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Cat grief.

azith28azith28 Registered User regular
edited August 2012 in Help / Advice Forum

Well, i need to vent a little and would also like some opinions. You can skip the first bits to get to the questions if you dont want to read my likely depressing story.

Last night i had to have my 9 year old calico Sandy put to sleep. She developed a skin rash and later fever, and within two weeks of it first showing up, she degraded from my satisfied baby to a shell that hurt me to look at. Dispite medication she was getting worse and i had to make the hard decision. I've been a nervous wreck for the last two weeks and the last few days have been even worse because i felt like i knew what i was going to have to do when i brought her to the vet. At first we thought the problem was a treatable one, that she had an infection from an unseen cut, but the antibiotics did not stop it, and the vet said that the problem had to be a liver disease or otherwise internal issue that had done too much permanent internal damage and that she would never be her normal self again. Watching her these last two weeks and knowing how much misery she had to be in to stop purring when i pet her or barely eating her favorite foods, i dont feel like i did her a disservice in my final decision, but its still hard.

Okay so to the questions. I live by myself across country from my family. (moved to take a job instead of being unemployed) I have made some friends of course but they are hardly around a lot. I care very much for my pets, and I am not the kind of person that would believe for a moment that they are easily replaced. Before last night i could be watching tv or reading a book, or playing a game, and Sandy would come wanting food or attention and when i went to bed, and all was silent and dark, i could hear her walking on the carpet, jumping on her sleeping perch. Last night, my apartment felt so empty. i caught myself several times upon hearing a noise turning and expecting to see Sandy walking tward me. I realize that this is all part of grief and acceptance but I also know that my cat has helped greatly in making me feel like my apartment is a home and less just a place im staying because having a job away from home is better than being unemployed. I feel like I owe her so much for helping me keep from feeling really alone or getting depressed at being by myself.

This boils down to the fact that dispite im still grieving, and will be for some time, that I am also uncontrollably thinking about and wanting my next pet already. That there will be a new kitten or two in my apartment over the next month or two is very likely a given fact no matter how i feel right now or how long it lasts. Should i be feeling bad about this fact? Is this an unexpected reaction? Should i expect my married/couple friends to understand that this is not me just swapping out one animal for another? I've never really felt crushingly lonely in my current position, and ive always had hope that it wouldnt be a permanent thing anyway, but right now i think me going for a period of time without a pet is likely to make me feel worse about the situation then usual. Should i let my own mental health surpass my grief and just go ahead and start looking or am i just still in the stage where its worse before it gets better.

Stercus, Stercus, Stercus, Morituri Sum
azith28 on

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    Lizz the BlizzLizz the Blizz Registered User regular
    I went through something similar back in December, when I lost the dearest of my 3 cats. Charles was a 2.5-year-old Maine Coon with the sweetest character you could imagine. He went from being completely healthy and happy to dying on the operating table in about a week of time, and it completely devastated me, and still does from time to time.

    I saw him everywhere, heard him everywhere, and most of all, I missed him everywhere for at least 3 months. There's a bond you build with these pets that you simply can't underestimate, especially if they're your only housemate, simply because they are always there. I understand exactly how you feel, and you have to realize this is completely normal and okay. For me, it took a lot longer than I anticipated, and in fact, the process is not completely over yet even after 6 months.

    The important part is that you need to realize is that adopting a new kitten/cat is not going to just fill that hole. A new cat will be just that, a new cat. You'll grow to love them, perhaps as much or even more than Sandy, but they won't be Sandy. My husband and I pretty much felt the same dilemma you're feeling currently, and though the first couple of days, we kinda flipflopped around the idea of replacing him at all (we felt guilty), about a week after he died, I'd already gone to pick up a new Maine Coon kitten.

    She is amazing, one of the best cats I've ever had, I love her to pieces and I couldn't stand losing her, just like my other two, but... She didn't replace Charles, and it didn't make losing him hurt any less. I guess that came a bit unexpected to me.

