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View Full Version : Pet Owners/Lovers - Is This Normal?



M.R.J. Le Blanc
03-09-2009, 09:28 PM
Okay it's like this. Last Thursday we took our cat to Animal Control. She's been really sick the past couple of years, and just got to the point where it wasn't really fair to keep her going anymore. We had her for almost 14 years. These past several years I was the one who was home more than anyone and she got more attached to me - she'd sleep near my computer desk, sometimes would follow me to bed. Packing her up to go on that drive was the hardest thing I ever had to do, and I was too much of a wreak to go in with her, couldn't even talk. It looked like though that I was doing okay, especially since it's not like there was nothing wrong with her. We knew it was the right decision, no matter how hard it was. Today I get up and I just can't do anything. Can't write, can't do work, had to push myself to tidy the house, it's like I have no thought process. I've been having moments where I just start crying, and I'm forcing myself to eat. I wanted to talk it out with someone, but all my friends are either busy or I'm afraid of what they'll think (or both, in some cases). I don't want to be seen as a drama queen or striving for attention, because I'm not. I was a young kid the last time I lost a dear pet, and I think kids tend to weather that kind of thing better.

So is this normal in any way after losing a family pet?

veinglory
03-09-2009, 09:31 PM
In short, yes, with a loved companion animal grief and depression is normal.

http://www.avma.org/animal_health/brochures/pet_loss/pet_loss_brochure.asp

Pet Loss Support Hotlines (grief counseling)
530-752-4200 or 800-565-1526—Staffed by University of California Davis veterinary students
630-325-1600—Staffed by Chicago VMA
607-253-3932—Staffed by Cornell University veterinary students
217-244-2273(CARE) or 877-394-2273(CARE)—Staffed by University of Illinois veterinary students
888-ISU-PLSH (888-478-7574)—Staffed by Iowa State University veterinary students and volunteers
517-432-2696—Staffed by Michigan State University veterinary students
614-292-1823; e-mail, petloss@osu.edu—Staffed by The Ohio State University veterinary students
508-839-7966—Staffed by Tufts University veterinary students
540-231-8038—Staffed by Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine
509-335-5704—Staffed by Washington State University veterinary students

Beach Bunny
03-09-2009, 09:34 PM
:Hug2: Yes, it is normal to feel grief when a pet dies, especially one that has bonded to you as your cat did. I lost my dog last November. He was my buddy, my pal, and I am tearing up while I am typing this. Allow yourself to grieve your loss. You have nothing to feel ashamed or guilty about. :Hug2:

Fenika
03-09-2009, 09:35 PM
You're having a normal reaction of depression to the loss of a family member. The lack of motivation will pass if you allow yourself to finish grieving (which you've already begun before you even picked up the kitty).

Find other cat lover friends who can relate. Dumping on someone is okay if they are your friend :Hug2:

Bubastes
03-09-2009, 09:35 PM
:Hug2: I'm so sorry to hear about your kitty.

It's normal. VERY normal. I had to euthanize my very ill kitty friend of 13 years only a few weeks ago. I stayed with her right up to the end. I couldn't stop crying for the first two days. The first week was very hard, but slowly I stepped back toward the land of the living. I'm still not at 100%, but I know I will in time.

If you haven't read the Rainbow Bridge story (easily found online), please do. I found it comforting. Remember to be extra gentle with yourself. You've lost a close friend. It's normal to grieve.

ETA: I'm tearing up as I type this right now. So again, don't feel silly for grieving.

CaroGirl
03-09-2009, 09:37 PM
You're grieving a loss. There are several ways to work through grief. Different things work for different people. You can bite the bullet and talk to a friend. Choose the best listener and most sympathetic person among your friends.

Try writing your feelings down. Write some anecdotes about your pet. The day you brought her home or the funniest thing she ever did or her most destructive moment. Relive some of the happy times in your writing.

Exercise. Really, this helps. Get out and go for a long walk or run in the fresh air. Think about your pet, or not, whichever you like.

Best of luck in getting through this tough time.

