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When to know the fight is over

I was always looking for a 'sign'
A spark that said "I will fight this, let me carry on"
Or "I'm done, please let me go"
It was the hardest decision I've ever had to make

When your soulmate kitty asks to grow his wings

Senior cat walking in a catio tunnel

Last updated March 3rd, 2019

Today we lost the heart and soul of the Chirpies, our precious boy Earl Grey. For the past three years, he fought kidney disease and within the last couple of months, his health was declining rapidly. We knew that day would come to say goodbye eventually, but I forgot just how hard it is to let go. 

He fought long and hard and even with his frail bones, he still managed to pull himself up onto the bed. He would climb down the stairs, sit on his cardboard perch and wait for supper, always at the same time each day. He wanted to be immersed in the hustle and bustle of the kitchen, where it’s noisy, dishes clinking, the symphony of his housemates meowing for breakfast, the odd chair being knocked over when one of the cats comes sprinting into the kitchen. He became blind after dental surgery, so he would ‘see’ the world through these surrounding vibrations, paw steps, footsteps and voices. This was his level of interaction, just being present absorbing it all, even if he couldn’t see. It’s as if he would have been able to narrate his whole day into a story about the other cats if he could.

But for the past month that extra spark, that something, call it a will to live, just disappeared.

When I used to give him his daily subcutaneous fluids or brush him I would ask him to let me know when it’s time. When he stopped wanting to be the silent observer of the madness at supper time and when he no longer sat ready on his perch listening to the breakfast acat-pella performance of his housemates, he was telling us to please give him his wings. Fluids and buprenorphine were keeping him alive but that was not fair to him if there was no quality of life.

I asked my husband to make the call, for the third time. Yes, we’ve made “THE call” twice before but then canceled because he would do something that made us doubt that that was his check-out date. That was a month ago.

Earl Grey the senior cat with beautiful eyes

Earl Grey with his beautiful pale green eyes which we have not seen in almost three years since he became blind.

This morning he left us peacefully with Kevin and me at his side. I am still trying to process the loss and cannot get his sweet handsome face out of my mind. I play the event over and over in my head, wondering if I told him I loved him enough just before he drifted off. He went so quickly that when the vet looked up sympathetically and told me “he’s gone” it was like the final blow hit me, “this is it!” I was a blubbering mess.


senior cat amongst the autumn leaves

Earl Grey exploring the catio in his Autumn days but still looking healthy and alert.

We will take comfort from the fact that he lived a long and good life filled with many adventures abroad and at home in the catio. He always had words of wisdom for his younger pals and I wonder how his best friend and longtime travel buddy, Sarabi will take his absence.

Scratching Post Love Notes From An Old Couple


For now, I’m allowing myself to cry bucket-loads and let the grieving process take its course. I have wonderful memories of laughter and funny stories embedded in my heart. I will probably end up sharing more about the life and times of Earl Grey, of all the untold stories of his life with me in Ireland and in South Africa.

Earl Grey, my sweet angel boy, fly high and pain-free with your spanking new wings! You will remain forever in our hearts.

earl grey signature


I leave you with an Instagram video of Earl Grey earlier this summer drinking from the watering hole.



About the author

The Lady Cat

Whiskers make me smile.
Coffee is good for you.
And cats are for life.
Helping cats live enriched lives with their people.
(Yasaar Nakchbendi)


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  • Please accept my condolences on the loss of your lovely boy. The longer they are with us, the harder it is to say good-bye. CKD takes such a toll on their little bodies. I know Earl Grey will always be in your heart, and you will rejoice in the memories when your tears dry. Sending lots of love and warm hugs as you grieve, Janet and Kitties Blue
    Kitties Blue recently posted…SNOOPERVISOR SNAPS SELFIEMy Profile

  • Oh, my dear …….a big hug and kisses from Spain.
    I understand every feeling you have writedown in your post.

    Feel happy for sharing your life with him…


  • So very sorry for your loss – I know Earl Grey is now an Angel flying free but the ache in our hearts still is almost unbearable for the longest time. I know he will always be with you in your heart and soul. I hope my Angel Sammy was there to welcome you!

    Hugs, Pam and Teddy
    Teddy recently posted…Sunday Selfie Hop – Holiday Style!My Profile

  • Oh, how my heart goes out to you. It’s the hardest decision that we pet owners have to make. My Midge is the same age as Earl Gray and we know the day is coming but so far she’s still going strong (skinny but strong). I pray that you find comfort in your happy memories. Sending hugs, purrs, and prayers to you and yours at this difficult time.
    Linda Arthur Tejera recently posted…Wordless Wednesday (Almost!)My Profile

  • There are no easy words that can bring comfort to your aching heart. Your beautifully written post to your Earl Grey was so poignant, I can feel how deeply you will miss his presence. I am so very very sorry for your loss and I hope that the wonderful memories bring comfort to your heart.
    Annabelle recently posted…Sunday selfieMy Profile

  • Yasaar how my heart is breaking for you reading this. I am so deeply, deeply sorry about the passing of Earl Grey. I understand how you feel…….when I lost my Angel Bobo (he was 18 when he left, one day after his 18th birthday), I also asked him to give me a “sign”……….I knew when he refused to eat, that he was telling us to let him go. I constantly questioned my decision, when he passed (I was also with him), I literally collapsed on top of him (just my head) and I sobbed like I had never sobbed before into his soft fur. He was my heart, my soul. My heart is just breaking for you in a way I just don’t have the words for. I am sooo deeply, deeply sorry. If you ever need to cry, vent, anything, I am always here for you. Sending much love and my deepest sympathy. xoxoxo
    caren gittleman recently posted…Our Secret Paws Will Arrive for Some (Kitty…or Kitties!) TODAY!My Profile

    • Thank you, Caren, for being there and your words of support. I know how precious your Bobo was. The same thing happened to me, I just sobbed over his body. One always has a million things that flood one’s mind afterward. Such as, did I stay long enough in the room to say goodbye, what if he wanted to go weeks before and I didn’t see the signs, will he forgive me, does he understand how much he meant to me?

