Posted by: christinelaennec | April 25, 2017

Farewell to Tilly

Two days ago, we had to say goodbye to our darling Tilly.  She made it a lot longer than predicted, and right until her last day she wanted to be with us, and wanted to be part of the world.

Tilly in Aberdeen, February 2013.

We found her at Mrs. Murray’s Cat and Dog home in February 2006, after I had a strong hunch that our new cat was waiting for us.  She had been lost and wandering the snowy streets of Aberdeen, and no-one had come for her in a week.  The day we arrived was the first day she was up for adoption.

She was a wonderful companion.  She liked to be nearby us, although not right on top of us like other cats we’ve had.  She made us laugh, and gave us comfort.  When she arrived, she didn’t purr, and I decided that she would be far happier if she knew how to purr, so I would “purr” into her fur every day for a few minutes.  She began making a funny noise as if she had sinus problems, and this then developed into a purr you could feel but not hear.  In her last years, she could occasionally purr so loudly you could hear it across the room.  She developed a variety of meows.  She favoured a very brippy meow, but when she felt entitled to something – if her meal was very late, or there was no obvious reason why we weren’t letting her outside – she would “Yip!” at us.  She also had a curious knack for asking to have milk when we were making morning coffee – but never, ever when we were having tea.

At first she was unwilling to come on anyone’s lap.  Eventually, with coaxing, she would come on my lap.  But only onto my lap, and only if I was sitting in my usual knitting spot, with either a skirt on or a blanket on my legs.  She was amazingly uninterested in my knitting, and as long as the wool didn’t actually come across her face, she completely ignored whatever I was working on.  I was so grateful that we managed never to have to put her into a cattery, even during our move to Glasgow, because I felt sure she would think she was without a family once again.

Tilly in Glasgow, October 2013.

Fourteen years ago, we lost a beloved cat who had come with us to Scotland from the States along with his brother.  He died on this day, age 17.  I wrote a poem about him, and I think it could be about Tilly as well:

25 April

On this day
the trees in their pink party dresses
proclaim:  new life!  new life!

On this day
the birds chattering to each other
sing out:  new life!  new life!

On this day
each flower is a coloured banner
waving:  new life!  new life!

And on this day,
while the youngsters shout,
you are ebbing away.

It is left to me
to murmur gently:  old life, old life,
you have been good and true
to the end.

Tilly, thank you for all you have given to our family.  We are heartbroken to lose you.  But the love that we shared together with you will live on.



  1. So beautiful. Poem and Tilly.

  2. Oh, that’s so sad. Any reader of this blog will appreciate what a wonderful part of your family Tilly has been. Your poem is a very beautiful response.

  3. That is really sad. She is resting in peace. Love your poem. Beautifully written.

  4. That is a very beautiful poem. Thinking of you all!

  5. That’s so sweet, Christine. Sorry to hear that your beloved companion kitty has left this world.

  6. So sorry to hear your news. Love and prayers for you all
    Barbara x

  7. Dear Tilly, my heart goes out to you all. We had to say goodbye to our darling dog Jenny too, a couple of weeks ago. She had cancer. I still can’t believe she’s not here by my feet. Feel heartbroken. She is so missed, my best friend. God bless, Pam in Norway

  8. That’s so sad 😭

  9. Oh, I am so sad for you. I know what it’s like to lose a cat, and it hurts, but, you do remember the great times eventually. Thinking of you all. Xx

  10. What a pretty cat! I am sorry for your loss.

  11. Toutes mes meilleures pensées à vous et à votre famille. Oui l’amour partagé reste comme un cadeau. Amitiés.

  12. All my love, Christine, to you and Michael and your kids. I’m certain that even at the last, Tilly was aware of how much you love her and how much she surely loves you. Although in calmer moments I can see some of its advantages, mortality is so very difficult. You’re all in my prayers.

  13. I’m so sorry to hear about Tilly. She was beautiful and I loved seeing her especially in your garden.

  14. I’m very sorry to hear this news but I’ve enjoyed reading about her and am so glad you were able to give her such a happy home. Your photos of her always make me smile, she was a fine companion and a cat beloved by plenty of people who never even met her, thanks to this blog.

  15. From one cat owner to another, I am so sorry. It sounds as though you gave her a wonderful, loving home, and a reason to purr.

