Radish cat memorial

Radish The Angel Hero Cat

Update: There are new pics at our Instagram page of Radish from his funeral, grave site and previously unpublished photos. Thank-you for your kind support. 

After a heroic effort to recover from liver failure, Radish, the shelter cat rescued two weeks ago, died last night on his own terms. He gave no clue about his appointment with death and we’re reeling with shock. He’d been responding to treatment and eating mostly on his own. Rays of hope buoyed my spirit and tired body drained by 24/7 intensive cat care and I’ve since collapsed from the strain, but no regrets. Despite the roller coaster of ups and downs, I’d do it all again in a heartbeat. I have no doubt with earlier treatment, he’d be alive today. But no amount of finger pointing will bring him back from the grave. I do wish I’d taken more photos but it felt disrespectful to invade his space. I made two lovely collages but the computer crashed before I could save them. There was no time to do more than this but there are more images on our instagram page  Once I recuperate, I will share more.

Radish cat memorial

I said goodnight to Radish around midnight of the 18th after giving him a daub of butter as a treat. He licked it off my finger with relish and I promised him another treat in the morning. I felt calm and relieved unlike the previous night when I couldn’t sleep and stumbled downstairs. I found him in the front hall by a statue of Bast (not far from where he died) worried whether he’d make it to the morning. I told him I would help him cross if it was time and to give me a sign if it wasn’t. I clearly said, “I don’t want come down in the morning and find you dead.” He communicated that he wasn’t ready to go and sure enough, he rallied in the morning and I felt optimistic all day. Clever boy had lulled me into a false sense of calm.

During the night around 3 am, my husband went downstairs to see if Domino wanted to come in from the porch. He’d refused to come in all day and was acting strange. Perhaps a premonition. Radish sat by the front door and meowed to be fed as he had every night. He ate and appeared fine. When my husband (a much earlier riser than me) went down to make coffee a few hours later he found Radish by the front door, dead. This was the first time in two weeks, I’d slept in later and the first time I didn’t rush downstairs in the morning to see how he was. Instead, a pile of work-related papers fell mysteriously from the love-seat in my dressing room to the floor. I picked up the pile and brought it back into bed to sort. A short while later my husband walks in the room and I ask, “How’s Radish?”

“I wanted to let you sleep.”

One look at his face and I knew. “He’s dead! Why didn’t you wake me up?” And so the day began so tear-laden, I resorted to paper towels because regular tissues weren’t absorbent enough.

Hubby had already called and spoken to our vet, Dr. G. who said we did all we could. “He was a fighter and went in his own time and in his own way.”

So much happened in such a short period of time, it feels like Radish was around for years. Time ebbed, flowed, magically stood still and accelerated, sometimes all at once. Radish had the extraordinary otherworldly presence of a very old soul and familiar. Communication with him was more weirdly effortless than with my soul cat Merlin and I’ve lived with him for 20 years!

In equal parts heroic and miraculous, Radish fought to live or at least long enough to leave his mark and teach me a lesson about love, compassion and patience (among others). I’m grateful for the detailed notes I wrote every night which will help make sense of what happened. I’m in the shock of grief and humbled by the outpouring of kindness during every step of the Radish journey.

The odds were always a stacked against him. Odds that would have been higher had he received treatment earlier. Or better yet, been vetted at the shelter months ago. There is no passing of blame. The facts speak for themselves. Radish, like all cats had a life purpose. His life mattered. His death matters. Compassion without action is just a feeling. If it’s his destiny to make a difference in the lives of other unvetted shelter cats, his journey may just have just begun. May I add: for a cat who was on bite hold and placed on kill list for being too aggressive, he was as loving as could be. He had plenty of opportunity to scratch or bite being handled daily, carried up and downstairs, given all kinds of meds, syringe fed, sponge cleaned, sub.Q fluids and nebulizer twice daily without extending as much as a claw.

Thank-you, you awesome, big-hearted cat lovers. You’ll find out soon just how big a role you played. For now, I have some healing and grieving to do.

In case, I’m unable to post anything for Father’s Day. I’d like to give hubby Joe a big hug of thanks. He did a lot of the heavy lifting and I could not have done it without him. Yes, real men love cats and really fine men don’t mind getting on their hands and knees to scrape sticky cat poop off the floor.

Thank-you, honey!

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91 thoughts on “Radish The Angel Hero Cat

  1. We didn’t know Radish, but he sounds like he was very special boy. We wish you would have had more time together. But you gave him the greatest gift you could: to know what it is to be loved, even for a short time. We are so sorry for the loss of your sweet boy.

  2. He found his home and though it was only for a short while he left his mark. No more need to be said of this giant heart of the fire fur. Watch over us Radish as we surely need it until that day we all meet again
    Timmy Dad and Family

  3. Layla, what a gift. He was probably ready to leave before he even left the shelter but he held off death and rallied just long enough to enjoy his last chance as a loved and cherished cat. I often think that’s why it feels like a lifetime when you look back on it because, essentially, it was a lifetime that you shared. His spirit will never forget you. Let yourself recover from this. Thinking of you.

