When The Moment Has Passed. Why We Grieve So Intensely.

gareth

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We often see posts on here along the lines of “I can’t believe how much it hurts” or “why does it hurt so much”, or even “losing my cat hurts more than losing my <insert relative or human loved one here>”. It appears that the grief you feel for your pet is unbelievably powerful.

I wanted to write a follow up to “when the moment comes” for those on the other side of that moment. I thought I’d write some notes on “why” in case it brings someone a momentary relief from their pain, or at least allows them to understand and accept it a little more.

So how can losing your cat hurt more than losing grandma.

Reason 1: Emotional Investment

Firstly, you didn’t have to emotionally invest in Grandma. She loved you from the moment you were born until the moment she died. Cats don’t work like that. It takes time, effort, and dedication from yourself to build trust with a cat. Cats take work. Cats take time. When you know a cat loves you and trusts you it’s such an amazing feeling because you know that didn’t happen overnight. If you have endured a year or two of being attacked by a rescue cat to find it one day sleeping on your head purring contently you know you have earned that. Look at how many posts there are on this board from people trying to work out why a cat has behaviour issues, or how they can tame a wild cat, or win their trust, their love. Cat people know that cats are high maintenance, no matter what dog people say. You don’t just “own” a cat. You build a relationship with them, often over months and years, a relationship that evolves and becomes more and more valuable. The day you lose your cat is the day you love your cat the most.

That’s one reason it hurts so much. You are invested in your cat in a way you just aren’t in a person. Oh sure, you hurt like hell when Grandma dies, but when your cat dies you aren’t just losing someone you considered a loved one, but someone you had to work had to get them to become a loved one. You are grieving for not only the loss of the individual, but also the loss of your emotional investment. Grandma loved you from day one, and you loved grandma. It didn’t change much over time. You didn’t have to earn Grandma’s trust, nor she yours. It was a relationship that was set in stone the moment you were born. So when you lose Grandma you lose that person you have always known, which is terribly sad, but you don’t feel like you lost all those months. All those years. All that time. All that effort.

Reason 2: We are creatures of routine.


Next up is routine. Humans are creatures of routine. From the time we are babies, our parents are told we need routine. When we are children we go through a week day routine that involved education, relaxation time, sleep time, eating time. Wash you hands after you go to the toilet. Brush your teeth twice a day when you get up and go to bed. Be in bed by X o clock. As an adult it doesn’t get any better. Be up by a certain time, dressed by a certain time, have the kids at school by a certain time, be at work at a certain time, take lunch at a certain time, leave at a certain time. Our lives are broken into tiny chunks of routine we follow almost religiously and take great comfort on. When those routines are broken we get upset. If we miss a train we might have to re-plan our entire day. If the kids can’t go to school it’s a nightmare. A loss of routine upsets us.

Now let’s talk about the duration of routine. I’m English, so I have a cup of tea about once an hour. It’s pathetic but I really do live the stereotype. If I miss a couple of cups of tea I can become quite distraught about it, albeit obviously in a very restrained, polite English way. Now if I see a relative twice a year and find out they died I will be sad. Maybe even distraught. But their loss has not affected my daily routine so my grief will be limited. I still have a cup of tea every hour. I still dress and feed my daughter. I still go to work. Every few months or so I will feel like I should going to see grandma and feel sad that she is not there any more but because I didn’t get up every day and see her as part of my daily routine my grief will be limited, both in time and possibly in intensity. If I lose a friend I see once every three years, my grief will be even more restrained. These are human beings, but because our contact with them, and their role in our day to day life is limited, so is our grief.

