Cats Working Says Good-Bye to Adele

By Karen

I’m deeply saddened to report that Adele passed away on Thursday, September 12. She was 19 years and 5 months old, the last of the original Cats Working team who inspired my book, How to Work Like a CAT.

Without missing a beat in her routine until the very end, Adele became yet another victim of chronic renal failure, which she lived with for over two years. In her lifetime, she watched four “brothers” who were her world also succumb to CRF — Rex, Fred, Yul, and Cole.

Adele and Yul

This past spring, Adele also began developing a tumor on her neck. It didn’t hurt or bother her and seemed comparatively the least of her ailments, so she didn’t undergo any aggressive diagnosis or treatment for it.

Cole and Adele

Adele drove the daily agenda around here until her days slowly became more bad than good. When most foods lost their appeal (and we tried them ALL) and her meds weren’t helping, and even sleep didn’t bring much relief, we knew it was time to let her go while she still had her dignity. Her death was very peaceful.

Max and Roc are adjusting like a couple of rebels without causes to the newly quiet house and Adele’s empty favorite spots. They’re facing life for the first time since kittenhood without their etiquette coach and disciplinarian. They are better cats thanks to Adele’s tough love.

Max and Adele shared a bed

I’m missing my Delly so much, feeling the weight of accumulated grief from losing another decades-long companion to a scourge of epidemic proportions that veterinary medicine inexplicably seems to NEVER make any headway against. It’s taken me days to bring myself to write this and I’m in tears as I type.

Roc and Adele


33 Responses to Cats Working Says Good-Bye to Adele

  1. dellachiara says:

    My sincerest condolences on the loss of your sweet Adele. I too have lost beloved felines to kidney failure and I understand the deep sorrow and heartbreak of it. May your memory of her remain of all the good years, not the final sad days. She was beautiful and obviously a very loving spirit, fur-daughter, and sister.

  2. catsworking says:

    Thank you so much, dellachiara. Until this post, I haven’t told anyone she’s gone except my sister, who asked. Even though I’ve known Adele was on her ninth life, we’d gotten into such a routine of taking it “one day at a time” for such a long time (I haven’t had a vacation for two years to be here for her daily meds), when “that day” finally came, it blindsided me.

    She was an amazing cat and the embodiment of resilience, losing her best buddies one after the other over the years, and starting over each time to break in his replacement.

    She was born while Clinton was president, lived through both terms of Bush and Obama, and more than halfway through Trump. She was only four months younger than the Saturn I bought in 2000 and still drive.

  3. Donna says:

    Karen I am so sorry,and I am in tears as I read this I enjoyed her occasional posts,she was always so insightful! Much love to all of you,She is watching from above,twitching her tail with slight disapproval and amusement She knows how right she was in her choice of human

  4. catsworking says:

    Donna, thank you. Now Adele and Zappa can finally meet, if Rex, Fred, Yul, and Cole will let her out of their sight. I hope they’re all somewhere having a good cuddle.

    I felt so bad about not being able to get with you and Morgan last year. At the time, I thought Adele would be leaving momentarily, but she proved me wrong by nearly a year. Her determination to soldier on is something I’ll remember whenever I think whatever little pain or tummy upset is killing me. I wasn’t doing anything special for her kidneys (like I did with all four of the boys — subcutaneous fluid injections) because she drank enough water and stayed on top of it herself until it ran her into a wall. Even had I done so, the tumor was waiting in the wings to get her.

    She also had a heart murmur, but her heart was strong until the last beat.

    I comfort myself knowing that I gave her every good day she could have possibly had, and let her go on her schedule, not mine.

  5. bassgirl23 says:

    So very sorry to hear this – they are family, and they may be small, but the impact they have on our lives is so much bigger than anyone realizes. I’m sure she knew she was loved.

    We almost lost one of our cats recently (urinary blockage & diagnosis of FLUTD), and at one point I had a panic attack when I thought we were going to lose another pet (our dogs both passed away within the last few years). It’s never easy.

    Grieving never gets easier, and time is all that helps, but hopefully the rest of the family helps distract you over the next little while.

  6. Catwoods says:

    My heart breaks to learn of the loss of your sweet Adele, Karen. I know how hard it can be to lose a beloved pet. There is never enough time with them. The memories do stay with you and I hope they can be a comfort. You have my sympathy.

  7. I’m so sorry about Adele. Pets become like family and it’s hard to lose family. 😦

  8. Adelep says:

    I’m so, so sorry to hear about Adele. I liked being “Adele, the human,” and knowing that “Adele the cat,” was out there. She was a wise cat, and if there is a great beyond, I hope she’s having a great reunion. Horse racing season won’t be the same without her. Dorothy, Whiskey and I are so sorry for your loss. As my Jewish relatives would say, “May her memory be a blessing.”

