A Real Life Story of Love and Loss
Posted in Chiropractic Treatments for Dogs

Dear Prudance – A Real Life Story of Love and Loss

At the end of March this year, my husband and I knew our sweet, gentle, 17 year old cat Prudance was beginning to look quite frail. She was sleeping more, drinking more, eating less, losing weight and her once beautiful lustrous coat had begun to matt and lose its shine.

We understood Pru like we spoke the same language, we knew every different meow, from “hello”, to “there’s a poo stuck to my bum”, to “can I have some of that tuna please?”, and as any cat person knows, there is nothing that gets you out of bed at 3 am, like the “I’m gonna puke any second” meow. Pru was family, she was loved.

Over the last few years we took her to our vets regularly for blood tests and health checks. Everytime she was given a clean bill of health, and we all agreed it was just general old age signs she was showing. After an appointment in early March though, the vets rang to say the blood tests showed her kidneys were failing. We didn’t know how long we had left with her.

My daughters, who are 15 and 10 years old have known Prudance their whole lives. We often joked that she was our oldest daughter’s “emotional support cat”, because of the amount of time they spent lounging in bed together. 

I gently broke the news to my girls that Pru was not very well, I explained that we didn’t know how long we had left with her. There were a lot of tears. As a family we agreed we all wanted to be with Pru when it was her time to leave her earthly body, however that looked, and we wanted her to be buried in our garden under the bubble tree where the annoying pigeon family roost every year. 

The next three weeks, we watched her disengage more and more from family life, she couldn’t settle, drinking more, getting thinner. Pru had begun to want to lie very specifically between our two pillows at night, curled up with her head close to ours. One night, she couldn’t settle, I stayed up with her all night, her breathing was so shallow, I said to my husband, “say your goodbyes now”. We kissed her little head, our tears dripping on to her whiskers, we told her how much we loved her, thanked for all the joy she had brought to our lives, told her she was the best cat ever, that she could leave us when she was ready. 

She wasn’t ready.

When I woke at 7 am, she was up and about looking relatively perky.  With tearful children leaving for school, Prudence and I headed to the vets to see where we were. I wanted someone to tell me what to do. I knew Pru couldn’t go through another night like we had.  I cried a lot, repeatedly, it was messy and embarrassing.  Lovely Ellie, the vet panicked and couldn’t find tissues, so I had to blow my nose on a scratchy blue paper towel instead. We agreed on a plan to give Pru an anti-sickness injection and some electrolyte gravy at home.

By the time we left the consult room, my face was blotchy and red, I pulled my sunglasses down over my puffy eyes, asked Ellie if I could just go and ring up later to pay, I wasn’t holding it together.

We got home, Prudance had some of the gravy, she curled up in her favourite dog bed, and slept soundly, so did I, but upstairs in my favourite bed, (my own). My husband and I took the dogs for a walk, and I burst into tears again, he said, “she is still with us”, “yes”, I agreed, “but I feel like I am grieving for her already”.

The kids had been illegally texting from school all day to ask how she was. I reassured them she was ok, and Prudance rallied a little, drinking but not eating, running up the stairs, jumping on beds. At 9.30 pm though, the meowing began, she had been sick, she looked wobbly on her back legs and didn’t know where to put herself, walking from room to room, meowing plaintively, a repeat of the night before.

This time, I really new it was time.

I called the 24 hour vets, told them we were coming in, woke my youngest daughter up, and with 2 pale looking children in PJ’s, hoodies and crocs, crying their eyes out, my husband sat with Pru, wrapped in a pale pink blanket, we drove to the vets. After getting lost on the gloomy country roads we finally made it to the vets, I wanted the journey to go on forever so we didn’t have ot face the inevitable.

Pru had gone really quiet and still, she hated being carried by anyone other than my husband, I used to say I was like the other woman. My husband would cradle Pru in his arms, and Pru would reach up with her little white paw and gently touch his face, all the while locking eyes with him, they say a cat picks their person.

We all trooped into the consult room, gently laying Pru down on the table. Goodness knows what we all looked like, crying and cuddling each other, crowding around Pru. I think my younger daughter was in a bit of shock, she kept repeating, “I don’t want her to go”, it was a bit weird and I put my hand over her mouth at one point to shut her up, which was probably even weirder.

All 4 of us laid a gentle hand on Prudance, we told her we loved her, thanked her again for being the best cat ever.  As she was given the injection, she raised her head a little as if in surprise, my husband opened his palm, and she gently rested her little head back down in his hand, her eyes closed.

We brought her home, wrapped in her pink blanket, this time I cradled her.  One child thought she was going to be sick, and took a bowl to bed, the other wanted to sit on the sofa for a bit and watch T.V. “with a hot chocolate please”.

I knelt down on the floor so our dogs could sniff and see her. Benji came up to her, sniffed her, walked away, came back, sniffed her again, and then quite dramatically head butted my chest and pressed his big golden head into me for 30 seconds. Gracie came over, gave her a sniff, giving nothing away, but she wouldn’t go anywhere near her bed which Pru had slept in that day, until I washed and moved it.

Thinking we would bury her the next day, we began to think of a suitable place to put her.  We were knee deep in dust and rubble though as we were renovating, and we couldn’t decide where we should put her overnight,  so at midnight, with head torches on, we dug a little grave, I held Pru in her blanket. The neighbours must have wondered what crime we had committed, especially as I whispered instructions; “dig the hole deeper”, “it’s not wide enough”.

I unwrapped the blanket, looked down at little Pru and to no one in particular stated the obvious “she’s gone”. I think I meant, what had made Pru, Pru was gone. Her spirit and her soul had left her earthly body, and whatever your belief system is, in that moment, mine gave me great comfort.

I curled her body into her favourite sleeping position, gently laid her down in the little grave, wrapped now in a pink towel with white hearts on it. Quickly but gently laying the earth back over her in silence, we picked some cherry blossoms off the tree and laid them on top of her tiny grave. 

We let the dogs out for a final wee, watching to make sure they didn’t take too much interest in Pru’s final resting place.  My husband went silently up to bed, with heavy feet on the stairs and a heavier heart. I stayed downstairs,  sitting on the sofa with my daughter, sipping on hot chocolate, watching a re-run of Baywatch at 1 in the morning. 

In memory of Dear Prudance 2007 – 2024.




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