Now let’s go back to cats. I’ll use my cat Mia as an example of how she affects my daily routine. I wake up with her purring in my ear. Grandma definitely never did that. Mia does. Every day. Every day we have a little cuddle before I have to get up, with both of us perfectly contented. Then I get up, do my human routine stuff, then go feed her, after which I go get the baby up and dress her, whilst Mia watches us and tries to lick the baby’s head. If I am working from home then she sits besides me most of the day. If she wants attention she will walk over my keyboard (she’s loitering with intent even as I write this) or just lick my face until I give up and give her the attention she wants. Grandma definitely didn’t do that, and I grew up in Wales. In the evening I feed her again and then there’s usually a few hours where she sits on my lap or runs around the house with her brother. Maybe I take some photos of her, especially if she’s doing something cute with the baby because they clearly adore each other. Then she races me upstairs to bed, waits extremely impatiently whilst I swap our her litter tray, and put the baby in her cot, do my human stuff and then join her in the bed, at which point she curls up under my arm and goes to sleep.

This happens every day. Without fail.

If I wake up in a hotel for 1 day, a single day, then I notice she’s not there. If I wake up and she’s not there I get up and go looking, and can’t settle until I know she’s safe. If I came home and couldn’t find her in the house (she’s an indoor cat) I would go completely berserk. I’d pull the house to pieces looking for her. Do you see why? She is part of almost every aspect of my life. My entire daily routine would be thrown into disarray without her. Grandma may be a human being, but Mia is the first thing I see in the morning and the last thing I see at night. Mia is there at 3 in the morning helping me calm the baby. Mia is there when I am sick in bed. Mia is there when I have friends round for dinner. If I want a romantic evening with my wife then Mia is bloody there too unless I put a chair up against the door (unfortunately, Loki and Mia can open the door handles). That little brown can has inserted herself into every moment of my life that I am at home, and when I am not at home, I worry about her and hope she’s ok. If I was to write out my daily routine, it would say “Mia” on every other line.

So, when you think about it, it’s hardly surprising that the loss of your cat hits you so hard. Your routine has failed apart. That’s why so many of us say things like “I don’t know what to do with myself” or “I keep going to feed him / her”. It’s tragically, tragically sad, but you have to built a new routine, one that doesn’t involve your cat, before you can start to feel ok again.

Reason 3. Our support network

Let’s say Grandma goes to granny heaven. She’s not having a good day in this article to be honest. Your friends and family will probably come round to see you. They will send you cards. You will all sit down in your house and talk about old granny. They will hug you. They will call every few days to see how you are doing. Friends will come out of the woodwork and send you flowers. There will likely be an occasion where people will gather and celebrate Granny’s life. There will probably be a permanent marker of her life at which you can grieve. Organisations exist to keep these areas clean and tidy. Your grief is understand by all. Respected by all. Given credence by all. Your work may give you paid leave. Your work colleagues will all give you sympathy, and certainly give you understanding if you are off focus for a while. If you have a good manager, they will check up on your regularly to see how you are doing, and go a little easy on you because “we’ve all been there”. On Facebook or social media your entire network will offer their sympathies. Your partner will be there for you.

Now what happens when your cat dies. Your world falls apart. Your partner probably, but not always, shares in your pain and grief. As do your children. However, after that there is a really steep drop off in terms of sympathy. Your work is extremely unlikely to give you time off for pet bereavement, at least here in the UK. Mine does, but it’s my company. Your friends will range from those give you a very sincere “I’m so sorry for you” to those that say “FFS it’s just a cat why are you so upset”. The people that fall into the latter category should be fed slowly and methodically into a mincer whilst being asked “why are you screaming”, but perhaps I digress with a personal opinion. Sympathy, even where it exists, is likely to be much shorter lived. Few people will ask you a year after your loss how you are feeling. It’s a very sympathetic friend that says didn’t your cat die about a year ago”.

As humans we rely on the support of those around us, and when it comes to animals, I’m sorry to say the pain and grief are largely borne alone. You will carry your own pain and this takes it’s toll on you. It’s why pet grief is so overwhelming, and why so many people who are grieving say they are exhausted, or lose weight. Grief is not just an emotional discomfort, but a physical pain, and the support network tends to be not nearly as strong for those that lose pets.

Reason 4. The manner of their departure.

