10 Quotes About The Death Of Pets To Help You Grieve And Heal

Jovo Jovanovic/Stocksy

Anybody who loves books knows that loving books and loving cats go hand-in-hand (hand-in-paw?) At least, that has always been the case for me. So in 2003, when I adopted my very first, and much longed-for kitten, I knew I had found my reading buddy for life. Delightfully plump, with piercing green eyes, Squishy — or Mister Squish, to those knew him most intimately — became an unparalleled reading companion: happy to lie still for hours, melting more deeply into my lap with every page turn, purring as the world passed us by. (It was the same summer that Finding Nemo was in theaters. To paraphrase: I called him Squishy and he was mine; he was my Squishy.)

I’ve opened my home (and my lap) to over a half-dozen or so cats since then: fostering some, serving as an informal way station for others until they moved on or found their forever home, and making a couple other lifelong companions — but none with the lap-melting, book-buddying qualities of Mister Squish. So, this summer, when my 16-year-old Squishy unexpectedly went across that rainbow bridge, I knew I’d lost the kind of four-legged partner-in-reading that a book lover finds only once, maybe twice in a lifetime. He’d seen me through some of the most transformative reading of my life: from Judy Blume to Jane Austen, Sarah Dessen to Joan Didion, Nancy Drew to Hunter S. Thompson, 10th grade reading lists to graduate school syllabi, Squishy had snuggled by my side, purring faithfully. We shared hundreds of books in our 16-plus years together — and never, not even once, did he bat my TBR pile to the floor… no matter how tempting he often found it.

Of course, I managed my grief in the way that any reader would: by finding comfort and inspiration in books. Here are ten book quotes that helped me through the death of my very first pet.

“Holding this soft, small living creature in my lap this way, though, and seeing how it slept with complete trust in me, I felt a warm rush in my chest. I put my hand on the cat's chest and felt his heart beating. The pulse was faint and fast, but his heart, like mine, was ticking off the time allotted to his small body with all the restless earnestness of my own.”

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― Haruki Murakami, The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle

“Such short little lives our pets have to spend with us, and they spend most of it waiting for us to come home each day. It is amazing how much love and laughter they bring into our lives and even how much closer we become with each other because of them.”

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“Life is sometimes amazingly fragile, but some lives are frighteningly strong.”

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—Kyung-Sook Shin, Please Look After Mom

“When someone you love dies, and you're not expecting it, you don't lose her all at once; you lose her in pieces over a long time — the way the mail stops coming, and her scent fades from the pillows and even from the clothes in her closet and drawers. Gradually, you accumulate the parts of her that are gone. Just when the day comes — when there's a particular missing part that overwhelms you with the feeling that she's gone, forever — there comes another day, and another specifically missing part.”

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― John Irving, A Prayer for Owen Meany

“If having a soul means being able to feel love and loyalty and gratitude, then animals are better off than a lot of humans.”

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“I waited for him to sniff me out, anxious to know if here, on the other side, I would still be the little girl he slept beside. I did not have to wait long: he was so happy to see me, he knocked me down.”

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― Alice Sebold, The Lovely Bones

“There's a part of me that thinks perhaps we go on existing in a place even after we've left it.”

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― Colum McCann, Let the Great World Spin

“There are no happy endings. / Endings are the saddest part, / So just give me a happy middle / And a very happy start.”

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― Shel Silverstein, Every Thing On It

"Remember when you see the stars that you are looking back in time millions of years. The past is present, now and here.”

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— Jon Rabat-Zinn, Wherever You Go, There You Are

“We never said goodbye — we simply never said hello again.”

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