Celebrating My Rags – Year 9 – 2018

Jenny with Rags Circa 1990
Jenny with Rags Circa 1990

Every year before I sit down to write this post, I always wonder how to pose it so that readers don’t feel bad or sorry for me. That’s not what it is about for me. I am not looking for that – I am rather wanting to share the feelings, emotions and reasons behind Floppycats and also the impact these small, beautiful creatures have on our lives. 9 years ago today, I made the difficult decision to put down one of the greatest loves of my life, Rags.

He is the reason you are reading this post today – he is the reason this site exists and will continue to exist, for his legacy. The heart of the little girl in that photo above promised him that.  He was my best friend, my biggest secret keeper and one of my greatest teachers.

Rags ©2008 Elaina G Photography
Rags ©2008 Elaina G Photography

You can read more about his life here: Rags’ THE REASON for Floppycats I have done a post every March 30 since (he died in 2009). When he passed, Rags was 19.5 years old.  In 1989, Rags was a gift to me and my siblings when I was 10 years old.

Marsh, Cosby, Spencer, Jenny, Rags and Snickers
The day we got rags. I am holding Rags. My older brother, Marsh, is holding Cosby, my little brother, Spencer, is in the box and Snickers is the GSD.

So I was nearly 30 years old when I said my goodbyes. In other words, he had a strong impact on my life, especially during those troubling teenage years. I was fortunate with Rags – I had a lot of time to say goodbye.

He died, March 30, 2009, but was diagnosed with severe kidney failure in December of 2008 and they had given him 2 weeks to live in December. He, of course, lived another 3 months. As we all know (and experienced with loved ones) with end-of-life situations, the soul decides when it is leaving, not the medical diagnosis – I believe that’s why Rags lived the additional 2.5 months.

Rags Outside When He Was 16 Years Old

It was a long journey – one I wouldn’t have changed for the world. I was able to be home with him every day and talk to him about all my worries and fears – talk to him about how much I loved him and every purr he had given me.

Tell him how much I would miss face-planting in him and smelling his smell, or hearing his purr.  I knew his little body was failing, so I would pick up his paw and study every angle, every hair not wanting to forget it.  I would study every ounce of him, laying next to him for hours.

Rags ©2008 Elaina G Photography
Rags ©2008 Elaina G Photography

I’ve been told kidney failure is not painful – you’re just really weak.  And that’s what I experienced with Rags – I shared the physical details of the end of his life in this post – Celebrating my Rags.

Rags ©2006 Elaina G
Rags ©2006 Elaina G

I have received many emails from readers who have either just recently experienced the passing of their pet or know it’s coming. It’s not a fun process, certainly. But it can be beautiful – beautiful because the reason it hurts so damn much is because you love and have loved them with your whole heart and to me, that’s the beauty. Since Rags is the reason for this site – I always honor him today and also on August 8 – his birthday (and the reason that every post is published at 8:08am on the site – you’ll notice the “8” trend a lot).

When I die, I want to be cremated and have my ashes mixed with my cats’ ashes – so until that happens, I needed a place to “store” Rags’ ashes.  I was taking silversmithing classes after Rags passed and decided to make an “urn” for his ashes.  It has his paw print on the top of it and his ashes inside.  I love it, and it sits on my mantel under his photo, of course.

Rags' Box Bird's Eye
Rags’ Box Bird’s Eye
Rags' Box on My Mantel
Rags’ Box on My Mantel

Sometimes the loss of a pet can be an overwhelming loss because a pet is part of your everyday life, living with you, etc.  Making that box certainly helped me. Cheers to my Freegie – I’d kill for a chance to live with you again.

How have you coped with the loss of a beloved pet? What were some of the things you did to mourn their loss?  Did you do anything special with their ashes?

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Hi, I’m Jenny Dean, creator of Floppycats! Ever since my Aunt got the first Ragdoll cat in our family, I have loved the breed. Inspired by my childhood Ragdoll cat, Rags, I created Floppycats to connect, share and inspire other Ragdoll cat lovers around the world,

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  1. Even 19.5 years isn’t enough. Beautiful post and I too want my ashes mixed with my beloved cats. I particularly responded to your quote “the soul decides when it is leaving, not the medical diagnosis”. You were able to put into words something I’ve experienced but was unable to articulate. Thank you for sharing your Rags with us.