BenPanced
03-09-2009, 09:47 PM
It's very normal to feel the way you do. You've lost a member of your family, so allow yourself to cry when you need to and laugh when you want. A book I found helpful when I lost my two kitties was Cat Heaven by Cynthia Rylant (http://search.barnesandnoble.com/Cat-Heaven/Cynthia-Rylant/e/9780590100540/?itm=1). Very sweet and reassuring. :Hug2:

Susie
03-09-2009, 09:47 PM
Very sorry to hear about your cat. (((((HUGS)))))) & prayers are out to you.

DaddyCat
03-09-2009, 09:51 PM
What you're going through is very normal, and you're not alone. It happened to me just this past December. For the first two days, I didn't feel like breathing. I was mad at God, the universe and everything else in existence that let a microscopic strand of RNA take one of my cats right in his prime of life.

I let myself grieve as much as I felt like doing, and to hell with what anyone else thought. In a few days I was able to live again. The hurt is still there, but I can live with it now.

M.R.J. Le Blanc
03-09-2009, 09:57 PM
This is why I love this place so much. Thank you so much guys for the links, the advice and the reassurance. I don't feel quite so silly anymore. AW is a soft place to fall when you need it :)

Chumplet
03-09-2009, 10:00 PM
In my (almost) half century, I've gone through many pets. Some died after I had let them go, and some were taken to another place and I never knew when they passed. My beloved beagle was run over by my uncle's tractor and my parents were afraid to tell me. When my cousin broke the news, I was more angry than devastated.

I had to take my 14 year old dog to a shelter because my mom couldn't care for her anymore. I left her with the stipulation that they not tell me whether she was adopted or euthanized. I still cried all the way home.

My cat of 15 years dropped dead in the front yard. I wasn't surprised because she had lived a full nine lives and toward the end looked like she'd been through a blender. It was relief for her, really.

When my husband and I took my neighbour's dog to be 'put to sleep' it was the only time a pet died in my arms. I saw the softness leave her eyes and her body become still. It was a strange experience, yet I was glad I was with her to stroke her ears at the end.

So many different emotions go through a human when their pet leaves them - guilt, love, relief, anger... All of those emotions are okay.

Rainbow Bridge makes me cry every time, but it's a good cry.

Wayne K
03-09-2009, 10:02 PM
I've dealt with human deaths better than losing one of my pets. I think it's because I've never had an animal hurt me purposely. I've never had a cat steal my DVD player or hit on my wife.
Plainly and simply I love animals more. If that makes me misanthropic, I can live with that.

virtue_summer
03-09-2009, 10:22 PM
It's perfectly normal. Pets become family members. Each time I lose a pet I go through a grieving process, the same way I do when I lose a human family member. And I know that I'm not unique in that. We bond with our pets. We get to know them, their personalities and their quirks. We learn to depend on them being there. They bring us comfort and offer us companionship. After all that, I'd be surprised if someone didn't grieve the loss of their pet.

selkn.asrai
03-09-2009, 10:26 PM
It's v. normal, though no less heartbreaking. Last May, we lost our beloved 8 month old kitten to a mystery disease--we did everything we could for as long as we could. But one day I woke up and she was little more than a corpse with a pulse, and we decided that she had to be euthanized, because anything else would just be cruel. It was horrifying and devastating, and I felt like the world had stopped on its axis and everything was an exhausting chore. I cried nonstop, especially we packed up her things and put them away. A few days after her death, I put a tribute up to her on petloss.com that truly helped, coz I knew I wasn't a lunatic or derided for grieving a pet.

My best thoughts are with you. If you want to talk about it, feel free to PM. Many hugs.

qwerty
03-09-2009, 10:28 PM
Allow yourself to grieve, and be assured it would be ABnormal not to. I'm sorry to hear about your beloved cat. I know how much it hurts.

http://smileys.on-my-web.com/repository/Love/hug-035.gif

TerzaRima
03-09-2009, 10:29 PM
It's entirely normal. I'm very sorry.

Ol' Fashioned Girl
03-09-2009, 10:32 PM
Ditto, here. You're as normal as any being with a soft heart... and that's good.


I've dealt with human deaths better than losing one of my pets. I think it's because I've never had an animal hurt me purposely. I've never had a cat steal my DVD player or hit on my wife.
Plainly and simply I love animals more. If that makes me misanthropic, I can live with that.

Me, too... well, except for that 'hit on my wife' thing. :)

regdog
03-09-2009, 10:34 PM
:Hug2: So sorry for your loss. The loss of a pet is awful hard to take, even when we know it's for the best. I still grieve the loss of my favorite cat and can barely think of him without tearing up and it has been five years.

