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My cat died and I don’t know how to go on


Jar

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I lost my cat, Adam, on Sunday night.  He had been with me for 12 years since he came home with me from a shelter as a 1 year old boy.  He has been my rock, my constant companion, and my best friend since the day we met.  Over the years he has helped me through the challenges of life, and anytime things seemed unmanageable or my anxiety was getting the best of me, he could always level me out and be a single source of joy in my heart.  He just recently helped me survive a divorce from my wife and a move into a fixer upper house.  I love him as much as my heart can love anything, person of animal.  
He had seemed very healthy and happy up until 4 days ago when he fell very ill and didn’t have the strength to walk more than a few steps without having to collapse to the floor.  He was such a good boy that despite how awful he felt he would still try to make it to his litter box.  I took him to the vet and he stayed there for almost 2 days getting IV fluids and antibiotics and whatever they needed to determine what was wrong.  Eventually I got the call that he had not improved at all and fluid was collecting in his abdomen.  They determined that he likely had intestinal cancer that had spread to his liver and likely kidneys.  They told me the only humane option was to put him to sleep.  I came down that night and held and kissed his tail and face and told him how much I love him while the vet put him to sleep.  It was the hardest thing I’ve had to do.  My connection with Adam was unlike any I’ve ever had.  I miss him beyond words and the heartbreak is excruciating.  I lost my wife and don’t have any other pets.  I am alone in a new house that I had only shared with Adam for 3 months.  The house now feels so empty and lifeless.  I see him everywhere.  I hate it in my house.  It’s unbearable.  I don’t know what to do or how to go on.  I’m am hurting so much.  I miss my boy and can’t eat or stop crying.

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@Jar  I am so sorry that anyone ever has to go through this.  Nearly two years ago I lost my soulmate in a dog, Arlie, to cancer, it was one of the hardest things I've ever been through, having lost my husband suddenly/unexpected just after his 51st birthday 16 years ago, we thought we had 20+ years left at least!  I was closer to Arlie than any other dog I ever had, I used to call him "my soulmate in a dog."  4 1/2 months later I lost 25 year old Kitty.  She first came down with symptoms on Christmas, Jan. 6 I had to have her put to sleep...kidney and liver failure from which there is no coming back.  I thought she'd live forever, she always had seemed to.  

After some unsuccessful attempts at rescues (I received permanent damage from dog bites, both hands, which are debilitating and surgery made it worse), my son brought me a little Klee Kai and I'm so glad he did!  It fills a void, it does not replace anyone, none could!  Little did I know Covid would hit with all of its social isolation, I don't know how I could have handled it without him.  You might consider another pet at some point, when you feel ready.  None will ever be like your Adam, they are all unique, but they can be amazing at reaching our hearts and giving us reason to live.  I am so sorry for your pain, I know it well.
Comfort for Grieving Animal Lovers

I hope this brings you some comfort:

 

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@KayCThank you so much for your reply.  I am saddened to hear all the loss that you have experienced, but in that loss you have gained insight and wisdom that is helpful to people like myself.  
I still haven’t been able to sleep at my house since I Adam went to the Rainbow Bridge (and thank you for that beautiful video that I cried my eyes out watching).  It is just more than I can handle to be around the memories of him.  My time with him has been the only good moments I’ve had in a long time.  And now I am barely hanging on. I can’t imagine bringing another cat into the house yet as it wouldn’t be fair to the cat.  I wouldn’t help but compare it to Adam.  But in time I hope I am able to.  Can I ask, how long was it before Klee Kai came to you after losing Arlie?  Again, thank you for your reply.  It is so sad to see how many people are grieving so badly on this forum, but it is wonderful to know that there are so many people who love their pets the way animals deserve to be loved, the way I love my sweet boy Adam.

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I lost Arlie 8/16/19 and my son brought me Kodie 12/10/19...then I lost my 25 year old Kitty 1/6/20.  I lost Miss Mocha 6/3/16...our family of four is all gone now but me.  Kodie has helped me so much, but I still grieve, of course I do, they were my world, my family.

After we buried Arlie, my son had me come stay with him for a bit, it was hard coming home without him there.  A neighbor asked me to walk their chow, thought it'd be a win/win for both of us, I did for ten months but sustained very debilitating injuries from him and had to quit.

