Saying Goodbye

cats in korea

I always thought that people who cried over animals who died or were lost or had to be given away were…well, silly. And I think I was the only one who didn’t cry at the end of the movie ‘Marley’. It’s a dog people, why were people so upset? I just didn’t understand how people could get so attached to an animal. This coming from a person who never had pets growing up. Unless you count a guinea pig that we tortured played with as a pet. Not quite the same. That is until we got a pet of our own, Zeke, about a year ago. I wasn’t exactly a huge cat person but fell in love when we went to our friends house who’s cat just had a litter and saw Zeke sitting there. I instantly became attached with an animal that I didn’t think possible. I spent the next year being followed around by our little black cat who always wanted to be around us, begged to be held, and who fell asleep curled up and purring next to me day after day. So you can imagine how I feel after originally thinking we would take him with us when we moved; and for several reasons that I won’t go into, we made the difficult decision that if someone offered to take him, we would give him up. Well our prayers were answered a few weeks ago when two new teachers came to town and fell in love with him. And off to his new home he went.

korean cats

I’ve just realized how much he was a part of our daily routine. The cat that as soon as we walked in the door, was there waiting for us and would meow until we picked him up. The cat that would wait for Jeremy and I to be cuddled up in bed at night and then decide to sit on top of us until we made room for him in the middle and then curl up and purr himself to sleep. The cat that would sit and watch me cook or wash the dishes in the kitchen (most likely in hopes that I had chicken for him). The cat that would sneak into the bathroom when I was in the shower to play with the water. And the cat that anytime I raised my voice (in anger or even just excitement; guess he can’t differentiate the two) would get so upset that he would run to wherever I was in the apartment and nip and bite at me to tell me to calm down and be quiet.

It is these small things that we grew so accustomed to and made this expat apartment feel like a home.  And now consequently, what makes it feel so strange without. I have no regrets about getting Zeke and I know that giving him away to a great home was the right choice even as hard as it was. And believe me when I say that I’ll now be bawling along with everyone else anytime we watch a movie where something happens to the family pet.

  • KaleenasKaleidoscope

    Awww I know exactly how you feel. I had two of the most adorable kitties back home that I adopted together a few years ago before I ever had any notions of moving to Korea (of all places). When the time came to leave, my family couldn’t take them but luckily a friend did, so I at least still have visitation rights. But I bawled like crazy saying goodbye to them and I still get teary eyed looking at pictures of them. Pets really do have special places in our hearts, but at least your little guy has found a loving new home. :)

    • Chelsea @ Lost in Travels

      Awe I’m so sorry to hear that! It’s shocking how attached we can get! I walked through the door of our apartment after dropping him off and started bawling! I’m just glad his new owners adore him :)

  • Megan C. Stroup

    Aww what sweet pictures of your kitty-turned-cat. I’m glad he found another happy home! :)

    • Chelsea @ Lost in Travels

      awe thanks! he’s a cutie!

  • LifeChangesii

    I can’t even imagine. I have a dog who I’ve had since she was a puppy. She’s 9 now. Pets are really like children to some. Its hard to let go.

    • Chelsea @ Lost in Travels

      it’s so much harder than i thought it would be! i hope your puppy lives until she’s 20 : )

  • Fran

    I can’t even imagine, this would be so hard! *hugs*

    • Chelsea @ Lost in Travels

      thanks so much fran!

  • adventuresofalondonkiwi

    It is so surprisingly hard. They really do become a member of the family, don’t they!

    • Chelsea @ Lost in Travels

      it is! i never would have thought it would be that hard!

  • Chantal

    It really is sad to let them go. When we moved here, we had to leave my doggy and our cat at my in-laws house. It was just going to be too hard to have them here.

    • Chelsea @ Lost in Travels

      thankfully though they’ll be waiting for you when you get back! ; )

  • Jade Moat

    I don’t know what I’d do if someone told me I couldn’t take our dog back to Australia with us. In fact, it’s probably something we’d have to think about as he would have to go in to strict quarantine for six to eight weeks and we honestly don’t think he’d survive it. Big hugs to you *huuuuuuugs*

    • Chelsea @ Lost in Travels

      oh my goodness! that’s so long! i’m surprised coming from europe that they would have that long of a quarantine!

  • Elizabeth Than

    *big bear hug*

    • Chelsea @ Lost in Travels

      thanks dear : )

  • Chantal

    I’m so sorry to hear you have to leave your pet behind even though you know it’s the right thing to do for Zeke. I have two cats myself and I don’t even want to think about having to leave them somewhere even if it’s a good home.

    And I’m sure he’ll always be happy with the loving first home he had with you.

    • Chelsea @ Lost in Travels

      thankfully it was a great home that we were able to find but sometimes that doesn’t make it any easier!

  • Jamie

    aaaand I might have cried reading this post. we left 2 cats back in the states and it was SO HARD.

    pictures of baby Zeke… they killed me.

    • Chelsea @ Lost in Travels

      that would be so hard to leave them at home, esp when you guys have been gone as long as you have! but just know that they’re waiting for you when you get back ; )

  • Anja Van Der Vorst

    The day I went to the movies to see Marley, i had just had to put down one of my two cats. I knew it was about a dog, but not that he was put down in that movie. It felt like my heart would break in that cinema. I cried my eyes out.

    Last month his brother died. Sad, but he reached the age of 18 and was happy till almost his last day.

