Goodbye Our Friend

Today we said goodbye to Leia, our beautifully furry friend who had been with us for nearly 17 years. To say she’s left a gap in our lives is an understatement. I feel like I’ve lost a part of myself.

Leia has always been there. We got her and Luke when they were just eight weeks old. And even eight years after we lost her brother, she has always been a constant in our lives. She was there when we got engaged and married, when we moved house, when the children came along and through the extension and loft conversion. She put up with a lot but always, throughout everything, loved us unconditionally.

She got more confident as the children grew, going from barely tolerating them as babies to happily sitting with them on the sofa and, in recent years, letting them pick her up, laying on their chests and even sleeping on their beds sometimes. She loved them both just as much as they loved her.

I will miss Leia more than anything. She has been my shadow, my sidekick, my little chum. She was always by my side, trying to occupy the same space as me, climbing on top of me when I was working, laying over my hands as I’d type on my laptop and sitting on my chest when I was watching TV.

She hated me singing, crying at me as if she was worried for my welfare. She loved eating cheese, loved ‘meaty whip’ treats and went crazy when we opened tins of tuna. We’d let her lick our dinner plates when we’d finished with them and she was almost like a dog where leftovers and scraps were concerned.

For years we closed Leia downstairs at night but, after our loft conversion, I decided that she was getting old and so needed to be with us at night time. I couldn’t bare the thought of her alone, two floors below us. As much as that decision came back to taunt me at times, I think it’s one of the best decisions we made.

Leia spent her nights alternating between sleeping at the end of our bed or being in the crook of my arm, under the covers, sleeping as close to me as possible. I will miss those times. Her closeness, her little warm body and, often, her paw on my face or her licking my cheek. She loved us so much.

Every time we came in the house she was there. Giving us a hello miaow, leading the way into the kitchen and immediately asking for food. She was always the best welcome home greeting and I know that is one of the times I will miss her most.

We started to notice Leia losing weight towards the end of last year. She stopped having solid poops and was sick often. But, she was happy. Then, at the end of March we took her to the vet who did blood tests and confirmed she probably had cancer but without further, more invasive, tests we wouldn’t know for sure what was wrong with her.

Based on her weight loss, toilet issues and, what the vet referred to as ‘thickening’ around her digestive system, we came to terms with the fact that she probably did have cancer and decided we didn’t want to put her through anything that would cause her stress or trauma. We decided to just love her for as long as we had her.

That was three months ago. And we have had three months of loving that little furball completely – and her loving us back. We said we’d make a decision when she wasn’t happy anymore and that time came. Externally, she had moments of pure happy. She would still sleep in bed with me, still purr her head off and give me the best cuddles and still did ‘upside down head’ whenever she felt like it.


But, she was also pooing everywhere, and pooing so often that she’d end up walking it all around the house. We had to put a second cat litter tray in the loft – along with a second water bowl as she was drinking all the time too. She was constantly starving, screaming at us in hunger and literally eating a pouch of food every half an hour if we let her. She lost all the fat on her body, being not much more than bones by the end. She couldn’t keep herself as clean as she used to and would dribble food and water down her chin.

She used up all her energy by about 11am. After that she would lay on the sofa, on a bed or, occasionally, in her favourite spot under the hedge, and would spend the rest of the day sleeping, only moving for food.

Understanding Our Cat's Behaviour with Lily's Kitchen

For probably a week or two more than I should have, I told myself she was happy. She was still purring, she was still miaowing at us, she was still coming in the garden with us and watching the birds like they were the most exciting thing in the world.

But, she wasn’t happy. You can’t be happy when you’re constantly starving, constantly going to the toilet and unable to get comfortable because you’re nothing but bones. So we made the hardest decision of our lives and organised for the vet to come to our house today.

We knew for a couple of days that we’d be saying goodbye to Leia. We all had a chance to say goodbye and we had warned the children over the last few months and weeks that Leia wouldn’t be around for long. We all knew to make the most of every moment and the children have been so brave throughout.

Little Man went off to school, LP had a day with her bestie and Dave and I spent time with Leia. We went in the garden, we had cuddles, we gave her as much food as she wanted and we talked to her about how much we love her.

When it was time for her to go, it was really peaceful. Laying on the sofa with us by her side, stroking her and talking to her. It was one of the hardest decisions we have ever had to make, and I already miss her incredibly, but, she went peacefully surrounded by love.

Now, I take comfort knowing that she is back with her brother. That she can run and jump like she used to and that she is comfortable again – and still very much loved by the four of us and so many other people who knew her.

Luke and Leia

I am heartbroken. I have lost such a big part of my life. In time I know I’ll be able to just remember all the good times without this immense pain but right now I just feel an overwhelming sense of loss. “Grief is the price we pay for love.”

We love you Leia. Sweet dreams and say hello to Luke for us.

“Princess Leia Babe” 2006 – 2023.


  • Donna Wishart

    Donna Wishart is married to Dave and they have two children, Athena (12) and Troy (11). They live in Surrey with their two cats, Fred and George. Once a Bank Manager, Donna has been writing about everything from family finance to days out, travel and her favourite recipes since 2012. Donna is happiest either exploring somewhere new, with her camera in her hand and family by her side or snuggled up with a cat on her lap, reading a book and enjoying a nice cup of tea. She firmly believes that tea and cake can fix most things.

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