Last September, we lost a treasured member of our family. After 16 years of loving and enjoying our cat Riley, he died from kidney failure complications.
Riley came into our family one year before we had our first child. He lived to see us bring home six babies in all. He moved with us four times. Two of these moves were fairly short, but two were more than 400 miles. Through each change, he adapted to his new situation. He mellowed with age, and toward the end of his life, the once-spunky kitten had turned into a calm, old cat who shockingly was known to groom our pet bunny once in a while.
My love for Riley surely showed through in letters to my sponsored children because I received quite a few condolences regarding his death.
These responses ranged from compassionate and simple: “It is sad to hear that your pet Riley has died,” from Daniel, 14, in Bolivia, to downright funny: “Sorry for the dead cat. I hope you get another one,” from 14-year-old Seline in Kenya.
Some children, like 12-year-old Jhon of Colombia, offered more philosophical words of comfort: “It is sad that your cat has passed away. He left you good memories, and they will not die.”
Others, like 8-year-old Aurel in Albania, empathized due to their own love of animals: “I am so sorry for your cat because I do also love cats.”
Still others were eager to make things better by suggesting we adopt a new pet right away.
Jose, 10, of Nicaragua wrote, “I am very happy because I got your letters, but feel very sad because of the death of your cat, and I am praying for you. Don’t be sad. After the cat’s death, do you get another pet?”
And 14-year-old Camelia of Romania wrote, “I’m sorry for your cat. If I could send you one, I would send you three, not one.”
These sweet children definitely lifted my spirits with their kind words, and I’m sure many of them were happy to find out months later that we did, in fact, adopt two new kittens, whose photo I have shared with them in letters already.
The following are more caring words from around the world:
“You have told me sad news that your cat Riley died, and also me, I am in sorrows with you. But I am praying so much that you can pass through it, God will bless you and you will get another one.” – Edwin, 18, Uganda
“I am very sorry to hear that your cat has died. I am praying for you so that you get another one.” – Swalehe, 14, Tanzania
“I was sad to learn that your cat died. I know it’s hard to depart from a dear friend. I wish you strength, and I asked God to give you another one.” – Jimmy, 14, Haiti
“I am very sad to know that your pet cat Riley has died.” – Boidyanath, 14, Bangladesh
“I pray for your children and for you, Kerri, to pass over this sad moment from your lives.” – Dragos, 14, Romania
“I’m very sorry for your cat, especially because it was so beautiful.” – Andrei, 13, Romania