  16. I’m so sorry to hear about Tilly. It’s hard to lose a beloved pet.
    Thinking of you all today. ♥

  17. I am so sorry for your loss, it is hard to lose a friend. Beautiful poem.

  18. So sorry Christine, thinking of you x

  19. I so related to your little Tilly when you spoke about her not purring several years ago, because that was how our Tink was coming to us as a lost pud. I am very sorry to hear that Tilly has died. Thinking of you.

  20. Thank you for sharing Tilly with us, Christine. May the Lord comfort you and yours. I’m sending you love with hugs…

  21. Oh it is so sad to lose such a beloved family member. Sending you hugs and prayers as you mourn. Such wonderful pictures you shared of her. God Bless.

  22. I’m so sorry to hear of your loss, Christine. Thinking of you and your family at this time. Tilly was so much a part of your blog, I felt like I knew her. She was a beautiful cat.

  23. Those of us who have animal companions share the sadness that comes with the loss of a beloved pet. It seems that if we could turn quickly enough we might catch of glimpse of our cat or dog–still asleep in that favorite sunny spot. You will miss Tilly so deeply–but I hope, in time, there will be room in your home for another cat.

  24. Thank you very much, everyone, for your kind and loving comments. We have been missing Tilly so very much, but as you’ve said, eventually the grief will lose its edge, and the good memories will come to the fore. I still think I see her, and I still wonder where she is in the house, and it takes me a few moments to work it out… Margaret you made me laugh out loud with your comment about seeing the advantages of mortality in calmer moments. For a long time it’s been clear to me that life can only have meaning because it has a beginning and an end, but as you say living through the endings is very hard.

    Thank you all for enjoying and sharing Tilly with us. She has passed into the realm of legend, like all beloved pets. I smile to think of finding her covered in soot after one of her chimney-climbing escapades, or the time when I discovered her sliding slowly down the banister. I treasure the claw marks in the paint!

    We will get another cat, there is no doubt about that. They are tremendously life-enhancing.

    Thank you all so much, once again.

  25. Oh Christine! I am deeply sorry for your loss.

    • Thanks very much Pom Pom. As you express so well in your own blog, life goes on and we can be as cheerful as possible, while acknowledging the sadnesses.

  26. Tilly was a beautiful cat and a very lucky cat to have been so loved. I feel very moved reading your tribute to her. I agree – cats are life enhancing.

    • Thanks Karen! Glad you agree. Cats are fab! (As are other animals.)

  27. Oh, I am sorry Christine, even though we all knew it was coming soon, it’s still so sad. Your poem is beautiful and really expresses the love for a fading friend, human or furry.

    • Thank you very much Sakthi. As you say, we can never really prepare ourselves for losing a loved one. Glad you liked the poem.

  28. I am so sorry to hear of Tilly’s passing. You all had a lovely life together. Hugs.

    • Thank you so much, Marjorie. I do think she was very happy indeed to be part of our family. Towards the end she expressed that more clearly than at any other time.

  29. So sorry to hear about the loss of beautiful, sweet Tilly. You gave her such a warm, nurturing home and made her life so different than it could have been. I know that she made your life different as well…. in a wonderful way.

    • Thank you Wendy. Yes, they do change us. I still look to see if she wants milk when I make coffee!

  30. I was very sorry to hear about the loss of TIlly. Animals do indeed enhance our lives so much and it is very hard to lose them. Sending hugs to you and the family. Hope you are all well and enjoying our delightful sunny (if a bit cold at times) weather. x

    • Thanks so much, Marksgran. Hope you are doing okay.

  31. What a beautiful poem you wrote in honor of both your cats. Tilly had spectacular coloring and sounds like such a sweetie.

    • Thank you Terra – like most cats, she was a one-of-a-kind and we will never forget her.

  32. Very sorry to hear of sweet Tilly’s passing. Sending hugs.

  33. I’m so sorry for your loss, Christine. Tilly gave you such joy. She was a sweet little love. Sending you love ❤️

  34. I don’t know what would happen if one of my 2 cats died…

    • I think you would get through it, and never ever forget him or her. I still feel the spirit of my first and very beloved cat nearby – 20 years later! Love is eternal.

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