A Tribute to Hi-Dee

Hi-Dee

It’s always sad when a friend’s cat dies. My heart hurts for what I know they’re about to go through as they mourn their loss. We’ve all been there, and even though everyone grieves in their own unique way, we all know how hard it is. And when the cat is one I’ve come to know and love, I feel the loss, too. 

I first met Hi-Dee about three years ago. She shared her home with a dear friend whose home I frequently visit, so I came to know her pretty well. Hi-Dee was part of a group of feral cats that my friend had been feeding for several years. She was one of the last litter of kittens of that group before they were all spayed and neutered. That was twelve years ago. Over the years, the cats disappeared one by one, but Hi-Dee stuck around. My friend fed her, but she was never able to touch her.

feral-cat-terrace

Hi-Dee had hit the jackpot when she chose to stay at my friend’s house. There’s a shed on the property where she could find shelter from the elements. She had a crate with blankets, and on cold days and nights, my friend not only gave her a heated blanket, she also provided a space heater.

But my friend still felt bad for her, being outside in all sorts of weather, and she kept trying to get her to come inside. One day, about three years ago, Hi-Dee decided that she was ready. She started spending time inside. She was still very skittish, especially with strangers. She hid in strange places, which is how she got her name, chosen by one of my friend’s granddaughters.

Hi-Dee had clearly chosen my friend as her human. Eventually, she sat next to my friend while she was watching TV. She slept at the foot of the bed. She found favorite places around the house to hang out in during the day, and didn’t spend quite as much time outside.

cat-flowers-terrace

I have many fond memories of Hi-Dee joining us while we were lounging by my friend’s beautiful pool. Her presence made these wonderful, relaxing times even better.

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Hanging out by the pool with us

A couple of weeks ago, Hi-Dee stopped being interested in her food. She started losing weight. Hi-Dee’s temperament had always made it impossible to get her to a vet. The one time a house call vet came for a check up, she busted out of the small room my friend had her confined in, straight through a screen door, and didn’t come home for two days. But Hi-Dee was losing weight at an alarming rate, so my friend called the vet. It was a sign of just how sick Hi-Dee was that the vet was able to examine her and get blood without so much as a meow of protest out of her.

He called with bad news on Monday. Hi-Dee was severely anemic, several other blood values were also of grave concern. He recommended taking her to an emergency vet immediately. I met my friend there. The news was not good. At a minimum, Hi-Dee would have needed a transfusion. The only way to identify the underlying cause of the anemia would be through a number of tests ranging from x-rays to ultrasound to additional bloodwork.

My friend made the agonizingly difficult decision to take Hi-Dee home to spend a few more hours with her before having the vet come back to gently ease her out of this life. It’s the same decision I would have made. I don’t believe that putting a cat with Hi-Dee’s spirit and temperament through extensive diagnostics and treatment, especially given the high uncertainty of a positive outcome, would have been the right choice for her.

cat-red-blanket

On the deck one last time

I had the honor of being present during Hi-Dee’s final moments. She passed away on the deck that she loved to hang out on so much, with the song of birds in her ears, a gentle breeze on her face, and my friend’s loving arms around her as her final memory.

feral-cat

Rest easy, sweet girl. I will miss you.

24 Comments on A Tribute to Hi-Dee

  1. Nancy West
    June 7, 2019 at 11:10 am (6 months ago)

    It is so heartbreaking when they leave us. Such a beautiful kitty, and what a beautiful life your friend gave to her. I’ve always believed that well-cared for feral cats–especially those that transition to indoor living in their senior years–have led the very best lives. Run free in the forever summer lands, precious Hi-Dee. Her spirit will be with your friend, always. Hugs!

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      June 7, 2019 at 2:31 pm (6 months ago)

      Thank you for your beautiful words, Nancy.

      Reply
  2. Nancy West
    June 7, 2019 at 11:09 am (6 months ago)

    It is so heartbreaking when they leave us. Such a beautiful kitty, and what a beautiful life your friend gave to her. I’ve always believed that well-cared for feral cats–especially those that transition to indoor living in their senior years–have led the very best lives. Run free in the forever summer lands, precious Hi-Dee. Her spirit will be with your friend, always.

    Reply
  3. Ingrid
    May 16, 2019 at 5:10 am (6 months ago)

    Thank you to all of you for your heartfelt and beautiful words. My friend and I went to pick up Hi-Dee’s ashes yesterday – she’s back home now. At some point, we’ll have a little ceremony for her in the yard she loved so much.

    Reply
  4. Mary McNeil
    May 15, 2019 at 6:21 pm (6 months ago)

    Purrayers and POTP for all who love Hy-Dee.

    And to Debbie Riddick (above) and her sweet Gabby.

    Reply
  5. Eleanor Skibo
    May 15, 2019 at 5:07 pm (6 months ago)

    Farewell Hi-Dee! I never had the pleasure to shake your paw or even say Hi friend, but I feel like I know you in some funny odd way. Where ever you’re at, I pray you left all your fear behind and you’re now happy in some else’s arms. You managed to give some love while you were on earth and for that I’m sure Ruth will eventually bury her hurt from losing a special friend. Travel well my friend and give and accept all the love you can.

    Reply
  6. Sandy Weinstein
    May 15, 2019 at 12:17 pm (6 months ago)

    i am so very sorry for the loss of your friend’s cat. it is so hard to lose a pet. i saw A Dog’s Journey last nite, everyone was crying. i came home and hugged my babies, and hugged and kissed the urn of my baby that passed away 2 yrs ago. i dont think you ever get over the loss even though another love may come into your life.

