We lost our old man kitty last weekend. It was a day (or a month) too soon but the timing worked out for it be the best experience it could be. I was fine with everything the day of. Went to bed thinking I’d wake up in the morning feeling a sense of relief not to be worrying about him anymore. Instead, I automatically reached for his spot on my pillow and lost it.
Saving you all the drama, it was unbearable in the beginning. More so than I remember with any loss in the past but I knew their real age and that there was nothing else I could do. I now have a ridiculous faux fur, blanket that sits on my lap for TV watching just like he did. Either that or time has made the last couple days so much easier.
I’d like to foster a senior cat in his honor but I’m not sure when. Some people are telling me now and others say to give it more time. Not sure what I feel because I have kids and other animals to focus on, but it’s something I definitely want to happen when the time is right. Do you jump right back in or wait? Have you regretted having another animal in the house because it's too soon?
I personally cannot imagine not have a dog in the house. I remember the first time I had to leave my dog overnight at the university, not knowing if he'd make it. I saw his bowls in the kitchen and lost it. I spent the night at my neighbors. I'm not joking. I just couldn't be in an empty house. I am so glad we now have 2.
If we didn't and I love my old guy now, I'd probably go out and find a foster or adopt ASAP.
But some people need more time. And sometimes even the same person has different needs depending on the situation.
When I euth'd my old gelding (BuddyRoo), I didn't want to see ANY of my horses (had 2 others) for almost a month. Just. couldn't. do it. He was 32 and I'd been riding him since I was 6YO. It was like saying goodbye to my childhood. It sucked big time.
I could've used more time to be honest, but I had other horses who needed me too.
So...it's up to you and your family and what works for you. Not a one size fits all deal.
I'm sorry for your loss.
A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.
Mr. Trub is a person who likes to wait. I like to jump right in and get another pet, I think the new pet works as a reason to keep going and gives smiles and such.
Whatever you need to do for you is the right answer to this question.
I lost my heart dog back in march. I still have her blankets safely folded as if they are just waiting for her to jump up in bed and get covered by them.
We had her cremated and a special box made for her ashes. It has her kong and collar in it.
I feel like I want to put my energy into another old cat, but some other things have been suffering because of what this last one needed. I've requested to do elderly but not urgent for the foster, though.
Still have the cat hair covered blanket on my computer desk and it took me days to work up the nerve to do laundry again. He slept on a pile of clothes (that should have been donated long ago) squished up next to the dryer, and would climb in if I pulled something out of a warm load and left the door open. It's been strange not to see him in the usual places.
First of all, my condolences to you. I myself am still grieving the loss of my 16-yr old poodle a little over a month ago.
In my case, I've lost a few dogs over the years, almost every single one when they were about 16 yrs old. Every time I cried and thought the pain was too much and how could I endure it again, how could I have and love another pet and then lose him/her and a piece of my heart with him/her.
In my case I've always had more than one dog, and always got another one before I lost the oldest so the younger would always have company. This seems to have done the trick for me, because they warm my heart and bring me smiles every day. I still think of the ones gone, but cherish the company of the ones that are with me now.
I'm not sure how I'll deal with the loss of my horses though, I think that will be a lot harder!
"Another member of the Barefoot Eventers Clique"
Roxy, I'm already involved with a rescue (previously on the dog side) so there are a million cats in need at my disposal. I almost took in a younger version of what I had this week and then decided I really want to focus on the seniors. There isn't one that needs a foster right now unless we pull from a shelter and I don't want to do that unless I'm 100% sure. Or maybe 51%.
shift the grief into rescue mode and then you can save a kitty and know that you are helping instead of replacing.
it isn't easy but having a new friend around will keep the kitty energy in your life. saving an animal keeps the good karma alive and well. and there's nothing wrong with that!
condolences on your loss and congrats on your new friend.
R.I.P. my sweet boy Tristan
36 years old, but I was hoping you'd live forever
In my case I've always had more than one dog, and always got another one before I lost the oldest so the younger would always have company.
We have a remaining cat that learned all her social skills from the old guy but is still not completely trusting of humans. She used to squeeze him out of the best sleeping spots and now has pretty much abandoned them. Not sure if she wants a new cat friend (to be randomly nasty to ) or if she would like to try bonding with us or the dogs.