My Grandma died in her own bed aged 85. We knew she was going. She wasn’t in a lot of pain. She was warm, cared for, loved. She was in the home she had lived in for 30 years. My grandfather, being welsh and stubborn, lived another fifteen years until he was 99 before literally going to make a cup of tea and falling down dead. We knew he was fading fast. These deaths, whilst terribly upsetting because I was raised by my grandparents so in effect this was my mum and dad, were put into context because I knew they were very old, very frail, and in both cases had come to terms with their imminent departure. When they died I took a day off work for their funeral, drove up to Wales and cried through the day. I cried on and off for a couple of weeks. Every now and again, five years later, I cry about my mum and dad and always miss them.

When my cat Eva died, run down on a road she should never been near as a Burmese, I was devastated. More than that I was traumatised. People largely, thank god, tend to die in fairly controlled ways these days. We have so much technology to ease their passing. We have whole industries dedicated to ensuring our final years are as pain and discomfort free as possible. Whenever you talk to someone who has lost a friend, or loved one, they will always, without fail, that the traumatic deaths are the ones that you struggle to get over. The baby that dies suddenly leaving a mother and father who will never accept it and grieve for the rest of their lives. The parents of the teenager that dies in a crime and lives their rest of their lives in investable and perfectly understandable fury. Losses that are unexplainable are incredibly painful. Losses that seem unfair are traumatising. Eva was 1 day short of her 2nd birthday. She had so much life to give. Cats live dramatic and painfully short lives. They are run over and we find there battered bodies. They develop disease and go downhill so rapidly we don’t have time to comprehend what’s happening. They go for a walk, and never come back. Violent death is all too tragically common for cats. It’s long been understood that sudden, violent or unexplainable death is considerably more difficult to get over than death where we have time to come to terms with it. Cats lives lend themselves to unfortunate ends. They are often torn from us. We FIGHT for them. We throw time, passion and money at keeping them alive. And when they go we feel not that they have died, but they have been ripped from our arms. Is it any surprise that hurts.
 
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gareth

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continued...

Reason 5. We feel a responsibility for them.

Grandma was around before you were born. She knew more about life, love and death than you do. Grandma rocked. She didn’t depend on you. Maybe she did at the end, but hey that’s life. You didn’t go through your entire relationship ensuring their survival. We didn’t have to feed, clean and clothe Grandma. Well, some people do, and ask them how traumatic it is when the person they care for dies. Grandma was largely self sufficient. You don’t worry about Grandma if she’s out at night in the rain. Even in Wales we never used to leave a bowl of food out for a stray Grandma if we were worried she wasn’t getting enough nourishment. We never had to brush grandma. We never had to hand feed her or give her water. Until the end perhaps. My point is that Grandma looked after herself for most of her life.

Now let’s look at your cat. When your cat is hungry you feed it. When he or she needs water you give them water. If they jump in the bath with the baby (Loki I’m talking to you) then you towel them off and cuddle them until they stop looking scared. If they are indoor cats you protect them from getting outside. If they fall ill you feel a terrible cold in your heart and will move heaven and earth to make them well. You feel responsible for them. Eva, my Burmese should not have been on the road. They are an indoor breed. But she was born to roam. I couldn’t stop her, and in the end I gave up trying. And then she died. I’ll go to my grave knowing I could have done a bit more to stop her. I didn’t kill her, but I didn’t do my job properly. I will never fail another cat. Eva’s death haunts me, years later. We feel pain because we feel responsibility. We can feel like we failed, even though in the vast majority of cases we really didn’t. Eva would have got out another way sooner or later, and when I feel her loss that’s what I remind myself.

Reason 6, the real reason. The only reason.

