Fabulous, Gentle Sid.

Last October, Sid moved in with me. I did a post about this.

He originally belonged to a neighbor but when she moved…she left Sid. Days passed before I realized this, and I was horrified to discover that Sid had not eaten since she left. I ran across the street to give him food and water.

Another neighbor took him but, several years later, when she moved, she also abandoned Sid and days elapsed before I realized this. Once again, I darted across the street with food and water before I was able to coax Sid to live in my front yard.

Each winter I would make a house for Sid, and he would snuggle in every night. In the morning I would find one or two more cats snuggled in with him.


Sid in his winter bungalow.


Last October, Sid injured a leg, and he then became a indoor cat. He loved being an indoor kitty. Loved it. Had I know about his impeccable litter box manners I would have taken him in previously!

His leg got better but he never walked quite right again. It was also during this period that I realized that Sid was a very old cat, and he was a stark contrast to the youthful antics of Gray and New Kitty. In short, Sid slept a lot.

During the summer he spent his days in my fenced side yard with all my other kitties. He was the most unaggressive cat I have ever known, so he bothered nobody and nobody bothered I’m.

And life went on.


Very late at night, when I finally finish all my work, I have an adored ritual. I break out the wine, pour some into a scandalously expensive fine crystal glass (I love the tactile feeling of good crystal), sit at my desk with the wine and some warmed cheese, and watch part of a movie.

Without fail, Sid would hop up to the corner of my desk, and furtively edge ever closer to the cheese, hoping I did not notice.

Then, I would, without looking at him, drop a tiny bit of cheese on the desk, and then a second tiny bit a minute later. I did this as if I didn’t see him, so as to not give away his furtive disguise.

He loved this ritual.


Sid last May.


Sid stayed in the back part of the house, my office and kitchen, while Gray and New Kitty sleep with me. Each morning, when I opened the kitchen door, Sid would be waiting. I would give him a can of Fancy Feast, he would scarf it down, then amble in his slightly wobbly way back to the office and his box.

Every night around six Sid would get his Fancy Feast dinner. This, too, would be scarfed down.

About a month ago though Sid only finished about 80% of his breakfast. That night, he only ate about 80% of his dinner. Odd, I thought.

He did the same for the next several days. Then he started leaving more and more food on his plate, 70%, 60%…and then…then…he would only eat about 10%.

I have been through this before and recognized what was happening.

He also also stopped hopping on my desk for his cheese bits.


Shy Sid.


About twenty years ago, my friend Christina and I developed a new approach to the departure of one of our kitten or doggies.

Somehow, and I don’t recall how, we stopped using words like DIE or DEAD. No, when one of our precious peas departed it was announced that they had moved to Florida.

Moved to Florida.

Absurd, yes, but we both found this oddly satisfying. One of our beloved ones would not have, you know, DIED. No, it just moved to Florida. Our intellectual selves knew this was ridiculous, of course, but our emotional selves grasped at this tenuous explanation with a surprisingly eager tenacity.

Moved to Florida. If you repeat this enough times it proves kinda somewhat maybe a tiny bit plausible.

And broken hearts are easily deceived.


As I watched with apprehension Sid left ever-greater amounts of food on his plate.

I knew. Sid had entered his departure phase.

And with each day his body eroded just a bit more. And with each day he ate ever less.

I struggled with food options like baby food, soup-like cat food, and Fancy Feast wetted into soup. Sid though didn’t care. Some days he would eat nothing. The days when he would eat perhaps a teaspoon made my heart jump with joy.

He loved sleeping atop a heating duct in my office but then he could longer manage the 12-inch height.


A small box proved an ideal step.


Sid became the focus of my days. Each morning I would check on him right away. Was he still…here? Each evening as I returned from the big house I would go right to Sid. Was he still…here?

While I did all I could to make him comfortable, I decided not to, you know, intervene. It just didn’t feel right somehow. Sid did not seem in pain. Rather, he seemed—and I know this sounds oddliked a very stoned 1960s hippie. He seemed really out-of-it but OK.

Until this morning.  It was instantly obvious that Sid needed help getting to the departure gate. So, an appointment was made with the boarding terminal.

His flight took off at 1:50 this afternoon.


Sid and I at the departure lounge.


The intensity of my reaction surprised me.

I was teared up during the whole boarding process, and had trouble speaking. When I got into the car after Sid’s flight took off I burst into tears. I had not expected this. The car seemed so empty without Sid, who had been in my lap the twenty-minute ride to the airport.

I feel better now. New Kitty is asleep on my desk. And in three or four hours I will have some wine, cheese, and think about Sid enjoying the weather in Florida.

I expect postcards!


Goodby, fabulous, gentle Sid.




  1. Chaz on December 2, 2019 at 8:00 pm

    Safe travels, Sid!

  2. Brandy Mulvaine on December 2, 2019 at 8:04 pm

    My kitty moved to Florida about a month ago, I hope they are visiting each other.

  3. Marcia on December 2, 2019 at 8:05 pm

    What a fabulous tribute and send off for Sid. I hear the weather in Florida is perfect this time of year! Condolences.

  4. Julie C. on December 2, 2019 at 8:07 pm

    Thank you, Ross. For being the person you are. I hope you know that I am grateful for your big heart, as are the kitties you have given a home and/or shelter.
    Florida is a bit better place today.

