Coping with the loss of a pet

How can anyone cope with the loss of their best friend in the whole wide world?

Believe me it isn’t easy but you will feel less pain in a few weeks, months or years.

It takes time and you need to go through the same stages of grief that you would if a dear friend or family member died.

You will feel sad, depressed, angry, and lost. How you handle it will depend on YOU as a person. When my husband’s cat died earlier this year from his 2nd (and this time fatal) stroke, my husband got depressed and drank himself into oblivion for a day or two. My son decided he never wanted to have another pet (he had lost his cat two years previously to cancer). My son didn’t want to go through the loss again. I cried as we buried him and I am still sad while writing this. I got the task of taking care of all the “cat things”.

The next week or two every little thing reminded us of our friend. How he used to meet us when we came home, an over-looked toy, the way he used to snuggle, etc. Our house was no longer a home anymore.

I decided we NEEDED another pet. I considered all of our options – dogs, cats, rats, ferrets, etc. I came to the conclusion that a cat was the best type of pet for our family. But I didn’t want another cat JUST like our last pair of cats. I didn’t want to look at him and be reminded of what we had lost. I also knew that would be the worst thing for my son and husband and that for them to give a new pet a chance it HAD to be different – unique in it’s own way.

I went on-line to our local shelter’s website to see what was available and there really weren’t many cats listed (I was not looking for a new kitten to train, I wanted a cat old enough to have already developed it’s own personality but not so old it would die in just a year or two.)

So, I went a little farther away to a neighboring town. They had three times as many cats available for adoption and two were perfect. The one had been at the shelter for 2 months – recovering from abuse by the previous owner’s girlfriend (he kept her and got rid of his cat). Part of his tail had been amputated and he had a permanent limp but he was still lovable and liked people. The other one kept “trying to escape” from a tiny trailer with two heavy smokers so they turned him in to the shelter. Both neutered males about the same size and age (2-1/2 and 3). Neither cat looked anything like our previous cats.

I told my family I was going to get two cats – needless to say they were not too happy. I told them these would be MY cats. I would do all the work of taking care of them and since the other cats had been theirs I had not had a pet of MY own for 11 years. If they wanted they could enjoy them or not – their choice.

I got everything ready and brought them home. It took a couple of days before the stopped hiding all the time and started to get to know each other and us. Now a few weeks later, my son and the one cat curl up on our sofa and watch television together while my husband sleeps with the cat with part of a tail. The new cats are recovering from the loss of their families and being taken to the shelter. We are healing from the loss of our other cat and we will NEVER forget him, but our house is a home once again.

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