  4. Oh Layla, I am so very sorry to hear about Radish. I know how much you loved him and how much he loved you, too

    You gave Radish the best gift a peep can ever give a cat… LOVE. And you gave him time to enjoy his life, little treats like butter, the garden, the warm sun on his fur and that feeling you get when you just know you are loved. It’s the most wonderful feeling there is. You were there for him. You protected him. You put his mind at ease.

    I bet Radish and Nissy have met up together, already. Perhaps they’ve been romping through sun-filled fields of nip, chasing butterflies. Their doing that wouldn’t surprise me at all.

    Love & purrs always,
    Seville

  5. Layla, I am so sorry Radish decided to go to the Rainbow Bridge, Thanks for bringing him home so he could spend his last days in a loving forever home. You did help him live longer. What you did matters. Thank-You for what you did for Radish and for all cats. I am sorry Radish is no longer with us and I shed a tear for him. Purrs to you and your feline family.

  6. The cats want to give their own special tribute to Radish with your permission Miss Layla, when mum escapes from the hospital.

    Rest in Peace Racish, hero cat and ginger.

    Harvey, Miranda, Silver and Phoebe

  7. Layla, I know exactly how you feel about Radish, yes You would do it again. We felt like that about Nemo, our frail senior. We learned as you did, so very much. Rest in peace Nemo, you had the best love in your last days.

  8. I’m so sorry Radish really was a special cat. He was so lucky to have you come into his life and give him the best of everything a cat could want, as he deserved. He will always be with you. Purrs and hugs for all you did for him and do for all cats.

  9. Layla, my heart breaks for you. I know Radish survived his time at the shelter, and inaccurate assessment, so you could find him and bring him home. He took with him all the love you offered and left you with blessings and gifts beyond measure. I’m thinking of you during this time of sorrow and healing. xoxo Chris

  10. Layla,
    we are so sorry to hear about our dear friend Radish. No soul no matter how small is not deserving of love. Radish knew that love. It is a gift, it cannot be forced nor bought. It can only be given and that it was. When that is the case then you know that you have done the right thing no matter the pain it may cause.
    We know that something good will come of our sweet boy Radish’s passing.
    He is well again. He knew love and joy and peace at last while here and now they are a million times greater.
    We mourn his passing but rejoice in his crossing.
    Luvs and hugs and purrs and prayers and tears,
    Skeeter and Izzy and the Feral Gang + Twig & Peanut & Romeo >^..^<

  11. Radish knew love… and thats the most important of all. He saw that love in your eyes and looked back at you the same. Sometimes even brief timers make huge inpacts and he was one fo those cats.
    Run free Ginger Boy, you touched many people in your time with Layla and we are happy she shared you with us.
    Purrs & Peace to you.

  12. We’re so sorry to read this. Thank you for helping him as much as you did and giving him a loving home to the end,
    Sending gentle purrs ,
    Tasha and Buddy

  13. We are so sorry to hear the sad news about Radish. Just remember you gave him all the love, care and compassion that he needed. Even though you would have moved heaven and earth to make him well, his body just couldn’t keep up the fight. Keep your memories close to your heart.. Again so sorry to hear about Radish and our prayers, purrs and gentle headbutts go to all of you.

  14. So very sorry to hear of the passing of your dear, sweet Radish. Sending comforting purrs and love. God Bless.
    Hugs,
    Angel Normie, Mika, Sasha & Grady Lewis

  15. Miss Layla, we’re so sorry that Radish is gone. You did everything possible for him…and we’re so glad that he had you there taking care of him. We send you comforting purrs and gentle headbutts.

  16. Thank you for taking such good care of Radish. You gave him an awesome give.

    Hugs, purrs and healing thoughts heading your way.

  17. Oh Layla, I am so sorry to read about Radish’s passing. I’m really shocked, too… Things have been up and down but I believed everything will be okay. I’m thankful, though, that he got to be with you, receive care and love. He knew he was loved. Sending warm thoughts and prayers to you…Tamago

  18. So sorry you had to go through the pain of losing Radish.
    I love this thing you said on your post – “In equal parts heroic and miraculous, Radish fought to live or at least long enough to leave his mark and teach me a lesson about love, compassion and patience (among others).
    I feel so blessed over how much my cats have taught me over the years.

    We just lost our cat,Panther, recently. So I’m right with you on the grieving.