Right then. Why does losing your cat hurt so much. This one will be short. I look at Mia doing something ridiculous and laugh out loud or reach for my camera, in the same way I do if my baby daughter does something funny. When Mia is lying in my arms I feel loved and somehow secure, and really warm knowing that she trusts me. I miss her when she is not around, and when I walk in the door and hear her miaowing and running over the wood floor to greet me I cannot help but smile. When the fireworks go off outside and she climbs under my jumper I know in that moment I would fight dragons to keep her safe. When I think about her ageing and falling ill and eventually passing I immediately move my mind elsewhere because the thought of the loss horrifies me. I worry about her safety, and spend time over her welfare. I take comfort knowing she is healthy, and that my daughter adores her, and vice versa. Watching her with my daughter, both happy as can be, and cuddling together, is simply the most awesome thing I have ever experienced in my life. There’s a word that encapsulates all of this. A word that describes this relationship. It’s love. It’s a love as real as any other. And the tragic end of love is pain. We feel the agony of loss because of the intensity of our relationship.

So, this turned into a bit of a ramble, for which I apologise, but the point is that your pain is all too sharp, and all too visceral, for very valid reasons. It's as likely to be PTSD as not. In the UK this is becoming more and more recognised. It shouldn't be surprising that those who watch their beloved pets die, or see their poo, violated bodies on the road, are traumatised in a very real way.

So be gentle on yourself, allow yourself to grieve, understand that it’s real, and that it will take time to pass.

In the meantime, I’m sorry for your loss. I really, genuinely am. You face this pain largely alone, but we on this board really are here to shoulder a tiny piece for you. We'll never bore of hearing stories of your cat, or looking at pictures. We'll never tire of you asking questions, or asking for help. We'll never belittle your pain. Ever. We've either all been there and understand your grief, or dread with very real horror the day we will face it. I can’t be there to make you a cup of tea and listen to the stories of your unique and wonderful love, but know if I was there I would do it gladly. It's what we British people do, after all.
 

Antonio65

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I think that I have to disagree with most of it, because I haven't found much that would fit my feelings for my cats.

My heart hurts, I hurt, because I have lost something that was important to me, not because she was a routine in my life, but because she was one who gave me unconditional love, who gave me tons of love while asking nothing. Because she was a pure soul and didn't deserve to suffer.
When my Lola died, I feel shattered because I gave her all myself and she gave me all herself and I felt that those all's had gone forever, that my source of love has disappeared.
I would have never seen her beautiful eyes again, I would have never heard her rough meow, or felt her coat or smelled her again. I loved every single hair of her, to my eyes she was the perfection on Earth, she was the most beautiful thing God had created in thousands of years. Probably to me she was God Himself.
Her trust in me was the highest form of confidence I have ever known, but I miss the fact that she would trust me, not that I was being trusted by her, this would be too a selfish statement.
She was the purest form of life that I had ever seen, it hurts me that I have not that pureness and sweetness around me anymore, I'm not crying over a routine.
She became a routine to me in her last year, when she needed to be helped with meds and food and other special things, but I do not miss these details, I miss her as she was.

Of course I did an emotional and an economic investment in my cats. And I know people who were angry after the death of their pets because they had spent lots of money and they lost it. I do not care about money. The money I spend is to have them healthy, not to make an investment, because I want them to live a happy and pain free life, not to boast how big my wallet... ehm... my love was.
But it's not those kinds of investment that I miss.
Mine was an investment of responsibility, I chose to take care of her with all myself, I chose to put her before me always. I dedicated my life to her, because she didn't deserve anything less.
And I feel that I have failed in this mission. This also hurts, the fact that I have failed. She died because I put her in wrong hands when she needed me the most. I know that guilty is a stage of grieving, and then it should fade into another stage, but this sense of guilty will be with me forever.

It's not how they die that hurts. I agree that a sudden and traumatic death finds us unprepared to it, and I agree that a disease gives us time to prepare our minds and hearts to the departure of our pets. But the result is the same, the loss of a source of unconditional love. Once it's gone, it's gone, no matter how.
People we love do love us back, but it's clear to everybody that this love is always stained and tainted with something else. And sometimes it may also look like not so pure.
The beauty of the love between a human being and an animal is the cross-species interaction, when you see that two different beings, with different habits and language can go along and understand each other, and then you feel that you have built something that goes above and beyond, that is something that exists only between the two of us, and is unique. This uniqueness is also the beauty of this kind of love.
I have been friend to so many animals and have cried and grieved over the death of a mouse too. A mouse!
Because I had understood that we had built a trust and probably what it could have been called love. And a mouse cannot be described as a routine.

