Cheetah Love Our Message to Gracey after Four Weeks

This entry is part 6 of 16 in the series Messages to Gracey








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Trying to Save Birds Our Message to Gracey after 3 Weeks

This entry is part 5 of 16 in the series Messages to Gracey







It’s been over three weeks, actually two days and three weeks.  Our friends Robin and Adam sent us a photo canvas of you.  It is one of our favorite photos of you wearing your Disney Princess sunglasses.  We placed the canvas on the mantle. Now when we see the photo, your dad and I  smile.

Princess Gracey CanvasI didn’t have a headache when I woke up this morning.  I decided  it was time to make the effort to drink more water and  take better care of ourselves.  Although,  I don’t know if your dad is ready to cut down on his chocolate cake consumption because I saw him try to sneak a back up cake into the house yesterday because there wasn’t much left of his other cake and this made me laugh.

Yesterday your dad carefully placed translucent ultraviolet decals in the shape of hummingbirds and butterflies on the windows surrounding your sun room. Lately we have been hearing birds crashing into the windows and it breaks our hearts.  We don’t remember this happening and are wondering if you keeping watch kept the birds from flying super close to the windows.  The decals will act like a stop sign for the birds. They will see the blue shape and veer off in time.  So your dad made sure to not only place the decals on the sun room windows but on all windows, just to be safe.  The decals are barely visible to us but the birds can seem them clearly.

Just when your dad got the ladder out to apply the decals, a grackle collided with a window on the sun room and we found the poor thing stunned and lying on his back in the grass.  He was breathing and able to move his head.  He was disoriented and terrified. When birds fly into windows, they can be temporarily incapacitated due to swelling of the brain.  So I watched him and he carefully turned over and was able to look around and move his wings.

Waiting, watching and hoping.  This reminded me of  your dad and I waiting, watching and hoping you would be alright.

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Collecting Your Ashes. Our Message to Gracey after Two Weeks

This entry is part 4 of 16 in the series Messages to Gracey







Your dad and I have made it two weeks now.  I had to ask him this morning if it had been three weeks because it seems at least that long.  I still have a headache when I wake up in the morning. Still tired and fighting the depression of losing you.  I have a box of tissues in the passenger side of the Jeep because I just never know when I

Gracey, The Tiniest Tiger

might be shedding  a few tears. Your dad has decided to wean himself off of comfort food by transitioning from chocolate cupcakes to lemon cupcakes.  I don’t ask, I just smile and envy his metabolism. It is all part of the journey.

At night sometimes I still think I can hear your claws on  your scratching whale and it is still super hard to come home and not see you running to greet us.  Our hearts sink when the key goes in the lock.  You knew when you heard the word “disarmed” that we were coming back into the house  and seeing your big green eyes made us smile from ear to ear.  Your water fountain is still unplugged and stagnant.  I know I should pick it up and put it away.

After work today, I went to the clinic to collect your ashes.  To be honest, I put this off for a few days. Your dad listened to the voice mail message maybe even last week, I am sorry, the days have all run together and I am not certain and don’t seem to care enough to sort them out. But today your dad encouraged me to go ahead and stop on my way home.

I had to steel myself to walk back in the door, the smells, the smiles on friendly faces and the heartache of having to say out loud. “I am here to collect Gracey’s ashes.”   You would be proud because I was brave and stood waiting, emotions all in check.  But then I saw the beautiful little wooden box I chose just after we lost you and that lump in my throat returned. I could feel the tears welling up in my eyes and I thanked everyone again for how much they cared for you too.

I made it outside and got into the Jeep.  I carefully opened the pretty bag holding your box and I ran my finger over the hand carved design on the top that reminded me of an Indonesian design and that is why I chose it because if you were a tiger, I think you would have been a Sumatran tiger.  You were a petite cat and even though you liked to behave like your big cousin the Amur tiger, let’s be honest you weren’t so fond of getting your paws cold and wet in the snow.  You were much more suited to meditating in the sun in your thinking circle.

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Being Brave and Feeding Bossy Backyard Blue Jay A Message to Gracey

This entry is part 3 of 16 in the series Messages to Gracey








It has been one week since you’ve been gone and it seems like it’s been a year to your dad and me.  A broken heart doesn’t seem to understand or follow linear time. No need to break it down into the days, weeks, months or more just so we might think we should be feeling better. We should feel exactly how we feel.   We must acquiesce.

One day this past week your dad called me and asked if I would bring home a chocolate cake for him.  “A chocolate cake?” I asked.  And he said yes, that he needed comfort food.  I teased him by asking how long do you think you will be requiring comfort food and he answered  “Oh,  about another thirty years.”  We both laughed and it felt good to laugh.  Oh and I did stop and pick out chocolate cupcakes for your dad.  And lemon cupcakes for me.  My resistance is low.

I was home today and it was the first day home alone all day without you.  I made it.  I only started to look for you a few times and when I empty heated thinking circlegot the mail, I still went out on the porch with the door shut behind me. Closing the storm door is a habit started to protect you just in case you decided to bolt out the door. You never tried to leave the house, but  I never took the chance.

I opened up the sun room for the first time today. It is unseasonably cool today so I opened the windows and let the cool breeze come into the house.  I saw your little heated thinking circle unplugged and empty.  My  heart sank and I found it hard to swallow.  But I managed to step into the room and look out onto the backyard.

