We bid a tearful and unexpected farewell to our sweet kitty Libby last week. Little Libs was at least 17 years old, although as a rescue, we’ll never really know. Despite her age, she remained incredibly happy into her elder years and brought a smile to every face she met. She was the greatest cat the world will ever know.
Libby came into our lives in our early twenties when we were still living in Cincinnati. Right out of college, I started a job as a service rep for a uniform company in a very rural territory. One of my favorite customers was a veterinarian’s office with a kind and cheerful staff. When I stopped by early one Monday morning, a few of the vet techs asked me excitedly if I wanted to meet a very special kitty with a few special needs. Of course I did!
They brought me back to a private room, and Libby hopped out from under the exam table, happily screeching for attention and staring up at me with her impossibly green eyes. I was immediately smitten and began secretly plotting how I’d get her home. Libby was a stray farm cat that had been adopted a few times before, but was always returned a few days later because she needed lots of extra attention. Digestive issues, severe asthma, and extreme sensitivity to household cleaning products were just the tip of the iceberg with her health problems, but we felt confident that Libby could live her best life in our care. So a few weeks later, without Kim ever meeting Libby in person, I drove out to the country on my day off to bring her home.
When Kim returned from work that day, I brought her into the spare bedroom where Libby was getting adjusted to her new life. As soon as I opened the door, a tail-less grey fluff ball dove quickly under the bed to hide.
‘What the heck was that adorable thing!?!?’ Kim asked. Because she swore it up and down, it couldn’t have been a cat.
It was Libby, and as timing would have it, she was in the midst of a mild asthma attack from too much excitement on her first day in her new home.
Our little chinchilla kitty adjusted quickly to her new surroundings and instantly became a member of the family. With a heavy dose of daily pills, prescription food to help with her digestive issues and – perhaps most importantly! – a lot of love, Libby rebounded. In fact, she was eventually weaned off of all of her medication. We learned how to keep her asthma attacks at bay, and she lived an adorably normal life after a tough first year or two.
To say that Libby was a special cat is as big of an understatement as one can make. First time visitors to our home would be shocked to see our little chinchilla/bunny/cat hybrid casually hop from around the corner screeching gently to announce her arrival. She’d then plop into the nearest lap and firmly rub her head on someone’s hand to demand that she be cuddled. Libby regularly turned cat haters into cat lovers. More than a few people have uttered some variation of ‘I don’t even like cats, but I LOVE Libby.’ Our dear friend Meghan, who is terribly allergic to all things feline, even made sure to wear long sleeves when she visited just so she could hold Libby. She was simply magnetic.
Libby was the only cat we’ve ever known to have a legitimate fan club. When our friends’ boys, Daniel and Alex, would visit our home, the first question out of their mouths would usually be ‘can we please go find Libby?!‘ They often helped take care of her when we traveled, so they knew all of her favorite hiding spots. Libby’s hearing had been on a slow decline for a long time and she was 100% deaf for the last few years of her life. The boys knew this, so they would go so far as to walk with intentionally heavy footsteps so she could feel the vibrations through the floor and not be startled awake. That’s love.
Libby and Lucy were best buddies since the day we returned from the hospital with our tiny human. Libby was patient and gentle as Lucy learned to pet with soft hands. No matter how giddy Lucy got about Libby’s presence, Libby stuck by her side. On the few occasions Lucy grabbed her too tight or didn’t know her own strength, Libby still stayed as close to Lucy as she could possibly be.
While we realize that Lucy isn’t old enough to understand why Libby is gone, we think she is old enough to sense our heartbreak. When she said her final ‘bye-bye’ and kissed Libby on the nose the day we would lose her, we felt like she just knew.
Libby was with us before we moved to Chicago. Before we were married. Before Jack, CC, or Lucy were a part of our lives. She brought us 15 years of joy and cuddles, cold and wet nose kisses, the silliest screech of meow you ever did hear, and we miss her more than words can describe. Farewell, Libs. We all love you.
I’m so sorry for your loss. I lost my constant companion of 16 years, 3 years ago and it is still painful but the good memories overpower the heartache. For the first few weeks after she passed I wrote down every random memory or characteristic that came to mind so I wouldn’t forget and now when i see the list I smile as I am reminded how lucky I was to know her.
How lucky we are to have had pets that love US!
I’m so sorry for your loss. I always grew up having a cat at home and pets are such an important part of the family. I’m sure Libby was very grateful for all the extra care you gave her.
You must have given her such an amazing life with how much you clearly loved her. I’m so sorry for your loss.
I am so sorry for your loss. Thank you for sharing this touching post. She was a very special girl.
We lost our dear Annie dog 3 years ago and we still miss her. They grab out hearts and don’t let go. So sorry for your loss.
What a beautiful tribute to obviously an amazing feline family member. My sympathies for your loss. Pets are wonderful, even when they are gone we can recall a lot of the joy we shared with them. Thank you for sharing that joy with all of us.
I’m so very sorry for your loss. You guys gave her such an amazing life! The pain will lessen but your memories will be forever.