I agree that losing a pet can hurt much more than losing a family person, but I do not really think it's because it's a routine or the lack of sympathy from others.

Forgive my words and my rant.
And forgive me if I wasn't able to convey my thought to my post. I have never been to good at communicating my ideas and feelings. Even in my own language.
 
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blueyedgirl5946

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I think everyone would have to write their own feelings down on paper about why thy grieve so intensely. What somebody else writes doesn't comfort me. It is different for everyone.
 

di and bob

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I agree, grief is different for each and every one of us. Antonio's post is as pure as his soul, everyone feels the intense hell that grief sends us into as an overwhelming, personal experience that is as different as we are. I know what both of them are talking about. Both the routine of loving daily repetition, and losing the intense, personal, unique love we shared with these precious little ones, are equally missed and grieved over. We feel lost, adrift..... and know for certain our lives are changed forever.
 

Timmer

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I let my Timmer go today. I'm sitting here feeling so raw right now.
I have no real human family to speak of. My two cats and in particular, Timothy, was my soulmate and the love of my life. I told him that every day. The thing is this...I had someone to love who loved me back. Now, I have one less in my life to love. As a person, I believe we need to give love and receive love. The older I get the less I trusted people and it made it easier to give all of my love to my cats. I sit here and think "what about the love?" Where does it go now? Who do I love the way I loved him? No one. He can never be replaced.

I do know what the original person who posted means about routine. I had very strict routine with my cats because they don't get along and one lived upstairs and one downstairs so my time was divided and we all got used to it. Now that Timmer is gone, my cat Lupita will have full run of the house again and can live without fear. I'm happy for her. My life the past eight years was filled with making sure each cat got love, attention and took turns sleeping with me. I am relieved there will not be that stress anymore. That's the only thing I can see that is a positive, if i may say so. But, yet, I would give anything to have Timmer back and keep on living the way we had been for eight years. I really honestly expected him to outlive the other cat. We tend to think the older ones die first. Not so.

And now I look around the house knowing he isn't here but his blankets, favorite toys, dishes are all here. Things he loved to sleep on. I will never see my couch again the same, since we spent so many times having coffee, reading naps, on it. My other cat is not a cuddler but he was. He couldn't stand to have me out of his sight. I'm going to have a hard time adjusting to things and him not being here. He was so deeply intertwined in my heart and in my life and soul. My heart is just shattered. Shattered.
 

Kyashasu

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Thank you for writing this. I know it was a bit ago, but everyone writing something helped me understand my feelings on this. Mine happened ten years ago and it is still affecting me.

Short story, my cat went missing while I was in college. I came home on my birthday to find out he had been gone for two weeks and no one told me or had really looked for him. He was declawed, been to the vet only once to get neutered. He was around 7 years old. We didn't know how to take care of a cat back then. I know now. I realize now. I wish I had this community back then. I wish I wish I wish. It was traumatic for me and still is. Right now is the anniversary for it. I almost broke down at work Sunday because of it. That has never happened before.

I cried for two hours after I found out and didn't know what to do....so I did nothing. I didn't know where to look or what to do because my family had thrown out everything of his. So I left and never came home for 8 years except for holidays. I didn't hurt those years...now I do. I'll be turning 30 in 6 days, but I cry as though it happened yesterday. He deserved so much better and I regret not being there to save him again. I should have been there or called home more or something. I should have looked even if I hadn't found him at least I would have tried! But I didn't think he could have survived after two weeks, now I know he could have. My only home is that someone found him and was kind enough to take care of him or that pity was given him and he was killed quickly too.

