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To Clyde

They say that it’s good to express your grief, so that’s what I’m doing today. Clyde, our beautiful cat, my gorgeous lion, my lovely fox, went out of our lives on Friday evening. He had been frail for a while, but he was still valiant, still unquestioningly loving, still with the most gorgeous coat, the softest paws and the brightest eyes.

I am glad that he is not suffering. I know (or I’m trying to remember) that he is in a good place, where there is just love and joy. But my selfish heart is crying for him, missing his soft touch, his gentle paw patting my arm when he wants a fuss, his deep growly purrs, his head-butts. The feel of him as I picked him up and cuddled him, and he purred with pleasure, and the sight of him resting on my lap, gazing at me face to face, telling me again and again that he loves me, before settling down to sleep.

I knew it was going to happen, and I knew it would be hard. Clyde, my love, my lion. Loving to the last. I told you I would see you again. Right now, I want you back, and I don’t think I can cry enough tears.

He went when the birds were singing, and the daffodils were coming out. The sky is cloudless and calm, the sea is like silk. All this beauty hurts so much. I want to walk across the road and turn to see him coming towards me, his beautiful tail held high, with his little ‘prrrrr’ of greeting. I want to go up the hill behind the house and look back to see him following me, nosy as ever about what I’m doing. I want to come downstairs and see him lying on his blanket, sprawled blissfully, face turned towards me expecting a fuss. Clyde, my lovely lion. A thousand and one things, and places, where your sudden absence takes my breath away with the pain.

I hope I can learn something from you. You taught me that love is everything. There is nothing else. You taught me that love wins love. Five years ago, when you came to us, I promised you a safe and loving home, a warm place to sleep. I hugged you on my knee, and you trusted me implicitly. You knew everything, every word. You sensed our love, and you loved in return, without fear, without condition. I let you out on the second day, just trusting, and you circled the garden and the wood with absolute eagerness, disappearing for a few seconds and then reappearing somewhere else, and always coming back, your tail up and your eyes bright with excitement.

In summer you stretched and slept on the bench outside, lapping up the warm sun and enjoying all the admiring attention from passers by. On windy days – and there were plenty of those – you’d follow me across the road to the rocks, your fur getting blown about, trusting that I’d look out for you above the noise of the wind. When you insisted on drinking from roadside puddles I stood there getting wet in the rain until you’d finished. Every evening you’d sleep next to me as we sat on the sofa by the fire, getting up occasionally to tap my arm as a polite reminder for more fuss.  All of this I want to do again, today, tomorrow, and the next day, and the next. The happy times and the anxious times. I just want you back. I want to hug you and not let you go.

Someday soon I will come back to writing about things that uplift me. And when I do, I know that I will feel you here, and maybe I will focus on that instead of the emptiness. Thank you beyond words for the love, which you brought into our lives and which I know is still here. Clyde, we love you. x



  • Norma Dowling

    Dear Jo, I’m so sorry you have lost Clyde!
    We have a beautiful lady, a Silver Tabby, whom we had as a rescue kitten 15yrs ago! Like Clyde she is very loving and if she is not eating she wants to be sleeping on one of our laps. I know we will not have her much longer but we have known her love, just as you experienced love from Clyde. Often if we go out in the car and she is outside, she will be sitting just outside the gate waiting for us. You will have all those lovely memories and photos to look back on. Try to take comfort from that.
    Best wishes, Norma (Isle of Mull)

  • Karen Brooks

    Im so sorry your Clyde has gone, such a beautiful boy. How do we not grieve our family members be it two legs or four. It sounds like Clyde lived his best life with you, you are both lucky.

  • Jenny

    I am so sorry for your loss Jo. What a void it is to not have our furry loves there, in all their sweet ways of living alongside us. The feeling of loss will not ever leave you, however, over time it will not feel so crushing as it may feel today. Later, Clyde’s presence may come to you in the sweet quiet of a moment that you two would have previously shared together. Whether in spirit or in thought, it will bring about a smile and not your tears. Peace be with you in these days Jo.

    • Jo Woolf

      I really appreciate your kinds words, Jenny. Thank you. It is making me cry reading all these lovely comments but it’s comforting to know how many people have felt the same.

  • Mickey Moore

    My heart is breaking for you Jo. There is a deep understanding of shared grief that we who have loved and lost animal friends. I love your Clyde too.

  • Silvia Gasparini

    I believe our task is giving them the best possible life, and you surely did. It shines out from the photos. The heartbreak is a badge of honour. You kept Clyde safe and happy. Now “with his tongue he licks young stars off his fur”.

  • Janice Boyes

    Dear Jo, I have tears in my eyes for your loss. He was, like many of our loving pets, a unique and loving soul. I have cried for my own and now I cry for your loss. They give us so much and we can never give them enough in repayment for their so short lives. Hugs.

    • Jo Woolf

      Thank you for such kind words, Janice. I really appreciate them. I’m lucky to have people like yourself, offering words of comfort from their own experience – so thank you again.

  • Patricia McPhail

    I share your loss of your beloved Clyde. It has been many years now since we lost our beautiful Bobb and my heart still aches for her – I miss her so much and always will. What a loving and very heartfelt tribute you have written – I can picture Clyde so vividly! He will always be a part of your heart. May your memories of past happy times help get you through the pain of missing him. Big hugs….

    • Jo Woolf

      Thank you very much, Patricia. I am trying to take heart from all these kind words and know that one day I’ll look at the happy times and be glad. Everywhere I look at the moment he is not there.

  • Bob.

    I can understand your feelings J and relate to them. We have had many cats and dogs over a long period and every time one died it was like a major trauma in our lives. Such loving pets are no different from family members and deserve the same love and respect in return.
    Just think of the good times and yes, cry your eyes out in their memory.

  • shiningbearheart

    I echo what so many have said. I’ve been where you are and will be again. It is so hard to lose family. They give such deep love. The loss is so hard, but a life without ever having that love would be far worse. I’m crying with you today.

  • Richard Miles

    Dear Jo,
    I am truly sorry about the loss of Clyde.As a cat lover and owner I am very touched by your expression of grief in losing him.You certainly loved him and he loved you and I am certain you provided the perfect home for him.He reciprocated your love accordingly in the way that cherished cats do.They know when they are safe and secure and show their affection in those lovely endearing feline ways.You will miss him terribly,that’s the way it should be I’m afraid.People who genuinely get very close to animals pay the emotional price when they depart,I know exactly that feeling.You will come through the grieving process,it may take some time,but you will always have those loving memories of Clyde,cats never really go away.

    • Jo Woolf

      Richard, thank you so much for your lovely words. It’s really comforting to know that other people experience that closeness, and understand what it’s like. I am grateful to have had a chance to give him a happy home and to love him, and I’m so grateful for all the love he gave in return. Yes, we do have some wonderful happy memories and I know he’s still with us in spirit, I just need to give myself a chance to feel that. He was my lion, my fox, such a gentle but strong presence. Thank you again.

  • bconee

    I am so sorry to hear of Clyde’s passing. the lovely pictures show a life well lived! It is so difficult to say goodbye to our furry companions, and I echo the sentiments of the other commenters that although it’s unbearable now, there will be better days. Take all the time you need to grieve. It’s a high emotional price, but I can’t imagine a life without the love of a cat. 💜

    • Jo Woolf

      Thank you very much, Bridget. It’s really comforting to know that he was happy, and that we gave him as much love as we could possibly give. I’ve realised that I will have to give myself time – you’re absolutely right. We’re both lost at the moment and struggling to do ‘normal’ stuff, and trying to enjoy the sunshine when our hearts aren’t in it. I do so much appreciate your kind words.

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