    Reply
  7. Lucy
    May 15, 2019 at 11:57 am (6 months ago)

    thank you for sharing this beautiful story. very sad, jet Happy 12 years with her rescue MON. I Feed abandon Cats. and know the feeling . your Friend is an Angel . We need so many like her in this Cat world. Rest in Peace” precious Hi-Dee

    Reply
  8. Lucy
    May 15, 2019 at 11:55 am (6 months ago)

    thank you for sharing this beautiful story. very sad, jet Happy 12 years with her rescue MON. I Feed abandon Cats. and know the feeling . your Friend is an Angel . We need so many like her in this Cat world. Res “in Peace” precious Hi-Dee

    Reply
  9. Kat
    May 15, 2019 at 11:15 am (6 months ago)

    so sorry for you and your friend’s loss of Hi-Dee….brought tears to my eyes…yes we all go thru that with our furballs, and like our humans, we know its coming, but doesnt make it any easier…RIP pretty little Hi-Dee, now you are with all the others, forever free from life on earth, and forever free to enjoy God’s beauty and love.

    Reply
  10. Debbie Riddick
    May 15, 2019 at 10:35 am (6 months ago)

    Such a wonderful story of an amazing cat!!! I just sent my sweet Gabby to the Rainbow Bridge on Saturday at 11:30. It was the hardest decision I’ve ever had to make and I’m still second guessing it and missing her terribly! She had an ultrasound on Friday and I was told by the doctor that one small area of her stomach was only 1mm thick and could rupture at any moment. Her doctor warned me not to wait and get it done as soon as possible. Even though she looked great and was playing on Saturday, we had an appointment to put her down at our house. I can’t forget her terrified face as the doctor entered my bedroom to give her the sedative and her scream still wakes me up at night. I feel like to soul of my house is gone. I wish I had had just a couple more good days with her and not rushed, as directed. On Monday, my other doctor called to tell me he read the report and thought she could live weeks or months with this. I am devastated and wish I had gotten two opinions before euthanizing her. I pray she forgives me.

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      May 16, 2019 at 5:07 am (6 months ago)

      I’m so sorry, Debbie. I have no doubt that Gabby knows that you made the decision to let her go out of love and to spare her suffering.

      Reply
  11. Randy Anglin
    May 15, 2019 at 10:20 am (6 months ago)

    Thank you for this sweet tribute to Hi-Dee. She made a difference in the lives of her humans for sure. And such a beautiful girl.

    Reply
  12. Crystal
    May 15, 2019 at 10:16 am (6 months ago)

    Sorry about Hi-Dee. Looks like my last cat. I still remember our kitten at the time when our senior cat died she refused to go near the place she died. Your blessed to have many fond memories.

    Reply
  13. Norma Young
    May 15, 2019 at 9:26 am (6 months ago)

    Beautiful story, they sure take part of our hearts with them.

    Reply
  14. ellen
    May 15, 2019 at 8:58 am (6 months ago)

    What a lovely story. Brought me to tears.

    Reply
  15. Ellen
    May 15, 2019 at 8:57 am (6 months ago)

    What a lovely story. Brought tears to my eyes.

    Reply
  16. Janine
    May 15, 2019 at 7:45 am (6 months ago)

    Hi-Dee looks like a beautiful girl. I am glad she had someone who loved and took care of her. I am so sorry to hear she is no longer with her momma.

    Reply
  17. Winola
    May 15, 2019 at 6:56 am (6 months ago)

    I am so sorry and saddened that sweet baby Hi-Dee passed on, but am pleased and happy that she had a wonderful guardian who took care of her and loved her for 12+ years. It took her some time to come inside the house, but she came to trust your friend. It really says a lot about a person if she was eventually able to get a feral cat (who didn’t allow anyone to touch her) into her home – not to mention the fact that Hi-Dee slept at the foot of the bed. 🙂 Cat people rule!

    Reply
  18. Darlene
    May 15, 2019 at 6:34 am (6 months ago)

    I am so sorry with the loss of Hi Dee beautiful baby. She had a good Mom. It is never easy too let go.But she will always be in your heart and memories. May Hi-Dee RIP.

    Reply
  19. Gail
    May 15, 2019 at 6:29 am (6 months ago)

    I hope when go that I’m blessed like Hi-Dee was…in the arms of a loved one. Prayers for comfort to all of you who are grieving

    Reply
  20. John Wissinger
    May 15, 2019 at 3:59 am (6 months ago)

    Hi-Dee is waiting at the end of the Rainbow Bridge.

    Reply
  21. Joyce
    May 15, 2019 at 2:37 am (6 months ago)

    Ingrid … I offer you and Ruth the words I received upon the loss of my precious Casey Jones, who I still grieve for every single day…. Be gentle with yourself. You gave me the permission I should have given myself.

    There really are no better words of advice that I’ve received. I’ve had opportunity to pass on this advice myself several times since then.

    Only you can feel it the way you do and you need never to justify it.

    I wish you peace, kindness, patience and gentle healing. It takes as long as it takes ….

    Reply
  22. Safepethaven
    May 15, 2019 at 2:17 am (6 months ago)

    It’s such a hard part of the loving relationship, no matter who passes first.

    Reply

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