Leeloo 2000–2021

Our little ship’s cat died last week.

I still hear her everywhere and see her everywhere. Our day was so full of cat rituals: sunbathing and petting session in the morning, making sure she ate a few bites every few hours, waking her during the day so she’d be tired at night, sitting out in the cockpit during the evenings to ‘air’ the cat, then down to the saloon for ‘couchtime’–she’d already hop on the sofa and wait for us to get cuddled from both sides while we were watching some telly series. We’ve never been on the boat without her (just a few weekends when we had the boat in Croatia, but we always took her along for sailing holidays) and now Pitufa feels horribly empty without her.

She was right in the centre of our lives for a long time. Keeping the cat safe and happy was a priority for 21 years: our choice of houses/flats in Austria, Sweden and the Uk, the decision to go cruising instead of other forms of travelling, the destinations we could sail to, the fact that we could never leave her alone with the boat, our itinerary to keep her ‘cool’and comfy–it’s become second nature to see the world through her eyes, what she’d like and dislike.

In a house in Europe with a vet to help with her aches, a pet shop to supply her with different brands and flavours every day (even though we brought bags full of expensive food from Austria and ordered a big package from the US last year she just sniffed the cans I still have left, not enough variety on the menu…) and an extra room (preferably sound proof to give us some rest at night) we could probably have nursed her for another year. Or she may have had a stroke next week–we’ll never know.
On the other hand if we had stayed in Europe we would have both worked long hours, she would have spent most of the days alone at home instead of having us constantly around, she would have long starved without me around to coax her into into eating tiny morsels during the day, she might have been run over by a car years ago–who knows what could or would have been.

I just keep telling myself that she got more love and attention over the last 21 years than 99% of all other cats on the globe and probably most children as well (given the fact that kids grow up and move out at some point). She filled our days with joy, love and purrs in return. Brrrreeeow, mrrrrah, meeep, she had a whole array of little sounds and I can’t believe I’ll never hear her again. She turned high maintenance towards the end, but she gave us so much during her long life.

Leeloo leaves a gaping cat-shaped hole in our lives.


  1. Norbert says:

    Hallo Birgit und Christian!

    Als wir euren Post über LeeLoo gelesen haben sind uns die Tränen gekommen. Wir sind wir ihr auch Katzenfreunde und können eure Trauer sehr gut teilen. Über LeeLoo haben wir damals euren Blog gefunden, als wir gegoogelt haben, ob Katzen auch seekrank werden können. Seither verfolgen wir täglich eure Reise.

    Mit 21 Jahren hat eure LeeLoo ein stattliches Katzenalter erreicht. Aber ganz gleich wie alt sie auch geworden wäre, der Abschied von so einem guten Freund ist immer schwer. Sie hinterlässt sicher ein großes Loch in eurem Leben. Denkt immer daran, wieviel Freude und schöne Momente sie euch gebracht hat. Und nun hat sie nach einem schönen und sicher interessanten Katzenleben den langen tiefen Schlaf angetreten, der unser aller Bestimmung ist. Ich weiß, das ist kein Trost, aber ohne Tot gäbe es auch kein Leben.

    Denkt immer an die schönen Tage mit eurer kleinen LeeLoo. Allzeit gute Fahrt euch beiden! Es wird auch wieder die Sonne aufgehen.

    Wir fühlen mit euch
    Rosi und Norbert aus Aachen, Deutschland

  2. Mike says:

    Hello Birgit and Christian,

    I found your website a few weeks ago and have been binging on your journey, loving that your wonderful cat shared your adventures with you.

    I am so sorry that she is no longer with you, and I feel your loss sharply myself, having lost a cat of 19 years just a few weeks ago. I still “see” him around the corner, and even now I have a few tears in my eyes as I think about him.

    You did gave Leeloo an amazing life and she will live forever in your hearts and minds.

    Thank you so much for sharing such a painful goodbye with all of us.



  3. Diana says:

    What a sad post….. I truly feel with you both and – as a cat owner myself – I do more than understand your grief. I’ve followed you quite a few years and lately was also worried about Leeloo’s health.

    Never forget, she had a fantastic life with you guys and received so much love. Many other animals are not that lucky.

    I’ll light a candle for your sweet Leeloo, my heart is with you!

    Purrs…. =^.^=

  4. Karen Birkett says:

    Oh Birgit,
    I am so sorry. I know that gaping hole well. Leeloo was a mascot, and a wonderful ambassador. Her pics delighted me to no end, her one of a kind personality shone right thru that camera.

    Dont ever second guess your decision to take her on your adventure. You are 100% right, she was right where she wanted to be , with you guys 27/7. She was Loved and she knew it. Thats what matters most , she lived a charmed life , a truly blessed sea kitty. Most are not so lucky as to have humans that really know how to care for an animal with love and a solid commitment. You were the best kitty parents a cat could ever wish for. My heart breaks for you.

    Her photographs live on all across the internet and that continues to bring a smile to many people that see her adventuring, lounging and loving life. She sure got my attention !

    Again, my deepest sympathy and condolences . write and let me know what happened when you have time.
    Karen from Sarasota Fl. USA

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