Pet Death: Saying Goodbye To Smudge And Processing Grief

It’s been 6 months since my cat of 14 years passed, my first pet as an adult. Smudge was about 17 years old, rescued from abuse off the streets of Beijing and followed me from Beijing to Hong Kong, Macao and back to Hong Kong 7 years ago. She’s had her fair rides on bicycles (in Beijing), in cars, on planes and also the ferry boat to and from Macao.

I haven’t had time to grieve because a week after my cat died, my helper was diagnosed with advanced cervical cancer and I had to go into project manager mode to support her through treatment while caring for my rambunctious 3 year old son. It was truly hell on earth. I survived cancer, but I have to say turning into a caregiver to my helper and revisiting all my own cancer PTSD while trying to be a good parent and running the household was ALOT.

Smudge crossed the rainbow on a T10 rainy Typhoon long weekend, in the wee hours of Saturday morning on September 2. We stayed home all day Friday because it was pouring outside and schools were closed. We were so lucky to spend her last 24 hours with as she lay in the living room while toddler and I played and checked in intermittently. Because the typhoon T8 signal was still one, we continued to talk to Smudge’s carcass for the next 48 hours. I was getting stressed about decomposition and toddler kept wanting to carry and cuddle her which gave me so much anxiety as she was cold and stiff from rigor mortis.

George at International Pet Travel was super helpful and instrumental in helping us move Smudge on every relocation. In 2017, we brought Gaja, a Mainecoon home from Belgium and Smudge became a lot more open and trusting towards other humans, even though she tolerated Gaja at best – the animal communicator confirmed this.

Pet resources

Our end of life care vet at Four Paws vet – Dr Marietta Foo is a gem with great compassion and kindness didn’t recommend doing all sorts of test to keep Smudge alive, but rather to keep her as comfortable as possible and we were lucky to try Solensia, a recently FDA approved arthritis injection for jabs that helps greatly with pain relief. It’s 1200HKD per jab every month.

The vet clinic recommended TLC crematorium to take care of Smudge’s remains. They too were very kind and compassionate and did an amazing job getting Smudge ready for her final physical journey into the fires to cross the rainbow. I chose to have her bone enshrined in a beautiful energy organite with soladite stones.

processing grief

They say that grief is the cost of love and we are lucky to have loved intensely to be able to experience grief. Smudge was my first real pet and I adopted her before I met my husband. In between, I had changed jobs, got married, relocated a few times, survived cancer and had a miracle child in menopause. She adored my son and despite being blind and barely walking, she followed him everywhere he went, stayed by his side when he was playing and they shared meals. (she preferred human food than cat food).

I’m so lucky to have had Smudge in my life for over 14 years. She was such a cool cat, extremely low maintenance and always purring and up for pets and cuddles. I’m still processing the loss, I talk to her everyday and feel like she’s still around.

The day I cremated her September 11, it was pouring and flooding in the New Territories. I made it out in an Uber and I asked my toddler if he had any last words for Smudgey before dropping him off at school. He told me to “ask Smudgey about the coconuts.” I asked what he meant and he said “just ask Smudgey.” shrugging his shoulders.

Something magical happened because after I picked up her ashes an hour later, the sun came out, while it continued pouring on the other side of the street. I looked up spiritual meaning of coconuts:

The coconut fruit represents the human soul’s journey from darkness to light

It was beautiful.

You May Also Like