Thank you for all of your kind emails, texts and tweets about our beautiful crazy cat Koko. I thought I could briefly explain what went wrong.

We moved from NYC to a tiny little island in the Pacific Northwest. Our cats, that were rescues from the gritty streets of NYC were total indoor cats. We moved, and that totally changed. They became total outdoor cat nutbags. No matter what we did they wanted OUT. We let them. They had both grown up with a huge dog in the house, who also had always been around cats. When other dogs came over, they themselves were weirded out by how friendly the cats were. They just didn’t startle easily. 


Koko had this little problem, I would maybe call it an obsession? Moss. She was nuts for it. She brought wads and wads of it up the cat ramp onto the balcony, up the stairs, all over the walkway. If you caught her with it in her mouth outside she would make a muffled meow through it, drop it and dart off like a rabbit to get more.

This is what happened, from what we (the vet and us) can tell. Koko was collecting her daily moss. Not paying attention. We heard bad noises, we then heard Hugo barking like crazy. Thor went running off into the woods. After a half an hour Thor found her. She was really hurt, it was hard to tell exactly what it was because the injuries were so bad.

It became clear after piecing together the events. Koko was probably collecting moss, spacing out. A raccoon or a fox attacked her back legs and stomach. Hugo, our dog heard this went running and tried to get whatever was attacking her off. He has wounds on his face are evidence of this. For a horrible horrible moment we thought that our own dog had committed this act. He hadn’t and now we are 100% sure, thank god.

The day was short, we were given a choice, one was long painful, dangerous and most likely she would die within two days. The other was to let her go, peacefully. We chose to let her go. I quickly drove home to get a big wad of moss from the porch collection and brought it back. Thor put his hands on her back, stroking her and I put the moss in front of her face and she calmed down, I saw her deep breaths, I put my forehead on hers, told her that I loved her. There was a moment when what I knew was the end was about to happen that I hesitated for a second but something stopped me. It was the pressing her of her little forehead into mine, all of the wires and tubes coming out of her that I realized this was they way it had to be.

I was shocked by the level of grief that hit me. Of course losing a pet is huge, but it felt infinitely bigger than that. That moment, of being there with her when she was at the end was so intimate. It was exactly what I thought, five years ago on the way to see my mother as she lay there with all of those tubes and wires running in and out of her, it would be like. There was a sudden phone call in the morning as I sat there on the couch with my new boyfriend (now husband) with my father on the other end, he was talking about how she was suddenly in a coma. Saying things to me that just didn’t make sense, asking me to let her go. Every thing was blurry, slow and fast at the same time. It was taking too long for us to get there. She was slipping and by the time we arrived, they had let her go without waiting for me to be there. A part of me has never forgiven this chain of events, that traffic, that phone call, not waiting for me when there was nothing else on the earth I would have wanted than to press my forehead against hers and be the last person to tell her for the last time that I loved her. 


But now, when I combine those two events in my heart and in my mind, I feel a little more at peace. That, my mother knew that I was trying to get to her, that she was there in some way as I pressed my forehead against Koko’s and could also smell that beautiful moss scent, the way that I can still smell my mother’s perfume when I think about her hard enough.


  • i’m so glad that you’ve found some sort of peace out of something so sad, sara. and i’m glad you were able to be there with koko. and now i’m crying at my desk and need to excuse myself to the restroom.

  • ohhhhh, honey. this is all so heartbreaking but your words are sweet and true. healing.

  • rachel

    Geez Louise!!! Now I’m crying. I’m sorry to hear about Koko. Hopefully, she’s in kitty heaven playing with all the moss that her heart desires.

  • I’m sooooo sorry for little Koko. At least she had her time in the woods, a blessing many animals never have. I’m sure my babies would love to run free like she did.

  • i am so sorry about koko. you did everything you could do in the situation and you made the right choice. how awesome that hugo went to protect her!

  • ivel.

    oh, sarabee, that last paragraph is so moving. i’m so sorry about koko but glad that her passing brought you a little closure at least. thinking of you–xoxo.

  • i’m so so sorry for your loss….

  • Jenny Coes

    I am so sorry for your loss. Your reflection on the connection between losing Koko and losing your mother is very moving. I wish you and your family peace and healing.
    Jenny Coes

  • aw, thank you for sharing your post, especially about your mom. I’m glad that you found some peace at that moment. And I know how you feel losing a pet. My brother is a vet in CA and we all happened to be home one weekend when it became clear that our family dog that we grew up with had to be put down. My brother was the one who put her down and we buried her in the backyard. The grief is so much more than you expect, yes? We were all destroyed that weekend, but we were also glad that we were all there, that my brother was able to do it and she died at home. I’m so glad that you found this comforting connection.

  • Such a interesting read, i cant find other places on the web like this. I have told my buddys about ur website, they enjoy it.

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