    The bottom line here is this. Don't feel guilty at all about adopting a new cat, but try to separate the two emotionally. Don't expect your new kitty to be just like Sandy, as much as you'd like to have her back, but give it a chance to win your heart on its own terms.

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    azith28azith28 Registered User regular
    Well the thing isnt that i cant seperate them emotionally, im positive i can (she wasnt my first cat). I'm well aware that new cats would never 'replace' the hole in my heart. I'm just wondering how realisitically i can expect other people to accept that im not just being a bastard about it.

    Stercus, Stercus, Stercus, Morituri Sum
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    RayzeRayze Registered User regular
    edited August 2012
    azith28 wrote: »
    Well the thing isnt that i cant seperate them emotionally, im positive i can (she wasnt my first cat). I'm well aware that new cats would never 'replace' the hole in my heart. I'm just wondering how realisitically i can expect other people to accept that im not just being a bastard about it.

    Why should you care what others think? If they know you loved Sandy, gave her a good life and mourn her passing, they will understand if you decide to obtain another companion. Any animal owner will know that a new pet won't fill the hole that's there but a new pet will help you move on

    I mean, we're complete strangers but I can tell you loved that cat and do not feel put off by the fact that you want another one. Do what feels right to you, not what your friends think. You're the one that's going to take care of him/her, after all

    Rayze on
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    ceresceres When the last moon is cast over the last star of morning And the future has past without even a last desperate warningRegistered User, Moderator mod
    You don't need to care about what other people think here. You need to worry about what YOU think. They do not have to live with the empty apartment or without the friend you just lost. Keep in mind what Lizz said and go into it realizing that this won't be a replacement-Sandy, but if you're happy with your decision then your friends should be too.

    And it seems like all is dying, and would leave the world to mourn
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    The Crowing OneThe Crowing One Registered User regular
    One of the most fulfilling and wonderfully compassionate acts of animal kindness is to take in a kitty who has no home. You obviously are both devastated by your loss and desiring companionship. Personally, I'd suggest starting to look around shelters for a new friend as it seems pretty clear that the lack of a feline friend is making your already awful experience even worse. Take the time you need. In fact, even just visiting shelters and meeting a few kittens, even if providing a home is a bit further off, seems like it could be a positive step. And believe me that anyone working in a shelter is going to have nothing but respect, compassion and encouragement for an individual in your position. They understand, most of us here understand and there's no reason to worry.

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    azith28azith28 Registered User regular
    Thank you for the comments. I appriciate them.


    Stercus, Stercus, Stercus, Morituri Sum
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    RendRend Registered User regular
    edited August 2012
    Additionally, and please for the love of god don't think I am in any way cheapening the love we all feel for our pets (I care deeply for all three of my cats, I love them so much), but the reality is that cats are not people. They are more replaceable than people are, and they are less replaceable than possessions.

    Getting another cat soon after your first is in no way shameful- it's not like you're replacing a worn pair of gloves, and it's also not like you're adopting a new child or sibling.

    My advice is, if you feel like you need another companion to love and cherish, go and do it. The next cat you adopt will be fortunate to have as caring an owner as you.

    Rend on
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    Jam WarriorJam Warrior Registered User regular
    The idea that anybody else will think it is 'wrong' to get another cat so soon is one entirely in your head. As long as you're not calling the new cat Sandy II or something, it is a perfectly natural and expected thing to do. You go get your new kitty. It'll help.

    MhCw7nZ.gif
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    The Crowing OneThe Crowing One Registered User regular
    Rend wrote: »
    The next cat you adopt will be fortunate to have as caring an owner as you.

    Invisible lime.

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    EshEsh Tending bar. FFXIV. Motorcycles. Portland, ORRegistered User regular
    Get another cat. When I lost my cat of 11 years, I immediately adopted another. Best thing I could have done.

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    rpshoggothrpshoggoth Registered User regular
    I'm inclined to think you're so upset it is affecting your judgement a little. Worrying about what other people will think of you if you go out and get another pet so soon after losing your cat makes little sense if you take a step back and think about it. Which sounds much colder than the intent, which is to say:

    As long as you aren't going to do some sort of bizarre mommy dearest thing on th new cat because it is in some way different, by all means, adopt a new one. Hell, even if you did go so far as to call it Sandy II, the cat's not going to care in the least. It's just going to be happy about the food, shelter and pettin's. People might look at you a little weird, but who cares?

