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Losing a Pet: What No one Tells You

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When you adopt a cat or kitten, there’s a lot they don’t tell you. Sure, everyone has an opinion on what kind of food to get, what kind of litter to use, whether to declaw or not, indoor only or outdoor adventure time. But they don’t tell you what REALLY matters. They don’t tell you what will happen when you lose your cat. Because losing a pet is unspeakably hard.

10 Truths No One Tells You About Losing a Pet- If you or someone you know lost a pet recently and is trying to figure out how to cope, send them this article. Grieving is a very personal experience, but there are things no one will tell you that you need to know about the death of a pet.

No one wants to think about it, no one wants to talk about it. They can’t imagine life without Mr. Whiskers and why should they? He’s just fine thank you very much. But someone oughta tell the truth about what happens to you when your cat dies. So today, I’m gonna be that person.

10 Truths No One Tells You About Losing a Pet

I write this post through stinging, blinding tears. The wounds in my heart are still raw and oozing. The grief is palpable. We lost our beloved Loki only three days ago. It feels like an eternity has passed without him, yet it feels like he should still be here.

I adopted him when he was just 8 weeks old, and he spent 13 not-long-enough years being my closest companion. I’m simultaneously a rookie and an expert on grief. I choke back sobs as I look for photos of him to use in this post. I pull the first few I can find, because I can’t bear to look for better ones.

Here’s what they don’t tell you about losing a pet:

They don’t tell you that after losing a pet, you’ll cry. All the time. A lot. You’ll be wracked with sobs then wracked with guilt. Guilt for “letting” your pet die, guilt for putting him down, guilt for every time you left him at home when you went to work, guilt for shooing him off the bed the night before he left you forever…then guilt for feeling like your world is torn apart over a cat.

Then you’ll cry more. You’ll remember bringing him home for the first time, when he climbed up onto your shoulder and wailed for his mommy. Then you became his mommy. And now you’re the one wailing.

They don’t tell you that even though you hated cats, that somehow this little bugger will weasel his way into your very soul with his big eyes.

10 Truths No One Tells You About Losing a Pet

The evidence of his paper shredding habit is dangling right there from his lip. No shame at all.

They don’t tell you that even if you think cats are assholes (and let’s not canonize the dead…Loki could be a grade A jerkface at times) one day you will miss the creature that shredded all your important papers. The one who tracked cat litter onto your desk. The one who sat on your keyboard while you were working. The one who bit your toes and pawed your face at 3am because he wanted to play.

You’ll miss all the douchey things. Every single one of them.

10 Truths No One Tells You About Losing a Pet

Yes that’s my to-do list. I ain’t even mad.

They don’t tell you that one day your cat will die, and you will go to throw away his litter box and somehow that poop receptacle will make you break down into uncontrollable sobs, to the point where your neighbors might actually call the cops for fear that you are being stabbed. But the only thing that’s stabbing you is heartache. Then you realize that you’re crying over a shit box. You cry harder.

They don’t tell you that after losing a pet that there won’t be words for your anguish, that you’ll feel powerless to explain how you really feel, and likely a swath of guilt. So instead of trying to articulate the knot in your stomach, you tell everyone you’re “fine”.

They don’t tell you that after losing a pet, even when you *know* you made the right decision whether to put him down or not, you’ll question everything. You’ll agonize over every decision you’ve made in his life. Did you take him off the kitten chow formula too soon? Was he maybe allergic to that cat litter?

Did he feel the same soul-crushing love for you as you did for him? Did he know that you had soul-crushing love for him? What if you didn’t show him how much you loved him?

10 Truths No One Tells You About Losing a Pet

A prince on his throne. Did he know how loved he was?

They don’t tell you that after losing a pet, you’ll wish you spent more time with him. Maybe you wish you could have taken a leave of absence from work to soak up all the love you could before it was all ripped away from you. Maybe you know that’s crazy, but right now you don’t care.

They don’t tell you that after losing a pet his memory will haunt you. You’ll think you see and hear him. You’ll panic for a moment you forgot to feed him. Or wonder where he is. You will remember he’s gone and then you’ll die a little inside all over again.

They don’t tell you that after losing a cat, your dog will look at you like you’re out of your mind every time you start to sob for no reason. He knows something is up, but mostly he’s excited that he gets all the attention. They don’t tell you that secretly, you’ll resent him and his blissful ignorance because secretly the cat was your favorite as he was your first pet. Then you’ll feel guilty about that too.

