In a post about my adored Gilda, I wrote:


A friend of mine, Christina, and I developed a ritual.

Somehow, and I don’t recall how, when one of our kitties or doggies died, we stopped using words like DIE or DEAD. Instead, 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, they 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.


Well, yesterday, my sweet Robert moved to Florida. He and his four siblings had been just tiny kittens when Christina and I saved them from drowning in a flash flood. The floodwaters had slammed them into a fence, and they were stuck in a tangle of twigs and debris. Only their little heads were still above water. Meowing in terror.

Robert grew up into a gorgeous, regal, dark tabby. He had an elegance about him, and I should have called him Cary Grant.

Robert’s brother, Chuck, moved to Florida in May. Each had developed a gum disease which made eating too painful. While cortisone shots at the vet helped, this only forestalled their decline a bit.

So, with my eyes wet, and me unable to speak, I gently petted Robert as he boarded his flight.


The last picture.




  1. Nancy Partridge on August 8, 2020 at 3:35 am

    I am sorry for your fur baby’s moving to Florida. Over the years mine have moved there as well. They will be missed but not forgotten. I love the picture as well. Thank you for sharing.

  2. Colin Boss on August 8, 2020 at 4:34 am

    Oh Ross.

    Sending a big virtual hug. It’s so sad when any pet leaves us, and your description of moving to Florida is such a sweet way of describing it.

    You give all of these kitties a great home and that’s the best any of us can do.


  3. Mauro Chantal on August 8, 2020 at 4:50 am

    Dear Ross, I read your posts every day and feel you as a dear friend, even though so far away and knowing that I have never seen you in person.

    Your love for cats is a very beautiful feeling that warms my heart.

    So, my distant friend, receive my Brazilian hug, full of affection from here in Brazil.

    May God always bless you, and may good spirits be with you always. ♥ ️🙌🏼🙏🏼🌸

    • Ross on August 8, 2020 at 8:48 pm

      Thank you for your kind comments, Mauro. It’s amazing knowing that this blog reaches people across the globe. BIG hug to you!

  4. Dan Goodall-Williams on August 8, 2020 at 4:57 am

    Losing a pet is so heart wrenching. All my best to you Ross.

  5. Pamela on August 8, 2020 at 5:54 am

    It makes the heart so heavy when our loved ones move to Florida. Your Robert is being welcomed there with hugs and kisses by my Bruce and Moishe, and my dear chow chow Emma. I am so sorry that he had to move away from your love and companionship.

  6. Miriam R Righter on August 8, 2020 at 7:41 am

    I am so sorry, Ross. I have “permanently fostered” several cats with stomatitis, and one of my own now has it. Even pulling all the teeth and feeding only canned food does not always help. That hard decision about when they are no longer enjoying life for the pain is always a tough one. You have all my love for taking care of this fellow, and his brother. It seems the cats that struggle are the ones that steal our hearts the most.

  7. Marjie on August 8, 2020 at 8:50 am

    Awe Ross I’m sorry for your babies move to Florida. It’s always so hard to be the one left behind when someone moves. … I absolutely love the moving to Florida idea…. it does seem a less painful to report than the alternative…I will continue to use this in my life… I had one of my fur babies move to Florida very unexpectedly, when having a routine procedure done, last week at the vet. Leaving his very bonded and very confused brother behind. Thanks for making me smile, it’s been a rough couple weeks. Here’s to great memories of our babies. 🙂

  8. Marcia on August 8, 2020 at 8:57 am

    So sorry for your loss. But be comforted in knowing that not only did you give him life when you rescued him, you gave him a good life, and most importantly, love. Blessings on you.

  9. David Cullen on August 8, 2020 at 9:04 am

    The move to Florida is always a time for reflection…..on the life well-spent of a faithful and loving furry friend. Over my (almost) 70 years I’ve had to get tickets to Florida for dozens (I’m not kidding) of such lovely beasts. I miss each one’s purr, snuggling, and various idiosyncrasies. But in Florida, the beach is always tidy, the kibble fresh and tasty, and expectant eyes watch for the arrival of a friend who took each in and provided shelter and love during its earth days.
    Thank you for being a cat guy.

  10. Mona in MN on August 8, 2020 at 9:50 am

    So sorry. Virtual hugs.

  11. Debbie Desmond on August 8, 2020 at 10:01 am

    So sorry….