  2. Back in 2011 when I first adopted Phoebe, I did a google search for ragdolls and somehow came up with your “Ode to Rags” – I freakin balled like a baby whilst reading it and since that day haven’t missed a post since. Rags was an unbelievable kitty cat and so loved. He would be proud of what you have achieved for ragdoll lovers worldwide. I am so glad that I found you and your current kitties, Charlie and my absolute favourite munchkin, Chiggy.

    1. I LOVE the stories of how people found us – and it’s no surprise that May 9’s Phoebe’s mom found that one! I am so glad you are here! I love your responses on IG and anticipate what they might be after I take each photo =)

  3. Teresa Reid says:

    Am sitting here with hot tears of emotion falling down as I read your memorial tribute to your Rags. I know he is looking down upon you and is SO incredibly proud of that little girl he loved so well who has grown into a lovely and very wise young lady. It was such a blessing that you had his strength and wisdom to guide you as you grew up. He taught you well, Jenny, and know he thinks so too! I can relate so much to what you said about studying every physical aspect of him that you could possibly stuff into your memory and soul those last days because I did that very thing with my sweet Angel who also passed away 7 1/2 years ago. Seemed like time stood still during those precious hours sometimes, but then looking back, it was such a short period in time. Still they and the lessons they taught us are forever ingrained in our minds. Their souls will always be with us and a very special part of us. Love the beautiful urn you made and know that Rags would love it too! His photo over your mantel is one that is my very favorite.
    Thank you so very much for allowing us, your Floppycat family, to share this special day with you too. Sending you lots of love and hugs from everyone here. Love, Gracie, Illaria, Mari, Ginger Boy, Lady Gray and me.

    1. So beautifully and eloquently expressed, as always, Sweet T!!! Lurve your response so much and I know Jenny and the other Floppycatters will to!!! Big hugs & lots of love!!! 🙂 <3

    2. thanks, teresa – he did teach me well. i texted my mom today and told her thanks for honoring my heart’s desires in letting me have a cat – oh, how important it was that she honored that =). thank you for being here and adding so much to the floppycats community!

      1. Teresa Reid says:

        You are so welcome Jenny! You make my heart sing . Such an honor to get to participate. Rag’s and you have enhanced so many kitties lives as well as their owners with your wonderful website and all the hard work you have done. ♥♥♥

  4. Awwww, Jenny, what a wonderful tribute post to your beautiful Rags! I always enjoy seeing the pics of you as a little girl with Rags. So sweet! I also lurve that portrait that was taken of Rags! Such a STUNNING PHOTO of his beautiful self!!! It’s always so uplifting and amazing to know what a wonderful and everlasting impact one, unique kitty had on your life! What a different path you would have traveled without having Your Rags! Rags was definitely your once in a lifetime soul kitteh. 🙂 <3

    I have had a lost many pets in my lifetime but the one that hit me the hardest was the loss of our Sweet Sora (my Blue Leopard Desert Lynx…American Bobtail breed) girl back in December of 2012. She died in my arms from heart failure. So very heartbreaking. It was just devastating to me. We celebrate her quirky, loving and beautiful self each year on her birthday and death day. She was truly my own soul kitty for sure! I didn't keep her ashes after her cremation. It was just such a heartbreaking reminder that she was gone. I just couldn't do it. But she's ALWAYS in my heart until the day it stops beating. <2

    Big hugs & lots of love!!!

    Patti & Miss Pink Sugarbelle 🙂 <3

    1. Geesh, Patti – sorry I missed this one – sometimes I think I have replied in my head because I have replied about the subject on YouTube, for example, but then forgotten the site one!

      Yes, Patti – so glad my mom honored my heart’s desires in wanting a kitty – it was so crucial.

      Love you that you had your Sora! How wonderful that you still celebrate her too!