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griefstricken532

Hi Jar, so sorry about Adam and the heartache you are going through.  I totally feel and understand everything you wrote.  I give all my heart to my pets, have had many dogs and cats over the years.  I keep thinking it would get easier to accept their loss, but it never does and I keep bring more into my home and my heart. I recently lost my dad so came on this site for support and because of my love for animals, my pain and understanding of losing them is just as difficult.     With what you wrote, I have to share a story.  Back many, many years ago I had to put my 7 year old dog down unexpectedly. I was devastated.  It was shortly after my divorce and she was so unconditionally devoted to me, not having her there I didn't know how I got up everyday without her.  I found myself going to the shelter for months to try to fill that horrible void.   Every time I went I walked out in tears telling myself I couldn't do it again.  Then one day I found the loneliest, probably most unadoptable, older, pathetic looking dog and said that is the one.  I took her home and told her she had a good, safe home, another dog to play with and a big yard to run...but don't get attached to me.  I can't hurt losing another one like I did and she knew I was hurting.   I laid on the couch and she came over to me and put her head on my belly.  I looked at her and told her to not work your way into my heart, it won't work.   She then very slowly put one paw on the couch, then very slowly one back leg comes up. I said quietly and softly, don't do it, it isn't going to work.  She just froze there for a few minutes just staring at me.   Then very slowing the other front paw came up, then a few minutes later the back leg came up and all of a sudden, this 60 pound dog was laying on top of me and she put her head on my chest and closed her eyes and it was like she said to me 'thank you for saving me'...I said to her, thank you for saving ME.    Tears came down my face and I told her..well, I guess you know I need comfort and now you worked your way into my heart.  It was a moment I will never forget and that was 20 years ago.

I have cats, several of them are very in tune to my pain after my dad passed and other painful emotions I go through.  They are my comfort.   I know you said you feel guilty about getting another cat, or not ready, but when you are you will know when the time is right.  You are not replacing Adam, just trying to fill the horrible void Adam left behind.

I have a wall with pictures of all my pets I have lost.  I will never forget them.  There are so many pets out there that need a good loving home and sounds like you are one of them.

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I've lost 24 dogs & cats in addition to the many birds I owned years ago.  Each one is special, has it's own personality and we carry the loss/grief of each when it's lost to us.  So hard.  I like your idea of "wall of pets."

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@griefstricken532 Thank you for taking the time to reply to my post and to share your beautiful story and experience.  Firstly I am so sorry about the loss of your dad.  I have not experienced that yet, so I cannot relate, but I can only imagine how difficult that loss must be.

I truly love your story about the older, “unadoptable” dog that you decided to give a good home, despite the fact that your heart was still in pieces, and you were trying to encase what was left of it in stone to protect yourself.  But that dog recognized the hurt in you and in this process you saved each other.  Clearly, you need animals in your life to love, and likewise animals need people like you who can love them the way they deserve to be loved.

I relate so much to you in that you lost your dog just after your divorce and felt alone and lost like I do.  I have been wanting to go to the shelters, as you did, not to adopt at this point but only to be around animals and to maybe make the day brighter for a few of the cats and dogs who are in there.  My heart is aching to just be around animals.  I haven’t been able to bring myself to do it yet.

Anyways, your message has given me hope and helped me realize that I need animals in my life as much as they need me to rescue them, and when I’m ready I will welcome some into my home again to be loved.  And I will continue to do so until the day comes that I am the one who is leaving this world.

Thanks again.  Please take care of yourself and I wish you well in the grieving of your father.  

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griefstricken532

Jar- That was such a wonderful response. I joined this site looking for support what I am going through with the loss of my dad and to some degree it brought up the grief I experienced so many times with my pets. I inherited love of cats through my dad.  I look at my picture wall of pets (16 of them, dogs, cats, birds).  All of them have their special story in my heart, all of them was horrible grief when they passed, only to realize the grief never gets any easier as I give my whole heart to them.  

Only you know when it is time to let another cat into your heart, no one can tell you when, it has to be right for you or it isn't fair to the pet or yourself.  When/if you do go to a shelter, be ready for tears, I walked out many times in tears knowing I wasn't ready.  You will know when you look into the eyes of one that will help you through your pain.  Who knows, maybe one will come and find you.  

There was only one Adam, he represented a time and events in your life for 12 years.  Sounds like you are starting another journey with a new house and going through a divorce.  A new furry friend will embrace your next chapter...and make you smile again.  When you are ready, that new friend will be a lucky one!