  12. Beth H. on August 8, 2020 at 10:57 am

    I am so very sorry, Ross – I have tears on my cheeks from your beautiful post. A broken heart WILL grasp at anything to ease the pain. I type this while listening to the very heavy snoring of my just-turned-13 year old furbaby, Sadie. When she tries to rise from the bed or carpet, I see her back legs not wanting to cooperate, and I know we can’t continue on indefinitely this way – for her, life has become pain. Her breathing sounds labored even when she’s awake. Every once in a while, the puppy still comes out and she wants to play with my husband… and he desperately hangs on to those moments as to him they say she still has a good quality of life. I wish she could tell us. Are the gabapentin and tramodol that she’s on daily helping? Or are we just drugging her in a desperate effort to keep her here just a little longer, and not really doing her any good? I think before long, she’ll be joining all our beloved furbabies in another state… but I think I’d rather move to Vermont when I go, so I’m going to say that instead. Our doggies will run free in the beautiful mountains.

  13. David McDonald on August 8, 2020 at 11:59 am

    Breaks my heart…..
    Just a word of encouragement….
    In 2009 when i was overcome with a grief so strong after having lost my 2nd cat to cancer, I was standing in the shower, eyes closed, water rushing over my face, thinking nothing in particular, except washing my face and hair— God knew the grief in my soul, and the Spirit gave me revelation, out of nowhere!!! ( thats how He works!)
    Heres what He said- theres s verse in Revelation in the Bible… Jesus is speaking to John about the new HeavenandEarth…..”Behold, I make ALL things new”. All of a sudden, He opened the word ALL to my mind, and , while standing there , eyes closed under the shower, i saw myself flying over Creation, and i knew what ALL meant: To all those who love Him, He is going to bring back to life, all tjat we loved while alive. All of a sudden, this incredible feeling of peace filled me. I no longer had an ounce of grief, and felt at peace. Comforting and everpresent, He only wants to bring us joy. And that He did! 😁😂….🙏

    • Marjie on August 8, 2020 at 10:26 pm

      Thank you for your amazing words, as I sit here with tears rolling down my cheeks, I really needed to hear this. My amazing boy of 17 years is very ill right now. We are awaiting test results to shed some light on exactly what’s going on, possibly cancer… he has several underlying health issues and God has brought him this far… I just needed another reminder of His power, not mine…I lost another one of my fur babies a week ago, very unexpectedly. It’s been a rough couple weeks, thank you again for gentle reminder! 💕

  14. EJ on August 8, 2020 at 1:23 pm

    Over my nearly 66 years, I too have sent dozens of cats & a few dogs to the Rainbow Bridge. The only unshattered dream I still have is that I’ll be able to meet them there soon, I can only hope. The last one that passed made me resolve not to get another, as I’m afraid that they will be left behind when I go to Florida, but I just couldn’t go on without some love. So, along came a bundle of excess energy named Howie, unwanted, and returned to the local Humane Society, for being “too active”. But, we have done well together. Get another, and keep going, but never forget the ones that came before. Bless you.

    • Karen Spencer on August 8, 2020 at 3:07 pm

      Thanks for sending The Rainbow Bridge to Ross EJ. I always find that poem very helpful. I’m glad you got another cat! I often think about these things, being a similar age. Your comment about remembering the ones that came before is lovely.
      Best to you…

      • EJ on August 8, 2020 at 4:28 pm

        Thank you, and {{{Hugs}}}

  15. Karen Spencer on August 8, 2020 at 3:02 pm

    I am so sorry for your loss dear Ross. I have lost several furry family members and now I have an almost 12 year old dog… I treasure every moment with him. He is 8 pounds and probably smaller than many of your cats.

    You gave Robert a very good life. It’s wonderful how you rescued him and his siblings.

    I was going to send the Rainbow Bridge poem, which I always find helpful in the loss of dear pet, but I see that EJ just above me sent it. I hope it helps you find peace.

    Sending big hugs.

  16. tura wolfe on August 8, 2020 at 3:06 pm

    I feel your pain with Robert moving to Florida. Oh! but how wonderful for him to run on the beach and eat fresh sea food, be full of young energy with good health.

    Around twenty five years ago the most grand, fine, sweet, black chow chow dog left my life going to Florida as I held him in my arms. He had been my constant companion from six weeks old to an old guy of thirteen years. I miss Canton today like he left yesterday. There have been other family dogs living in my home, but that dog choose me to be his one and only and he is THE dog of my life. During this time, I rescued five kittens that were a few hours old. I wrapped each in tissue paper and placed in a paper shopping bag put under a table lamp until we could close our interior design store to go to the vet. The Vet helped with formula, bottles, instructions for all needs to be cat mother. My two sons and I sat in a floor circle feeding, doing the necessary with Canton’s head hanging in the circle center. As time passed he laid down with his head in our circle, then, we placed each tummy full kitten on his side. They pushed him back and forth with their paws falling to sleep. He did not move as the kitties slept warm and secure and when they all crawled off, he got up, until the next time. This is a lovely remembrance even with tears running down my face.

