I am not even sure why I am posting this here; guess I feel like reaching out. My cat died yesterday. I loved him very much, had him since I was ten years old. I feel very strange about the whole thing. There's no heartbreak to his story. His name was Billy, he was sixteen years old, and he could not have been more loved or better taken care of. We got him through some rescue operation; he'd been on the street. He was very scared of humans when we first got him. Even after he got used to us, he would run away every time someone knocked at the door or every time we had company. Through love and affection, he got over that, we helped him gain back his trust. He became very affectionate, even with strangers, after a while, and stayed that way most of his life. In return he gave a lot to us. He was adored, the apple of everyone's eye, and even a bit spoiled.
I feel really shitty, to be honest. I cried today; it feels more real than it did last night. And I'm not a crier, I feel so strange about all this. I lost my brother in 2007; I would have thought going through that would make this easier. He's just a cat after all. But that loss seems to making this one harder, instead. The feelings are the same, just less intense, of course, but it's the same essential emotions.
Has anyone here lost a pet? Is it normal to feel this way?
Of course there's nothing weird about it, you shouldn't add to the grief by telling yourself you shouldn't be grieving. I've known a couple of people who have taken months and months to get over the death of a pet. When you've taken care of the same animal for years and years and years, why shouldn't some emotional attachment have developed? Especially when it's a rescued animal, I think that makes the attachment even stronger.
It sucks man, sorry it happened. There's nothing wrong with feeling the way you are.
The only advice I can offer - which you didn't ask for, I know - is don't think you can replace Billy. Getting another cat isn't the answer anymore than having another child would be the solution to grief from the death of a son. But I'm sure you realize that. I'm sure humans go through the same five stages with the death of a loved pet that they do the death of a loved family member.
What Bucs said. Go with what you feel, it's alright. The more you try to deny or fight your grief the worse it is to deal with. Our close animal companions IMO connect with us in a way that people can't.
We have a 16 yo Sheltie who is near the end and the fact that she's had a great life etc. doesn't make it easier.
And going through death before doesn't make the next one easier, each situation is unique. We have a dear friend whose husband was a mortician and she trained and was a grief counseler in his business. When he became ill and died at a much too young age, it was tough on her and she commented that even knowing the stages of grief etc., it was like she knew nothing.
And finally, a little later, you grief is a reflection of the wonderful time you had with your pet and you can look back on it fondly.
I've had both of my childhood dogs die relatively recently. The first was the hardest, we got him when I was 5 and he died when I was 20. I was away at college and could barely sit through class that day. One thing that helped me was to tell friends about it and trade dog stories. Laugh and remember the good stuff.
Both of my dogs died before holidays, so the family was gathered fairly soon afterward. We all dealt with it as a group by taking a few hour dedicated to looking at family photos with the dogs in them, and recounting stories to each other. Again, remember the good and be glad they were around rather than sorry they are gone.
I disagree with the advice to not go out and get another pet. You had a pet because you like them, so why not get another? Don't run out the next day, obviously, but in a week or two go visit some shelters if you are so inclined. Pet relationships are like human relationships in some ways, but I think a "rebound pet" is perfectly acceptable as long as you are indeed committed to having another pet.
Lloyd: When I met Mary, I got that old fashioned romantic feeling, where I'd do anything to bone her. Harry: That's a special feeling.
This past spring, our family rabbit passed away. I was 24 at the time, and we had her since I was about 10 or 12. Plus, she had lived with two other families before us, so we weren't exactly sure how old she was. I've been at college and living on my own the past few years, so I hadn't been as close to her lately as I was in my younger days.
During one of my bi-monthly visits home in the Spring, I had noticed how thin she looked and my parents remarked that she may have something wrong with her. I suggested putting her down before she got worse. My parents went on a walk, leaving me home- Trixie stretched out in her cage, as she usually does, but I heard a lot of noise coming from the kitchen while I was in the other room. I ran in there to find that she had fallen on her side and was struggling to get back on all fours. It was a sad sight and when she finally did, you could hear her heart thumping. I was scared she was going to pass right then, so I went across the street to my aunt's house to hang out 'til my parents got home.