      I know with time I will feel better…

  • So sorry that Earl Gray had to go. Just know that he was such a lucky cat to have had such a wonderful and so much good care. It is really a hard thing to go through.

  • We are so very sorry fur your loss. Earl Grey was as handsum as ever, knew the greatest gift any kitty could ever want…the luv of a furever mommy and home. We hate kidney disease, it robs us of so much. Mommy still cries herself to sleep most nights, so we unnerstand the grief. We’re sendin’ hugs and purrayers fur all.

    Luv ya’

    Dezi, Raena and mommy A
    Deziz World recently posted…Blest Sunday: The Blessing Train Is ComingMy Profile

  • So sorry to read of The Earl’s passing. As you said, he is now pain free- and still watching over his old friends. He will never be forgotten.

    • Thank you, our I can just imagine him watching over them shaking his head at these youngsters thinking “Oh dear me, nothing has changed around here!” 🙂

  • Meow meow wee are so sad to reed that Earl Grey went to Summerland! Pleese accept our sympaffiess on his leevin.
    LadyMew said yore boy was a true fighter as most catss do not live so long with Kidney Diss-ease! Mee Aunty Mingflower lived just over 2 yeerss with it an then went inn-to Renal Failure. LadyMew says mee ree-mindss her of mee Aunty,…..
    Butt mee die-gressess…please know wee are furry sad for yore loss….
    purrsss BellaDharma an (((hugs))) LadyMew
    Sherri-Ellen T-D. recently posted…BellaDharma’ss ‘no selfiess pleese’ selfiess! Or how to do an ‘out take’!My Profile

    • Awwe thank you so much for your sweet comment 🙂 I wish that you don’t ever have to experience this dreadful disease and that they find a cure, sweetheart.

  • We are so sorry for your loss. We know it’s a hard decision to make, but we know our humans do what is the best for us. RIP sweet Earl Grey. Comforting thoughts and (((HUGS))) to your family.

    Laila and Mom Peggy

  • We are so so sorry for your loss. Earl Grey was so clearly very much loved and very special, his memories, the joy he gave all will not be diminished by time or his passing as he lives in your heart and mind forever…
    Gentle purrs for you all
    From Erin & Mrs H.
    ERin recently posted…Sitting Pretty for the Sunday Selfies!My Profile

  • I’m sorry Earl Grey had to go. It sounds like he was very reluctant to leave his loving home. My best to you and your family. Godspeed, Earl Grey.

  • I’m so sorry for your loss, Yas. I can only imagine how heartbroken you must feel. Like you said, he lived a long life with you and had so many adventures. What a wonderful like he had! Sending you lots of love and hugs. And a special pat to sweet Sarabi, too.

  • I could’ve sworn I’d commented here … anyway … my heart goes out to you. I know my Bear Cat’s day will come and at that point, it will feel like there’s no life left for me to live. But it is true that they live on in the work we do – in the way we love our other cats – even in the way we love other humans. I wish I could take away your pain. Truly I do.
    mommakatandherbearcat recently posted…The importance of veterinary care for cats and why they’re not getting itMy Profile

  • Mom and I remember that video of Earl at the water fountain when you first posted over the summer and it made us smile then as it does now. Even though I didn’t have a chance to give Earl Gray head nuzzles in purr-son, I feel like I knew him well through your bloggie. Mom still has fond memories of her getting to visit with Earl’s flat self at BlogPaws ’17. The photos from that experience with you and the flat Chirpies remains close to her heart. [Tears falling] We mourn with you across the miles and send you luv, dear furr-iends.

  • Godspeed your journey to heaven Earl Grey. We hope your mom will take comfort in knowing
    St Francis stayed by your side every step of the way, so you felt no pain, you weren’t scared and
    you didn’t suffer. We send hugs and loves to you, your mom, and the family you leave behind
    here on earth. We are truly sorry ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    dai$y, tuna, mackerull, dude, sauce and boomer

    to mom, dad, and my siblings

    I’m not really gone
    I’ll live in your heart; always
    and I love you too ~~~

    from Earl Grey ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥

  • We send our heartfelt purrs and prayers of support at this sad time. Earl Gray was a grand old cat who lived a life full of fun and love well into his golden years. All cats are not that lucky and we know from his new home in the sky he is trying his best to influence lost little ones into the hands of those that will protect, love and find the best homes for them.
    Fly Free dear Earl Gray. Watch over us all until that day we all meet again where the sun is warm and love encompasses all.
    Timmy, Dad and Family
    Timmy Tomcat recently posted…Patience is a Virtue?My Profile

  • So sorry for your loss. Just remember that where Earl Grey has gone, there are plenty of laps that he will enjoy almost as much as yours. And he will be happy to greet you someday when you cross over.
    Will Rogers once said something like, “If dogs don’t go to Heaven, I want to go where the dogs are.” To my way of thinking, that goes for cats as well.

  • Oh Yasaar – reading this has me in floods of tears again. I so remember him from his birth, his cat shows and his many travels.
    He was so very lucky to be so loved.
    I feel so very sorry for your sadness over his departure.
    Sleep well dear boy.

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