Ask Max Monday: No Tears In Heaven

Max…please help me feel better. My name is Hershey and I am a 12 year old Tabby boycat, and this week my mom found out that I have cancer in my head and that I don’t have a lot of time left. We are all scared here. My mom cries a lot, and I want to make her feel better, but I am really scared, too. You know a lot, Max. Please tell me what cat heaven is like. Please tell me I get to go there and someday I’ll see my mom again. I’ve been a good boy, I promise.

Dood, first off, before I say anything else, I know for sure that yes, you’re going to kitty heaven and when it’s time, your Mom will find you there. We all know the story about the Rainbow Bridge, where we wait for our people to come get us so they can take us along on the next leg of the journey. The Bridge is your reward, dood; It’s the prize you get for a life lived making people happy. Even if you’d been a slightly naughty kitty you’d go there, because that’s where all the pets—even the cats and dogs and birds and rabbits that should have been pets but never found their forever homes—get to go. I know there are a lot of people that say cats don’t have souls (and they’re serious, believe it or not) but you and I and all our kitty friends know…we are souls. These bits and clumps of fur and teeth, tails and claws, those are just containers. We are souls, and we get to have something after this life, just like the people do.

Now, I don’t know if the Bridge is a real actual bridge or not, but that doesn’t even really matter. It’s a place, a bright spot in a pretty vast area where we get to hang out while our people stay here, getting their lives right. It’s where we get to meet the Pets Who Came Before Us and the other cats and dogs that we lived with while we were here. When I go, I’m going to get to meet Dusty and Ataturk, the cats who came before me, and I’ll get to see Hank the Dog again. And we’ll all wait for Buddah, because I’m pretty sure I’ll go before him, and I’m fine with that.

The best thing about cat heaven? Everything you ever loved to do when you were here, you’ll get to do there, as much and as often as you want. Anytime you want a sun puddle to bake in, there will be one. If you want to munch on crunchy treats or real live fresh dead shrimp, you can have it right when you want it, and dood, you won’t even have to wait for a person to use their opposable thumbs to get things for you.

You know how awesome it is to sit in front of a window screen on a nice day, when the breeze is just so, and you can smell flowers outside? Every day is like that. Just the right amount of sunshine and wind, but there’s no screen to keep you from it. If you want to enjoy it while you lounge flat on your back in the grass, you get to do that—and no other kitty or dog or bird will bug you unless you want to be bugged. And you’ll get to watch all the birds you want, up close. You’ll even be able to chase them and they won’t mind, because they know that you’re in a place where no one ever gets hurt again. They’ll be your friend, and they’ll help you stalk and chase them, because it won’t be a cat hunting his food, it’ll be two friends playing chase and tag.

It’s not all outside stuff, either. If you want to be inside, there will be an inside that seems made just for you. It has tons of climbing trees and things to scratch—don’t worry if you got declawed here, because there you’ll have them back—and lots of high places you can get to, where you can jump around and play. And if you want to chase a red dot, you just think of it and there it is, zipping around on the floor and up the walls, and if you really want, you get to catch it. When you’re done climbing and chasing, if you want one there will be a big comfy bed with a fuzzy blanket to nap on. Or if you want to nap under a tree, you can just go outside again and curl up under a huge tree that has a giant canopy on it, with lots of shade if you want.

I don’t know if you’ve hung around the cat blogosphere much, but one of the fun things we do is to pretend to have house trashing parties, where we all “teleport” to some kitty’s house and have tons of fun and leave a giant mess behind. It’s fun to pretend, but we all know that if we all did wind up in the same room for real there would be lots of hissing and spitting and growling and biting. But in kitty heaven? Dood, we’ll get to hang with all the kitties whose blogs made peoples’ lives a little happier and a lot more fun, and we’ll just know them, and we’ll have tons of fun together.

We’ll also be able to be quiet together, to just chill and watch everything going on around us. We’ll tell each other stories about what our lives were really like, and it will all be good, even for the kitties whose lives might not have been when they were here, because they were special, and they have wisdom to share.

Dood. There will be Cheetos. I swear.

Before we know it, our people will be there. The first person in your family will come and all the pets he ever loved will be waiting at the Bridge, and will all get to go with him to the next place. But man, that’s not just it. When the second and third, or however many people were that loved us, we’ll get to meet them at the Bridge, too. And whenever we want, we can go play with our friends who are still waiting and keep them company. Our people will be cool with that.

For right now, your Mom is going to cry. She loves you, dood, and she can’t stand the idea that pretty soon you won’t be there with her. Just by being there, you make her life better and she’s happier, so getting the news what you have cancer and there’s not a lot of time left…well, that feels a lot like someone pulling out her nose hairs. It’s a sharp pain that doesn’t feel like it will ever get better or go away. It makes tears spring to her eyes and her nose run, and it’s hard for her to catch her breath. And that’s kind of scary to you, I imagine. It’s hard for a kitty to see his person suddenly racked with sadness, and being scared, that’s normal. It’s okay.

