If you have ever had a kitty or dog die, you understand.

Calico Kitty
Calico Kitty

Great big crocodile tears were streaming down my face. They wouldn’t stop flowing. My sobbing was so loud my sons, Kristopher and Jason, wondered if I would be all right. My wife Miss Benita’s comforting arms had never seen me this way before. She assumed one or both of my parents were dead from the magnitude of my grief. I was glad my daughter Sara was spending the night at her best friend Amelia’s house.

What had brought about this emotional upheaval in me? What would have me grieving with more intensity than when my grandparents or wife’s brother died?

A car squashed my cat Hallie. Specifically, it crushed her skull. Sadly, my two sons had witnessed the tragedy. They ran crying to get me to make it all better. I couldn’t make it better. While her little body was still warm, my kitty was dead.

Hallie was a beautiful, small Calico Cat. She had been born on Saint Patrick’s Day, March 17th. She died less than six months later on my wife’s birthday, September 14th.

Why make all the fuss about a cat? I loved my kitty. She loved me. It was a love that demanded nothing from me. A love that would rub up against my pants leg even after I accidentally stepped on her tail. A love that would sit nervously in my lap as we rode to the vet’s to get shots, “get fixed”, and the very day she died, to get stitches out from the above mentioned surgery.

She had a love for me that would wait for me to finish mowing the yard to get petted or have her tummy scratched. Hallie was one of the few that demanded nothing from me. She gave me her love and affection in return for hearing her name, a bowl of dry cat food, or an occasional saucer of milk. If you have ever had a kitty or dog die, you understand.

We can learn from a cat. We too, should love with no strings attached.

NOTE: At the time my kitty was run over I served as Associate Pastor and Day School Headmaster at First Baptist Church, Jasper, Texas. My sons were 13 years old, 10 years old and my daughter was two months shy of her sixth birthday. Hallie died on September 14, 1990. It was a Friday. I wrote the article on Monday, September 17, 1990.  This piece was originally published in The Announcer of First Baptist Church, Jasper, Texas and the Jasper News-Boy in September 1990.

Author: Jimmie Aaron Kepler, Ed.D.

Jimmie Aaron Kepler is a full-time writer. He was born in San Antonio, Texas, to a career military father and stay at home mother. He lived in six states and attended eight different schools before graduating high school. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in History with minors in English and Military Science from The University of Texas at Arlington, Master of Arts and Master of Religious Education degrees from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, as well as the Doctor of Education degree. Before writing full-time, he worked as a US Army officer for 10-years, religious educator for 18-years, and as an IT software application engineer for over 20-years. He is a widower. He lives in North Texas with his cat Lacey.

6 thoughts on “If you have ever had a kitty or dog die, you understand.”

  1. I’m so sorry for the loss of Tibetan Terrier. I Googled to see what one looks like. I wasn’t familiar. They are beautiful!. How blessed to have your’s so long. It sounds like she gave lots of unconditional love to your family.

  2. One thing we learn from our beloved pet friends is how each is an individual, a little person who never existed before, but created unique by God and sent to us for a definite reason. Your story is so touching, and I feel its message so strongly this week as I remember the 2nd anniversary of losing my beloved Tibetan Terrier, who was almost 16 when she left us. But she changed me forever, in many ways, and the mere thought of her sweet and innocent nature and presence reduces me to tears of gratitude and grief. I believe that in this life, through our loved ones, human and non-human alike, we are granted glimpses into the future joys and unconditional love of heaven.

  3. I’ve lost 2 cats. A siamese male named Sam. While he was dying (kidney failure) he heard me call his name and still tried to come to me. He was a great cat. And my Tonkinese female cat named Tonka. I had her with me 3 mos shy of 19 years. And she was perhaps the greatest cat you could have. She played fetch and if you pointed at her – she’d meow on cue. And she was happiest when she was with me.

    I know how you feel.

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