Grief affects people in different ways – and likewise, fellow pets in the household will respond to the absence of their siblings, or ‘room mate’ in different ways.

The Beautiful and Wonderful Beloved BigglesUsually they will become quiet, and probably go off their food for a few days. Don’t try to jolly them out of it or tempt them with other tasty treats. You could set up another behavioural problem unwittingly. It’s best to just let them eat when they feel like it and accept the fact that they are coping in their own way with a change of routine.

The best thing I’ve found is to give each pet lots of reassurance, cuddles and time (at their choosing) so that if they seek you out for comfort, you’re not about to jump up to do something else. Try to set some time aside for them. In the process of reassuring them, you will find yourself less upset – the healing process having begun through acceptance.

Watch for signs of depression and if your cat doesn’t eat for more than 5 days take it to the vet. It may need some medical treatment to help it through these sad times.

Cats will pick up on your feelings so try not to just think about how you are feeling. Take into account their feelings too.

Some people swear they will never have another pet again, while others go straight out to find another. There are no right or wrong ways, just as there isn’t a right or wrong time to do this. You must do as you feel is best for you and don’t be put off or persuaded or dissuaded by other people who think they are acting in your ‘best’ interests.

I didn’t set out to acquire another cat after the deaths of Joey and Biggles, but Sam just decided to move in, even though I had tried to dissuade him for many months long before Biggles died.

Be aware, however, if you have a pet family who are in mourning they may not welcome the newcomer with open paws. More problems could arise, which, waiting for a while, may not occur. There is always a settling in period when acquiring new pets which affects the group dynamics so bear this in mind if you do decide to get a new pet.

There are many organisations which offer help and counselling in pet bereavement. It often helps to talk to someone who understands how much the death of your beloved pet has affected you. Often family members or close friends are at a loss to know what to say to comfort us and often say the worst possible thing imaginable: ‘but it’s only a cat ….’

Veterinary practices will probably have details of these organisations but they can also be found in your local telephone directories or yellow pages under ‘PET SERVICES’.

Some pet crematoriums will most certainly offer counselling at the time of the funeral and will have further information of where to get additional help.

Over the Rainbows Bridge is an excellent website which has poetry, thoughts, and stories connected to pet loss. And there are stories to comfort and inspire you – and yes, I cried buckets when I visited, but healing follows the tears.

http://www.rainbowbridge.com/

You may find it helpful to write a poem or your thoughts about your pet. You can write a ‘tribute’ of what his or her passing has meant to you. I had already written a couple of poems about Biggles, which have appeared in two different anthologies, and are in the Purrfect Poetry section and then I wrote another one after he died. When Joey died I wrote a poem for him, too, and these are in the Napping on a Sunbeam section.

As with any loss, human or pet, it takes time for the grieving process to work through but remember ‘Cats leave paw prints on our hearts.’

You can always email the Daily Mews office if you require any help or want to discuss your feelings about the death of your pet. You will always find a friendly, listening, caring ear ready for you. 

Pauline

 

A Cats Prayer

Lead me down all the right paths,
Keep me from fleas, bees, and baths.
Let me in should it storm,
Keep me safe, fed, and warm.

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