I'm so very sorry for your loss. Our cherished pets only leave us in physicallity. Your old man will forever live in your memories & nothing can take that away. To answer your question, I've done both - immediate replacement (although that isn't a good word) and I've waited until I'm less emotional....which can take a while. I do have a house full of animals & I'm committed to making animals' lives better - so I usually fill the void when a spot opens. I lost my sweet old lady cat this past summer & I still haven't vacuumed her hair from under the bed. My husband is worse than me - he saves everything. There are no right answers when it comes to losing pets. You just hope when you wake up in the morning that this day will be easier than the last.
First, I am oh so sorry for your loss and I so understand.
I lost my feline soul mate at 6 1/2. He wasn't eating well so the vet put him on fluids. He called to say he was doing better and I could pick him up but to wait till the next day due to a major ice storm. That night, the power went out while he was still on IV's and he crashed. I was beyond devastated (and without power for 11 days). I still tear up when I think about it 5 years later. I did not get another cat but then I still had 4 cats, two dogs, and three horses. I lost a second cat almost a year later at 9 to fluid in the lungs, probably linked to his heart murmur. I didn't get another one. I lost his brother at 10 to thrombosis. That left me with two cats, two dogs, and two horses (I had sold one horse). One of the cats really didn't like other cats and her health isn't great so, I didn't get another cat. About four months later, in the middle of winter, I went to visit the neighbors. I knew they had some approx 4 month old kittens that lived outside but wasn't planning to take one. One yellow tabby got on the table where they feed and purred like mad. His sister joined him but wasn't so sure about the attention but eventually also purred. I picked them up a week later. Originally barn cats, they are now pampered house cats and sleep with me and the older cats tolerate them just fine.
I still miss the original three but I suspect they would approve, particularly since they were two grays and a yellow tabby. Just wish the two new ones hunted as well as the original three. So my thought is that when the time is right you will know.
Last edited by Holly Jeanne; Feb. 1, 2013 at 03:13 PM.
Reason: Added a thought
After I lost my old man kitty Jacob I wasn't sure when I'd be ready. Should I wait or not. I didn't wait too long because I knew that there were a lot of cats in the shelter needing homes. I wasn't sure how I'd feel. I missed Jacob so much. He'd been with me for 18yrs. I still miss him. Still think back to his crazy antics...how he didn't really calm down until he was 11yrs old...
The new kitteh members from the shelter makes it easier to deal with his loss. They are so different but equally full of character! Your heart makes room for more kitteh luvs The things Jacob taught me is helping me with the newest members In hind sight, I'm glad I didn't wait too long.
Everyone has different needs. I lasted an entire week in a catless household before I couldn't stand living fur free any more.
I do avoid bringing in a new animal that looks like the one I'm still mourning. When animals look a lot alike, the irrational side of me expects them to act alike too. Then I get extra hurt when new little Midnight disdains old Shadow's favorite treats or toys. It's easier for me to understand and move on if I'm dealing with a new little Snowflake or new little Ginger instead.
I will agree with the above posters that state that its different for everyone. When I lost Kip, my heart dog, I got Riley 2 or so months later. I was hoping he was would help lift me out of my depression. I was wrong. It did not matter. And while I did train him, took great care of him when he was a pup, I feel (in hindsight) that he was robbed of important bonding time while I was in my black hole on the couch while he was 3-6 months old.
It took therapy to get me out of my depression.
I am a firm believer that puppy/kitten/foal breath is the quickest way to heal a broken heart, we still need to give ourselves time to mourn, adjust and accept the loss of a beloved pet.
I've never let a loss keep me from opening my heart/home to another. It's part of the grieving process for me actually... when I can no longer care for my animal that passes on I reach for another that needs care. I really have always felt and it has played out that if I lose someone there is someone waiting in the wings. My parents lost a dog very tragically several years ago and my dad had PTSD and would sit in his chair and cry all day every day, for three weeks post-accident. My mom finally in desperation went and got a puppy, any puppy-and set her in his lap. It pulled him out of his depression and she's been a pure joy to them. And she really needed a break from the home she was from... I really sincerely believe that for animal people when one friend leaves there is another waiting. I think you're ready when you start to wonder who else needs a home, a family, a spot in the world and open the door to see.