When I saw my parents return home, I walked back over. When I came in the door, my mom had just gotten off the phone and was in tears. She had called the vet to take Trixie to put her down later that night. I was a little in shock, but understood the necessity of it. I was surprised my mother took it so hard, but every morning my parents got up, changed her cage, and let her run around the kitchen. 12 years of that must've hit mom at that point. My dad and I had a fantasy baseball draft with some other guys that night, and he had to slip out at one point to take her, with mom, to the vet to get put down. It was distracting sitting there, knowing in a few hours she'd be gone. And it was weird leaving the house that night, knowing I'd never see her again.
But now, she's buried in our backyard and she'll always be a part of our family in one way or another. I don't think I cried per se, but I did tear up. This was the only pet I've ever had and don't blame anyone for getting emotional over the death of a pet.
Originally posted by samoflangeI disagree with the advice to not go out and get another pet.
I did not mean to not go get another pet. I meant don't expect that new pet to be the old one.
"I want a new cat" is fine. "I want a new cat to replace my old one" is unrealistic and perhaps unhealthy. I've never had a pet who I was this attached to die, but I'd say don't get a new one until you've accepted the death of the previous one and moved on.
I think it is perfectly normal to feel this way, and to feel like it for awhile.
I felt absolutely awful for weeks after Kira died. Packing up all her toys and things, and trying to deal with Stormy missing her and not knowing how to deal with us being upset... and he was still a puppy. Having him there made it bearable, but I'd keep expecting to see her or think I heard her.
It was several months before we were ready to get another cat (we ended up with three...) and every so often we'll find things we were saving for her, or the current kitties will play with something she used to love (or turned her nose up at) or we'll look at Stormy's puppy pictures with Kira stealing his food and it still aches a little.
I haven't been able to bring myself to bury her ashes yet (I have a mosaic stepping stone she loved for a marker and there's a potted tree we haven't managed to kill that will be planted next to the stone). I know it's silly but I want to have just the right spot, and have the yard more under control before we do it. Maybe I'm just fooling myself and I'm not ready to let go of that last physical presence of her.
Originally posted by Liseand every so often we'll find things we were saving for her, or the current kitties will play with something she used to love (or turned her nose up at) or we'll look at Stormy's puppy pictures with Kira stealing his food and it still aches a little.
Yes, that's kind of how I've been feeling today. Walked around the house, out in the yard, and all of these memories are flooding back. Antics of his I hadn't thought about in years. I'm sure there'll be lots of that for some time.
I haven't thought about another cat, but maybe someday. I really appreciate everyone's contributions, it does help.
Wow, my prayers are with you. That's rough - it's never easy to lose a pet.
When I was a teenager, we lost our pet dog, Sparky - and it broke my heart. He was the best Heinz 57 dog ever. He was a little bit of everything. He wasn't a mutt - though he could easily be classified as one - he was an everything dog.
Anyhow, getting over his passing was difficult, and when I felt as though I healed enough to get another dog, I found that getting a new dog wasn't the right answer. Even though I made peace with Sparky's passing, I knew that getting a new dog wasn't the answer. So, I got a cat, and Sparky came to live with us. This time, Sparky was a cat.
The moral of the story is, maybe when you're ready to get a new pet, look to getting a dog instead of a cat.
I think I'm rambling, so take from that what you will, but maybe getting a new pet that isn't anything like your former pet may be also healing.
Our dog that we got when I was in Kindergarten passed away when I was in boot camp. When I found out, my mom said that he was getting old, (almost all of his hair had gone gray) and one day he went to the door to be let out, and just walked out slowly into the woods and never came back. Broke my heart. Since then, I've had a few pets that I've not really cared for as much. Now we have three dogs, and if anything happened to one of them, I'd be so sad.
It's hard, I think, because pets usually just love. They don't piss you off every now and then, they don't ask you why you aren't a better person, they just give you love. That's why I think it's harder for a pet to pass sometimes, than a relative.
Don't ever feel ashamed for you feelings. The loss of a pet is very hard. There are even support groups out there for it. Again, you didn't ask for advice... but I would suggest posting something similar on a pet loss site- they are all over the place. Put up some pictures and memorialize him forever. Then, when the time is right for you, go ahead and get another cat. You will find, while it will never be Billy, it will fill that void. Especially if you do the same thing and go with an sheltered/abused animal that you can truly do some good for in the spirit of your passed cat.