A most beautiful soul reached the end of her earthly existence three weeks ago. Layla, a beautiful, loving feline lived with me from an infant to the age of 18 years and 9 months and I miss her dearly.
For quite a while, I had been acting as her “hospice nurse”… keeping her comfortable and feeling loved. Finally, we reached the point where “it was time”.
In her last twenty four hours I just wanted her to feel relaxed and comforted, and to spend loving time together with me and with her brother Greydy. I made an appointment for a compassionate euthanasia for her. Despite how incredibly sad our final time together was, it was also very beautiful.
Layla’s last night at home was mostly spent in my arms and in my lap. She was weak, but also affectionate and sweet. We spent several hours sitting in a comfy chair on our back porch watching and listening to the birds outside flitting around and visiting the nearby feeders. Greydy joined us and even though having both of them in my lap at the same time was a bit crowded, they settled in and nestled against each other.
It had been evident to me for several weeks that Greydy seemed to be aware that Layla was nearing her end. He had been making consistent attempts to groom her and she would let him for short periods of time. On this last evening though, when he began licking the top of her head, she leaned into him and then put one of her front legs around him and laid her head on him as if saying “Yes, please…” They definitely loved each other despite Layla being stand offish much of the time during their five years together.
So, on this last evening together, she let him groom her for an extended fifteen minutes which was a first. Then, they just napped snuggled together on my lap. I was just passively allowing them space and time together with their “Mommy”. I used my cell phone to take a few photos during their incredibly sweet encounter. The sun had gone down and the porch was growing darker but the photos still depict the love being shared between them.
The euthanasia was handled beautifully and Layla was definitely ready to transition. I should be receiving her urn with ashes soon. Greydy and I will be moving from Florida to the western mountains of North Carolina next year and she, along with her two dog brothers’ remains, will be accompanying us. I plan to create a memorial garden for them there.
It’s always so hard losing a four legged family member, especially after almost nineteen years spent together. I’m still thinking I hear her occasionally and haven’t yet been able to begin to deal with her spaces and her things. Life just kind of stopped. Grieving is being felt in sweeping waves. Greydy has been staying extra close to me, in fact what I would describe as clingy. I’ve been giving him plenty of love, affection and reassurance that Mommy is here with him and that he is safe. I have decided that maybe in a couple more months I will probably get him a baby brother or sister since he’s the type of cat who likes the companionship of another cat. I think he will love taking on the role of big brother and being able to nurture – and play – with a young kitten. It will also probably be a good thing for him to have a companion as we make our big transition in life as well.
So, I will include my rough cell photos from our last evening together. Our final goodbyes were as beautiful as I could have hoped for. I will always miss this beautiful girl… she had quite a life and brought so much love into my world. Rest in eternal peace my sweet baby…
Here’s a video compilation of some favorite photos from Layla’s life… ❤️