  5. Cindy Belanger on December 2, 2019 at 9:37 pm

    I’m sorry Ross. That story brought tears to my eyes. I know you’ll miss Sid so much, but he’s in a better place, Florida.

  6. Mary on December 2, 2019 at 10:20 pm

    Love you, Ross.

  7. Alice on December 2, 2019 at 11:35 pm

    My condolences, he was lucky to have you. It is so hard when they go. My guinea pigs have all retired to Bermuda. They enjoy the rum swizzles.

    • Ross on December 2, 2019 at 11:58 pm

      Ok, Alice. That made me laugh. I know I shouldn’t have…but I did.

  8. MaryCarol Smith on December 3, 2019 at 12:25 am

    My most best favorite dog Cookie also went south. Sorry I’m not a cat person, but I also cried rivers. I’m also sorry Sid didn’t get to live in the Cross House. Don’t make the other kitties wait too long!

  9. Leigh on December 3, 2019 at 6:27 am

    Ross: perhaps Sid wanted to experience the love as long as he could, prior to his flight. What a great send-off. Hugs.

  10. Colin Boss on December 3, 2019 at 8:07 am

    Oh Ross. I’m so glad Sid got to enjoy some inside time in the Cross House. You’re a good man to take such care of these cats, making sure each of them has the best of lives. Bless you.

  11. Mo on December 3, 2019 at 10:55 am

    Weeping. Sid was a wonderful friend. I have a gentle old dog who is planning her retirement. May they all meet up and savor their next step.

  12. Miriam R Righter on December 3, 2019 at 10:58 am

    I am so sorry about Sid. No matter how many animals we let in to our hearts, it always hurts when they move to Florida. Hugs to you, dear Ross.

  13. Mike on December 3, 2019 at 11:17 am

    I appreciate your sharing this, Ross. I never was a cat guy when I was younger; my best friends growing up were usually beagles. When my grandmother passed away in 2011, her feline best-friend “Miss Kitty” came to live with us. I had initially planned on Kitty staying in the garage, I even bought a heated mat for her house, but she would not hear of it. She was a first-class or bust sort of gal, just like my Nanna, and she had zero intention of living in a garage, even a nice one. She became a part of our family, even forging an friendly alliance with our shiatsu, Harley. Kitty was nearly 20 years old when she chose to move back with Nanna this past April; I like to think that they are sitting together on a back porch somewhere in the countryside, enjoying a warm spring morning…and it makes me feel good to know that Nanna trusted me to take care of her old friend. Sid was fortunate to find someone like you, and he blessed you in return.

  14. Sandra G. McNichol on December 3, 2019 at 2:37 pm

    Oh Ross……You truly are an angel man, and I adore you for your kind heart (among many other wonderful attributes that you possess). I wish you everything good in your life – ALWAYS. I love that you cared for Sid (and shame on his 2 previous humans, who should be left behind with no food or water, or love). I read Every. Single. One. of your blog posts, and remember when you brought him into your life. I send you my weeping and sincere condolences at Sid’s departure to Florida.

  15. Linda A. on December 4, 2019 at 1:56 pm

    Oh Ross…I am at work reading this and teared up. You are a wonderful parent to your cats. I too, loved Alice’s comment. Smiling through our tears. I made my husband and our middle son, Nick (who lives 30 miles away) take our Queenie to the airport. She was 19 years old and came to us from a farm with the name Fat Matilda which I immediately changed. She was our Queenie.

  16. Karen Spencer on December 4, 2019 at 9:05 pm

    Beautiful. Beautiful and helpful. I have an old dog and I have had many old cats. And I have an old father named Sid who goes to Florida, but so far, thankfully, he comes back every Spring.

    Thank you for the love you gave to Sid, all the other kitties and to your readers. I agree with Sandra above. You are truly and angel man Ross.

  17. Stephen M English on December 6, 2019 at 10:39 am

    Ross, I’m moved to tears, thank you for giving Mr. Sid a wonderful home before he decided to retire to the sunshine state. I hope he has the peaceful and beautiful retirement he deserves. When I get home tonight, I’m going to break out either wine or cider and toast a life (ok 9 lives) well lived.

  18. Penny on December 7, 2019 at 6:11 pm

    I’m so very sorry! You will be in my prayers tonight. May God be with you and bring you comfort.

  19. Arkay on December 9, 2019 at 8:55 am

    What a beautiful tribute to Sid, Ross. Made my laptop screen all blurry. Remembering my father, Sid, and how his last flight departed before I could get to the airport, made it blurrier.

    I’ve taken so very many cats to the departure gates over the years that I’ve developed a real aversion to Florida. So when Spotacus, our Christmas 2010 self-rescue and best RV traveling cat ever, decided to retire last November, we saw him off to Santorini. After all, he loves traveling.

    I hope he and Sid encounter each other in their travels. I think they’ll hit it off nicely.

    • Ross on December 9, 2019 at 6:46 pm

      Thank you, Arkay.

      I’m sorry that my post made your laptop screen all blurry.

      BIG hug!

  20. Karen Spencer on December 9, 2019 at 9:54 pm

    Ross do you read Victoria Elizabeth Barnes blog? You will LOVE each other. She is restoring an old house in Philly, she is an excellent writer, and he saves stray cats. You are kindred spirits.

    Of course I recommended your blog to her.


    • Ross on December 9, 2019 at 10:01 pm

      Thank you, Karen!

      Yes, I adore VEB!

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