What a thoughtful and loving tribute to Libby. I am so sorry for your loss.
So sorry for your loss! It’s always so hard to say goodbye. Thanks for sharing a little bit about her – the pictures of her with Lucy are adorable.
It’s so difficult losing a beloved pet. One of the best consolations is to remember how special your beautiful Libby was and how that specialness was allowed to flourish the day you brought her into a home filled with love. Sending good thoughts, sweet family.
I’m so sorry for your loss. That was a beautiful tribute to a very special kitty.
I am so sorry for your loss. We lost our cat Roo unexpectedly after a brief illness just last month and we are still heartbroken and mourning. I can tell just from your words how much everyone loved her, and more specifically, how much she loved your family.
So sorry to hear about your Roo. We know exactly how you’re feeling!
I’m so sorry for your loss. She was loved and I’m sure she knew it. That’s all we can ever hope for our fur babies.
Love to you all. Those pictures of Lucy and Libby are priceless.
this broke my heart. I’m glad you had so many wonderful memories together.
I am so so sorry for your loss. Others here have put it better than I can, but it’s a special history how you made a home for her in which she could thrive. And those pictures with Lucy are indeed priceless. Thinking of you as you navigate without her now. I am so sorry but very grateful that you had each other. Sweet kitty.
Kim, thanks so much for the incredibly kind words.
I’m so sorry for your loss. It sounds like you found her when she needed you most, and she was there for the most beautiful and trying times of your lives, too. Thank you for sharing this tribute, and these adorable photos, with us.
What a beautiful life Libby shared with so many. I’ve loved seeing glimpses of her. She will truly be missed.
I’m so sorry for your loss. Libby looked like a little bear in one of the pictures. I lost my 14 year old pittie yesterday and I feel every word in this blog post. Perhaps they both are in pet heaven (the only heaven i believe in) meeting for the first time.
So sorry for your loss. I feel like cats don’t get the press dogs do for their incredible companionship. When they are ready to go, it’s subtle and then startling. Cats are so independent it’s unnerving to see them vulnerable. We said goodbye to our 17(?) rescue this summer which was jarring. The two new kitten brother rescues we got are cushioning the blow!! (Ps get a pair of sibs- best thing Ever!!!) ????
Sorry to hear of your loss, Sheree. It’s true that cats bond in a way that’s pretty incredible!
What an amazing tribute to your sweet Libby! How wonderful it was that you all found each other and that you have so many lovely memories and pictures of your 15 years together. But losing a pet is never easy. Thinking of y’all as you adjust to your new normal.
My family just recently went through something similar. As I tried to console my 8 year old daughter, I realized that in some ways she had come to expect unconditional love from me as a parent. But with our dog, she had come to understand and value it. Our dog had every opportunity to move away from her toddler hands, to move to another room when her cries got to be too much. But he never did, he remained by her side, teaching my daughter loyalty, empathy and of course unconditional love in ways only an animal can do. As A.A.Milne taught us, animals allow us to convey love through something other than words. May Libby’s spirit live on in how your daughter loves.
Beautifully said. Thank you.
I’m so sorry to read that you have lost Libby. She was absolutely beautiful. I can tell you it does get easier, having lost our 19 year old matriarch cat earlier this year. She ruled the other cats and the dogs with a paw of iron and when she was suddenly no longer there it was incredible to see how badly affected the other animals were. The household balance was completely gone and none of the others were dominant enough to step up into the alpha role. We weren’t intending to get another cat for a long time but ended up getting a rescue kitten to divert attention from the awful ‘gap’. It worked well. The dogs have smothered her with affection and I think she will become the matriarch in time. She is not replacing our beloved Tasha, and we love her just as much, but her boundless kitten energy was what we all needed. (I’m not suggesting for a moment you get another cat – just telling my story xxx)
So very sorry for your loss. We lost our beloved dog unexpectedly a little over a month ago, and we still think about and miss him every day. Our youngest is close to Lucy’s age, and she still points to pictures of him and smiles while saying his name. We hope we can make sure our kids always remember him.
Thank you for sharing all of this. What a incredible life you all had together. Pets make our lives fuller in so many ways. I lost my Gus last year and it took some time for the ache in my heart to turn into a comfort and in the end a smile. I wish you all the ice cream, good jams and big hugs you deserve at this time. Thanks again for sharing all of this!
I am so sorry for your loss, Kim and Scott and Lucy. How sad to lose such a dear member of your family. Hugs!
What a sweetie she was. You gave her such a good life! I’m so sorry to hear she has passed.
SO beautifully written…you gave her the best years of her life…❤️????
So deeply sorry for your loss. That was a beautiful tribute to a beautiful kitty. Our animal companions are such gifts. Hugs to you all.
So sorry to read this but what a wonderful kitty and a wonderful life to have shared.
Am catching up on was so heartbroken to see this post. Sending you my love in your time of grief. We are so lucky to have our animals. Will miss your sweet girl popping up in my feed from time to time. xoxo
I am so sorry. Having lost many special animal friends in my life time, I can understand your pain. They never live long enough!
So sad! Very sorry.