Sam & Sylvia

IMG_0086Their health diminished quickly and I always told myself that I would never keep cats alive for my sake.  All kinds of organs were affected in both of them and as they lived so closely together, I wouldn’t have thought their closeness would end this morning but it did.

Sylvia was first as the assistant held out her back leg and it’s slightly shaved by the veterinarian.  He applies a liquid and then slowly the syringe is inserted and in a second’s blink her eyes stay open.  Sam is next but his dehydration is so low that his second back leg is chosen.  He meows a bit and I bent down to face his eyes as they looked at mine and then his quietly remained open.  It was painless for both and all done by 9:30 a.m. and I’m at work by 10:00 a.m. wondering if anyone will notice my eyes.

I thanked them both the night before as they laid on my bed.  A simple “thank you” that we so often dismiss between humans.  “Thank you,” I said to them for eleven years that I hope will never be forgotten.  To ensure remembering, here’s a short list of “thank yous” for two small creatures that inhabited my home and my soul.

Sam, Thank you

  • for interrupting important telephone calls because hearing my voice caused you to jump on me wanting immediate attention
  •  for making TV more fun with you near me and releasing a sleepy sigh that caused me to wonder if you died as you did the night before with the same sigh
  • for grabbing my place when I only needed a little more ice
  • for making morning coffee meaningful with you at my side
  • for trimming my plants and then throwing up…always a joy cleaning up after you
  • snuggling under the covers and kneading me with your paws causes my sleep
  • for envying you while your slept…nothing in the world beats a cat’s blissful sleep
  • for each time smelling and finally opening the cat friendly hatch to the front porch as though it was your the first time
  • for your eyes – always wide eyed and attentive to everything I ever did around you

Sylvia, Thank You

  • for being my alarm clock for years – give or take ten minutes
  • for making me stretch down to pat you because of your female aloofness
  • for waiting to be announced before you approached me, as only a queen would do
  • for the being the very first, every time to greet me home after work
  • for joining me more often as you knew you were not well
  • for letting Sam get the upper hand (or paw) every single day..a classy dame
  • for your secret, hiding places that you thought I didn’t know about but I knew every one
  • for being the compliant one before vet’s visit; I needed to get you first into the box and then Sam
  • for your watchful gaze before sleeping that watched my every move

It’s not a complete list but you get a hint of how eleven years together with how a supposedly intelligent person lives and breathes with these two totally instinctual but loving creatures called cats.  I know I will live without them but living with them brought a depth, perspective, an unconditional love and clarity to a single guy.

Even in death this first night without them, I know where each one would be right now waiting to be a cat once again to me and for me to be a loving person to them and to others.  Thank you Sam and Sylvia.  They will never know…


A Great Gift Idea

A new book by Fr. Joe Jagodensky, SDS.
Available at
Paperback or Kindle is $14.95.  Enjoyable reading.

About Rev. Joe Jagodensky, SDS.

A Roman Catholic priest since 1980 and a member of the Society of the Divine Savior (Salvatorians). Six books on the Catholic church and U.S. culture are available on
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2 Responses to Sam & Sylvia

  1. themaguires says:

    A beautiful reflection on the important role our pets play in our lives. Their loss is deeply felt. Thanks Father Joe. Sharon Roth Maguire St. Sebastian Parish

    Sent from my iPhone



  2. Sue says:

    Very nice, Fr. Joe! You loved them and they loved you back.


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