How I recovered from losing my cat (recovering from pet loss)

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Losing your cat due to old age, illness or an accident is tough. I want to talk about how I started recovering from the loss of my best friend, who happened to be a cat because many people have and will go through this but we might be told that cat deaths are not a big deal. I didn’t make a big deal out of it in front of family and friends because I was too embarrassed to show my true feelings. I hope you don’t do this and can find a way to deal with it healthily, positively, without suppressing any feelings and still enjoying life. I’ll give you some ideas of what to do that I have done myself and give some ideas that I wish I had done.

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art by kelsie smith

I want to say that my cat was like my daughter, but maybe the death of an actual child is a lot worse than that of a pet and shouldn’t be compared. But it’s also not good to compare them because grieving over the death of an animal you got attached to is valid; both are living beings and it hurts when either pass away. Buttercup’s death was a big deal to me because I’m kind of a loner (not complaining) so I considered her my only best friend, I have a small family that I cant always connect with, and I took care of her like she was my daughter/my responsibility (and she was).

picture of my cat, buttercup!

I had her since she was a baby because my brother felt bad that my other cat Minino ran away near the holidays. So, Buttercup was a gift to me for christmas and I appreciated her so much for being that gift. I took care of her when she was a young kitten to a teen and, I’m not sure about cats and their ages but I’m pretty sure I had her when she was an adult too.

If cats could laugh, she would be laughing all the time at the silly things she would do and the things we went through together. That’s why I see her more as a daughter and not so much as a “pet”. A pet kind of implies ownership and dominance and whatnot, but she did whatever she wanted and was happy living her life because I was able to provide her with the best life I could give her!

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Warning: Kind of sad and depressing especially if you are grieving currently. You can skip to the red sentence below if you don’t want to be sadder!

Unfortunately life decided that it was her time to go on May 27th of last year. She got liver disease either from a can of cat food I gave her or from something she ate outside. She was incredibly strong and I believe she stayed strong enough for as long as she could so that she could pass away humanely, leaving me and my boyfriend with a beautiful memory of her last moments.

She was so close to dying on our kitchen floor, but she started to breathe again. She was okay for a while until we could get her to the hospital about an hour away. They examined her and told us she would not be able to live longer and it was best to put her to sleep.

We were devastated and we regretted past decisions. We cried so hard and were so embarrassed to cry even more in front of the nurse and the staff. Buttercup still wanted to live because she was confused when she started to feel the medication kick in, but we know she was also in pain and couldn’t eat or play anymore. I feel so bad because animals probably don’t know what’s going on, I’m not sure…, but she gained her last bit of strength to turn from my boyfriend to me and then took her last breath to get closer to me and lay her head on my palm. It was very sad but I’m happy she did that to me, it showed that she really loved me. I still am sorry that I couldn’t have saved her but I just like to think that she knows I tried my best.
*Sad part ends here lol**

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I’m still sad and I try not to think back about her because I can get myself to cry like I am now lol. I didn’t think I could cry, but describing the moment gets me to that point. I’m sorry if you need to read this blog post to get help yourself, I’m here to talk if you need to.

Anyway… let’s get to the helpful parts!

Here’s how you can help yourself and some things I think you should try to avoid as well.

What to do to recover from the loss of your cat:

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1. Cry it out

fjafiksfjdjfs. What I mean is cry until you can’t cry anymore! I cried to sleep because that would be the only time I could do it secretly. You don’t want to suppress this! I remember NOT crying in public because most of the time I would go home quickly just so I could spend the rest of the afternoon crying lol ( I held it in because I didn’t want to share the news with coworkers). I cried once in the bathroom during work break, though. Just let it out guys, no matter where it is. It’s going to be okay!

gigi the cat

2. Deal with loss in ways that don’t badly affect you or others but in ways that make you happy.

If you are feeling suicidal, seek help with professionals. Don’t deal with this alone because you can develop trauma and depression or something worse. You don’t have to deal with this alone if you can’t handle it. For help you can contact tufts.edu/petlosspetlosshelp.orgaplb.org and hotlines in your area!

not sure if this is a bad thing or good, but I started to think about reincarnation. I loved my cat so much and started to dream of her a lot. I also started to dream of young girls that looked so similar to me and could pass as maybe a future daughter of mine. I want to think my cats traits can be found in a future child of mine and started to think that way. I also got a stuffed animal as a christmas gift from my boyfriends mom. It’s a character from the movie Kiki’s delivery service. I place it on top of Buttercups ashes and like to pretend it’s her just chilling. This is one way I like to deal with her passing.

