My beloved Bagha died last night of a heart attack.
As all of you who know me can imagine, I’m devastated. Bagha has been my constant companion through the last 11 years — at home and at work, from India to Switzerland, and the cuddly purrball of my often lonely nights.
Bagha was an extraordinary cat with a lot of character and a quite incredible early life story. By some weird twist of fate, in less than two weeks I’m heading back to the precise place in India it all started a little over 14 years ago. My plan is to take Bagha’s ashes with me.
I knew I’d have to write this post one day, but I really thought I’d have more time to prepare for it. Bagha was FIV+ and had a heart condition, and he’d been showing clear signs of ageing and slowing down these last two or three years. But I thought he would continue slowing down, or develop complications due to his FIV status. I didn’t imagine it would be this brutal.
His last day was very normal: out for a stroll, back in for some food, a cuddle, and the beginning of his long day-time naps. He spent the afternoon on the bed while my friends and I baked Christmas cakes, coming over to help us clean egg-yolk mess from the floor (a rare treat for him).
We heard him crying out early evening and found him trying to hide under the bed, in pretty poor shape. Though we rushed him to the emergency vet, his heart was too damaged, his body temperature was dropping, and there was nothing to do but let him go.
Facing life without Bagha is a bit scary. I sometimes said we were like an old couple. We knew each other well, had our habits, and our lives integrated pretty seamlessly. I moved into this flat with him 10 years ago. He’s been the resident cat at eclau for the past two years.
I wonder how much time it will take for me to stop expecting him to show up or be in the garden when I come home. How long I’ll wake up in the morning surprised that he isn’t on the bed, or hasn’t woken me up to be let out.
I miss him terribly.
A lot of people knew Bagha. He was already famous in IUCAA (Pune) when we were living there. He quickly made a name for himself in his new Swiss neighbourhood. He’s had a good handfull of catsitters during the last 10 years, who came to live in my flat and care for him while I was travelling. He has fans online and offline, not least through eclau.
I can’t face telling everybody who knew him personally right now, so forgive me if you learned this sad news through this blog post.
Bagha was a great pet, and I know I treated him well, and he had a great life. There are worse ways to go, too. I’m thankful he was a part of my life for as long as it lasted. And I think that everybody who crossed paths with him, for a few minutes or much longer, was lucky for it.
Bye-Bye Bagha. You were loved. You’ll be missed.
- Bagha: One Year, Coming Up [en] (2011)
- Of Grief and Travel [en] (2011)
- Three Weeks With My New Cats, Tounsi and Safran [en] (2012)
- What Made Bagha Such a Special Cat For Me [en] (2011)
- A Week Without My Cat [en] (2010)
- Two Deaths [en] (2011)
- On Grief and Losing Bagha [en] (2010)
- The Speed of Time [en] (2017)
- Double Life [en] (2001)
- I'm Home [en] (2011)
40 thoughts on “Bye-Bye Bagha (1996-2010) [en]”
I never knew Bagha “in real life”, but through your blog and photos, and it was obvious you were a wonderful team with a deep love bond. I’ll miss him also because of that. Take care
Sorry for your loss, Bagha will be missed, but we’ll always have his stories that you shared. You have my condolences
I’m so sorry to hear that, I know you’re devastated. Big hugs, lots.
I’m sure Bagha, in spirit, will enjoy making this last trip with you to a place that meant so much for you both. You can take comfort in the fact that he had a full life with lots of love and care.
Damn, sorry to hear about that! Pets have such a short life-span, but still make up for a big part of our emotional needs. A lot of us can related; I know I can. Be happy for the time you had together, relish those memories.
Je ne le connaissais que par FB, mais la nouvelle m’a fait un choc. J’ai connu ça aussi et je comprends tellement ta tristesse…
Une belle vie, un belle fin sans douleur, Bagha est sans doute parti serein. Bonne route à toi, Bagha.
Et à toi qui reste sans lui, Stephanie, j’envoie mes plus douces pensées.
Vraiment triste et désolée pour toi d’apprendre cette nouvelle. On n’est jamais préparé au départ de nos petits compagnons, je te souhaite du réconfort dans le souvenir de tous les petits bonheurs que tu as pu partager avec Bagha. Depuis le peu de temps que je te connais, je suis sûre que tu as été une formidable maitresse pour lui.
Que tu aies été une super maîtresse, on n’en doute pas une seule seconde. Tout comme il a été un super chat… et c’est justement pour cela que sa place laissée vide te pèse ce soir.
14 ans, c’est une belle vie de chat. Partir soudainement, c’est dur bien sûr, mais c’est mieux que de le voir décliner et/ou souffrir, je t’assure.
On pense bien à toi… bisous.
I am also new to the FIV-healthscience site and just lost my dear J.J who was FIV + six short weeks ago. J.J did not succumb to the FIV virus but rather it was Cancer that took him.
I still, after 6 weeks, look for him to greet me at the door and to come cuddle with me at night but alas he is in a better place where pain and suffering is not allowed.
