Farewelling Selene

Farewelling Selene

While we waited for the vet to come, 
I thought I’d take one last photo.
Usually she turned her eyes 
away from the flash, 
but this time she gazed into mine
with an intense look of love. 

Of course it wasn’t the last. 
We went outside. She liked us to sit
together in the garden. I took some more
but she seemed uncomfortable
on the concrete step. I scooped her up
like a floppy rag and put her back
on the mat inside the door 
where she could still look out,
and took another. She gave me
that deliberate look once more – fixed,
but so different from the fierce, wary gaze 
when she came to me three years ago....
Three years and eight weeks,
already not young....

I sat near, at my computer,
but then I just began talking to her –
I dunno, whatever was on my mind 
about how I’d like her to be my familiar
in spirit now, but of course 
it was up to her, what she wanted, her choice, her 
happiness the most important thing.

She listened. Then she got up – you have to know 
she was very uncomfortable, very weak –
walked over to me and let her head
lightly graze my dangling, reaching hand.
Again it was deliberate, purposeful. 
And she went back to her spot on the mat. 
Later I pondered how she knew and gave me 
what I wanted, what I needed.

It’s funny – as soon as she was gone
(gently and quickly via a kind vet)
between my sobs I suddenly knew
that strong, wise voice I’d been hearing
in my head was hers, her soul. All
the realisations I’d had were imparted
intentionally. So far they haven’t stopped.

She used to nag me about meal times
and bed-times – not hers, mine. (Albeit
she was happy to join me.) I’ll have to 
take care of myself now, I thought.
Then I decided to light a candle
and say the prayer for the dead, wishing
peace and light for her journey.

Only it was late (speaking of bed-time). What if, 
while I slept, something caught alight? Perhaps 
if I put it in a big bowl, even a saucepan? Just then
my smoke alarm pealed loudly, even though 
I hadn’t yet lit the flame. I bashed it
with a broom handle. It stopped a moment
then started up again. OK, I said, I get it.
I won’t burn the candle tonight. The noise stopped.

I turned and caught one glimpse
of a tall being of light, right there in my kitchen …
just for a moment. But all evening I heard little sounds
as if she was playing with her toys – the jingly bells,
the rustlings – though she had not in life 
played with them for many months 
as she aged and rested (walking a bit stiffly 
with arthritis). Nevertheless I heard her playing now: 
the sound of those toys (which didn’t in fact 
move from their stash) being tossed and batted.
None of this stopped me howling and wailing.

I slept surprisingly soundly afterwards. Now 
I’m calmer, though it catches me sometimes.
I keep noticing the many tiny ways
I was always looking out for her comfort, her safety.
I can’t walk down the passage without
glancing into the laundry to check her litter tray.
Which is not there any longer. I gave it,
along with the toys, the carry-case, left-over food,
to Friends of the Pound. She was
my seventh cat. I’ll let that magic number
be the last. I know I can’t do this any more, 
even though a couple of friends already
told me of cats needing rescue. No. 
Not me, not again. She was final.


Selene left this life on Monday 4th March 2019, 
just four weeks short of 11 years old.

More prosaic details at my SnakyPoet blog: 


Linking to The Tuesday Platform for March 12 at 'imaginary g
arden with real toads'


  1. Loving tribute to Selene.

  2. I am in tears. Am unsurprised that she knew and understood everything that was happening, assuring you of her love, her continued presence. Animals know so much more than most people give them credit for. I remember when she first came, and how you won her trust and regard. I love that you saw the tall being of light, heard her playing with her toys, telling you all was well. Yes. Seven magical beings, each a blessing. No, our hearts can't take it any more. She was so special, being the last. I know, as your familiar, she will always be with you. How wonderful it is to love them and be loved by them. How heartbreaking when they leave. I love that she graced your photograph with her gaze, knowing it would be for the last time. Beautiful Selene.

  3. Wow! Your cat knew you needed her!
    Oh, Selene!
    You are so loved.
    Rest in peace and power.
    Here are my favorite truths in your poem:
    " I suddenly knew
    that strong, wise voice I’d been hearing
    in my head was hers, her soul."
    . . . .
    " I’ll have to
    take care of myself now, I thought."

  4. So, so sorry Rosemary. Both of you were blessed to have each other. So sad. "She was final" is grief poured out in words.

  5. When my Attila was no longer with me, I didn't even consider inviting a new furry companion into my life. I had shared my living with many others before, but something happened after Attila... I don't know what, but I just couldn't go it again. The finality of your decision, after Selene made her earthy farewells made me think of that. Sometimes, we just know. All right, I think most of the time we just know. Also, we both know she's there in spirit... and will always be.

    Sending you gentle hugs, Rosemary.

    1. Yeah. (As well as the seven cats there have been four dogs.)

      And yes, in a strange way – unlike previous 'hauntings' (she always had her own unique ways of doing things) – she is still around.

  6. This is beautiful. She looks so like my neighbor's cat Geri, who used to visit me on my deck and in my kitchen. When she was dying I went next door to say good-bye. As weak as she was, she sat up in the basket and put out her head for me. What wonderful creatures, and how lucky we are to have them in our lives.

  7. I also have tears. God bless, Selene.

  8. I am so sorry.How terribly sad to lose your dear friend. I think she will always be present in your life. These wonderful creatures give meaning to out lives and give us loads of love. Terribly terribly sad for you.x

  9. I am so sorry for your loss, Rosemary. Selene will always be in our hearts. *hugs*

  10. Rosemary, you wrote a beautiful ode to a wonderful friend of whom your love for her will always remain. Having another pet will not erase one bit of that love and your heart will have room for more. But don't rush into it.

  11. Goodness that was heartbreaking. Am so sorry for your loss. This is a beautiful tribute to a treasured friend.

  12. She was a very loved kitty and I'm sure she cherished your company just as much as you cherished hers.

  13. I am so sorry for your loss, Rosemary. having bid farewell to numerous beloved pets in my lifetime, I know it gets harder, not easier. I am down to my last (on my oath) dog and parting from her will be the worst of all.

  14. They are so dear... I appreciate my cats and dogs ... and horse. I feel blessed to have them in my life for however long... She was a beautiful cat.

  15. Rosemary, I am so very sorry. I am on my 7th doggy, and having lost 6 of them--the last one after only 16 months due to a birth defect on her insides--I know all too well this pain, as well as the things that happen after. Serene was a remarkable, beautiful kitty, and I know she made herself utterly at home in your life and in your heart. For what it's worth, I don't consider any of my departed six in the past tense. I believe beyond any shadow of a doubt that their spirits continue. Animals can be such close companions, so much a part of every day of our lives. The part about checking the litter box about did me in. After Skittles passed, I found myself checking the (removed) water bowl every time I walked into the kitchen. The sadness at its not being there about did me in. But they do stick close, the special ones. Never think that they don't.

    1. I do know that's true, but at this stage am still feeling the physical absence keenly. Oh well ... grief ... just have to live through it.

  16. Dear Rosemary, First I read the poem you wrote about Selna. I don't remember how I got there, and my own Issa, stepped on the keyboard, and it disappeared, I tried to return, came here...I am in tears reading what you have written. After I lost my last kitten, Beau, I said there would be no more, but I was so sad to lose him, I found a godmother, who has promised to take him, if I got another. So of course I got another,Issa, and he has brought so much happiness to me, I am glad I did. I am so sorry for your sadness.

    1. My dear friend, I very much appreciate your comments. However, I also have practical reasons for not getting another – one being that my health issues now make it difficult for me to care well for a pet.


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