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Getting Over It

Written by Lora Schuldt, DVM.

Some of the deepest sadness I have ever felt has occurred with the death of my two kitties, Poco in 2008, and Eubie in 2010. I was recently asked by a client if I had any advice for dealing with those painful feelings of loss and grief that she was feeling over the passing of two cats in her family. I wish there was something that took away the despair that some of us feel, but what I have recognized is that even the heartache is something to be celebrated, in a way. The fact that we can develop such deep attachment and love for our pets is an amazing human trait. To care about their spirit, well-being, and comfort is an affirmation that we are inherently compassionate beings.

Crying over Poco, I decided to just wallow in it. I cried as much and as hard as I could, knowing that my sadness was pure and the result of my devotion to him. Grieving his death, to me, honored him. And somehow it made the crying more joyful than you’d think. I felt the same with his big brother, Eubie. I didn’t focus on the medical problems that resulted in their deaths, which is surprising given my job. Instead I thought about the fact that my life and brain chemistry were permanently changed by these two dear creatures, and that their absences would not alter that fact.

Some other things I did to honor my boys included sending out a memorial letter to my friends and colleagues, donating to the shelters from which I adopted them, displaying their pawprints in our kitchen, and contacting the first veterinarians responsible for their care. I planted flowers that reminded me of them and have kept tons of cute pictures. While these things may not have shortened the grieving period, they brought some positivity to the situation. This is the best advice I can give, and I wish that when and if you go through this yourself, that you will get over the sad part, especially if you can focus on the happiness your cat brought to your life.

Published on October 13, 2011.

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