    Debby
    http://homelesscatcare.blogspot.com

  19. Layla, I am so very sorry for your loss. You put your heart and soul into that little angel and he knew love because of YOU. He will live in your heart forever, even though it’s shattered right now. {{{Hugs}}}

  20. I am so deeply deeply sorry. Sending much love and our hearts are broken. The good thing? Radish was shown love by YOU….praying you can find some comfort in that (((hugs))))

  21. Weez so sowry Radish went to heaven. We wrote ’bout him this pat week in our adopt a Shelter cat series. Weez do fank ya’ fur takin’ him home and showin’ him luv afur da end. Weez know it made all da diffewence. Sendin’ purrayers.

    Luv ya’

    Dezi and Lexi

  22. “Request from the Rainbow Bridge”

    Weep not for me though I am gone into that gentle night. Grieve if you will, but not for long upon my soul’s sweet flight. I am at peace, my soul’s at rest, there is no need for tears.For with your love I was so blessed for just a short time. There is no pain, I suffer not, the fear now all is gone.Put now these things out of your thoughts, in your memory I live on. Remember not my fight for breath,remember not the strife. Please do not dwell upon my death, but celebrate my short life with you.

    Layla, you did all your could to help Radish when the odds were against you. Radish was so fortunate to have spent his final days in your loving care-he at least knew love at the end of his life-only because of you.

    Sharing your loss,
    Elaine, Trinity and Cocoa, plus foster babies

  23. So sorry to hear this. Just lost an old kitty whose owner had died . He had multiple health problems and no treatment, so I did what I could. Lucky and Radish both knew they were loved and cared for. Prayers.

  24. Layla, I’m sorry Radish passed, but so glad it was in your home and on his own terms. I’m sure no one could possibly have done more for him. Universal Light and blessings to you, as you journey through your grief, and purrs from Nicki and Derry. Peace to you.

  25. Layla, I am so very sorry Radish didnt pull through. I truly thought he would. Whether he has moved on to life 3…4…or 7, never forget he didn’t die in a cage, in a cold clinic; he didnt die alone, unwanted or unloved. He knows what you both did for him and he will never forget it. He knows he was loved, he knows he was cared for, he knows he wont ever be forgotten…and he sends love back to you, your husband, merlin, odin, nou & domino…promise

    hugs and love…laura, boomer, daisy, tuna: and dude and sauce too.

  26. We are so sorry to hear that Radish has passed and it is always very painful to lose a dearly loved furry friend and know you will miss him immensely. Take care.
    Luv Hannah and Lucy xx xx

  27. I am so sorry.You gave him all the comfort and care possible for his last days on earth. He left for his next life knowing true love. I hope you can take some comfort from that. (((hugs)))

  28. So sorry to hear Radish had to leave you – his time with you was so short. I’m glad his final days weren’t at the shelter. It’s obvious you did everything for him you could and that you showed him so much love.

  29. I am so deeply sorry Layla. I am so sorry that there wasn’t more time for Radish. But in the time he was there with you he knew complete utter love and caring and compassion. He understood and willed himself to rally, his little body just too far gone to be here long. But the love he shared will be in your heart always. Deep deep purrs from all of us.

  30. We are very sad to hear the news about Radish. At least he did not spend his last days alone in a steel cage. He finally had people who cared about him.

  31. We’re so very sorry, Layla. You believed in Radish when no one else did, and he knew love and care in a way he never would without your giving him those last days. We’re sending lots of purrs of comfort to you.

  32. Oh, Layla. We are so, so sorry that Radish’s time with you and Joe was so short. Thank you for loving him so much, and so well. We take comfort knowing his love and spirit live on, as do the lessons he taught you, and all of us.

    Love and hugs, and gentle purrs and prayers,

    Kevin, Tracey, Moosey, Gracie and Zoe

  33. I know you are heart-broken right now, but you gave so much love and care to Radish the short time you had him. He is in a place without pain right now and I’m sure he’s watching down over you and protecting you in his own way. It’s hard to know the right words of comfort to say, but just know my sincerely thoughts and prayers are with you.

    Paula

  34. I am so very sorry to learn of your loss. Radish was a very handsome boy, and I’m sorry your time together wasn’t longer. My sincere sympathy is with you. I fully believe that one day we will see our furbabies again – a long time from now, but we will see them again. M sends big HUGS to you.

  35. We are so sorry for your loss, Layla. We send lots of purrs and hugs. Love, Cali, Andy, Tater and Shelly (C.A.T.S.) and Judy

  36. Oh, so sorry to read this sad news. You have started a very important awareness raising–even for those of us in rescue–about the plight of the unvetted shelter cat. I very much appreciate that you’ve shared this journey with your readers and agree that there is much to do on behalf of Radish and other cats just like him. These lives matter–whether they are fortunate enough to be swept off the kill list or sadly fall victim to the system. Thank you for all you did for him and in so doing hopefully a movement begins. Peace.