  5. Ellen Beck says:

    What a beautiful tribute to Rags. I think if we are lucky, we each have our own Rags which inspires us to do more or to be more than we expected. To take a path less travelled .
    I too had a Rags come to me in the form a a siamese (meezer) named Tan’na. His ashes also await me, although I have to admit, his arent stored in such a beautiful urn as your Rags . Tan’na btw rhymes with the name Donna . When he talked as meezers often do, his meow would sound like he was saying his name, he could also vocalize Momma.
    Tan’na came into my life on a very cold April, he would sit in the windowsill and watch , a Mother cat and kits who had had found their way into the backyard and were cold and hungry… the family was brought in, vetted, and cared for , all the kittens found homes and after Momma cat was spayed, she went back out as she was very feral. Tan’na throughout the ordeal was the prefect gentleman, even helping with the kittens.
    That started a journey that continues to this day. We do TNR ,socialize feral kittens and care for a feral colony. That was close to 30 years now, although it seems not long ago.
    Tan’na passed away from cancer at the age of 18. He had a long life, I still remember the day we said goodbye, it left me devastated. He went to the Bridge in the winter, there was till food bowls to fill, frozen water to be replaced for the colony that had developed. I couldnt let the cats down, and kept getting up, keeping everyone out there fed watered and warm.
    I still use Tan’na’s name in most places, for years I didnt even use my real name, just an avatar name all swirling around his, Tan;na who had gotten his wings.
    Thats where ‘my’ Rags took me… I didnt expect to be a caretaker or doing TNR, but I think each special cat gives us a gift.
    Your Rags gave you the gift of blogging, of writing , of reaching cat owners or those who love cats. May your day be filled with joy, and I thank your Rags for being your muse, your inspiration to continue to do what you do. I hope your Rags and my Tan’na have met somewhere on the bridge ………

    1. We called my grandmother, “Tana”…which I believe it how you pronounce your “Tan’na”.

      Good on you for TNR! I wish I had the heart strength to do that.

      Love the story behind your email address =)

      I suspect Tan’na and Rags are good buds and probably made sure we would “meet” =)

  6. i’m sitting here crying and not because i feel sorry or sad but because i know how you feel and because you have written this so well. i never get tired of seeing that first picture of you with your Rags. the joy in your face . yes the bond with a cat is something that is so strong and so powerful and god it hurts like hell when they are gone. and it is because there is no other relationship that is so pure. i have 2 of my cats ashes and they are beside my bed on a nightstand and i talk to them almost every night and i too will be cremated and have my ashes mixed with those cats and any more that pass before i do. and i think i will have us planted in the dirt and have a catnip plant planted there. my sister planted her cats ashes with a lilac bush because he loved to lazy around in the lilac. she told me that the year after she did that that the lilac bush just flourished and was more beautiful than it had ever been. also another thing that i always try to remember is that i will see my cats again.. all of them and we will dance and laugh and play in the sunshine and hug and kiss and fly through the air. Rags is proud of his mom and all that she does to educate, entertain and help us all give the best to our precious kitties. thanks for all you do Jenny, i am glad that Rags inspired you to create your site and share so much with us.

    1. thanks, patricia – i appreciate it! love the story about the lilac bush!

  7. Jenny–Thank you for your post, and for continuing to celebrate the memory of your beloved Rags. Those of us who’ve had “our own Rags” know well every mention and emotion you have expressed. I know that Rags is looking down from Kitty Heaven and smiling that your sustaining his legacy has united so many humans whose love for their furperson is boundless. May you continue to celebrate Rags and your remembrances for many years to come.

    1. Michelle Cat says:

      Dear Jenny:
      I was feeling the loss of my cat, best friend, Shadow Boy, today, and when I read your latest writing, it reminded me that I am not alone in my sadness or joy. I visit with Shadow Boy in my mind, and know he is with the Creator, and all the other lovelies that have passed. Several years ago I started to do a sort of mini cat rescue, realizing that the cats and I were meant to be together. Every year I say to myself, “enough“ no more taking in another cat, but the inevitable happens we find our way to each other, and another blessing comes my way. I have lost eight cats through the years and each one has added something extraordinary to my life. If I could live forever as a human, I would like to spend all my time with my cats. Sometimes when being a human is unbearable, life prompts me to look around at all the beautiful faces looking back at me, my beloved cats, and I am grateful.

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