A Goodbye

I wasn’t even in town when the decision was made to add to our family.

I admit, I was slightly annoyed that a big decision was made without me.

But then I got back home and saw just how in love my boys were with this new addition: a kitten named Mac- named after the orange color of macaroni and cheese.

And especially my kindergartener.


He’s always loved animals.

After school, you’d find Mac tucked under his arm as he played on the iPad or watched tv. He and Mac cuddled up together at night.


He loved that cat so much.

We don’t know quite what happened.

It’s not something we were prepared for at all.

But yesterday afternoon, my son came to find me in my room where I was cleaning and said “Mac is just laying down on the couch and won’t lift his head.”

I didn’t think much of it at first, thinking Mac was napping.

But then a sinking feeling settled in and I went to check.

And for whatever reason, Mac had passed away.

I tried to explain it gently to my boys.

The oldest and the youngest… they were a little sad, but somehow adjusted to the idea quickly. Whether it’s the resiliency of children or maybe it’s just that they didn’t really understand.

But oh,  my middle boy.

He sank down against the wall in my room and his face crumpled.

I pulled him into my lap as his tears started.

“I loved Mac so much. He was the only cat in my heart.”

Not knowing what else to do, I held him and rubbed his back and told him that I knew he loved Mac. That he had been Mac’s favorite.

He curled up in my bed and I ran my fingers through his hair, letting him cry.

We said a prayer, asking God to take care of Mac.

I wish there were more I could offer to comfort him, this little boy who loved his kitty with all his heart.


  1. Angie says

    Oh, Shell how sad. I am so sorry for your loss! It doesn’t matter how long Mac was part if your family, he was family. Xoxo to all of you

    • Shell says

      My middle son will bring it up at random times and you can see his face fall when he remembers his cat is gone. :( 

  2. says

    I’m so sorry. We lost our cat Sammy in November and my eight-year-old took it so hard. I felt helpless to make him feel better. He even asked Santa to bring him back to life. Tough stuff to handle for a little guy!
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  3. says

    OH sweetie, I am crying over here with you. As a furbaby momma to many they are all my babies and losing them rips my heart out. It is hard to explain, especially when they have a love like your son did for Mac. Sending love and hugs to all of you especially middle man..
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  4. says

    Oh Shell. I’m so sorry. Dealing with the loss of a pet is so hard, but I can imagine how it must be when it’s inexplicable like that.

  5. says

    I’m so sorry for your loss….losing a pet is hard, and they really are so much a part of the family. We had to put our cat down a couple of years ago and I remember how hard it was on us and the kids — I can’t even imagine what it’s like when it happens so suddenly. Big hugs to you and your kindergartener.
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  6. says

    Oh, that is so hard…I’ve had several pets pass away, one just as suddenly as Mac, and it’s never easy.  It’s hard enough for me, I can’t imagine for the kids.  Have you heard of the poem “The Rainbow Bridge”?  It’s a sweet poem about where pets go when they die.  Maybe that would help your ‘lil guy cope.  All the best.

  7. says

    I’m so sorry for your loss, Shell.  I know how hard it must be on your son.  We had to put my 7 year old cat, Tai, to sleep a few years ago and Teddy was devastated.  He’ll still come to me sometimes and tell me, “Mommy, I miss Tai,” then give me a hug.  I’m sending a virtual hug his way for the loss of such an important friend.
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  8. says

    I remember when I got the call about a month ago about our Copper dog…one of the saddest days of my life.  But I know he’s up in heaven (because all dogs go to heaven ;)) playing with our other members of the family.
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  9. says

    Oh Shell, that breaks my heart. I’m so sorry for your family and especially for your kindergartener. 

    I can’t imagine life without our houseful of pets. Animals love so unconditionally and that’s why it’s so devastating when they die. We’ve had our share of losses over the years and each one left a hole in my heart, but eventually another furry creature comes along with slobbery kisses and a waggy tail to help heal that hole. This circle of life. It’s a glorious thing, but it can also break your heart. 
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  10. says

    Oh my gosh.
    I’m so not a cat person but this is the saddest damn thing I’ve heard in a while. :(
    Poor baby boy…poor kitty. :(
    My brother just had to put his 12-13 year old dog down…we have 4 dogs between us in my family of brother, parents, me and my husband. They’ve always been a part of our families. So when Rusty got put down I was dreading talking to my sons about it.
    Then a couple days later (when I still hadn’t nutted up to say anything) my sons were talking about Rusty and I remembered I needed to say something.
    It was a really hard conversation and my 7 year old still doesn’t quite get the whole symantics of taking a dog to the vet to be put to sleep. WHY would you do that. WHEN do they wake up? They’re NOT going to wake up? Ugh.
    Anyway. I’m so sorry. :(
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  11. says

    How awful… I am so sorry for you and your sweet boys! You did the perfect thing for your sad boy…loved him where he was at. Hold him and comfort him and allow him to mourn without giving him “something” to take away the pain. (“We will get another one!” “Lets go get ice cream and make it better!” “What can we do to make you feel better?” etc.) It sucks to see our kids hurting… but unfortunately, life has pain and our children need to know how to cope with those feelings. Praying for healing…
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    • Shell says

      It’s tempting to try to come up with something that would make it all better. But it’s not like a replacement actually would anyway. 

  12. says

    The photos that you have posted of your boys with Mac won me over and I’m not a cat person. I couldn’t hold back the tears on this one. Animals take up a space in our hearts that is pure good. I’m so sorry for your loss and hope the boys are doing okay. 
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  13. says

    Oh that is so hard. We lost our dog this summer which was absolutely heart breaking for me as it was my dog but my youngest (2) just couldn’t understand. She still sometimes talks about him and then says “moose is sick. Moose go byebye. I love my moose” and it breaks my heart all over again. I think it’s important to keep the memory of the kitty. Maybe frame one of those photos?
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  14. says

    I’m sorry Shell. Losing a sweet family friend is never easy. My heart goes out to you and your family! We lost one of our cats on Thanksgiving and I still miss her. Hugs!

  15. says

    Oh Shell, this is so sad. It brought back all the kittens I had as a child. You love the so much, and then the pain when you lose them is so big, it tears a hole in your heart. I would always swear I was done with pets. They just weren’t worth the eventual pain. But then after a bit, that pain would fade, and I’d remember all the joy. So sad, I feel for your son.

    • Shell says

      He was around our friends’ dogs after this and he was totally freaked out. It’s heartbreaking. 

  16. says

    I’m so so sorry for your loss of your kitty.  It is such a hard thing for the entire family. We lost our family cat of 9 years unexpectedly this past June.  I still miss our Emma cat! 

  17. says

    I have no idea how I missed this post. I am so sorry to hear about Mac and hearing how hard your middle guy took it, broke my heart. “He was the only cat in my heart…” That is the saddest thing ever. Sometimes life lessons are so hard. It sounds like you handled it well, just loving him trying to ease his pain. There isn’t anything else we can do.
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  18. says

    Shell! My heart is breaking. I hope you are all doing okay. I so know what the experience is like and it is so rough. Let me know if you want a book red for the kids. My daughter found and still finds some comfort in one we read now and then. (hugs)