Clean your house, sell the toys you got for your pet or donate them to shelters.

Another tip is finding a way to care for cats. I’ll talk about that more below.

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3. Find something to distract you

It’s good to cry, but you have to be strong and you may need to distract yourself.

During this time, I was going through some bad things in my life. I think all the negativity going on in my life also helped fuel the chances of her dying. I think negative energy brings more negative energy and I would show it in front of her many times. She had to deal with my sadness, and I remember crying a lot in front of her during bad days and she would bite me because she doesn’t like people crying. I regret having shown her that side of me, because once she got sick, the last moments of her life were mostly filled with me and my boyfriend being sad and mad.

It’s best to be positive during these times, even if your pet is sick. Of course they’re sick and all you can feel is helplessness and sadness for them, but being positive will only bring more positive energy. I finally learned that this year.

During her death I was still working and in school. Both were things that didn’t really bring me joy but they still made me busy and take my mind off the sadness.

Me and my boyfriend wrote a happy list after she died, I think it might have been when she was still with us, not sure, but this really helped us laugh together and become happy.

The list has a weird one that says she fell out the window but we lived in the basement, so don’t come fight me! It’s funny to think about her rolling out the window onto the sidewalk and then her calling us to let her back in. We were so shocked but it was just so cute that she didn’t run away and she called out for us. Ahh such cute memories lol.

 

4. Share the memories and moments with others

I shared memories of her with online friends mostly. My boyfriend and I reminisced too. I’m very lucky I had him with me during this time because he was the only person who really understood how much I loved her.

I always had instagram accounts for my cats starting from my first cat Minino. She wasn’t really my cat but I took care of her. She was so distant lol, she then ran away one night when someone left the door open for too long. She was wearing a huge xmas collar that was so cute, so I’m certain someone picked her up and kept her. Anyways, I have made many friends on the internet and later I find out that they love cats and even have some of their own. These are the people I share my memories with the most, it’s helpful!

Buttercup “Gati” also visited California and lived with my boyfriend Alexander, his dog Charlie and cat Mitzi. Gati didn’t miss me at all and I was so happy for that. She had such a fun time in California, but I missed her too much that I had to get her back once I visited my boyfriend again. Here’s a video of her climbing his bedroom window and meowing for help. Please lower the volume and ignore my chuckle lol!

It makes me so happy to know she touched the lives of many people and other animals like Mitzi and Charlie and also Alex’s family members too.

I buy cat stuff, it just comes naturally as a cat owner lol

5. Don’t be alone, and cry with a friend.

I cried with my boyfriend some times. Truthfully, we were having problems around this time and we also blamed each other for her death so we kind of needed to cry with someone else sometimes too. Most of my friends were in school or busy and I didn’t feel like they would like me crying with them so I did cry alone a lot. This is when you can go to the internet and find people to cry with lol

6. Take care of other cats / animals

If you don’t know, I adopted a cat about a week or two after Buttercup died. Me and my boyfriend came back from somewhere and decided to visit the animal shelter really quick. We saw really cute kittens and cats. I saw a really pretty gray cat who was a bit older. The staff told me everyone was really interested in all the kittens so I thought I should get an older cat. I was also fixated on a cat in California named zipper. She looked exactly like Gati. I was worried for her because she was in what was known as a kill shelter. I just want to believe that she was rescued by someone else.

I went back to the shelter a few days later and adopted the gray cat. I was really happy to have sort of saved her then. Because of Buttercup, I found that I want to become super wealthy and help cats because lots of people consider them to be rats lol. My neighbors for instance, and many of the people around my area at the time would hate the strays. I want to be able to care for cats and help stop breeding. It’s disgusting that humans want to take advantage of the short lives of animals and treat them as nothing but some way to get money. They need our help because people love to exploit those with no power.