    From my mother in law’s cat, I got a solid black and very sweet six week old kitten. This was about three years years before THE dog came into my life. This tiny kitten also choose me as his person. I fed him everyday a special mix from a cat book of pet milk and water with baby pablum and some other things I can not remember. He loved it. Somehow, I gave him the perfect name, Napoleon. Although he was fixed and suppose to be a inside house cat, he always got outside doing all the things a wild male cat can do. Napoleon was impressive in all directions. On my daily walk he followed along behind me talking mymow, mymow all the way by five houses, where he hopped into a dogwood tree waiting for my return. Upon my return he followed me home talking all the way. THE big dog when drinking water always had to stand back if Napoleon stepped up beside him at the water bowl.THE dog would wait while the cat drank, then, THE dog would return to drinking. I just stood in the kitchen and stared at them. The cat ruled the house as he had been there first. And Napoleon was always first in winning cat fights in all four neighborhoods we lived in during his twenty-two year life. As much as I tried to keep him inside, he always escaped to his outside world. And Lord did we go to the vet. One time when I was confined to bed rest with a bad back, he climbed upon my chest mouth open showing me a dangling tusk tooth. He just laid there mouth open while I pulled the tooth. There are so many amazing Napoleon stories I could go on and on forever. He was THE cat of my life. I miss him very much, too, but it seems to help that he stayed so long and lingered into bad health before going to Florida, while held in my arms, whereas, Canton showed no signs of a Florida trip to the last minute.

    THE two great companions of my life came together with me and for all of us to be together. I am sure glad I had both of them. And, I sure will miss them forever. Forever.

  17. Beth H. on August 8, 2020 at 4:12 pm

    Since we’re telling cat and dog stories, I’ll tell one that never ceases to amaze me… and make me wonder how much more they know than we do.

    Our first dog was Ginger, a mix from the SPCA in Dallas, when my husband and I were first out of college and in our beginner apartment. We didn’t know much about training dogs, and honestly, we did a lousy job of it. Consequently, Ginger was as disobedient, willful and just generally ‘her own dog’ as any dog could be. We loved her, but…. maybe she wasn’t all that loveable to outsiders! (My sister never lets me forget the scar she got while trying to break apart Ginger and her dog the first time they came to visit, but I digress.) She was found as a stray very young puppy and didn’t get a great start in life, so we should have known she was going to be a tough cookie. You know how some dogs are so cuddly and lovey? Ginger wasn’t.

    Anyway, one night when I was about 27, I had stomach pains all night. Of course I didn’t want to wake up my husband, who sleeps like the dead… so I just laid there. I think I got up a few times and took antacids or something, which didn’t help. When he got up for work the next morning, I told him I really wasn’t feeling well, and he said “If you’re still not OK when I get out of the shower, I’m taking you to the hospital.” I had started to have a bit of discomfort around the collar bones, which I didn’t recognize as anything. While he was in the shower, Ginger hopped up on the bed and, very uncharacteristically, positioned herself around the top of my head, on my pillow, and started licking my forehead. She stayed there until I got up and got dressed, and we did go to the ER. Turned out that they had me in surgery within half an hour, as I was bleeding internally. The doctor told us later that I probably had about 2 hours left had I not gone to the ER.

    Ginger had never ‘cuddled’ me before, and she never did again…. so how did that dog know I was close to death? We may think we’re the ‘parents’ for these beasties, but in all truth, they’re the ones looking out for us. And where ever Ginger is now, Rainbow Bridge, Florida or Vermont… I hope she’s getting along OK with the dogs we had after her. Please, Ginger?

  18. Cindy Belanger on August 8, 2020 at 6:33 pm

    I’m so sorry Ross. Preparing Robert to go to Florida is one of the hardest decisions to make. But you know it’s for the best, even though it may not feel like it. I’m unfortunately preparing myself for the day when 18 year old Gizmo goes to Florida. He’s such a lovable cat, very feisty when he was younger. He and his brother were strays hanging around our yard. Our neighbor took in his brother. He picked me to be his favorite human. He used to meet me at the door every night when I came home from work, just like a puppy. In time memories will bring you comfort. Take care.

  19. Ross on August 8, 2020 at 8:54 pm

    Hello everybody!

    I’m deeply moved by your many kind words. Thank you.

    I’m also touched by the heartfelt and rich stories so many of you have shared. With such shared experiences, the world seems not quite so overwhelming. And, by sharing your stories, this website thingy becomes more a community rather than a blog.

    Much love to you all,


  20. Stephanie on August 8, 2020 at 11:10 pm

    Deepest sympathies, Ross.

  21. Leigh on August 14, 2020 at 10:29 am

    What a way for you and Robert to be introduced: barefooted on a dark, stormy night.
    You are a champion to a lot of kittycats. Unlimited sunbeams for you, Robert. Hugs, Ross.

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