I was just 19 when I got Kennedy. I still remember picking her out. I took her everywhere with me – even Jewel. She came to Illinois State with me. When my roommate and I would have friends over she’d always be hanging out with us. She loved the people; the excitement.
She wasn’t an ordinary cat. I truly believe it’s because we grew up together. She slept in bed with me every night for the first five years of her life. We moved in college and back to my parents’ house and to several apartments, a condo and finally settled in our house. She was used to chaos. She never hid.
She accepted our dog, Dexter, and eventually the Chiquita. The Chiquita had been picking on her a bit near the end of her life but you could still tell Kennedy missed her when she wasn’t home. She’d meow to me as if asking “Where’s the kid?”
Kennedy had been sick for a while. We tried giving her medicine but it was making her sicker. We decided to let her enjoy the end of her life without drugs making her vomit.
She got really skinny. You thought you would break her just touching her, and the Chiquita was constantly picking her up and walking her around the house like that cartoon “I’m gonna love you and kiss you and hold you and love you.” I think Kennedy secretly loved it, though her face would tell you otherwise.
Some friends started telling me she wasn’t looking well. I mean, I knew she wasn’t, but I had just lost my marriage. I couldn’t lose her too? She’d been with me even longer than my husband.
Then a couple others said they thought she was in pain. Even without the drugs she was now vomiting all the time. She was maybe 4 pounds – and if you knew her in her heyday she was a chunk! She was meowing a lot – it sounded like a cry. All the time. I’d ask her, “Kennedy, are you in pain?”
I started to feel like God was urging me to let her go. I would cry, I can’t do it. I thought about it so many times. I can’t do it, God! I would pray, Please don’t make me do it. Take her in her sleep.
The weeks went on and I started to wonder if there was a bigger picture. I was very scared to end my marriage, but I had to do it, and I was brave enough to do it. And I didn’t think I could let go of Kennedy, but I knew I had to do it. I had to be brave.
I wanted to take someone with me. My ex. Or my mom. Or my best friend, who I called in hysterics on the way.
I decided I had to do this myself. On my own. I got her at just 19 and I would say goodbye to her with her in my arms; the baby she always was to me.
Saying goodbye to her was devastating, but has actually given me some peace. I knew I did the right thing and though I miss her more than words can say I knew I couldn’t selfishly keep her alive anymore. I had to let her go.
I’m so tired. Tired of all the loss I’ve had these last couple years. But I’m so proud of the love I gave her and the woman I became with her.
I held her in my arms at the animal hospital. She didn’t fight. She was tired, too. She lay in my arms in a leopard print fleece blanket gazing at me. I think she was telling me it’s okay. It’s going to be okay.
When the vet came in to euthanize her I watched the spirit leave her eyes. She was gone. My best friend, my soul mate, was gone. Is gone.