Mourning the death of my wonderful cat

Pauline Le Pichon
6 min readApr 3, 2024


On 30 November, my cat Maltese died. Since then, I’ve been experiencing feelings of guilt, anger, sadness and denial.
Some of you may think that grieving for a pet is completely stupid, but I know that many people understand what I’m going through. As this digital space is a bit of a diary for me, I wanted to share this sad part of my life with you.

My cat had several illnesses, including an incurable heart condition, and from August to November 2023 he had other health problems that weakened him even more.
On 28 November, his meowing woke me up at 5 am. This was a sign that something was wrong, as he never meowed. What’s more, he’d thrown up during the night and seemed to be suffering from stomach pains. He couldn’t stay still, as if the pain was too much to bear.
So we took him to the vet straight away and they decided to admit him to the clinic for a few days. I was very anxious as we didn’t really know what was making him ill, and I couldn’t bear the idea of being at home without him.
We visited him on 29 and 30 November. He wasn’t feeling much better, I was crying a lot but I didn’t want to give up. I kept telling him how much I loved him and how much I wanted him to come home.
But on the evening of 30 November, while we were watching television, the veterinary clinic called: Maltese was losing consciousness and they wanted to know if we wanted them to resuscitate him.
Without thinking, I said I wanted them to do their best to resuscitate him. Then we immediately ran to the clinic. In the back of my mind, I knew he was going to leave us soon, but I hoped that we would be able to see him alive one last time.

When we arrived, one of the vets came to tell us that he was in palliative care and that hardly any of his organs were still working. A few minutes later, a vet came to give us the worst news of all: he had passed away. I remember screaming. Even though I knew his condition was very serious, I couldn’t believe he was gone. We asked to see him and they brought him to us.
Seeing him like that is one of my worst memories. I mean, his body wasn’t damaged at all, but he was so rigid, which showed that Maltese was already gone. We took a long time to tell him how much we were going to miss him and how much we loved him. I also remember telling him how sorry I was. We cried a lot and I have to say that I didn’t want to leave him, even though he was already gone.

I was sorry because I felt guilty as soon as he died. It probably doesn’t make sense, but I told myself that I hadn’t spent enough time with him.
I’ve watched many videos of him since the day he died and I’ve realised that these videos show me the beautiful and numerous moments I spent with him. In these videos, I’m on the sofa with him, cuddling him.
So I can see him happy and hear him purring. These videos make me cry, but they also remind me of these special moments. I’ll always feel guilty because I think I should have been closer to him, even though Maltese was (it’s still so hard to use the past tense to talk about him) the kind of cat who liked to be alone. I don’t feel guilty about his illnesses, because I know we did everything we could to cure him.
He was there for me when I needed him and I hope I was there when he needed me.

I’m angry too. No animal deserves to die and if there’s one who didn’t deserve this horrible fate, it’s Maltese. He was the sweetest cat of all. He was kind, calm, intelligent, funny, comforting… in short, he was perfect. In June 2023, I was going through a difficult period and one day, as I was resting on the sofa, he came and sat against me and I stroked him for a while. That might sound normal to some people, but to Maltese and me it was truly exceptional. As I said, he didn’t really like being petted. The fact that he came against me that day made me cry because I think he knew I needed his affection so much.
I’m angry because his death is unfair. He didn’t deserve to leave us so soon although he died at 7, whic is already huge given his heart condition. Even though I’m a pessimist, I believed in miracles and thought he was going to live a long life with us.

What I found even more painful was what one of the vets said after his death, that Maltese had fought to the end. I know she’s right. He did everything he could to carry on living, as if he’d really enjoyed his life with us. Hearing that sentence hurt because I have the impression that he wanted to hold on, but that his body couldn’t take it any more.

I miss everything about him. I miss the sound of his paws on the floor, the way he would ask for treats, the way he thought I was his bartender and that I had to turn on the bath tap when he wanted a sip there. I also miss the way he would rush over when I was going to give him and my other cat tinned food. I miss the times when he would see things we couldn’t and get excited for no reason. I miss the way he would look out of the window at the birds. I miss seeing him with my other cat. I miss petting his head before he took his first bite of cat biscuits. I miss the little tongue that would sometimes stick out of his mouth when he was sleeping. I miss seeing him sneak into my office while I was working. I miss seeing him enjoying the sun. I miss this little guy so much, and even though I’m not a believer, I hope that one day we’ll be with him forever.

This grief seems impossible because I feel like I’m refusing his death. I know he‘s not coming back, but I refuse to believe he’s gone. A big part of me still thinks it isn’t real. So I don’t want to move on, even though I know I have to. I still wish him good night at night, even though he’s no longer on the sofa.
I still cry sometimes. It’s still hard to look at photos/videos of him and just see them as good memories. I don’t want to imagine that this is all that’s left of him now. I don’t want to close this chapter of my life..

I’d like to pay tribute to Maltese in the best possible way because that’s what he really deserves, but I don’t know how. I just know that he will always have a place in my heart and mind, and that I will always love him.
I miss you Monsieur l’Amour. The only bad thing you did was leave us.



Pauline Le Pichon

I’m a French visuel artist, freelance photographer, and instructor