Bossy Backyard Blue Jay visited me.  He was really squawking up a storm too.  I thought I would be brave and go fill the feeders and deliver his peanuts.  I decided that I would wait until your dad came home so we could go out together.

I came back into the office and worked on a few things.   I heard the lawn mower start up and jumped out of my chair to hurry and close the windows to reduce the noise. You really didn’t like the mower interrupting your thinking time in the sun room. I decided to leave the windows open and and saw your little heated thinking circle unplugged and empty.

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Since You’ve Been Gone. Our Message to Gracey

This entry is part 2 of 16 in the series Messages to Gracey







Gracey on Imperial Cat Chair and Ottoman

Gracey on her own little chair and ottoman.

Our Message to Gracey

Since you’ve been gone we are doing our best to pick up and carry on but to be honest it hasn’t been easy. Coming back to our home without you was one of the hardest things I ever had to do.   Putting the key into the door and not seeing your happy face running towards me made my heart sink and tears stream down my face.

Stepping inside, I saw your water fountain unplugged and stagnant.  I made it to the kitchen, put down my bags and stood still. Not hearing your voice telling me about your day, not being able to scoop you up and bury my face in your neck and not being able to carry you out into the sun room to look out over the yard, was more than I could take. Lazy Leopard looks so lonely.  I sat down and had a good cry.  The kind of cry where you can’t breathe for a few moments and you think you can’t go on.  But we do go on, just on a different journey.

I thought I would fill the bird feeders and take Bossy Back Yard Blue Jay his peanuts.  I procrastinated coming home, stopping by the store to load up on food for your friends.  I made it to the garage and lifted the hatch on the Jeep but that was as far as I made it that day. I felt so weak and vulnerable.  I thought I couldn’t fill the feeders without being able to see your face supervising my every move from your windows in the sun room.  I wouldn’t be able to touch your pink nose  through the glass  on my way back inside.

I cleaned out the refrigerator of all the different types of food we had for you.  Each lid turned with the hope that you would  eat.  We didn’t know you were so sick Gracey or we wouldn’t have tried so hard to make you eat. You were such a good girl and so patient with us. I washed up your bowls and syringes and packed up your little tiger rug.

I tried to be strong when your dad came home because I know how much he is hurting too.  But when I saw his face, I fell apart instead.  He wrapped his arms around me and said, “Let’s go for a ride.  That’s what the old folks do.” And this made me laugh.  We went for that ride  to postpone being alone in the house without you. Our home feels so empty.  Your parents are lost without you.

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Heartbroken and Healing

This entry is part 1 of 16 in the series Messages to Gracey








Heartbroken and Healing

We lost our little Gracey yesterday morning.  She passed peacefully in my arms.



Gracey was in multiple organ failure from complications of diabetes and pancreatitis that she had been living with for a little over 4 years.  We were able to mange her diabetes with two injections of ProZinc per day and she was happy and healthy until this past week.  Her doctors are wonderful and worked super hard doing everything possible to see if we could get her strength up and she could recover but it was not to be.

Paul and I needed yesterday to grieve and to gather the strength to begin the process of celebrating her wonderful life with us.  We are so grateful that Gracey chose to share her life with us and she will live on in our efforts here on her The Tiniest Tiger’s Conservation Cub Club.

When Gracey won the Bissell MVP Contest in 2010 we were thrilled to donate the $10,000 to PurrEver Ranch Sanctuary.  Rita works so hard to rescue older cats and cats with special needs, just like our Gracey.  When I told Rita about Gracey she said:

PurrEver Ranch Sanctuary’s cat flap remains open. Our doors would have closed and the purrs would have ended without Gracey. That pretty little girl’s heart is responsible for so many homeless unwanted cats who’s hearts would have stopped beating without her help. Life simply is better because of Gracey. We live because she did. Thank you our darling Guardian Angel. We always knew she had wings.
The world didn’t get darker when she passed for her little bright light shines in all of us. I love you. And I love Gracey.


Gracey was an amazing little cat. From the time we rescued her from the dog pound she showed her sweet and mischievous personality. She was the inspiration for the book The Tiniest Tiger and for us taking the journey to complete a Master of Zoology to learn more about how we could help all cats big and small. Her community has grown to over 50,000 members and she would want us to continue helping her cousins in need.

We are heartbroken.  Gracey was with us every moment of our days in our home.  Paul designed the sun room windows to be the perfect height for her to look out over the back yard where she spent her days visiting with Bossy Backyard Blue Jay in the company of Lazy Leopard.  When I was in the office, she was with me keeping me company and inspiring me.

We know that Gracey would not want us to stop the work she inspired us to begin. Leaving the hospital, a local rescue group was in the lobby talking about how they hoped their fundraiser would make enough money to buy food for the cats in their care over the weekend. As it turned out, my Jeep was full of cat food, toys and other items that I was planning to take to a shelter but hadn’t made it yet.  We like to think Gracey was working her magic by us being in the right place at the right time.

When I came home and was washing up a few dishes, Bossy Backyard Blue Jay came and sat on the perch outside the kitchen window.  He had not done this before.  I chatted with him and he tilted his head and looked at me as if he understood.  Then he flew around the yard and settled in the apple tree.

There is so much we would like to say, but the sadness is too much for us right now. Gracey was and is the light of our lives. Thank you for being a part of The Tiniest Tiger community and for loving our little girl too. I hope you will join us in celebrating Gracey’s life and continue on the journey to care for all cats big and small.

Joanne and Paul



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