    If you want to get another cat, get another cat. You'll both benefit.

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    azith28azith28 Registered User regular
    Well i took your advice, and got me two new babies to love. it doesnt take the hurt away, only time is going to do that, but it helps not to be suffering by myself. I'm sure people will want pics, ill try to arrange them later.

    Stercus, Stercus, Stercus, Morituri Sum
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    HeirHeir Ausitn, TXRegistered User regular
    Pics are definitely required.

    I'm sorry about your loss.

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    azith28azith28 Registered User regular
    edited August 2012
    http://dl.dropbox.com/u/26441410/babies.jpg

    why the hell is it showing upside down....

    azith28 on
    Stercus, Stercus, Stercus, Morituri Sum
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    AiouaAioua Ora Occidens Ora OptimaRegistered User regular
    Ah, the rare Mongolian Calico Inversion cat. Adorb's!

    life's a game that you're bound to lose / like using a hammer to pound in screws
    fuck up once and you break your thumb / if you're happy at all then you're god damn dumb
    that's right we're on a fucked up cruise / God is dead but at least we have booze
    bad things happen, no one knows why / the sun burns out and everyone dies
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    RendRend Registered User regular
    So cute!

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    The Crowing OneThe Crowing One Registered User regular
    Dawwww!

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    StormwatcherStormwatcher Blegh BlughRegistered User regular
    Get them!

    Steam: Stormwatcher | PSN: Stormwatcher33 | Switch: 5961-4777-3491
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    RayzeRayze Registered User regular
    Aww, calico sisters. Too cute

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    azith28azith28 Registered User regular
    All my cats have been calicos, my pretty girls. I find they have the most personality. They are getting pretty settled in the place. The little one (rosie) is not afraid of anything, and im positive im going to see her fall in the toilet soon cause she jumps on and climbs on everything she can. The other one (Cinderella or Cindy) is a little shy and skittish of noises or sudden movements but shes not afraid to walk up and want some pets so im sure she will get better about that.

    Stercus, Stercus, Stercus, Morituri Sum
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    minirhyderminirhyder BerlinRegistered User regular
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    azith28azith28 Registered User regular
    if you guys have experience with kitties i could use some advice.

    The new kitties are not sisters, i tried to get from the same litter but ended up with these from two different adoption agencies and i figured there ages were young enough to encourage them to get along quickly (ones 3 months the other is 4 months). Both seem to be getting along for the most part, they play alot and it certainly seems like its just play, tho the little one sometimes whines or makes a little growl when she loses a grappling match (not that it stops her from going for more 2 seconds later), and they can eat out of the same bowl without a problem. I've seen them walk up to each other, touch noses and then walk away but i havent seen any kind of sleeping on top of each other yet that would make me feel like they completely acclimated to each other.

    I want to make sure and do everything i can to encourage them to get along, should i keep them sharing food bowls and litter boxes, or seperate them? I'm pretty sure even if i seperated they would be eating out each others bowls anyway but im kinda new to having two new kittens learning to get long so any suggestions are appriciated.

    Stercus, Stercus, Stercus, Morituri Sum
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    The Crowing OneThe Crowing One Registered User regular
    I'm going through an introduction process with two adult kitties right now, so this is more experiential/digest-of-what-I've-read.

    It takes time. A lot of time. Cats can take up to six months to fully acclimate to a new environment, even when they're 90% comfortable off the bat. The behavior seems head-and-shoulders above the usual problems. They're interacting, playing (which is also a dominance thing, most likely), getting into close physical proximity without hissing or defensive behavior and sharing food/water/litter. That's most of it right now. I see no reason to separate them unless there is a stress issue (licking oneself until they strip away hair; growing/hissing at any contact with the other).