  9. Randi says:

    Karen, I’m so sorry for your loss of Adele and send my deepest sympathy. Adele was beautiful… and tough. She lived a long and happy life with you and the other kitties, but it is never long enough! I know how you will miss her, and so will Max and Roc, but you were right in letting her go while she still had her dignity. I’m glad she went peacefully. Adele is now with Rex, Fred, Yul and Cole.
    Rest in peace sweet Adele! You were loved very much.

  10. Bonnie C. says:

    So sorry to hear of your loss.

  11. catsworking says:

    bassgirl23, so sorry to hear about all your pets. My cat Rex once had a urinary blockage. It is VERY scary because they can go suddenly. Fortunately, he recovered and lived another 15 years or so.

    You’re so right that time is what I need. Roc seems most in tune to what’s going on. He has been checking all Adele’s usual spots to see if she’s there, and he’s been spending his days in the home office with me.

    Max is physically, literally trying to fill Adele’s shoes. In the evenings, he sits beside me on the couch in the spot she would NEVER let him have. If she found him there, she’d just step on him until he moved. He’s also sleeping with me on the bed, which he would never do if Adele was there.

  12. catsworking says:

    Catwoods, I know you have been through this yourself and my heart ached when you lost UV, knowing I had a similar parting coming with Adele. Reading and gazing at the photos on your gorgeous blog put me out in nature, and that’s always comforting. Thank you for your understanding.

  13. catsworking says:

    Adelep, Adele the cat liked knowing there was an Adele the human out there. The Triple Crown will never be the same without her, but Roc promised her that he would learn to love horses and try to carry on her legacy.

    When you and I first met, there was a whole other generation of cats involved. Now let’s hope they are all frolicking together at the Rainbow Bridge.

    Max and Roc send their regards to Dorothy and Whiskey.

  14. catsworking says:

    Randi and Bonnie C, thank you so much for your kind words. I feel like Cats Working readers knew Adele much better than my own family, who really only ever saw her on Christmas Eve. Here, she was a presence, especially when working alongside Yul and Fred as active bloggers in the earlier years.

    When she died, on a plush white blanket with gold embroidered trim she would have loved, she rested her chin on her left paw and went quietly to sleep. It was so hard to watch her leave me, but knowing that she was finally no longer feeling the thirst of her kidneys, hunger without appetite, itching in her eyes, arthritis pain that was probably in her back legs, or the lump growing under her right ear told me not to be selfish and wish her a swift journey to be with her brothers who were waiting for her.

  15. Lorraine Villeneuve says:

    Hopefully she will be sitting comfortably on Tony’s lap. RIP.

  16. catsworking says:

    Lorraine, Tony did like cats, and you may notice quick glimpses of street cats in many episodes of his his shows. But for Adele to get onto his lap, his own cat Lupetto would have to move over.

    I think they would like each other, though.

  17. cmoon57 says:

    😢 so sorry Karen. Sending you an email from my work address. Can’t type to well on my phone.

    Sent from my iPhone


  18. catsworking says:

    cmoon57, thank you so much. We’re slowly adjusting to our new normal. Roc is pestering Max unmercifully. Adele apparently was just the right amount of distraction to give him someone to hang with and not get bored.

  19. Donna says:

    Karen let’s make a plan for this fall!

  20. MorganLF says:

    Hope you can work through Adele’a loss.19 years is a long time.

  21. catsworking says:

    Morgan, thank you. I know animals aren’t really your thing (nor is mayonnaise), so it means a lot.

  22. Mary Hunter says:

    Karen, I am so very sorry to hear the sad news of dear sweet Adele’s passing. What a nice legacy she left with all of her sage posts. I too lost a long time dear companion to kidney failure about 12 years ago. Maxine was born under my bed in Sandpoint, Idaho, and passed away during the night at the foot of my bed 18 years later in Spokane. We will always have good memories of our dear little friends. My sincere condolences. I don’t think any of us know this site without Adele at the helm. Sorry this is late in responding, I’ve been off the grid for two weeks. Extra hugs and petting to your furry friends.

  23. catsworking says:

    Mary, thank you so much for your kind words. It’s been nearly two weeks now and I can still cry at the drop of a hat whenever I think of Adele. I was hoping she would peacefully die at home like your Maxine did, but when she let me know she was ready to go, I couldn’t force her to linger until it happened on its own. She still had some weight and might have wasted away for quite a bit longer, so I let her go before she suffered too much.

    Adele was part of a three-cat team who helped me start the blog. She doted on Fred and Yul, and now they’re all together again, I hope. She’s thrilled with that, I’m sure.

    Roc and Max are still working out a new routine. Roc is definitely missing Adele because she kept him on a schedule. Yesterday he suddenly TORE through the whole house (on top of bookcases, across beams, on the balcony bannister — this place is very catified) like he was being chased, yowling like a maniac.