Find strays in your neighborhood and contact your local shelter to see if they have cages to trap them. Bring them in to get them fixed, both males and females! As you may know, males rape tons of cats and these poor babies have babies and we don’t need all of that! There’s so many kittens that are killed because shelters only have so much room.

You can also help by fostering cats, donating to shelters and adopting from shelters that don’t purchase their cats from breeders as well if you’re not ready to adopt!

7. talk to friends/ those who have also lost a best friend 

I recently found out through a snap chat story that my long time friend’s dog died. She also got him euthanized through the same hospital as Buttercup, so I knew right away what had happened. Although I don’t talk to her much anymore, I could tell her that I understand and was sorry for her loss.

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a pic of Chibi sleeping the week we adopted her.

8. Adopt! Dont forget about all the other cats who want a family too.

No, you are not being disloyal to your last cat because you want to adopt another. Some people would rather not care for another cat after the death of one. I could understand that because you feel you can’t replace someone after they’ve passed. I used to think I was adopting so that I could replace Buttercup, now I do not think that way at all.

I adopted Chibi to help the shelter get another cat off their hands. I fell in love with this gray cat instantly. I was very distant and didn’t really like the feeling of a new cat at first but I remembered that I adopted her to help. She was incredibly happy to be in a home because all she would do at our apartment was purr and knead the air. It was like she can finally rest her head on a comfy bed and not a cramped cage.

Now she’s chilling in Mexico with my grandparents lol. I might not even bring her back anymore because she hated the airplane ride and absolutely loves the outdoors and heat of mexico. Not sure it will make her happy to bring her back to america since she goes crazy in an airplane and I heard some cats get heart attacks in airplanes. We will see what happens later hehe.

Here’s a site in case you want to help other cats, mostly in chicago, but you can get ideas and find some similar sites in your area: treehouseanimals.org

9. remember that your pet would love for you to be happy, not sad!

I told myself this a lot because I remembered how she would bite me if I cried. Life goes on, and there are other animals in the world who would have loved your cat just as much as you did. There’s many other things to do to continue feeling happiness. Some days if I’m too happy I do feel a bit guilty, but your cat is your best friend, they would understand and be much happier to see you enjoying life. I remember times when she was in California with my boyfriend. She completely forgot about me lol. When I visited him, though, she would sleep with us a lot of times. She loved when we were together and happy. When she was on the table to be put to sleep, they even gave her bandages in green and blue, the colors me and my boyfriend like. (I’m usually green and he’s blue um wtf, this was def a sign)

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I think this was the first night she moved in with me, she was so tiny!

10. celebrate the memories and moments!

I continue to remember the day I first saw her on my brothers couch. I was so jealous because I thought it was his girlfriends new cat. He said she’s actually mine, and I got so happy I cradled her like a baby because she was so tiny. I was small too and I’m always happy to know that I got the chance to grow up with such an angelic cat.

I’m celebrating Gati every May 27th now and December 24th, which is when she was  adopted. I also celebrate every January 15th which is when she first came to live with me.

I love this site because you can make your own memorial for your cat. It’s very cute and fun and it’s a great way to celebrate your pet! rainbowsbridge.com

11. Create a shrine

I have had a shrine for her ever since she came back home with me and my boyfriend. We were so sad in the car when we got her ashes. It really hit us then that she was gone.

I got this Frida Kahlo artwork at a festival I went to with Alex. I loved it because I never knew Frida had a cat. It looked a lot like me and Gati because I would always listen to my favorite songs and dance with her. I put these photos around Gati’s ashes to kind of make a shrine.

