such my boy

for Sisu

For years I’ve told you, you are such my boy,
while your head pushes under my chin, rumbling,
or when my fingers comb through your silky coat.

You used to be a 22-pound purring beast.
Now, when I rub my cheek against your softness,
your bony spine pokes me into never
wanting to weigh you again.
I don’t want to know what’s left of you.
I want alchemy to work you back to monster cat regality.
I want to feel your bulk against me,
heavy and secure.

Yet you keep shrinking before my eyes.
Your lungs to fill with fluid
congesting breath and sneezing snot.

Purring your love into my cheek,
your spirit wants to live, Sisu.
But how many days,
how many weeks,
how do I know when it’s time?
Please die quietly at home.
Let me wake and find you,
so crocuses can bloom through your ashes next year
and I don’t have to choose an end for you.
Your company brings me comfort.

Oh, how I will miss you
such my boy.

Brenda Warren 2013


Process Notes:
This piece is my Day 9 piece for April written in response to a Trifecta Challenge that you can access if you click the Tricycle. It is the first poem that I wept through as I wrote it. Sisu is a Maine Coon. His mother Annie lives with us, too. Annie is still a monster cat, but she is not as big as her boy once was. This picture was taken last September.  Sisu had already begun to shed pounds by then.

Sisu in front of his mother, Annie.

Sisu in front of his mother, Annie.

38 thoughts on “such my boy

  1. This goes right to the heart. It’s very moving, and the pain and love are loud and clear. To hope for the peaceful death of a beloved pet must be a painful mix of emotions. I hope he goes peacefully too.

    Thanks for linking up.


  2. This is so incredibly beautiful and moving… I’m crying for you and your wonderful Sisu. I understand completely, because I love my dog so much, and I humbly offer you a hug and a shoulder to cry on:)


    • Thank you for your comments. I buried a Siamese cat in the backyard of an old farmhouse I lived in for awhile. On top of his grave I planted pale yellow and pale blue flowers. They were his colors. I loved that garden. It was the first color of every spring out back.


  3. So much beauty in the poem even with the ache and sadness. My daughter went through this with her cat a couple of months ago. He let her know it was the time somehow and she took four days off work and held him until he died in her arms. As sad as that image is, it’s also beautiful.


  4. Brought tears to my eyes as well. But I love the beauty even in pain–the thought of the crocus pushing through–the flower that announces rebirth, often breaking through the snow to remind us that beauty prevails after all. Touching poem.


  5. Brenda I am sorry that you are experiencing the pain for your fur-baby, they are absolutely magnificent. I am not a cat lover, but they are truly splendid. I hope Sisu passes the rainbow bridge with dignity and you by his side and know that his soul will be around you for 2 weeks or more afterwards, you will feel him, as I did with my 16 yr old pup. Thoughts are with you, this was beautifully written, prompt or not.


  6. I’ve been through this twice in the last two years – once with a cat such as you describe and then with a dog. I’m still not over it. I wished and pleaded for their quiet death, but unfortunately death is never quiet or easy. In both cases I could not watch them suffer any longer. Good luck. Your poem is moving, heartfelt, visceral.


  7. Reblogged this on The Cheese Whines and commented:
    I had a great big Siamese cat who developed multiple system failure when he was 15. He went from 25 pounds down to 7. When he stopped eating and drinking I took him in to be put to sleep. I know I couldn’t have done anything more, but I found myself wondering what more I could have done.


  8. I feel you. I had a great big Siamese cat who developed multiple system failure when he was 15. He went from 25 pounds down to 7. When he stopped eating and drinking I took him in to be put to sleep. I know I couldn’t have done anything more, but I found myself wondering what more I could have done.


  9. My thoughts are with you Brenda. I totally understand the wish and the agony of that decision. We never seem to stop and think of the reality that we will outlive our pets when we fall in love with them originally. Yet they bring us so much in so many ways. That is why it hurts. Hugs for you,



  10. Oh, I’m feeling your pain. I had a female cat that hung on and hung on until we couldn’t stand her suffering any more. We thought each hour would be her last. Finally I held her and sang a song I’d written for her many years before and they put her to sleep. We cried and cried. I say if he doesn’t choose his time, then you will know when it is time for you. Will be thinking of you, Brenda.
    He is a beautiful boy.


    • Thank you, Sabra. I appreciate your stories, your sympathy, and your support of my work. I’ve had two cats with songs, Scuma (Self Contained Underwater Meowing Apparatus) and Hazel. Scuma’s end was similar to your cat’s with a tearful rendition of “Scuma is the Princess Kitty” on the way to the vet’s office. I couldn’t be in the room at the end. Hazel is still healthy, but aging.


  11. Oh damn, Brenda, this made me cry. It is the down side of having animals, we generally out live them They are both beautiful cats. I feel so bad for you.



    • Thanks for sharing my misery. Sisu was stunning in his youth. As a kitten,and youngster I called him :my little zen cat. He was so spontaneous, he made me laugh every day.


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