What they DO tell you about losing a pet is that in time, the wounds heal and life goes on. And they are right about that.

In time, we will heal. The wounds will scab over, and the pain will subside. Eventually scars will form, never fully returning to “normal” but to a new normal. But every day, I’ll miss that little rascal who earned the name Loki with his mischievous antics. And I will never forget the 13 years of love and shredded paper he gave us.

There is no wrong way to grieve, so long as the grief is a flowing river, not a stagnant pond. Don’t unpack and live in your grief. Let it flow at whatever speed you choose, but don’t let it get the best of you. <3

If you’ve recently lost a pet, I’m so very sorry and I hope this post helps you heal in whatever way possible.

What have you learned from the loss of a beloved pet?


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Tabitha

Tuesday 8th of October 2019

I just lost our precious cat, and my heart feels shattered. This post was perfectly written and I resonated with every line and laughed at throwing the litter box away because it’s stupid but yep it hurts. Thank you for making me laugh and cry. What a beautiful post. ❤️

Tabitha

Tuesday 8th of October 2019

We just lost*

Sully

Friday 20th of September 2019

My baby just died just three hours ago.

I got her from a kill-"shelter" on her expiration date. They determined that, as a "senior" cat of eight years old, she was less adoptable than the kittens and youthful cats and they needed the room. I told them eff that, I'd take her... That was nearly nine years ago. In that time, she has become my rock, my best friend, my child. I have never met a more loving creature - human or animal - than Tigressa. I have never been loved like she loves me, nor have I ever loved like I love her. For nine years, she has been by my side and, more often than not, directly in my arms. She was no stand-offish cat, she was demandingly clingy, constantly wanting to be held or cuddled at all times. At times that I could not hold her, she would perch next to me as close as she could. She slept with me every night, not at the foot of the bed, but in my arms like a child's beloved Teddy bear. She was the first person I saw in the morning and the last I saw at night. At the hight of two, year-long bouts of depression, she was the only thing that kept me alive. I literally didn't kill myself multiple times because she needed me and I couldn't leave her.

She got sick last weekend. I took her to the vet first thing Monday morning. They said she was anemic, dehydrated, and had an upper respiratory infection, all things that can be treated. They gave her shots, fluids, and meds to be taken at home. In the last two days, she seemed to have taken a turn for the better. She willingly drank water for the first time, she peed a little, she got up and moved around... I took her back to the vet today (Friday) for a check up, to make sure she was getting better. They thought she was holding strong. They said to monitor her over the weekend and come back next Monday....

She died an hour later. I don't even know what to do with myself now. I want my Tiggy back.

Sara

Saturday 21st of September 2019

I am really sorry to hear about your beloved cat. I just lost my 14-year-old cat, Jack, last week in my brother's arms. I just got "over" my cat Jasmine dying last August. It is like a part of you has died. Grief comes and goes but I am allowing myself the time. My heart truly goes out to you and I hope that each passing day becomes a little easier. Sending a BIG hug.

BrIdget

Tuesday 17th of September 2019

We lost our Grizzly Bear yesterday. He was attacked by a wild animal and sadly, his wounds continued to become more infected. We couldn’t bear see him go through the pain and discomfort. He was 3 years old and we weren’t ready to say goodbye. Loosing him has been devastating. I still wait to hear him come barreling down the stairs in the morning to greet us. His little nose prints are still all over the windows.

Theresa

Sunday 1st of September 2019

We just lost our beloved Squiggy 3 days ago. Yes, I know he was 19 and he lived a really GOOD life. Let's face it, he was spoiled rotten! LOL I woke up this morning and was looking for him. And then I remembered and broke down all over again. I know you're right. Time will heal the wound. Just have to ride the river. Thank you.

Danielle

Wednesday 28th of August 2019

I just had to put my baby Franklin to sleep after 17 and a half years. I was his mama but he’s the one who took care of me, through so many hard times and tears and anxiety, I would put my face in his back and just breathe his fur in and out, he put me to bed every night and was such a giver. My heart is broken and I know, as you said, some people do think “it was just a cat/pet”. He was my baby and I feel everything you said in this post. Thank you for this, the understanding is very calming during this pain.