Our pets are the ones who will always love us just as we are. They don't care if we've put on weight, aren't raking in the big bucks, haven't been published, don't live in the nicest house, or in the best neighborhood. They don't find fault with what we say or our quirks. To them we are perfect and they love us unconditionally.

Jersey Chick
03-09-2009, 10:36 PM
It's normal and it's okay {{{HUGS}}}

When I had to put my dog Bear (RIP) to sleep, it was the hardest decision I ever had to make, even though it was the right decision. He was a big dog, so I sat on the floor with him, his head in my lap, and just petted him until it was all over. Then, I stayed with him a little while longer. I have his ashes in my office along with his collar and his favorite toy. I still choke up when I think about him for too long or when something brings back a memory - like snow. He loved to play in the snow. And it still makes me a little sad when it snows (and Bear died 6 years ago) And I'm also tearing up now... it sucks so much.

It gets easier... really... And I'm sorry about your kitty. It was the right thing to do, even if it does hurt.

Here's something that might make it a little easier....

Rainbow Bridge ("http://www.petloss.com/poems/maingrp/rainbowb.htm)

LaurieD
03-09-2009, 10:48 PM
As everyone before me has already said, you are not alone.

Your path was mine this past summer, though there was no other option, I had to be the one to take our Golden Retriever/yellow Lab. Jake was my husband's dog, a furry 1999 Valentine's Day present from me who soon grew to hold a most special place in all our hearts and my husband was too distraught to take him. I know letting him go was the best thing for him, and the best for all of us who loved him - watching him suffer with cancer would have been torture. Time has passed and life has gone on. Some things have gotten easier - just the other day I was able to move his tennis balls from near my desk, where he stashed them last and I'd so carefully kept them, to a spot on the bookshelf in my room. Some things still have tears and I imagine will for quite a while to come.

The light will come back to your day, a little bit at a time. Allow yourself time to grieve.

I highly recommend The Rainbow Bridge.

~ LaurieD :Hug2:

Mela
03-09-2009, 10:50 PM
OH, yes, it's hard.
Weeks after Katie Belle was put to sleep - I had her 15 years - I still said good bye to her morning because it was what I was used to.
It will pass.
(((HUGS)))

Old Hack
03-10-2009, 12:09 AM
It's completely normal and you're not alone in feeling sad at the passing of a beloved companion: I've been there too, and know that I'll be there again when any of our current batch of cats and dogs move on from here.

Take heart in knowing that you gave your friend a good life, and a long one too. And while it might not seem so now, this will get easier to bear as time passes.

sassandgroove
03-10-2009, 12:14 AM
Sorry for your loss. :Hug2: I'll be lost without my dog when the time comes. :(.

Wayne K
03-10-2009, 01:03 AM
Me, too... well, except for that 'hit on my wife' thing. :)
You can hit on my wife anytime.

Pagey's_Girl
03-10-2009, 01:32 AM
((HUGS))

Not all the members of our families are human. I still tear up thinking about a little parrot I lost far too soon, some years ago. I know exactly how you're feeling. :(

Komnena
03-10-2009, 02:03 AM
I still miss the cat I lost last year to cancer. His slot was claimed quickly but not his place in my heart.

Rarri
03-10-2009, 02:15 AM
That's normal, pets become family members and the grief when they pass can be excrutiating. I've lost a foal and rabbit (the cat is still going strong!), they were very hard, i wasn't allowed to see our foal be put down and i still struggle with that, whilst i was with my rabbit when he died.

Things will get easier, i think though the grief can be harder when we've 'chosen' to have them put to sleep even though it may be thr right decision.

KTC
03-10-2009, 02:20 AM
Okay it's like this. Last Thursday we took our cat to Animal Control. She's been really sick the past couple of years, and just got to the point where it wasn't really fair to keep her going anymore. We had her for almost 14 years. These past several years I was the one who was home more than anyone and she got more attached to me - she'd sleep near my computer desk, sometimes would follow me to bed. Packing her up to go on that drive was the hardest thing I ever had to do, and I was too much of a wreak to go in with her, couldn't even talk. It looked like though that I was doing okay, especially since it's not like there was nothing wrong with her. We knew it was the right decision, no matter how hard it was. Today I get up and I just can't do anything. Can't write, can't do work, had to push myself to tidy the house, it's like I have no thought process. I've been having moments where I just start crying, and I'm forcing myself to eat. I wanted to talk it out with someone, but all my friends are either busy or I'm afraid of what they'll think (or both, in some cases). I don't want to be seen as a drama queen or striving for attention, because I'm not. I was a young kid the last time I lost a dear pet, and I think kids tend to weather that kind of thing better.