But you know what? Even when a person has had a lot of nose hairs pulled, sooner or later it doesn’t hurt as much, and the stinging feeling gets better. They can sniff back the runny nose and blink away the tears. The stinging lingers a bit, but it gets better. And in time, they can breathe again. Keep that in mind. When it hurts, the hurt doesn’t last forever. It gets better.

Your mom is racked, but she’s not wrecked. She’s scared for you, and that’s okay. It’s a good thing, it shows you that you did your job here well. So when you feel up to it, give her some extra head butts and purrs, but she might need to just take care of you, so let her. And she might need to bury her face in your furs when she cries, and that’s okay.

I know you’re scared, too, because even though you know you have cancer, you don’t know 100% what’s going on and people don’t know how to tell you what to expect. It’s okay. Being scared is okay. But I promise you, you’re going to kitty heaven, and while you wait for your Mom, you are going to have the most wicked awesome time. You’ll have fun, and you will be at peace.

You’ll be there. You earned it. Someday I’ll be there, too, and I hope you’ll be happy to see me and will show me where the great things are. We can hang with all our buds who got there before us, and we’ll have the most wicked celestial house trashing party ever. And in a lot of years, hopefully a whole lot of years, your Mom is going to pop up and you’ll go with her to her special slice of heaven.

Dood. It will be glorious.


Category: Ask Max Monday, Featured

About the Author ()

Max the Psycho Kitty is 14 pounds of sleek black and white glory. With an attitude ... and opinions ... on everything. He's a put-upon and under-appreciated domestic feline with an addiction to Kitty Crack and an appetite for Stinky Goodness. A pioneer in the Cat Blogosphere, he began his popular blog "The Psychokitty Speaks Out" in October of 2003. Max is the author of SIX blockbuster hit books, "The Psychokitty Speaks Out: Diary of a Mad Housecat,", its sequel "The Psychokitty Speaks Out: Something of Yours Will Meet a Toothy Death,", "The Rules: A Guide For People Owned By Cats," "Bite Me," "There Once Was a Cat from Nantucket" (a book of poetry), and his new smash hit, "The Emperor of San Francisco [The Wick Chronicles]."

Comments (35)

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  1. William says:

    Dood, good answer, but now my Mum’s eyes are leaking all over the Ipad. Hershey, our hugs and purrs are with you and your Mum.

  2. Dip & Dot says:

    Amazing and heartfelt answer, Max. Hugs, chin scritches and lots of purrs for you and your mom Hershey.

  3. Max, you are so good with words. THis was a heartfelt post that we should all print for future times.

  4. *snif* Dat is da best description of da Rainbow Bridge EVER! Our daddy is already der waiting fur us, we know Punkin already greeted him but if we ask she will prolly come fur yoo too Hershey and show you all da good stuff der is. Headbonks and pawhugs to yoor mommy, she loves you and is gonna miss yoo. All us kitties can do is love dem back and try to get dem to see dat we is all gonna be in a better place, all together, at some time in da future.

  5. chissus says:

    Thank You.

  6. joyce says:


  7. Connie says:

    Wonderful answer. I lost a kitty, Emmy, to cancer in the sinus cavity, and I know I had lots of nose hairs pulled while tending her. Don’t forget to forgive your owner if they hover too much and rankle over every little thing and get a little too personal. They care and want you to remain as happy and as pain free as you can until your time comes.

    Emmy didn’t want to leave me. She much preferred to hang out with me even with the complications the cancer gave her. After she passed an animal communicator “talked” to her and said she was so much happier now and that if she had known she might have been willing to leave earlier then she did. So don’t be afraid to accept that your time has come because wonderful things are waiting for you once your journey in this world is finished.

  8. Dood,that was beautiful!

  9. Hershey – head butt your mom for us and let her know we are sending purrs…..

    We will let our angels Butterscotch and Tigger know to expect you – hopefully after a whole lot of time.

    Max – dood – that was amazing…. and you make mom leak

  10. Hershey, we are sending you hugs, head bumps, purrs and prayers. WE know you and your Mom are feeling alone now, but there is a whole CB out there praying for you!

  11. Francois le Furry says:

    WOw. Just Wow.

  12. looloo says:

    Zippy, Sadie and Speedy says:

    April 23, 2012 at 9:18 am

    *snif* Dat is da best description of da Rainbow Bridge EVER! Our daddy is already der waiting fur us, we know Punkin already greeted him but if we ask she will prolly come fur yoo too Hershey and show you all da good stuff der is. Headbonks and pawhugs to yoor mommy, she loves you and is gonna miss yoo. All us kitties can do is love dem back and try to get dem to see dat we is all gonna be in a better place, all together, at some time in da future.

