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How To Survive The Loss of a Pet

how-to-survive-the-loss-of-a-pet

Dealing with the loss of a beloved pet can be extremely devastating! Before I adopted my cat from the ASPCA in 2009 I never really understood how close a pet can get to you. My cat (who I named Cat [don’t judge]) was truly one of my best friends, and the loss of him over a year ago has left a definite void in my life. To be honest, I knew I was in trouble the moment I adopted him! Having never had a cat I was totally unprepared for how finicky, smart and bossy they can be. While I don’t claim to be an expert on this subject, I just want to share how I was able to cope.

Let Go of the Guilt

This was probably the hardest thing for me to do, and I still sometimes question the decision I made to let the vet put Cat down. At the time of his death Cat was eight years old, and while he had some health issues, I never imagined that he would get seriously ill so early in his life. On April 28, 2016, I got home from work, and Cat was his usual self (i.e. fighting with our English Bulldog and sleeping), so was not at all worried about him. However, as we all got ready for bed, I noticed that I could not find him anywhere.

As time passed we realized that he was in his litter box crying, and could not get out. To make a long story short, Cat had a seizure that ended in him losing mobility in his back legs. My husband and I rushed out of the house with him, and thankfully found an all night vet office to check him out. That night I had to make of the hardest decisions of my life! With two children in my home and all the responsibilities they create, I could not in good conscience decided to spend thousands of dollars on “fixing” Cat. The vet’s honest answer that Cat would probably have another attack like this in the future also made it clear that I not load my family down with such a bill. The decision was made!

Saying Goodbye

I know that not all pet parents might have the option to be with their pet as they’re put to sleep, but I’m so grateful that I was able to. My husband and I were given a few minutes with him before the nurse came back with the “stuff”, so we spent it cuddling him and telling him how much we loved him. I have to admit that I was beside myself at this point, and I could tell my husband was extremely worried about me. While he had grown close to Cat in the nearly two years they’d lived with one another, Cat was my baby, and my grief was absolute. Having never been big on the idea of kissing my pets, I kissed Cat (not on the mouth) repeatedly until it was time for him to be injected. As hard as it was, I could tell he was in so much pain, and knew I could not let him linger like that. My true advice to anyone in this situation is to stay with your pet no matter how much it might hurt you! I truly feel that Cat was comforted by this, and that I would always wonder what really happened to him if I did not see him through to the end.

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Tribute

The vet we went to had a service that would cremate your pet, then bring the ashes to us if you requested them. I definitely wanted Cat’s ashes, and honestly did not feel right until the service brought the tiny white urn to me. I was in shock when it was handed to me! How could my fat cat be in such a little container?! I started thinking right away on what kind of tribute I could make for Cat, and seriously considered a tattoo before deciding on a piercing. On my 34th birthday (the first birthday I celebrated without Cat for almost a decade), I had my daith pierced. Once it healed, I started to search for the perfect earring that would represent Cat, and finally settled on a custom-made piece. The Body Gems Meow Ring stood out to me right away, and I found a local piercing studio that could order it for me (individuals cannot order from Body Gems directly). I chose a black rhodium finish with crystal clear gems in the ears. This was of course in homage to Cat’s distinctive black and white coloring. I’m in love with it, and actually started to tear up once it was put into its permanent home!

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Final Thoughts

For anyone reading this that is grieving the loss of a pet, let me first say how sorry I am for your loss! Secondly, don’t let anyone make you feel that because the grief is centered around a pet that it doesn’t matter. I had quite a few people try to make me feel like I was nuts because I mourned Cat so deeply. If they can’t understand it themselves, then trying to explain it to them is pointless!  Hopefully this post has helped you in some way, but I know it has helped me to talk about Cat and how much he meant tome. 

 

See you on the Rainbow Bridge sweetheart!

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Kim

Spokane based lifestyle blogger with a blended family and crazy miniature English bulldog.

pinit_fg_en_rect_red_28 How To Survive The Loss of a Pet

28 Comments

  1. Mayuri

    i am so sorry for your loss. pets are family too and when they leave us, what remains is their unconditional love and memories.

    19 . 09 . 2017
    • Kim

      Thanks Mayuri! It was a rough time

      19 . 09 . 2017
  2. Marian

    Losing a pet is difficult. I remember when my first cat died. I was devestated. These are great ways to mourn and honor your pet.

    19 . 09 . 2017
    • Kim

      Thanks Marian!

      20 . 09 . 2017
  3. lavanda MIchelle

    I loss a dog when i was a child and the heart lasted so long. I onky recently adopted a dog and I hope this helps me girls and i face the whatever comes in our future with Him.

    19 . 09 . 2017
  4. Aishwarya Shenolikar

    I can only imagine the pain & how hurt you must have felt. Thank you for sharing your story with us!