  24. Shannon says:


    I could have sworn I sent you a message earlier, certainly composed one, but I don’t see it and maybe fell asleep before sending, so…

    I’m so very sorry for your loss. I loved getting to know Adele through your posts and I felt that loss with you. Beautiful little lady. I lost my 15-year old beagle on the 11th, just one day before you lost her, I believe. We trudge through the grief, but I hope you heart is full of all the love you shared together.


  25. catsworking says:

    Hi, Shannon, I haven’t seen anything from you, unless it went to spam and I accidentally deleted it.

    So very sorry to hear about your beagle. We just have to take it one day at a time until the hurting fades.

    It’s been more than two weeks now and I still find myself crying when I glance at Adele’s favorite places and they’re empty. The house is certainly a lot quieter without her. I’m seeing the full measure of how much she controlled the daily agenda around here. Max and Roc are at loose ends, although Max seems to have taken the reins on nightly treats. Adele used to park herself in front of the bookcase where I keep them when it was time for treats. The past few nights, at approximately the same time, Max has taken to scratching at the door in the bookcase where he knows they are.

  26. Anita says:

    Karen, I am so sorry. I was on my Italy trip and didn’t see this until I got back. Caught a horrible bronchitis bug that everyone seemed to be sick with. Not fun to be on vacation while sick.

    My husband loved cats and I never had one. We married when I was 40 yrs old and a few years later I worked from home. He told me I needed a cat to keep me company. What?? We got a small little kitty that I had no clue what to do with.

    That thing stole my heart like no one else, including my husband. He even jumped on my head when I was on a conference call. Yes, he wanted the attention.

    He had many medical issues but still lived until he was 14 years old when he developed a rare leukemia that was only found in dogs and small children. I always said he was more dog than cat.

    My When he passed it was one of the worst days of my life. When we were in Rome I took my husband to the cat sanctuary with all of the beautiful cats among the ruins. I am now a cat person until I die.

    I was in Venice and went to many of the places Anthony Bourdain was. So hard to do that. But while on the train platform to Venice to Rome I saw this man that looked so much liked AB it stopped me in my tracks. Maybe it was his ghost and he still is travelling the world.

    Did not see the evil witch anywhere in Rome but Italian women have a really hard FU attitude. Loved the men, the women not so much. I would still go back in a heartbeat.

    Thinking of you and here is to a Trump Impeachment. For Anthony and all of us!

  27. catsworking says:

    Anita, I am so envious of your trip to Italy! Sounds like you really got around, being sick notwithstanding. I usually pick up some kind of a bug when I travel for more than a week. Last bad one was sailing from Lisbon on a transatlantic. Ended up seeing the ship’s doctor and feeling like shit for a few days.

    Today marks exactly six weeks since Adele passed and I still can’t think of her without crying. Max and Roc are working out new routines now that Adele isn’t calling all the shots. The house is much quieter. Except when Roc decides to act out. I work from home, too, and the other day when I was on the phone he started yowling his head off for no reason and tearing around the house. He’d been fine all day until I started talking to someone else.

    Each kitty has a special personality and stomps out its own place on your heart.

    I know what you mean about Italian women. I think they can come across as coarse, but when it comes to family, they’re goo. My grandmother used to let her sons and husband walk all over her. She’d even flush the toilet for them.

    I HOPE Bourdain’s ghost is still traveling the world. His image and voice still pop into my mind at odd moments and I have to remind myself he’s gone.

    Some of his clothes and things are being auctioned right now. I haven’t checked the bids in a while, but the chef’s knife was a healthy five figures.

  28. Anita says:

    Karen, did you see the documentary that is being made about AB? I this it was announced yesterday or day before. I wonder if they will have anything about AA.

    Regarding Italian women, after being in Venice, Rome and the cruise with Italian women pushing everyone around I was done with it when we landed on US soil.

    We went through customs in Chicago on our way back to California and it was a total cluster. There was a couple behind us that also just came in from Italy and he told her to act like she was Italian. I knew what that meant as she tried to push ahead of me. I don’t think so.

    I dealt with it politely in Italy because that was their country, but there is no way I was going to put up with it in Chicago from an American woman. Basta!

  29. catsworking says:

    Anita, I have seen recent announcements that they’re finally starting work on the Bourdain documentary. CNN is teaming up with HBO Max to produce it, I think. They don’t have a release date yet.

    I should think it will include some mention of AA, since she was front and center the last two years of his life. However, I don’t expect it will reveal anything we don’t already know about that situation because the family certainly won’t want it coming out in movie theaters.

    Funny about the Italian women. I felt that way about the French back in the ’90s when I made a transatlantic crossing on the SS Norway (originally the ocean liner SS France) from NYC to Southampton, with a port call in Le Havre. It was the first time the ship had ever returned to France since the Norwegians bought it and renovated it in 1978. We had about 800 French onboard to celebrate, and the people of Le Havre turned out in force to welcome the ship back. I’ve never seen anything like it.

