The Post I Never Wanted to Write

Tortoise Shell Cat Painting by BZTAT
“Slick” Painting by BZTAT

I used to awaken in the middle of the night sometimes, and when I did, I would look over and see Slick sleeping soundly next to me. Sometimes she would be on my pillow, and on chilly nights, she would be under the covers snuggled behind my knees. If not next to me, she would always be somewhere close by.

She’s not there anymore.

After 18 years of being my constant companion, she has left this world and returned to her Creator’s world of spirit.

I am deeply grateful that I was gifted with her presence for so long. Nonetheless, I am really kind of lost without her.

Not the “I’m not able to function” kind of lost. Not the wandering about aimlessly kind of lost.

The “I lost my sweet girl Slick” kind of lost.

Yeah. You know what I am talking about. It is indescribable – only felt.

When a pet leaves us, we try to cheer ourselves with stories of the Rainbow Bridge and other tales of perfect bliss that could come to an animal. Who knows what really happens?

All I know is that there is still a deep connection between human and animal that does not die.

Slick came to me after being rescued from a riverbed where an oil spill had sullied the waters. I imagine that her perfect bliss would somehow involve trees and grass and clean rolling waters.

But the thing she enjoyed the most was having her cheeks and chin scritched. I hope her heaven includes that somehow.

Β Rainbow Bridge

When the original Beezie passed on, I found comfort in the many paintings I had created of her through the years. I salved my grief over her loss by painting a wooden bridge and placing it over her grave.

When I lost Bub a year later, I buried him next to the bridge marking Beezie’s grave. Bub was Slick’s best buddy, and was never quite replaced for her by any of the cats in my current brood.

I buried Slick’s body next to the bridge as well. The small cemetery is in Dellroy, OH behind a cabin in which we once lived. Although I do not live there now, my previous landlord has kept it undisturbed, and he welcomed me to bury Slick there.

I don’t know if it makes any real difference, but it does comfort me to know that they are all together again.

I have painted many commemorative pet portraits of animals that have left a hole in their humans’ hearts when they passed away. I always feel a deep responsibility when painting these portraits, because I know how very special it is to keep the memory of that relationship alive.

Now, I have had to take a taste of my own medicine. It is bittersweet, but the painting above, the last one that I painted of Slick while she was still alive, is the most wonderful thing in the world to me.

When I lost Beezie and then Bub, my world was crushed. I did not think I could get over it. What I learned over time was that I got through it, if not over it. New cats in my life did not replace the old ones, but they brought new joy to my world, and they comforted the pain.

Now, I look to the place where Slick used to sleep next to me, and it is empty. My other cats seem to respect that, for now, it should stay that way. But they have found their own places next to me, andΒ  they are bringing much comfort in their own ways.

Slick, I miss you so much my little girl. Brewskie, Okey, Noah and Who do too. We will make it, but you sure made our world wonderful, and it just is not the same without you.

We still love you and we always will.

Now go enjoy your next adventure, and make sure to meet us on the other side when it is our time.



  1. Brian says:

    I am so very sorry to hear your your sweetie. We all send you purrs, love and gentle hugs. That was a wonderful tribute to a beautiful soul.

    • bztat says:


      I know that you know these feelings all too well yourself. Your own loss was so tragic. Whatever heaven, or Bridge, there is for cats, it got a lot brighter in the past week as our worlds went dim. We will get through this. I share your pain, as I know you do mine. We are oceans apart geographically but very close in spirit. God bless as you embark on this part of your journey. The pain will ease.

  2. Stacy says:

    So very sorry to hear of your loss… There are just no words to describe a loss like this, and there are no words to describe the empathy that we all have when we hear of a friend losing their dear friend. I hope you feel better and know that things will improve day by day.

    • bztat says:

      Thanks Stacey. As much as I just wanted to be by myself when I first lost her, I can’t tell you how much it makes me feel wonderful to know so many people care and know exactly what the feelings I am going through are like.

  3. Lauren Ruettimann says:

    BZ I’m really sorry. I had a dream that I discovered Lucy at the coliseum in Rome. That’s a pretty good rainbow bridge. I hope your Slick has a good one, too.

    • bztat says:

      Thanks Laurie. I doubt Slick’s Bridge is quite that grandiose, but I am sure it is every bit as grand. πŸ™‚ It really does help to know that so many people “get it” about how it feels to lose a beloved pet.

  4. Vicki Cook says:

    Bz – I’m so sorry for your loss. I know Slick had a special place in your heart; and even though we love all our fur kids, there are some who just touch us deeply. I’m happy your former landlord allowed you to bury her with Beezie and Bub. It’s only fitting that she be with her friends until you can be together again. xo

    • BZTAT says:

      Thanks Vicki. Sometimes you don’t realize how deep their touch goes until they are gone. I knew she was special, but, well, you know what I mean.

  5. Pam C. says:

    Hi Vicki, that was beautifully written. I know you tried hard to keep Slick with you as long as possible. Our bonds with all our pets are different, which is why one cannot replace another. Your other cats are probably mourning the loss of Slick, also. It’s great that you have your art images of Slick to help get you through the rough patches. And it’s also wonderful that you have that burial spot for Beezie, Bub and now Slick. The Rainbow Bridge you placed there is beautiful. I don’t know where our beloved pets go after they pass on, but I have to believe that we will be with them again in the next world!

  6. MizzBassie says:

    Vicki, I am so sorry to hear about Slick. You are right about never getting over it. That hole never heals, but it does get covered over with new animal friends, just like the hole in your bed will, eventually. Please take care of yourself in the meanwhile. Comforting purrrrrrrrrrrrrrs.

  7. Rumblemum says:

    I know exactly how you feel, I miss our Inigo every day, still. I like to think they’re together now, waiting till they can see us again.

    We’ll keep you in our thoughts, and Rumbles says he’s purring for you guys.

  8. Judith says:

    I know how difficult your last days with Slick were. She is now in a better place, out of pain and the aches and discomfort of old age. I know about that hole in your heart. There is still a sink hole left by my Bella when she left this earth14 months ago. But I know here spirit is still with me. That hole never heals completely, but your heart has more room for other pets. It will get better each day as other pets strengthen your heart. Our thoughts are with you.

    • bztat says:

      Thanks Judith. Your support has meant a lot. I still miss Bella too. πŸ™ So glad we have others who can bring us joy and keep the memories special.

  9. Nina and Honeybel says:

    I send many hugs and am very sorry for your sad heart. It is a painful place where the world goes on almost without you. It feels like you are in slow motion. Take comfort in knowing the love you shared. Keep painting and one day your heart will smile again sweetie.

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