    19 . 09 . 2017
  5. Rose

    My pets ARE my pets but I don’t demote their importance to anyone else. I love my pets and respect their life just the same as my family. I have lost a cat and dog and it is the worse thing. My cat I had since it was a kitten and that means I had him for life so yes the pain is real. The pain is real aND people are entitled to their grief.

    19 . 09 . 2017
  6. LIndsey

    This is truly one of my biggest fears. My FRenchie has been with us for 9 years and the day I lose him Will be horrendous. I am so sorry for your loss.

    19 . 09 . 2017
  7. Anne Yedlin

    It is never easy to lose a member of the family. Those who have never had pets just don’t understand how close you get with them.

    19 . 09 . 2017
  8. MICHELLE GWYNN JONES

    I have lost a lot of pets during my life and it is hard to get over it. I recently put my dog to sleep – he had just turned 18 and was healthy up to about a month before. Like my cat, also 18, all of a sudden he went from getting a great report from the vet to systems shutting down almost over night.

    19 . 09 . 2017
    • Kim

      Thanks Michelle! I think that’s what hurt the most is that he was fine up until this happened! Sorry for your loss as well!

      20 . 09 . 2017
  9. Ophelia T

    This is such a great post. I have a cat that is 5 years old and a dog that is 1 year old, and i can’t imagine the sadness that you went through as you watch your baby sleep. Thanks for sharing.

    20 . 09 . 2017
  10. Emma

    What a sPecial tribute, so sorry for your loss. Sad reading this remeMbeR our loved pEts but good Memories too 💖

    20 . 09 . 2017
  11. Kitty

    I am soo sorry for your loss. I can totally understand how it feels coz my friend have been through the same phase and its hard to see someone go through it 🙁

    20 . 09 . 2017
  12. Natalie

    Losing a pet Is NEVER EASY. I REMEMBER SHEDDING MANY TEARS when our bunnies, hamster, budgie and goldfish passed.

    20 . 09 . 2017
  13. rain

    SORRY FOR your loss. 🙁 I can’t imagine life without my precious cats twyla and xena. i love them so much. I know a lot of people that wind up getting another cat right away to fill the void. Will you be doing that?

    20 . 09 . 2017
    • Kim

      Hi Rain! My husband thought I should get another cat right away, but i just couldn’t do it! I’m starting to miss the comfort of one though, so might have to bite the bullet and get one. Love your cat’s names!!

      20 . 09 . 2017
  14. Louise Bishop

    I dread the day my pets pass. They are only a year old! what’s wrong with me?

    20 . 09 . 2017
    • Kim

      You’re totally normal! Once Cat and I got to know another I knew I’d be devastated when he died, and i was right!

      20 . 09 . 2017
  15. David Elliott

    Losing a pet is a hard thing to go through. I remember when I finally lost my dog of 14 years. I knew that I didn’t want to be around when it happened. Part of me feels badly that I wasn’t there for her at the end. And part of me feels good that I didn’t have to watch her suffer. It was all strange and sad.

    20 . 09 . 2017
    • Kim

      Hi David! I was so in shock I don’t think I could’ve walked out of there on my own steam. It’s a sucky situation to be sure!

      20 . 09 . 2017
  16. Karina @ lovemade HanDmade

    I DREAD THE DAY WE HAVE TO SAY GOODBYE TO OUR PETS (THAT WE DONT CURRENTLY HAVE YET)… MY HEART BREAKS JUST THINKING ABOUT IT! IM SO GLAD YOU GOT THE OPPORTUNITY TO STAY CLOSE AND LOVE ON YOUR PET AND REMIND THEM OF YOUR LOVE FOR THEM BEFORE THEY PASSED. ITS HEARTBREAKING JUST THINKING ABOUT IT.

    20 . 09 . 2017
    • Kim

      Thanks Karina! I’m glad I was there for him too!

      20 . 09 . 2017
  17. Megan

    It is so heartwrenching to lose a pet because they truly are like family! I am also so sorry for the loss of your precious cat.

    21 . 09 . 2017
  18. sarah

    I don’t have any pet right now but I can feel your pain loosing your pet. I am so sorry.

    23 . 09 . 2017
  19. Blair villanueva

    I’m sorry for your lost.
    At home our strategy is to named the new pet the same same of our previous.

    25 . 09 . 2017
  20. Shaylah coogan

    I am so sorry for the loss of your beloved fur baby. I am a huge animal lover and over the years have had to say goodbye to many. It’s never easy but time does heal and we rescue another dog in memory of the baby we lost.

    30 . 09 . 2017
    • Kim

      Thanks Shaylah! We plan to adopt another cat once we’re all ready for it.

      01 . 10 . 2017
  21. Oindrila

    I would like to adopt a pet dog but the fear of loss is something that keeps me away from it.
    http://www.thediystyle.com

    16 . 10 . 2017

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