When my mom saw the Frida art pictured below, she said it looked like me. (im editing this and it’s so funny that i mentioned how my mom thought it looked like me but im dark as hell lol – but i agree since i carry my cats and act silly it can look like me in a way. yeah… i know im not white lol)

12. Celebrate your pet’s life by doing what you always wanted to do with them.

I guess this might not work if you don’t get another pet. This might not be helpful if you didn’t plan anything with them either lol

For me, I planned on living in a tiny home with Gati and taking her out for a walk or on an adventure. I still want to live in a small house, but I’ll have her with me in a different way. I’m always really happy with my life now because I know I’ll help the lives of many cats, that’s what I’m doing to celebrate Gati. I’m still doing the things I wanted to do with her! Have your pet’s live on in your life!

14. Help others

When Gati passed, I wanted to help other cats by volunteering at shelters or fostering. I couldn’t do it at the time since I was already super busy with school and work.

Helping others really helps you, so I really recommend doing your best to get in touch with others who are dealing with what you are dealing with. You can share your stories and you might help them while they can help you too.

I also started to think about helping children, mostly orphans, and also single moms. Maybe this is too extreme, but I really think my cat would be happy to know I help others, especially cats. Just do what you think your baby would have loved seeing you do! Be happy guys!

I really love how they treated me here btw

15. make a difference

I put my sadness to good use pretty much lol

I shared my story of my cat with my landlord who loves all animals. She and her daughter always fed the strays in our neighborhood but never had a cat.

I talked a lot about my cats with her and she was always really interested. For some reason, her husband, his sisters and even our neighbors hated cats. They all lived in the same apartment complex as me, so Buttercup was really despised by them lol.

When I came back from Mexico, my landlord told me about how she finally took the strays to get fixed. Her and another lady from the block took them to get help because there was one boy cat who kept impregnating all the other girls (yuck) even if they were young. It was really sad when one of the girls didn’t even know how to give birth so all her babies died.

Also the strays liked their home which was our neighbors garage, but that neighbor passed away and the house would soon be owned by the town. We didn’t know what would happen to the strays if the town decided to get rid of the cats. My landlord ending up convincing her husband to adopt two of the strays since she was worried about them. The lady down the block took two in her home as well. I believe their are only 3 strays left from that bunch but they seem to love being in the outdoors so there wasn’t much we could do for them.

I recently visited that landlord and she named one Meow Meow and the other Midnight. They’re so cute and fancy now that they have a home for themselves.

I want to be able to help get strays fixed and have them live in a cat sanctuary of my own since Chicago can get very cold. Do your part and help these beautiful helpless babies!

I’ll leave you with this cute pic of Gati laying on me and a sweet and tear jerking poem lol

Thanks for reading! Contact me if you need someone to talk to ♥

 

buttercup laying on her mom

The Rainbow Bridge

Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge.

When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge.
There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together.
There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.

All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor; those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by.
The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.

They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent; His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.

You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.

Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together….

―unknown

LOVE, KIKI

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6 Comments

  • This was so helpful! I can’t imagine being without my fur baby (my cat lol) and I know he can’t be without me either. If death do us part then at least I known he lived a good life with me and most importantly was loved 💖

    • Thanks for reading, Sanielle!
      Yes, as long as you can provide them with a happy and healthy life then they will be grateful. It sucks that their lives are shorter than ours, but also! we never know when we will die, so just gotta make the best of life with them. Hope you have a happy healthy life with ur bb for a long long time!

  • beautiful post. Cats are like our best friends, and they are there for us when we need them most. there can be misconceptions about cats, but I feel they are one of the most loving, intelligent, affectionate animals that bring that much more joy into our lives. thank you for sharing a hard story with us xx

    • thank you Katie! They really are such amazing animals and deserve so much love and attention.
      And thanks again, for reading and commenting hehe

  • Oh god, this post just totally broke my heart. My cats are my babies and such a big part of my life…I don’t even want to think about the hole that’ll be left when they’re gone! I’m sorry your cat died, but I’m glad you got so much time with her and you’ve got all the lovely memories xx

  • Hey Mia! Yes, this is a sad post but I thought to make it because I remember only finding resources from companies on how to feel better and not from actual people. It’s a very hard thing to go through but I’m relieved to know the blogging community is filled with a bunch of cat lovers, I didn’t expect that lol!
    Thanks for commenting ♥♥♥

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