Coming to terms with losing a fur baby unexpectedly - VeggieBoards
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#1 Old 10-09-2010, 11:59 AM
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My cat died 11 days ago completely unexpectedly. He'd been having funny turns for three days and I'd taken him to the vet that day, but they didn't find anything. At around eight o'clock on Tuesday night, he started having a huge seizure and then another and another, with less and less time in between each. We took him to the emergency vet, and by the time we got there, he was fitting uncontrollably. Unfortunately, there was nothing they could do to stabilise him and we decided that putting him to sleep was the only thing that we could do to help him. He was my best friend and at only five years old, I'm really struggling to come to terms with it and believe that he's never coming back.

I'm just wondering if anyone can offer advice of ways to remember him and mourn for him while solidifying the idea in my mind that he really is gone. Because he was so young, I think I'm still in shock. I feel completely numb most of the time, like I can't accept what's happened. I keep expecting to wake up, and it does sort of feel like I'm in a dream, like nothing's real. Since most people tend not to form quite such strong bonds with their companion animals, it's not really something I can talk about and everyone else is just getting on with things and acting like nothing's happened.

How do I deal with this when most other people think he was 'just a cat'? If a human family member had died, I think I'd find it easier to come to terms with it because it wouldn't just be me mourning the loss.
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#2 Old 10-09-2010, 01:19 PM
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I am so sorry you lost a family member. It takes time to grieve and it may be hard for others to understand that but you need to take care of what you need. I hate when anyone tells me this but it takes time to process what has happened and its ok to take that time to deal with this loss. I will keep my thoughts with your fur baby.

ÂNothing can cure the soul but the senses, just as nothing can cure the senses but the soul. - Oscar Wilde
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#3 Old 10-09-2010, 01:40 PM
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I'm very sorry.

When my dog Scooby had to be put down, my mom took him to the vet as my dad and I stayed home and bawled. I had this burning hope that somehow she could just come back and say "The vets cured him! Yay!" with a healthy Scooby in tow, but of course it was never going to happen.

You're going to feel bad for a while. You have to realize that, or you'll never recover. I didn't get over it for months and I still have dreams of Scooby being ok and with us. I sometimes even feel him in the room, and this sounds so irrational I feel insane, but I believe his presence is still somewhere around here.
But it's going to hurt, and that's perfectly normal. You just lost a family member.

You did the right thing, putting him down. If an animal is in a lot of pain, we can only hope we make the right decision for them, and sometimes that is putting them out of their misery. So don't beat yourself up; if you had kept him around longer, it only would have prolonged his suffering.

It's going to hurt, but you just have to wait it out and remember that you did the best thing you could for him.

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#4 Old 10-09-2010, 04:11 PM
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I'm so very sorry. There's really no way to come to terms other than allowing yourself time to grieve and talking to someone who cares when it begins to feel overwhelming. You'll feel lousy for some time, and never quite the same, but in time, things will get better, I promise. Come here and talk when you need to. A lot of us have been where you are, and understand.
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#5 Old 10-09-2010, 05:10 PM
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I'm sorry to hear about your unexpected loss. I lost my 10 year old cat back in May, the day before his 11th birthday. He was fine and acted normally, and then one day just didn't eat. The next day he also didn't eat. I took him to the vet, and apparently he not only had FIP but it was also in a quite advanced stage. I could have kept him on medication and kept him "comfortable" until he passed, but I chose instead to not let him suffer. Probably the hardest decision I've ever made, he was like my child and he was my constant companion.

I still miss him each day, though I know he's only gone in physical form. There are so many little reminders of him all over the place, and it honestly feels as if he is still with me.

Like sallyomally said, it does get better after some time passes but it's never easy.
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#6 Old 10-09-2010, 11:00 PM
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are you in a situation where you could maybe plant a tree in your garden for him, with a little plaque infront of it, or maybe donate some money to a cat charity in his name, and get a certificate of thanks that you could frame? something like that not only offers a lasting reminder of how much he meant to you, and a little spot to sit and greive and remember happy times at, but also gives something wonderful back to the world- hope, a new chance for life, etc.

if not, maybe you could do something else creative that is both theraputic for you emotionally, and benefical to other needy inhabitants of the planet- perhaps you could bake some kitty cupcakes and sell them to raise money to donate, if you're not financially in a position to donate your own cash, maybe you could paint some pebbles with words that capture your little friends best qualities, and make a little shrine with a candle to light where you can sit and remember him..... you could donate a little time or make some knitted blankets to give to some local needy kitties in a shelter- anything like that- i'm sure that he'd be glad to see that you hadn't let that nurturing, loving, kind and compassionate part of you that he treasured so much lose its momentum while your heart learned to heal from his passing.....

i know how sad it is to lose someone unexpectedly- how hard it can be. quite frankly, i say screw what anybody else feels is acceptable or appropriate behaviour for you right now- there is no such thing as 'just a' when it comes to a friend having to go away- it bloody well hurts- and you're you, not anyone else. you go ahead and cry when you feel like crying, be angry when that feels right, don't be afraid, ashamed, or feel guilty to weep or be quiet, or even laugh when a happy memory comes into your head either- just go with it, be proud of the amount of love in your heart and appreciative of the strength of the bond you've shared, take each day and minute as it comes, and you'll get through it. time will soften the edges of this loss- and that doesn't mean in any way that he'll mean less to you, just that you've learned to enfold the feeling of sadness about recent events with the warm blanket of memories of all the good times and love you shared.