    It is so nice to read you again! I hope you are able to cope, I am thinking of you and the kitties, and your dad, every day.

    It is so kind of you, who just lost your husband, to worry about these people – humans and cat. Thanks!


  13. Riley says:

    Great answer Max. God loves you Hershey!!!You are a brave kitty and I hope to meet such a brave kitty someday!

  14. debzy says:

    wow. I’m sorry Hershey. No matter how long you get it’s never long enough. You’re obviously a great kitty. I hope your days are all wonderful and when the end comes, you don’t suffer. I’m sending you a big kiss on the top of your head and a nuzzle on your ears and a big hug for your mom.

    Max, you totally rock.

  15. David E. Francis says:

    A great post by you Max. Both touching and beautiful. Thank you.


  16. Bella says:

    This was such a beautiful description of heaven. My tears are flowing with love. I’ll keep Hearshy and his mom in my prayers.

  17. natasia says:

    Well, I just had to comment here, because I’m sort of a ghost writer. I was diagnosed with cancer when I was about your age. Nobody knew I had it because I’m just one of those cats that doesn’t complain about much. The doctor actually found it by accident during a routine physical. Anyways, they had me on steroids which shrank the tumor. I was called steroid kitty, able to leap tall cabinets in a single bound. My voice changed a little and my appetite was through the roof. I put on healthy weight and everything was good. Unfortunately, a couple of years later, I started losing weight despite my great appetite and it was soon discovered that, although the other tumor was close to non-existent, I had cancer in other places. They gave me some super steroid shots and I got to eat whatever I wanted – Ice cream and ham deli slices included – until I got down to about four pounds and had a painful tumor in my mouth that caused me not to even want tasty ham anymore. My family cried and cried, but they did the right thing, even if I didn’t think so at the time. Max did a great job describing what it’s like over the Rainbow Bridge. Now, I keep an eye on my family and tease the crap out of the new little kitten whenever I get the chance. My older brother and I laugh and laugh as we play tricks and watch the antics, wondering if we were ever like that when we were her age. No worries, dude – there’s lots of other kitties to play with here and you can always keep an eye on mommy and brush up against her when you want. She may not see you, but she’ll know you’re watching over her.

  18. Cheysuli says:

    We have had a number of cats cross the bridge. Our Georgia did only a few years ago. She too had a brain tumor. They gave her three to six months but she decided to hang out for over two years. The Woman was thankful for every single day–and that she was happy during that time. The hardest thing is wondering if we’re happy. We don’t expect that you have all the answers. We don’t expect that you will fix everything in our lives. As Georgia told us very clearly via pet communication, “Why did we worry so much about fixing her, thinking something was wrong. She was just sick. Sickness just IS.” She was a brilliant cat, our Georgia Boo.

  19. Max…what a beautiful answer you gave Hershey. And Hershey…we’re purring for you and your mom.

  20. fuzzybritches says:

    (channeling for Natasha, who crossed the Rainbow Bridge many years ago but who still watches and occasionally makes contact)
    Hershey, I crossed the bridge due to a head cancer thingy and for my last 3 weeks my mom decided to make my remaining time wonderful. No more diet! Lots of noms! Lots of snoogles and head-butts!

    It was pretty obvious when I needed to go and she listened and made it easy. So now I watch over her. She occasionally sees me out of the corner of her eye–humans can’t do any better than that–but that does mean I’m watching for her and waiting for her.

    Max is right about meeting all the kitties who went before–we’ll show you exactly how to watch your person so you can take care of her.

  21. Thank you Max for the lovely description. Our purrs go out to Hershey and his Mom. We lost both our sister Shady and brother Silas to the cancer in the last 2 years and our Mom is still sad sometimes. But knowing we’ll all be back together someday means so much to all of us.

  22. Cinda Lippman says:

    I belive that all cats go to heaven and maybe even dogs.

  23. Max,good job and we are all leaky eyed for Hershey and mum. Our mum says it is OK to be scared, but all will work out in the long run. We will all hit The Bridge and wait for our humans.

  24. Dear Hershey and Mom, You know what? All our Kittehs Who Came Before, BooBoo and Angela and Mr. Teeth and Clarkie and all the rest–they are all going to be there waiting for you, to show you around and hang out with you till your People catch up to you, which will happen like, in the blink of an eye. You and your Mom will go through this journey together, remember, and you’ll always have your Mom there with you to keep you warm and feeling loved. That’s what our time here is for, to love each other. Your Mom is with you–you don’t need to be skeered at all, sweet kitty.

  25. Willy Wilson says:

    Max, I’s couldn’t read it all in one sitting cuz my face got all wet. But I’s came back and finished it and my face got wet again and I thought it wuz the best thing I ever readed.

