We lost Barney today.
Losing a family pet is always difficult, but losing Barney is especially hard. He was the most gentle, loving and affectionate cat a family could ever ask for. Ever since he and his little sister Maggie joined us way back when Sam was in kindergarten, he has always been around, offering nothing but love. We found Barney lying still on the grass at the side of the house this afternoon, and though we don’t know what happened to him, we hope that he passed away peacefully.
Back in February of 1998, Sam was only five years old when Barney #1 was hit by a car. He had dashed out between two huge snow banks in pursuit of a squirrel crossing the road. Barney #1 had been with our family for eight years, and he was immediately and sorely missed by all. About a month after the accident though, Sam and I went up to Old Town to pick out a new kitten from a litter that belonged to a work colleague. There were four kittens total in the litter, and two had already been spoken for. Neither Sam nor I could bear the thought of either of the remaining two little kittens being left on its own, so that evening we arrived back home with two new additions to our family… Barney and Maggie.
Over the past 11 years these two have provided us with many laughs and much love. Big brother Barney always looked out for his little sister, and we would often find the two of them cuddled together for warmth and companionship somewhere in the house. Sam took the photograph included in this post as they lay together on his bed one day. Maggie will miss her big brother.
Jack and Sam both adored Barney, and he was always more than willing to reciprocate their love and affection. As I am writing this post, Lori is upstairs reading “The Tenth Good Thing About Barney” to Jack as he prepares for bed. We bought that book for Sam when the first Barney had died all those years ago, and it seemed to help him understand the event. Am hoping it helps this time around too with Jack.
We sometimes joked that we suspected Barney was leading a double life, since he would often be gone for a couple of days in a row, only to come back looking quite well-fed and well-cared for. He had definitely been showing his age lately though. He didn’t seem to wander as much, and he was moving much slower around the house. We knew that this day would eventually come, but we hadn’t expected it to be today.
As hard as it was, I am glad that we found him this afternoon… at least that way we knew where he was, and we were all able to say what was a very sad goodbye. We buried Barney in the back yard this evening, placing a round granite rock near where he was laid to rest, and we planted some pretty yellow Marigolds to remind us where he is.
He was a gentle and very special cat, and he will be missed by us all.