I have my good times and bad times. I wish I remembered more and took more photos of him. It was the first real time of losing someone really important in my life. He was such a good boy.

Thank you again for putting your thoughts into words so I could think through mine.

I also wanted to write something to head back to this post too...
 

Timmer

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Kyashasu,
I hope someone found your kitty and adopted him and gave him a wonderful life. That may have happened, you know. Let's hope it did.

I'm sorry that you grieve now. I think we go through periods in life where we reflect back and have regret. It's very painful. I have a regret too over an animal -- a horse I had when I was a teen. I will be thinking of her on my death bed. I can't even talk about it.
If only we could turn back the clock!!!
We never forget these animals who have touched us.
We all make mistakes you know. And when you are young, you are learning. It's just a part of life. I know that doesn't help you to tell you that but maybe take comfort in the fact that you are not alone here.
 

solomonar

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That was beautiful. I cant add or modify anything to this wonderful and miraculous piece of understanding of the (apparent) End .

But I would like to say few words about the Begging.

From the moment a Human decides to pick a cat (or to buy a cat, or to bring home a dog or a bird, you name it), the Human must understand that every Begining has an End.

And that the End is about pain.

Life with a cat particularly is not just petting and hearing purrs. Is about health concerns, is costly and bring troubles.

Why then care a Cat? Why adopt a Cat? They have shorter lifespans than us (at least than most of us :-)), so they are expected to leave us alone in a certain moment in time.

One reason maybe the way we see the world. Some may see only the black side and problems, the pains and suffering. Some are gifted to see the beautiful side of the world in any circumstances.

Adopting (or buying) a Cat is therefore the first step (or one of the steps) one makes to feel the Realm of Love (you may name it according to your ideas).

Some maybe aware about this, some maybe not. Some maybe do not care, they just love to be with a Cat. Whatever.

When somebody loves a Cat, that is about mirroring the feeling of the Cat about the human. The beautiful thing is that the Love built this way survive the material body. Somehow.

Pain. Keep loving. Start again, there is no real End.
 

Kyashasu

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Kyashasu,
I hope someone found your kitty and adopted him and gave him a wonderful life. That may have happened, you know. Let's hope it did.

I'm sorry that you grieve now. I think we go through periods in life where we reflect back and have regret. It's very painful. I have a regret too over an animal -- a horse I had when I was a teen. I will be thinking of her on my death bed. I can't even talk about it.
If only we could turn back the clock!!!
We never forget these animals who have touched us.
We all make mistakes you know. And when you are young, you are learning. It's just a part of life. I know that doesn't help you to tell you that but maybe take comfort in the fact that you are not alone here.

Thank you Timmer Timmer . I have been trying to think that way. Last thursday through Sunday were the hardest days I have had. Am I still sad, yes. I am trying to think that he was saved. And I am glad I have to community to come back to. I read through a lot of the rainbow bridge posts, which isn't good for me, but helped me see that a lot of people lost their cats through what should have been safe or as safe as could be. Mine was trusting my family...it should have been safe but wasn't. I will believe that my boy lived afterwards with a wonderful family and that he lived many years afterwards, it is what he would have wanted me to do.
 

catlover73

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No matter what the circumstances it is always hard when you do not get to say goodbye. Years ago I had a cat that passed away during treatment at the vets. I had visited her the night before she passed away. We thought we were going get to bring her home that day. She was getting treatment in the morning and her heart stopped. The vet could not bring her back. This was not expected the vet was in tears when she called to tell my hubby. My last words to my baby were I love you and will see you tomorrow. I felt like my heart had been ripped out. I can now remember the good times with her but it took me a long time to stop blaming myself for her death.
 