    Yes, loving an animal can lead to pain and sadness as well. I decided a while ago that when my sweet old cat would pass away, that I would not be getting another animal due to my traveling life. And I will stick to that, although I looooove cats and dogs!

    Your cat looks and sounds very cute and sweet. Hope his new owners love him as dearly!

    • Chelsea @ Lost in Travels

      oh that is a heartbreaking story! i bet if i watched that movie again, i would bawl my eyes out too! as much as i love animals, traveling with them is really difficult!

      • Anja Van Der Vorst

        I totally agree with you!

  • Ella

    I can totally relate. got a kitten when I was living Spain, I always knew he would move to Portugal with my flatmate when my year there was up, but I did not realize how heartbreaking it would be to say goodbye.

    Ella | 

    • Chelsea @ Lost in Travels

      oh no! that would be really hard to do! i’m so sorry : (

  • Danielle E. Alvarez

    Losing an animal is really tough. After having become a dependable sweet presence in our lives, it can be painful to move forward without them. Hope Zeke is happy with his second home. And I hope you know you’ll always be his first :)

    • Chelsea @ Lost in Travels

      thankfully he’s really happy over there which makes it so much easier!

  • Caroline L.

    Nooooo stopppppp, so many feels :( :( :(

    • Chelsea @ Lost in Travels

      haha i have my tub of ice cream ready

  • Pamela Baker

    Awww! It is SO hard losing an animal!! They quickly become our babies, our family!

    • Chelsea @ Lost in Travels

      i couldn’t agree more, i never thought that he would but he did!

  • Vaida Tamošauskaitė

    awww! what an adorable kitty…! And I can imagine how sad it is. Had to say goodbye to three cats in my life. It was heartbreaking… :[
    But let’s look at the bright side – this cat will have a good home, will be loved and taken care of. He won’t be homeless, or injured.
    And you two will have a greater home.. And who knows – maybe one day your paths with Zeke will cross again! :))
    I’m sure all will be just fine! :) Stay strong! :)

    • Chelsea @ Lost in Travels

      exactly! i try to keep reminding myself of that! at least we didn’t have to take him to a shelter!

  • Tina @ Girl-Meets-Globe

    We left a pet behind last year. He was getting old, we were leaving Austria, going to the US for 6 months then moving to England. The expense and finding a place for him was just too much to handle in addition to the move. So, we left him behind after having him for 12 years. It’s still a bit heartbreaking at times and I feel bad we left him behind. We now have a 6 month old kitty and sometimes I feel guilty. We did what we thought we needed to do. He was not a kid cat and our kids needed a pet to hold and love on and our new kitty gives them that, but I still think about him all the time. It’s part of the expat life to make these decisions!! Wish you all well in your move!

    • Chelsea @ Lost in Travels

      and doing what you think is right at the time is all that matters. it can be so hard to make that decision but you have to keep reminding yourself that it was right for both you and him. i understand the difficulty in it though!

  • Zalika @ Hope & Sugar

    Aww sometimes you have to make heartbreaking decisions like these. My story is similar to yours. Growing up I was never fond of animals, in fact I was terrified of them. A year back I met a pup that changed it all. I couldn’t keep him with me, but I am lucky I get to see him once in a while.

    • Chelsea @ Lost in Travels

      isn’t it crazy how that happens?! i hated cats, never ever wanted one ,and then i met zeke…

  • Kate Hall

    Oh Chelsea, this is super sad! I can totally relate as I had to do this with my cat, Lois, when Dan and I left England. The feeling of missing them a little never really goes away, you just think about them less frequently. Animals do funny things to you.

    • Chelsea @ Lost in Travels

      i think that leaving the country would make it even better, like i couldn’t possibly take them with us! still so sad to leave them behind, especially with how involved they become in your lives!

  • HayUp

    Oh my goodness. what a heartfelt post. you always know how to capture emotions in your posts!

    • Chelsea @ Lost in Travels

      awe thanks so much! that’s so sweet of you to say!

  • Allie @ Between Dreams

    I totally feel for you. (And welcome to the crazy cat lady club, haha!) I can’t even imagine what I would do if anything happened to either of my cats. (I was the only one there when my family cat had to be put down, which is a depressing story that I won’t go into, but talk about emotionally scarring! AH!)

    At least you know that you made the right decision, and that he’ll be happy at his new home. Also, I’m pretty sure that those are the cutest pictures in life. Just sayin’.

    • Chelsea @ Lost in Travels

      haha! proud to be a new member : ) as much of a right decision i feel that it was, it is hard. but i went to visit a week ago and seeing him crawl up on her lap made me feel a little better : )

  • thediynurse

    Aw :( I’ve always been so attached to animals. Like I was 10, watching animal planet, and absolutely bawling at the lonely cat that had to be put down. Totally pathetic. I will always be hopelessly in love with any fuzzy creature I come across. And I’ve never understood people who aren’t the same way. What do you mean “just a cat?” I’ll get all crazy cat lady on ya lol

    So sorry he isn’t a part of your routine anymore. But I’m glad he’s making someone else happy :)

    • Chelsea @ Lost in Travels

      bahaha! i’ll whip out my cat lady sweatshirts and wear them everyday!

  • Beka Johnson

    Aw! Sweet little Zeke! Glad you found a good home for him and I’m glad you had him as long as you did.

    • Chelsea @ Lost in Travels

      he missed his aunts for sure! i think he thought we were taking him to you guys when we left the house!