a pet and how it teaches us compassion. Lovely, lovely. And, yes, thank goodness for Miss Watson.

  13. Orange cats are special – I’ve had two in my lifetime and they have big personalities.
    I’m sorry you had to say goodbye to Sherlock but the greatest kindness you can offer a pet is to know when their time is up and to end their suffering. One week after arriving in England we had to put our own big ginger boy to sleep – he had kidney disease and had started to go downhill fast. Despite lockdown, the vet kindly found a vacant room where she and I could go while the injection took effect so I was able to speak softly to him until he went to sleep. They then sent me a condolence card which I thought was a nice touch.
    Enjoy your orange tinged memories xx

  14. I was so sorry to read this post Laurie. However much you know their days are numbered and that their life if not really worth living any more it is always so hard to take the decision to have a pet put to sleep. Not being able to be there with him must have made it even harder. You will miss him and mourn him because for all his faults he was your friend and gave you his affection. Sending you huge virtual hugs.

  15. I can’t press the ‘like’ button because I can’t see it through my tears. I’m so so so sorry. Even though he liked to bite, and had a bit of an attitude I know he loved you just like you loved him, and he was grateful you could help make the pain go away. Poor baby. He’s running around now, lording over the other kitties across the bridge…he’ll be there waiting for you when you get there yourself. You’ll be able to recognize him because he’ll be head cat. Guaranteed.

  16. Oh, Laurie, I’m so very sorry to read this. Losing a beloved fur member of our family is just awful, and I can’t fathom having to have one euthanized yet not be with them. Sherlock knew y’all gave him a good home and, despite his sometimes-ornery ways, I know you’re going to grieve for months on end. It’s a lot to ask of Ms. Watson to take on the role of two cats; maybe there’s a new kitty waiting in your future?

    1. Thanks so much, Debbie. Yes, despite his ornery ways, we loved Sherlock and will be grieving for quite a while. No plans for a new cat in our immediate future, but Ms. Watson does seem at loose ends without her punk of a brother.

  17. I’m so sorry Laurie. It must be extra hard after losing Liam not that long ago too. You had no choice at all in that situation – it was the last loving thing you could do for him. I’m sending virtual hugs.

  18. Oh that is hard. And hard not to be with him. A friend just lost a golden retriever to her second stroke and since it was bad, they kept her with them, knowing it wouldn’t be long. I’m sorry. What a decision.

    1. A terrible decision that always feels like murder to me, even though I know it is the right thing to do. So wish Sherlock would have gone in his sleep.

  19. I learned of your loss through Lavinia Ross of Salmon Brooks Farms. It never is easy – I lost my Dougy the Persian kitty boy in July last year at only nine years old from undetermined causes – and their memory stays with us. My ginger tabby, Louie, died in August 2011. A shelter kitty boy, he was lovable, well trained (or just very smart about living with humans), and inclined to jump on my lap, I once had him land on my lap and knock the chair with the both of us over1 He never picked up on the fact he weighed almost 24 pounds, and was a so big a cat my elderly mother mistook him for a cheetah! Yes, Sherlock will be with you in his own way from now one. Sometimes you will cry and people won’t know why, other times you might smile, even laugh. Hugs and my condolences on the loss of your kitty boy Sherlock.

      1. We all need hugs at times like this, especially when a beloved pet is struggling beyond help. I’ve been spared having to make the decision you had to make because each kitty died suddenly. I hope I never have to decide a pet has to be euthanized, but, if I do, I can hold that kitty in love while life passes out.

  20. I’m so sorry to hear this, Laurie. It’s hard, and the photos and memories of Sherlock remind me how wonderful cats are and how they find their ways into our hearts. I love it that humans invite other creatures into our lives. We care for them, love them up, give them wonderful lives, and in the end, compassionately usher them from life even when it breaks our heart. ❤ ❤ Take care, my friend.

  21. I’m so sorry for your loss and that you were not able to be with Sherlock. So much love and companionship shared over the years, even if it’s on their terms and on their own special blanket. We had a few orange cats and I’ve always believed they have a little bit of an attitude problem and your wonderful photos of Sherlock over the years capture the attitude and love. Hugs to you, Clif and Ms. Watson and you’ll be in my thoughts.

  22. It must be hard to give up your cat as well as it was for me I didn’t have to euthanise it but sadly it fell of the apartment down from the eighth floor 😓
    I still miss her a lot

  23. Since we’ve been together, I’ve been pretty good about catching your posts. Who knows why I missed this one – but for me – missing this one was like a punch in the gut. Pets are special, so losing them is difficult as I know they hit me hard – very hard. May Little Miss bring you comfort.

  24. My condolences to you and Clif. It’s true that it’s never an easy decision, even when they are ill or old and disabled. I found it hard to say goodbye to 3 pets, and kept looking for signals of permission from each – I never wanted to think we were taking the easy way out. In the end other family members or a vet had to tell me it was time.

  25. Those are darling pictures of him. He sounds like a similar challenging personality to our Orange cat. I found this poem that I think is helpful….. I am so sorry you couldn’t be with him at the very end.

    The King of Cats Sends a Postcard to His Wife

    by Nancy Willard

    Keep your whiskers crisp and clean.
    Do not let the mice grow lean.
    Do not let yourself grow fat
    like a common kitchen cat.

    Have you set the kittens free?
    Do they sometimes ask for me?
    Is our catnip growing tall?
    Did you patch the garden wall?
    Clouds are gentle walls that hide
    gardens on the other side.
    Tell the tabby cats I take
    all my meals with William Blake,
    lunch at noon and tea at four,
    served in splendor on the shore
    at the tinkling of a bell.
    Tell them I am sleeping well.

    Tell them I have come so far,
    brought by Blake’s celestial car,
    buffeted by wind and rain,
    I may not get home again.

    Take this message to my friends.
    Say the King of Catnip sends
    to the cat who winds his clocks
    a thousand sunsets in a box,

    to the cat who brings the ice
    the shadows of a dozen mice
    (serve them with assorted dips
    and eat them like potato chips),

    and to the cat who guards his door
    a net for catching stars, and more
    (if with patience he abide):
    catnip from the other side.

Comments are closed.