Plumeria

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Gareth,

I agree with a lot of what you said. Some of these exact thoughts have crossed my mind but you expressed them so eloquently. I just lost my "son" Leroy to brain cancer last week at 9 years old. I've had other cats but his passing has been the most painful and traumatizing. My previous cats all died of old age at 16, 18, and 21. I was sad when they passed, but also felt a sense of satisfaction that I was successfully able to protect them and they lived out their full life span. The 16 and 18 year olds were also older than me, so I knew I would lose them at some point and was prepared. Leroy's passing was unexpected. Once he got sick, he declined rapidly and was gone within weeks. As his condition deteriorated, he became needier and required more care. As our physical and emotional bond was rapidly intensifying, it abruptly vanished. It was a shock. I still don't know what hit me. I sometimes question if all this actually happened - was Leroy really hospitalized in the ICU? Did I really stay up all those nights caring for him? Did I really stop eating (like he did) and lose 10lbs? Is Leroy really gone? His absence is felt the moment I wake up in the morning because he was the first thing I would see when I opened my eyes. My routine has changed from that very first step - opening my eyes. Getting used to my new Leroy-less routine has been the hardest.
 

tarasgirl06

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continued...

Reason 5. We feel a responsibility for them.

Grandma was around before you were born. She knew more about life, love and death than you do. Grandma rocked. She didn’t depend on you. Maybe she did at the end, but hey that’s life. You didn’t go through your entire relationship ensuring their survival. We didn’t have to feed, clean and clothe Grandma. Well, some people do, and ask them how traumatic it is when the person they care for dies. Grandma was largely self sufficient. You don’t worry about Grandma if she’s out at night in the rain. Even in Wales we never used to leave a bowl of food out for a stray Grandma if we were worried she wasn’t getting enough nourishment. We never had to brush grandma. We never had to hand feed her or give her water. Until the end perhaps. My point is that Grandma looked after herself for most of her life.

Now let’s look at your cat. When your cat is hungry you feed it. When he or she needs water you give them water. If they jump in the bath with the baby (Loki I’m talking to you) then you towel them off and cuddle them until they stop looking scared. If they are indoor cats you protect them from getting outside. If they fall ill you feel a terrible cold in your heart and will move heaven and earth to make them well. You feel responsible for them. Eva, my Burmese should not have been on the road. They are an indoor breed. But she was born to roam. I couldn’t stop her, and in the end I gave up trying. And then she died. I’ll go to my grave knowing I could have done a bit more to stop her. I didn’t kill her, but I didn’t do my job properly. I will never fail another cat. Eva’s death haunts me, years later. We feel pain because we feel responsibility. We can feel like we failed, even though in the vast majority of cases we really didn’t. Eva would have got out another way sooner or later, and when I feel her loss that’s what I remind myself.

Reason 6, the real reason. The only reason.

Right then. Why does losing your cat hurt so much. This one will be short. I look at Mia doing something ridiculous and laugh out loud or reach for my camera, in the same way I do if my baby daughter does something funny. When Mia is lying in my arms I feel loved and somehow secure, and really warm knowing that she trusts me. I miss her when she is not around, and when I walk in the door and hear her miaowing and running over the wood floor to greet me I cannot help but smile. When the fireworks go off outside and she climbs under my jumper I know in that moment I would fight dragons to keep her safe. When I think about her ageing and falling ill and eventually passing I immediately move my mind elsewhere because the thought of the loss horrifies me. I worry about her safety, and spend time over her welfare. I take comfort knowing she is healthy, and that my daughter adores her, and vice versa. Watching her with my daughter, both happy as can be, and cuddling together, is simply the most awesome thing I have ever experienced in my life. There’s a word that encapsulates all of this. A word that describes this relationship. It’s love. It’s a love as real as any other. And the tragic end of love is pain. We feel the agony of loss because of the intensity of our relationship.

So, this turned into a bit of a ramble, for which I apologise, but the point is that your pain is all too sharp, and all too visceral, for very valid reasons. It's as likely to be PTSD as not. In the UK this is becoming more and more recognised. It shouldn't be surprising that those who watch their beloved pets die, or see their poo, violated bodies on the road, are traumatised in a very real way.

So be gentle on yourself, allow yourself to grieve, understand that it’s real, and that it will take time to pass.

