Ninja, Our Velociraptor

By Ashley Dowling

This week we sent our baby girl Ninja to the big scratch post in the sky. She was 17 years old with breast cancer. You’re never really ready for loss, and even when you know it’s coming it feels too sudden when it arrives.

I’ve never been a cat person. I grew up with German Shepherds that weighed more than me my entire life. Ninja was my first real experience with a cat, and she was more like a dog then I ever imagined a cat could be. She was an old cat that could learn new tricks too! We trained her to sit and wait on command at her food dish. I played fetch with this girl (something my dog won’t even do with me) and anytime she saw me from across the room she would howl and run for me like our little velociraptor.

On her last day we spent every second with her. She was an indoor cat, but it was warm enough to bring her outside. She loved the fresh air, the sun and trying to fit tall blades of grass in her mouth. We brought her to the stream in our yard where there is a waterfall and she sat here in this beautiful spot for a while.

Hours before the doctor came to our home, she placed her paw on each one of our hands in turn and looked up at us with those slow blinks that cats often do.


It’s tough outliving your pets, and loss isn’t easy for anyone no matter how small or large a hole they leave behind. When that hole in your heart develops after they leave, life offers you a pebble of new meaning. You might notice the hum drum of life’s stresses and obligations slow. What is most important brightens up once more and shines just a little brighter than it did before.

If you haven’t taken a moment to look around, do it now. The world is a beautiful place and the only thing stopping you from seeing it is perspective.


P.S. We don’t have any plans to adopt another old lady from the shelter (at this time). But making this old lady the happiest girl in the last leg of her life makes us want to adopt all the old dogs and cats in the shelter so we can give them all a proper goodbye!



About the Author:

Ashley Dowling is a Product Manager on a mission to make the usability of software as easy as eating cake. When not immersed in the digital realm – you might find her with a ukulele in hand or a book in lap with her snoozing side-kick Elliot, a Dalmatian/Lab!


  1. Darcy Kattar

    May 18, 2022 at 6:05 am

    So touching Ashely. So sorry for your loss. I got all choked up reading this. RIP Ninja xo

  2. Sparky Clark

    June 3, 2022 at 11:14 am

    I have had dogs but never cats. My partner Cathy lost both of her cats before I met her. By the mysterious magic of the digital realm, pictures of her cats are on the screen saver of our fire stick. As these pictures occasionally appear, they spark happy memories of cat pranks past. Cathy gets to relive those moments and I get to share.

    Beyond your loss, I hope you find a way to relive your happy Ninja memories!

    • Ashley Dowling

      June 10, 2022 at 6:23 am

      Thank you Sparky. We made a little memorial book of pictures of Ninja. =) Love that you have a screen saver of those old photos. Such a great idea.

  3. Joanna Hayes Dickens

    June 13, 2022 at 1:08 pm

    One of God’s greatest blessings are the animals He puts in our life and path. So sorry, I know your heart is weary. Prayers for healing.

  4. Gaeble Jones

    August 5, 2022 at 2:04 pm

    This left me in tears! I am so sorry for your loss and so happy you were able to give her such a beautiful send off and a great end to a long life well lived. Rest in peace Ninja <3


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