So is this normal in any way after losing a family pet?

I too was young when I last lost a family pet. As I write this, my golden retriever is lounging at my feet. I can tell you that what you are experiencing is totally natural. I'm so sorry you lost your family member. I try not even thinking about the day I'll lose my girl. Maybe you can find friends who have pets to talk to. I'm sure they would completely understand. Do any of your friends have pets they love? You are grieving the loss of a loved one. There will come a time when you feel better, but this is a natural process--whether the loved one is a person or an animal you have lost a dear one. I'm so sorry you had to go through it. I hope you find a caring ear. And I hope that you allow yourself to grieve fully. Don't be ashamed or feel funny about the degree of your grief. You loved your cat. Lost love is lost love.

M.R.J. Le Blanc
03-10-2009, 02:50 AM
Yeah, I have a few friends who have pets. I'm chatting with one of them on FB, she just lost a pet not too long ago also. It's just some I don't feel comfortable approaching for some reason, and so I just keep quiet. I have a hard time finding places and people with whom I feel completely and totally comfortable and open, but I have a few. AW is one, my friend I'm chatting to currently is another, it's helping. I know it'll eventually stop hurting so bad, it's just trying to get through that hard part. But it really helps being around people who not only just say 'you'll feel better eventually' but 'I've been there too, I get how you're feeling'. To me, the latter's more comforting than the former.

TerzaRima
03-10-2009, 03:25 AM
some I don't feel comfortable approaching for some reason, and so I just keep quiet.

Well, sure. Some people are oafs. When I had to euthanize my calico cat companion of several years, one of my colleagues asked me why I looked tired, and I explained that I had been up all night at the local veterinary ER and why. She said, "Oh, that's too bad. But, you know, it's a cat. It's not like it's your child."

I said, looking concerned, "So are you saying breastfeeding her all those years wasn't even necessary? "

As cliched as it sounds, allow yourself time to miss her.

Angie
03-10-2009, 03:42 AM
I will be a complete basket case when either my dog or my cat goes. I know a lot of people don't understand that pets are family, but if they're friends they'll still listen and be there for you. As others have said, give yourself time to go through the grieving process.

:Hug2:

Jean Marie
03-10-2009, 06:27 AM
I'm very sorry about the loss of your kitty, MRJ. It's a tough one. I've got 3 kitties and 2 pups; 1 pup belonged to my mom. I may have to put my eldest kitty down tomorrow. It's been coming up for sometime, now. So, I know exactly where you're at. Even though I've gone through it before, it's incredibly difficult.

The bond we have our animals/pets is like no other.

Allow yourself to grieve; it's a process that does take time.

imsleepy
03-10-2009, 07:12 AM
I'm so sorry! That is such a terrible thing. My Pomeranian died a couple years ago. Without warning he just got sick, his kidneys failed and we had to put him down. I sat there with him holding his paw the whole time, and I felt exactly as you described. In the waiting room, there was a couple of kids with a sick pet, and I told myself over and over not to cry in front of them. I didn't want them to get scared of what would happen to their pet. But I couldn't help it, I just lost control and sobbed so hard I couldn't even speak. He was buddy since I was nine years old, my best friend. He was there when no one else was. He was my little protector when I was scared, and my diary when no one else was allowed to hear my thoughts.

I found it hard to talk about him to anyone, and it seemed like no one was there to listen. When I finally found someone, I figured out that it helped me a lot to just talk about him. To talk about my feelings, yes, but to just tell them about the silly way he would chase his shadows, and all the things he did with us. Focusing on the good things, the funny things, and the happy memories we shared together helped me pull through, and still does. I still shed a tear once in a while when I think of him, but I feel much better now.

If you need someone to talk to, feel free to PM me. I'd be glad to just listen to you talk about your kitty.