  37. We were all blessed by your sharing of his life. Thank you for all the love and care you gave Radish. Cherish his memories…

  38. We are so sorry to read about angel Radish and thank you for sharing his story. It’s so beautiful to know that he had the best and most loving few weeks of his life with all of you! Take care
    x

  39. We all send you love (especially Norton 🙂 ) — and we are so happy that Radish passed in a loving home. What a gift he was given from you. And of course, he gave you gifts.

  40. Didn’t get to know Radish till late in the game through your posts, but he looked like an adorable honey and it is so wonderful you cared for him as you did. The collage is so sweet. At least he crossed over feeling loved and supported. So sorry for this loss.

  41. Radish’s happiest days were with you and HH. He loved you and HH right to the end. You and HH provided him with a remarkable level of unconditional love and comfort, the other cats included. Ched and Mao squeaked when I told them. Radish was truly remarkably resilient, the remarkably resilient Radish, and you are truly the Lovely Loving Layla and your husband is the Heroic Hero Hubby. (I feel like I know your hubs, even though I don’t, but he’s played such a big part with you in this drama.)

    It is very sad, LLL, but you and HHH are heroes.

    <3 <3 <3

    1. The last couple of days when I’ve clicked on your Instagram link, the page says ”Not Found. Maybe the page has moved or the link has broken.” Before the last couple of days or so, I could see your wonderful Instagram photos of Radish. Is it my computer? Or is maybe something broken? I’ve clicked to follow you on Instagram, but I don’t have a smart phone, so all I can do is anonymously view. (I barely even use my land line or my cell phone…)

      1. I just took a look at your Instagram page, with the Radish update. This has touched us all very deeply, but none so deeply as you were touched by Radish. It looks like it was a lovely funeral.

        His last days were the happiest of his life. You and hubs gave him that.

  42. I’m so sad that Radish lost this fight… I had so much hope he will win..the future looked so bright for Radish, he found a wonderful home and he found you…. I’m so sorry for you and for Radish…
    easy rider

  43. We are so sorry Radish felt the need to go but it was on his own terms. Thank you for everything you did for him. He knows love, even now. Sending hugs and soft purrs….

  44. So sorry to hear of Radish’s passing.
    Thank you for giving such love and comfort
    We too wish you could have lots more time with this sweet boy.
    Comforting purrs.
    Purrs Georgia and Julie,
    Treasure and JJ

  45. I am so sorry. Take comfort in knowing you showed him what love was even if it was for only a short time, so may kitties never even get that. I am sure his story can help inspire shelter workers to pay more attention to cats medical conditions as a possibility as to why a cat would be acting out.

  46. Layla, we are so very sad to see the news about dear Radish. Thank you for loving that sweetie and giving us all the opportunity to fall in love with him too. We all send you gentle hugs and all our love. Run free dear Radish, you touched hearts all over the world.

  47. We’re so sorry to hear about Radish; what a beautiful note you’ve written about him. (This is the first we’ve heard about his and your journey – via Ann of Zoolatry.)

    While a long life with you wasn’t meant to be, you helped him to know what love was like.

  48. We are so sorry to read of Radish’s passing…he surely did it his way. I, like Radish, am a butter lover. What a wonderful last treat. Run free Radish and may there be a gentle breeze in you furs fur ever
    Hugs Madi and mom

  49. I am so very sorry. Radish came into my head yesterday, randomly, and I do believe it was to say goodbye. I paid my respects to him at that point, and offer mine to you and Joe. As my wise feline muse, Mr. Jazz, would advise, take your time to grieve, but also try to appreciate the moments you had with Radish. While brief, they were beautiful and that is a gift that can never be taken from your heart…

  50. I am so sorry to hear about beautiful Radish. I’ve been following his incredible journey on Instagram. May he rest in peace knowing how much he was loved …thank you for helping and loving him.

  51. I am truly sincerely heartbroken with my tears falling to learn this news this morning.

    I am so sorry Radish did not flourish again with the love and care he had at what was to be the end of his precious life. Radish, I only knew you a very short while but you had my love. Layla and husband, thank you for every second of care to this innocent boy who needed you; and you had the heart and faith to take him and ease his pain.

    Katie Isabella’s Mom, Carole

  52. We are so sorry about Radish. You sure did try your best Layla to help him but it just wasn’t meant to be. He is out of pain now and running around like a kitten. Thanks for all that you did for Radish. Big hugs to you.

  53. Oh Layla………I’m so sad and words fail me really except to say that you moved heaven and earth to make Radish’s days comfortable and full of love and caring which was something he’d done without for so long until you took him home. He was a most special old soul………….

    Love and hugs, Pam

  54. Thank you for loving and caring for Radish in his final days, I’m sorry you didn’t have more time together but he knows he was loved and that’s so important. Sending purrs and hugs from our family to yours!

  55. Yes his life mattered. His death matters! That is important! My heart breaks for you, Layla. But Radish taught you so much more than you ever thought! xxx

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