  26. jean mueller says:

    My heart goes out to Hershey and his mom.It was 4 years ago on April 21 that I lost my little Tessa and it still hurts when I think about her. What a beautiful and healing description of the Bridge! Thanks, Max!

  27. Dawn999 says:

    What a hard, sad time. Us humans open our hearts wide open and invit you darling kitties and woofies in. And when you get sick or have to leave us to go to the bridge, it just about breaks our hearts. But we know, no matter how hard it is to say goodbye, it’s worth it just to have you in our lives. How empty and lacking we would be without you. Try not to be to scared, when the time comes for you to fly to the bridge, your mum will be there to see you on your journey. And then before you know it you’ll be together once angain.

    Love, hugs, and purrs to all who have to face this difficult time.

  28. Cloque says:

    Hey Hershy… no worries. Just send a shout out to WhoMe, Spot-the-Pushy, and most recently, Lucifer Seal. They’re all at the Brigde waitin’ on me.. their Mom. Right now just get all the lovin’ you can and when the time comes your Mom will hold you tight until you’ve tripped off to the Bridge.

  29. Keena says:

    Dood, that was the best explaination EVER. It’s just me and Momma now but myne sisfurs are at the Bridge. Momma leaked all over when they had to go — the cancer took them too. They come back to visit all the time but Momma doesn’t always hear them or see them but they do. That’s the magic portal!

    I worry Momma is gonna be so lonely without me when I go but you are right…the pain will go away and then that one day when she pops in at the Bridge well it will be glorious for sure.

    Purrs and prayers for Hershey and his Mom that they enjoy the time they have left. Just look forward to that glorious day when they can be together again because it will happen.

  30. Lita says:

    Max, don’t you ever pretend to be all cool and hard again! You spoke beautifully about the Rainbow Bridge, thankyou. Hershey and mum, it will be hard, there will be tears but you are never apart, not really. And you can always come back, you know. My boy is due back any month now (after 5 years away) and I am filled with joy at the prospect. Our journey is nowhere near done yet. Our thoughts are with you. Lita & her boys. xo

  31. BJ says:

    Dear Hershey,

    Our Woman watches those ghost finder shows and they told her all about orbs but she didn’t believe them. When she was a girl she had a doggie, a West Highland White Terrier, that loved to sleep on her waterbed. When he jumped up on the bed, the waterbed would make waves and at night she knew when he had come to bed! After a while, he passed but she swore to her mother that she could STILL FEEL her doggie jumping up on her waterbed!

    Then she moved. Then she bought a waterbed that didn’t make waves and she stopped feeling that splish-splash motion. After a long awhile, the mattress began to leak and when she replaced it she got with one that would make waves.

    While the new mattress was filling up with water Casey Cat jumped into to the mattress frame and sat down on the on the waterless mattress and waited for the water. You see, the waterbed mattress is Casey’s most favorite place to sleep and the bed had been without water for a week. Moms got out her camera and snapped five pictures in less than sixty seconds of Casey Cat sitting on the nearly empty waterbed mattress impatiently waiting for it to be sleep worthy.

    Now, this is where it gets spooky!

    Later, when our Woman looked at those pictures, three out of the five snapshots HAD AN ORB IN THEM! In one picture the orb was right beside Casey Cat only a few inches from his noggin! . . . Was this ORB our Woman’s long ago Westie? Was Skippy still watching over her?

    When the Woman began sleeping on her new wavy waterbed mattress she felt the splish-splashy waves again, just as if one of us cats had jumped up on the bed, but when she looks around, there isn’t a kitty to be seen! Is her doggie announcing “I’m back again!”?

    This is a TRUE story, Hershey. You may be loosing your physical body but we know your spirit will be with your Moms anytime you want. If a doggie who took the Rainbow Bridge over some twenty years ago can still make waterbed waves WE KNOW that you will be beside your Moms until the day she can hold you in her arms once again.

    Be strong.

    The Catsrbetter Crew

  32. MamaCass says:

    hurt like pulling nosehayres is exaktly righttfsggdfj yah orwen they putt that thin g in yer ears an wobbololol it abowt maybeeo ommore like thaaattrt yu be ok hershey an yer human too

  33. What a beautiful explanation of Kitty Heaven. It’s nice to know that Sniffie is having such a wonderful time while she waits for us.

    The Florida Furkids

  34. Millie says:

    Max, dood! You act like a tough guy, but then you write something like this and omigosh, even I start getting leaky eyes. That’s the most wonderful description of the Rainbow Bridge I have ever heard. I’m happy to know Gizzy and Jasmine are frolicking around in such a great place.

    Hershey, Mom and I are sending you and your Mom hugs and purrs.


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