    The rest of the passengers were mostly American, with some Brits and Norwegians.

    Everyone talked about how rude the French were. 800 of them felt like 8,000. They dominated any space they were in and had events in public rooms that were “French only.” They never referred to the ship as anything but the France. No gratitude whatsoever to the Norwegians for buying it and saving its life. Always, “Vive La France!”

    We heard French spoken everywhere (because they never seemed to shut up), and I heard more than once, “If not for us Americans, they’d all be speaking German today!”

    A British man made this joke: “Have you seen the signs on the loos that say, ‘Don’t flush foreign objects’? How else are we supposed to get rid of the bloody Frogs?”

    The French mostly debarked in Le Havre, so the rest of us had one night of relative peace crossing the English Channel.

    Basta, indeed!

    That said, I still love France. Returning to Paris someday is on my bucket list.

  30. Anita says:

    What a great story. Transatlantic crossing is a big trip! This was my second cruise and the cruise bug still has not bit me. Not certain I like being on vacation with 2500 strangers although I understand the appeal. Just don’t know if it’s for me.

    I do love France too. Have been there twice but the people are definitely reserved. I was surprised how friendly people were in Rome. And they openly spoke English where it seemed the French never did.

    Of course I am speaking about the friendly men in Italy. The Italian women, especially in Rome, had a cobb stuck up the you know what. Maybe it’s from walking those cobblestone streets in high heels.

    Well here’s to you getting back to France. This makes me want to see the Marseilles episode again, which is one of my favorites.

  31. catsworking says:

    I befriended a French Canadian on the crossing. In Le Havre, we had her ask some policemen for directions because we couldn’t find our way off the pier. They acted like they couldn’t understand a word she said because apparently they consider Canadian French “country dialect.”

    I was seated for breakfast at a table with Americans and one French woman. One of the Americans tried conversing with the French woman using her high school French. I understood her, but the French woman acted as if it was gibberish and finally got up and left in disgust.

    However, when I happened to be in Paris the morning Diana died there in 1997, I spoke my poor French to taxi drivers, waiters, etc., and they were all accommodating. I sensed they’d just had the shit kicked out of them and were trying to compensate.

    I’ve done about 45 cruises (including 5 crossings). I haven’t been in three years because of Adele’s failing health. But when I see ads for the monstrous new ships that look like floating DisneyWorlds I feel repulsed. I don’t want to be with 5,000 passengers with ADHD trying to do everything. They create an unfriendly atmosphere because they behave like they’re at the mall.

    If I can ever afford it, I’d like to try a Viking Ocean ship because 1) They’re Norwegian, minimalist but elegant, 2) The ship is relatively small (2,000 passenger range, I think), and 3) The ship is a ship. Has no amusement park bells and whistles and doesn’t cater to children. So it’s going to attract passengers who like the experience of being at sea and don’t need to be entertained 24/7. They tend to be sociable and appreciate the traditions of shipboard life.

    For me, cruising is the safest way for a woman traveling alone to see the world. Sorry, Samantha Brown, but you’ve got a camera crew watching your back.

  32. Anita says:

    Yes, I do agree with you that cruising is a very safe for women to solo travel. It was amazing how many women we did see alone that wasn’t on the cruise.

    Met an American in Venice that was probably late 50’s and she was going all over Europe. We helped her figure out the vaporetta schedules. And met a young gal from South Africa on the Vatican tour in Rome travelling alone on her way to meet friends in Southern Italy. She had just come from Dubai where she met friends and said after how clean and orderly that city was being in Rome was a shock.

    I forgot to mention Pompeo was in Rome right when we were. He shut down our St. Peter’s tour and impacted the tour at the Colosseum. We actually saw him and his entourage taking pictures inside. There must have been 50 black limos and police cars escorting him to the site. I can see where once people get in these high government positions they want to stay. The ass kissing that goes on is unreal.

    Also saw Newt Gingrich having dinner down the street from our hotel. He was eating outside with his wife, who I didn’t know at the time but do now, is the Ambassador to the Holy See. Here I left the U.S. to get away from the Trump madness and it followed me over there. Very strange.

  33. catsworking says:

    If I ever saw Newt out in the wild, I’d probably spontaneously vomit.

    Pompeo’s grabbing all the perks he can before he goes to prison with Trump.

    I’ve spent a few days here and there alone around Europe, but I don’t think I’d want to make a whole vacation of it. I don’t even walk alone around my neighborhood. I have no problem being by myself, but if something happened, I’d be missing for quite a while before anybody realized it because there’s no one here at home to notify and I can go for a week at a time with virtually no human contact because I work at home.

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