Some losses certainly hit harder then others. I lost pets as a child, but my parents always took care of everything and seemed to "lesson the blow" so to speak.
I adopted my own dog and cat as an "adult" when I was out living on my own. They were my best friends and my dog went everywhere with me. They went with me when I got married. My dog got sick and I had to make that decision a few months after we got married. I was a mess without her. I cried constantly. (She has been gone 10 years and I still have all her toys and things in their own box and have never taken them out.) This is when I really started looking into dog rescues. I was miserable without a dog and figured there are so many dogs out there needing a family. We ended up adopting a wonderful dog (who we still have 10 years later and I absolutely adore!) and in the process started a wonderful relationship with a dog rescue that I spent a lot of time volunteering for and my family and friends have adopted many wonderful dogs from. For me, turning my grief into helping really got me through. I had to get off my butt and stop crying.
I lost my heart horse of 20 years a month ago, unexpectedly. It was one of the most heart wrenching things I have been through. My horses live on my property so everything is a flashback...his stall, where I found him, his blankets still in the barn. Some days are better then others. I have two other horses...one of which I raised and I do dearly love. I was torn between not wanting to step in that barn to feeling so guilty that my horse not only lost the old man that raised him since he was 6 months old, but his "mom" wasn't out there to feed him and mess with him. I do all of my own chores, so I did drag my butt out there and I still enjoy my other 2. Although my drive to ride and train sort of changed into quiet rides in the snow and just enjoying their presence. I still have many breakdowns and the empty stall kills me...but for me, I think not having any horses would have been worse since so much of my life is wrapped up in them and I have never been without a horse in my life.
Everyone is different. Take your time and do what is best for you.
When my sheltie died I waited two months before getting another dog. I wasn't ready yet but my remaining dog was so heartsick that I moved it up on her account. Of course she hated the new dog so now she was grieving and pissed off! It was definitely too early for me and I found myself resenting the new dog for not being the sheltie. Stupid I know but it is what it is. She won both me and my dog over eventually and is now probably the best dog I ever had. When my lab died we got another dog almost immediately and it was fine. So you never know what the right answer is, just do what feels best for your heart.
Haven't read the other posts, but I really just think each individual is different. When my Carmelo kitty died suddenly, I was an absolute wreck. I have never cried like that in my life. I ended up bringing home one of the barn kittens that clearly wasn't cut out for barn life about 2 weeks after his death. While it was fast, I needed to fill that hole in my heart. He was a black and white cat, so I knew there was no way that I could get a black and white cat since I didn't want to "replace" him by any means. This is really weird, but just in case he was still around, I didn't want him to feel like I was just replacing him. My other cat was also lonely. It took him awhile to really bond with his new sister, but I think he was happy to have the company.
So, whenever you think its time and you are ready. Don't listen to anyone but yourself.
When the Min Pinscher was put down, my other dog (a Min. Schnauzer) was alone for a few years and seemed OK with it. She and I really bonded then too. A few years later, when Min was older, I went with a friend to get another dog only a week after her dog was put down. My friend didn't get another dog, and still hasn't due to a lot of reasons. I found my boy Min. Schnauzer, and he was about three. My older girl and he became fast friends, but never had the same outlook, because of their age difference. When I put my older girl down, then the boy became my one and only, and never seemed to want a companion. I think the important thing is that you don't get an animal that's a replacement, but wait until you can choose an animal and appreciate the new one as a separate entity, and don't expect them to be the same animal. Some people replace immediately, but I've always waited, and the right animal seems to turn up at the right time. I think it depends on your remaining animals also. Some animals don't want companions, but seem more people oriented. Other animals want another animal or more around. It's hard to know when the right time is, and for all concerned it's better not to make an impulsive decision out of grief.
It's probably going to sound cold, but I go get another one after about a month of crying every time I enter the empty house. I have special memories of all of them, but it's hard for me to leave the house empty for long.