In the meantime, I’m sorry for your loss. I really, genuinely am. You face this pain largely alone, but we on this board really are here to shoulder a tiny piece for you. We'll never bore of hearing stories of your cat, or looking at pictures. We'll never tire of you asking questions, or asking for help. We'll never belittle your pain. Ever. We've either all been there and understand your grief, or dread with very real horror the day we will face it. I can’t be there to make you a cup of tea and listen to the stories of your unique and wonderful love, but know if I was there I would do it gladly. It's what we British people do, after all.
My heartfelt condolences to you and your family on your loss of little Eva. That must have been so painful.
I encourage people especially in the UK where the tradition seems to be different, to keep their cats indoors only. This is what I do and what so many of us do. With varied stimuli, cats can be and are very happy indoors. And they're safer.
I absolutely agree about the mincer, by the way. Seriously.
*And is there something we don't know about grandmas in Wales?*
 
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gareth

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My heartfelt condolences to you and your family on your loss of little Eva. That must have been so painful.
I encourage people especially in the UK where the tradition seems to be different, to keep their cats indoors only. This is what I do and what so many of us do. With varied stimuli, cats can be and are very happy indoors. And they're safer.
I absolutely agree about the mincer, by the way. Seriously.
*And is there something we don't know about grandmas in Wales?*
I will never again intentionally let a cat outside. My two are perfectly happy indoors and have been since I got them 8 weeks after Eva was killed.
 

tarasgirl06

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I will never again intentionally let a cat outside. My two are perfectly happy indoors and have been since I got them 8 weeks after Eva was killed.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart. I can't even imagine people continuing to let them roam. I see our responsibility to those we love as similar to our responsibility to a toddler. Would we let one wander out in the street unsupervised? I don't think so. And yet, even with the terrible serial cat killer still at large in the UK people are refusing to be responsible because "that's how we've always done it" or "we're different here than you and that's what we want to do so stop interfering". It's always the CATS I care about.
 

tarasgirl06

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Just wanted to post saying that Cindy @artiemom is in my Prayers daily and that she and her precious little angel man Artie are in my thoughts. I know she hasn't posted here but since he has gone to the Bridge, I chose this place to post. Many of us are keeping them in our thoughts and prayers, I'm sure.
 

gordonsmom

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Thank you for writing this. I know it was a bit ago, but everyone writing something helped me understand my feelings on this. Mine happened ten years ago and it is still affecting me.

Short story, my cat went missing while I was in college. I came home on my birthday to find out he had been gone for two weeks and no one told me or had really looked for him. He was declawed, been to the vet only once to get neutered. He was around 7 years old. We didn't know how to take care of a cat back then. I know now. I realize now. I wish I had this community back then. I wish I wish I wish. It was traumatic for me and still is. Right now is the anniversary for it. I almost broke down at work Sunday because of it. That has never happened before.

I cried for two hours after I found out and didn't know what to do....so I did nothing. I didn't know where to look or what to do because my family had thrown out everything of his. So I left and never came home for 8 years except for holidays. I didn't hurt those years...now I do. I'll be turning 30 in 6 days, but I cry as though it happened yesterday. He deserved so much better and I regret not being there to save him again. I should have been there or called home more or something. I should have looked even if I hadn't found him at least I would have tried! But I didn't think he could have survived after two weeks, now I know he could have. My only home is that someone found him and was kind enough to take care of him or that pity was given him and he was killed quickly too.

I have my good times and bad times. I wish I remembered more and took more photos of him. It was the first real time of losing someone really important in my life. He was such a good boy.

Thank you again for putting your thoughts into words so I could think through mine.

I also wanted to write something to head back to this post too...
 

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I am so very sorry for your loss, G gordonsmom and I empathize bigtime. I would have done the same thing (leaving) and I would still feel as you do. Our loved ones do not become less our loved ones because time passes. I pray also that he was taken in by someone and had a long, happy, healthy, Loved life. As we'll never know, it makes just as much sense to think that way as any other.
 
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