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#7 Old 10-10-2010, 01:28 AM
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#8 Old 10-10-2010, 10:00 AM
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Thanks, everyone. It helps to know that there are people out there who understand how terrible it can be to lose a furry friend. I'm still in a state of disbelief at the moment. Most of the time I can't even feel sad, and then it hits me again that he really is gone and I feel the loss for a bit, but then it goes away again. I'm struggling with this because I feel like I should feel it all of the time, which I did the last time I lost a fur baby. It almost feels like the time I had with him wasn't real. I have a lot of pictures and I have his ashes, but it still feels really surreal. I did cry a lot for the first three days and then less and less. It seems like the more time that passes, the less real everything feels.

jeneticallymodified: I'd already thought about a plaque and I've ordered one to put on the bench in the garden where he used to sit with me. I keep hoping that doing things like this will make everything more real for me because I know I need to accept it, but I just feel a bit zombie-like at the moment. The problem is that I want to cry, but I just can't at the moment. I suppose I want someone to tell me when that emptiness and emotional deadness will go away, but of course no-one can.
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#9 Old 10-10-2010, 05:39 PM
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It does feel surreal doesn't it. I barely remember Scooby too, but there are little reminders of him everywhere that make me smile and sometimes cry.

JeneticallyModified you definitely have the right idea, that post was super inspirational. I suggest getting a plaque too.

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#10 Old 10-11-2010, 08:00 AM
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I'm sorry - I don't have any words of wisdom. It was more than two years before I could think of Eli without crying, and I still can't talk about him and be sure of maintaining control.

Time will eventually help.
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#11 Old 10-11-2010, 11:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by veggiholic View Post

Thanks, everyone. It helps to know that there are people out there who understand how terrible it can be to lose a furry friend. I'm still in a state of disbelief at the moment. Most of the time I can't even feel sad, and then it hits me again that he really is gone and I feel the loss for a bit, but then it goes away again. I'm struggling with this because I feel like I should feel it all of the time, which I did the last time I lost a fur baby. It almost feels like the time I had with him wasn't real. I have a lot of pictures and I have his ashes, but it still feels really surreal. I did cry a lot for the first three days and then less and less. It seems like the more time that passes, the less real everything feels.

jeneticallymodified: I'd already thought about a plaque and I've ordered one to put on the bench in the garden where he used to sit with me. I keep hoping that doing things like this will make everything more real for me because I know I need to accept it, but I just feel a bit zombie-like at the moment. The problem is that I want to cry, but I just can't at the moment. I suppose I want someone to tell me when that emptiness and emotional deadness will go away, but of course no-one can.

a plaque in a favourite spot sounds like a very fitting memorial.

you've already accepted it, just on a level thats right for you just now. as someone gets a bit older, or becomes more and more unwell, we tend to start to get our heads around the idea of losing them a little bit, we can begin to imagine life without them around, to work out how we'd cope, start to use our support-structures like friends and family, etc. but when a loss comes right out of the blue, naturally its going to throw you for a loop- because you really couldn't be expected to see it coming. with your other losses you probably had a bit more time mentally to get yourself prepared- even if just subconciously, or in dreams- this early level of acceptance may well have already been processed had this played out in a different scenario where you had a little more time together at the end of your relationship.

very unexpected life-shaking events often take a while to sink in, and greiving is a complicated thing- you're still most likely in a pretty intense state of shock- which is absolutely natural and healthy. i always go into autopilot following a crisis- i cook, i clean, i man the phones, i organise things, i'm really practical- everything is completely fine until a while after its all over and everything quietens down again, and then suddenly i relax- and then wham! it took me probably more than a year to cry after my dad had a random stroke, and even then it wasn't a huge torrent, just a little leak springing over a TV commercial one afternoon. don't feel bad about things progressing at their own pace, your mind is just processing things at a speed and in a manner that it can handle and deems appropriate, so that you can continue to function without falling completely to pieces- its softening the blow and protecting you a little bit to keep you safe, its working through it.

you will cry, get angry, mourn, and feel all sorts of other things when your body and mind is ready for it- and probably it'll seem to happen right out of the blue- something really small or random will trigger it off. you're not quite there yet, but you will get there soon enough, and you'll cope with it too. promise. meanwhile just go with the flow- don't try and force it. maybe tomorrow you'll burst into tears, maybe it'll be a week, or even a month. maybe you'll remember some happy things and start to laugh instead. whatever is meant to happen will, on its own schedual.

remember: you're not gonna get a failing grade at this- how much your eyes leak and how soon they do it is not a measure of how much you loved someone. some very sad events, i may never cry over- and thats ok- people deal with things in many different ways.
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#12 Old 10-11-2010, 04:53 PM
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I'm so sorry. I understand the frustration when most people hear your cat died, they don't see it as that big a deal, or atleast not like a dogs death. My very old cat died a year or two ago, and for a few weeks I kept expecting to see him sleeping on the floor or walking around the house. We buried Lucky out back and put a tiki torch there and said a few words. I had considered painting a cat on a stepping stone to put there but never got to it.

"When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will then know peace" - Jimi Hendrix
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#13 Old 10-12-2010, 11:29 AM
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Thanks, Jen. It really helps to know that this is a normal part of grief. Fortunately, I haven't lost many people, so I only really have one other instance to compare this to (which isn't really comparable, as my previous cat was sixteen years old and I knew what was coming). In a way, I think the not crying is bothering me more because I worry that other people won't think I'm upset, but I know I just need to get through this on my own terms. Thanks for all your kind words and helpful advice, and thanks to everyone else as well. It really helps to know that other people understand how much this hurts.
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#14 Old 10-12-2010, 08:47 PM
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no problems. i think it'd be a very odd and rare person who would assume you weren't upset, just because you weren't in tears. most people understand that you can be very sad without crying.
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