Thank you for allowing me to share my story and wish you the best. Someday I would like to share how after I just had one cat and said no more, I can't do it again, shortly after I said that I had 8 cats and a dog in my house. Now, 6 cats and no dog.  If you do bring another into your heart, please let me know!  I understand the grief/heartache you are feeling.

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Jar I'm so sorry for your loss. May Adam rest in paradise.

I know exactly what you're going through. No one should have to experience the pain that comes with losing your beloved pet. It's excruciating. I lost my best boy three weeks ago and I've never experienced grief as powerful as I do grieving for him. 

It feels like someone has reached inside your chest and tore a piece of your heart out. You feel empty and lost, like all the joy has suddenly disappeared from your life. It's horrible. 

I hope you can find some solace with the fact that you gave Adam a wonderful life full of love and that Adam loved you so unconditionally that his passing has left you heartbroken. 

We all understand what you are going through and we're here for you if you need to talk about anything. Take care of yourself ❤️

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I could also relate as I lost my husband 16 years ago and then I lost our cat a year later, George's cat ran away when he saw George wasn't coming home, a newly adopted cat after that, then our dog 3 1/2 years after my husband.  Feb. 2009 I adopted Arlie, he was almost a year old.  It was my cats and him, but the relationship with him was the closest of any dog I've ever had, maybe it was partly where I was in my life, alone, lost my job three times, then retired with Arlie, but it was also him, who he was, he was my perfect dog, my soulmate in a dog.  That first year he gave me a run for my money, he was wild, had never been inside a house or a car!  He chewed up everything!  The trim on my house, his doghouse, dogbeds, halter, his toys, a hand carved candle from Spain, 3 MP3 players, countless shoes, the hem of my favorite dress, 100 handmade cards, and a book called Boundaries, the irony of which did not escape me!  He pulled hard, he escaped, pulling me down, sheered off my front tooth and broke my nose "bucking me."  But then he settled down, turned into this perfect gentleman!  He only dug once as a puppy and never tried it again, considering it way too much work for his girth, he knew he couldn't dig a hole big enough to escape.  But at the end of his life he learned to open the gate.  He didn't leave the property, when I checked on him he was grinning at the top of it, as if to say, "What will you give me to come back?!"  :D  I yelled "Pizza!" and he beat me into the kitchen.  He spent the rest of the night resting on the couch, grinning, he was so proud of himself for his accomplishment!  He was also so considerate.  He did Husky talk and his communication was amazing!  He had different tones and ways of speaking for different things and I knew what he meant, just as he understood me.  He had the most complex communication I've ever seen in a dog.  And he had his ever-ready smile.  Even with cancer.  His body was going downhill and his face looked drawn, his beautiful lush tail, wimpy, no energy, not feeling well, yet he still had that beautiful smile.

 

 

 

 

 

And here is my cat's story...she passed shortly after Arlie, they lie next to each other in the back yard.

 

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@CM255Thank you for your message.  I am so sorry that you are grieving the loss of your boy also.  The extent of a persons grief is relative to the love that they had for that person or animal.  That shows how much you love your pets.  Our capacity to love is greater than the grief that can hold us back.  My heart is still very much in pieces, but I look forward to when I can love again.  And you will too.  I wish you the best:)

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Hi @Jar I am so so sorry for the loss of sweet Adam. 

I am almost at the 4 year mark of losing our boy Cat very horribly and suddenly. (I can still barely think about it.)  He was with us at a vacation house for the summer. We were devastated and basically slept and cried for the 7 weeks we had left at the house. I literally thought my heart was breaking. 

Because I don't enjoy life without a cat, we managed to adopt a little girl kitty - age 2, a couple months later once we got back to a new place. It was hard. She will never replace our boy and I will never forget him. But it's wonderful having her and giving a cat that needs a home makes me feel better. So many sit lonely and unloved in the shelters. 

So, as painful as it is, my plan will always be to have a cat in my home. Yes, I've signed up for more grief in the future, but it's worth the love. 

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On 7/20/2021 at 5:45 AM, Jar said:

@CM255Our capacity to love is greater than the grief that Our capacity to love is greater than the grief that can hold us back.can hold us back.  My heart is still very much in pieces, but I look forward to when I can love again.  And you will too.  I wish you the best:)

That's such a lovely sentiment, thank you Jar. I hope you are doing okay. 

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