    I'd keep a close eye on them and separate for a few days if there are any issues. They sounds like they're both acclimating to the space and to each other, and they seem to be doing so well. I'm not sure if I missed anything, but I wouldn't change anything with them unless there are problems. The sleeping in a big pile of kitty is usually found once they've had lots of time to feel safe and comfortable with each other.

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    PantshandshakePantshandshake Registered User regular
    Some cats never actually get to the point of the kitty sleeping pile. As long as they aren't fighting (real fighting!) and you don't have any territory marking issues, I would say you're doing pretty good.

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    azith28azith28 Registered User regular
    Heres one more. They are taking a break from raising hell. (A very short one).

    http://dl.dropbox.com/u/26441410/hi.jpg

    Stercus, Stercus, Stercus, Morituri Sum
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    LovelyLovely Registered User regular
    D'aaaaaw, I have two calico's myself :) .

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    EshEsh Tending bar. FFXIV. Motorcycles. Portland, ORRegistered User regular
    What are the bowl you're feeding them/giving them their drinking water made out of? 'Cause they look plastic, and that's bad.

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    azith28azith28 Registered User regular
    The food bowl is a disposable paper one, the water bowl is plastic but it gets cleaned out daily. whats wrong with plastic water bowls?

    Stercus, Stercus, Stercus, Morituri Sum
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    EshEsh Tending bar. FFXIV. Motorcycles. Portland, ORRegistered User regular
    edited August 2012
    azith28 wrote: »
    The food bowl is a disposable paper one, the water bowl is plastic but it gets cleaned out daily. whats wrong with plastic water bowls?

    From About.com...

    "Plastic Bowls

    Although plastic bowls are generally sturdy, they have a couple of downsides. First, many cats have an allergy to plastic, and develop a skin condition on their chins, resembling acne. Second, plastic tends to nick and scratch, and those tiny fissures become a breeding ground for germs. My recommendation is to avoid plastic if at all possible."


    You want stainless steel bowls. And why are you using paper?

    Also, what are you feeding them?

    Esh on
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    azith28azith28 Registered User regular
    i use paper just because its easier to dispose of without having to clean them two-three times a day. Feeding them fancy feast kitten food wet and proactive kitten dry.

    I've swapped out the bowl before, ive got a metal one as well.

    Stercus, Stercus, Stercus, Morituri Sum
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    EshEsh Tending bar. FFXIV. Motorcycles. Portland, ORRegistered User regular
    azith28 wrote: »
    i use paper just because its easier to dispose of without having to clean them two-three times a day. Feeding them fancy feast kitten food wet and proactive kitten dry.

    I've swapped out the bowl before, ive got a metal one as well.

    You might want to consider talking to your vet or going into an actual dedicated pet food store and talk to them about what you should be feeding your cats. Iams has been getting a pretty bad rep nowadays, and I'm pretty sure Fancy Feast is garbage.

    Seriously, chuck the plastic and paper bowls and get them dedicated metal ones.

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    EncEnc A Fool with Compassion Pronouns: He, Him, HisRegistered User regular
    Fancy Feast is terrible food. Go Natural Balance or an equivalent good food. Fancy Feast is like feeding your cat McDonalds every day. It tastes alright but it will slowly kill them. If you are going to your vet any time soon, ask them what brands they suggest.

    While I'm not getting into the plastic versus metal debate with Esh again, I too would suggest acquiring metal bowls when you have the time and cleaning both the food and water bowls as often as you clean your own dishes (daily I hope). Bacteria, especially from wet food, can give your cats serious complications later on.

    I would also recommend picking up gallon jugs of purified water (not spring water, purified water) for your cats to drink. Many locations have tap water that has several compounds in the purification process that starts the development of crystals in cats bladders (and sones as they get older). If you have a plastic bowl, unless your cat is one of those few who are allergic it won't be a problem short term. Long term you will want to go metal because they are more resistant to bacteria and easier to clean.

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    PantshandshakePantshandshake Registered User regular
    My wife and I use glass ramekins to feed our cats their wet food. Buy 8, it's easy to scoop them up after food time and either hand wash them, or toss them in the dish washer for cleaning later.

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