My heart goes out to you right now as I know all too well this pain your feeling.
Always know he will NEVER fully leave you. His memory will live on inside your heart forever and he will visit you in spirit when you least expect it. (Cat’s are famous for showing up at the strangest times) But when he is around , you will feel him and know it. Bless you in all the love and devotion you gave him.
I am sure he knew he was loved.
Mary in NC and her Feline Family
J’en ai les larmes aux yeux – ayant perdu brutalement 4 de mes petits compagnons félins, j’imagine aisément ta détresse… Je ne peux que te transmettre mes sincères condoléances, et te féliciter pour toute l’affection, tout l’amour que tu lui as prodigué.
Sorry to hear this, my thoughts are with you during this sad time.
quand j’ai lu TI PUSS d’Ella Maillard, j’ai été confrontée à cette séparation que j’ai avec les chats que j’aime tant avoir près de moi, le moins souvent possible évidemment…
si ce texte d’une grande voyageuse, aussi en Inde avec cette chatte dans les années 40, vous titille, qu’il vous apporte qque soutien au départ de Bagha, que je me réjouissais tant de rencontrer ce matin… navrée de n’avoir pu vous accueillir ce matin là où vous étiez car j’étais en lien très fort avec la séparation, sorry!
plein de douceur à vous pour qu’il parte au paradis comme le plus heureux des chats de bureau et que votre peine se remplisse de tout ce qu’il a donné et qu’il donnera depuis là-bas? marie
Vraiment désolée de lire ça, plein de pensées et de good vibes pour t’accompagner.
I am sure this was one of the cats with the best lives ever. My thoughts are with you…
My sincere condolances, I’m so sorry for your loss.
I’m so sorry for your loss. He seemed to have been a wonderful part of your life and you have that to cherish. RIP Bagha
So sorry to hear about your loss. My thoughts are with you.
There is something so magical about the lil kitteh biscuit race. Over the years I have become an ardent follower of ‘The Way of The Cat’, and it sounds like Bagha was your Muse. So sorry ta hear the news. 🙁
My only suggestion is to be receptive to the Call from the Kitteh Gods, which will be coming soon from the ether. It may be a phone call from a friend, or a handwritten sign as you drive along the road broadcasting ‘Free Kittens’ ~ you new muse is out there, waiting to be found. From what you have written, there will be no kitteh to replace Bagha, but even though you travels alot, don’t shut the door on the possibility of a new young Padwan Kitteh Muse in your life. 🙂
Thanks for all your messages, everyone. I’m very touched, and also overwhelmed to see how many lives Bagha has touched in various ways, even if only through being my cat, for those who know me, online and off.
I know that one day I will be done grieving, and ready to let another cat (or even cats) into my life. But it’s going to take time, and if there’s one thing I’m sure, it’s that I refuse to rush things. I want to have regained my balance as a cat-less person before I open the door to feline company again — if only to do justice to the new cat or cats, who will deserve a place in my heart for themselves, and not just because I cannot stand to live without Bagha around.
Bagha’s last gift to me is to give me the opportunity to grieve properly for him — which is not something I’ve had a chance to do much in my life. It’s painful, but I also understand that my life will not be the same after this, in a good way. I might write more about this in the days to come.
So again, thanks for all your messages: here, on Facebook, on Twitter, through DM, e-mail or SMS. Though I haven’t responded personally to all of you and will probably not, it warms my heart to know you care — each of you — and each of your kind words help me take another step forward towards accepting that Bagha is gone.
Thank you all for this.
Chère Stéphanie, je viens de lire maintenant la triste nouvelle… je ne connaissais Bagha qu’en photo. Mais quiconque a perdu un chat dans sa vie sait la somme d’attachement qui soudain perd son empreinte physique lorsque vient à mourir le petit animal… je suis en pensée avec toi.
Mes pensées vont vers toi Stéphanie. Bon courage.
I am so very sorry for your loss. It will take you a while to stop expecting to see him appear. It is different for everybody. But know that he is in a better place where he is no long suffering. My thoughts and prayers are with you Steph. RIP Bagha.
Oh yes, I second a lot here – Bagha was definitely a beloved cat with an amazing life. Thanks to all your good care and attention, Bagha had a long and exciting existence and I’m really happy I was able to share some of those very precious moments with both of you <3 You’re always in my thoughts Stephanie!
Sorry for your loss, Stephanie. He was a good cat.
I’m so sorry to hear that. Even though I’ve never seen Bagha I could see how much you loved this pet. Sometimes they can be as important as persons 🙂
Wish you all the best and truly sorry for you.
It was very sad reading this news, and this post. You wrote a beautiful homage to your friend, and I am really sorry for your loss.
So very sorry to hear about the loss of your beloved Bagha. It was just a short time ago that we shared stories about our cats and you proudly showed off his photo. It was easy to see how special he was to you. I’m sure the feeling was mutual.
Thanks for sharing his story and your thoughts with us.
Sending you virtual support and hugs,