Losing a Pet and How to Deal with the Grief
As some of you will know last summer we brought two kittens into our family. Poppy and Rosie were adored by all of us from the start and we soon grew to love all their little antics. Poppy, from the start, had a few issues. She had an underbite, which made her face look even cuter. She also had a hernia on her tummy where her belly button would have been. Under the vet’s guidance, we were told to gently manipulate her tummy and push it back into her tummy. Hence the name, Poppy Gutszin! When she was spayed, it was discovered she had a ‘massive’ cyst on her ovary and as it was removed she should be able to live a long and happy life.
Everything changed two days ago when I discovered some bruising inside her ears. We initially thought that she had got the bruises from fighting with her sister. However, later on, during the day, we noticed she had become weak and lethargic. We called the weekend emergency vet and arranged for her to go in. My husband and son took Poppy through to the vet and were told that we would hear back in a few hours. The bruising had spread into her mouth and onto her tummy.
Unfortunately, three hours after being admitted, we received the devastating call from the vet to say that Poppy was incredibly ill. Although she had been screened for viral and bacterial infection, there was no sign of either. She was a house cat, so it was impossible for her to have eaten or drunk a poison. She was hooked up to a drip to increase her fluids however her red blood count was zero and even with a blood transfusion it looked as though it would just a few days onto her life rather than a cure.
We took the sad decision to let Poppy go and the whole family went to the vet’s to say goodbye to her. Poppy could hardly raise her head, she meowed a few times and then gently put her head in my hand. We told her we loved her, and I thanked her for being in our lives. As I held her head, Poppy looked deep into my eyes and the vet injected the drugs into the cannula where the drip had been. A few seconds later she passed away, leaving us all shocked and devastated. Poppy was only 9 months old.
My husband, son and I have been through this a few times, mainly with older animals who have had long, happy lives. My daughter, who is 6, is very upset and although it is still early days I have pulled together a few things to help us all cope with losing our much-loved pet.
6 Gentle and Simple Ways of Coping with Pet Loss
- Take time to grieve. Do not be shocked or ashamed by the fact that you are upset over losing a pet. Your pet was part of your family and it is ok to feel heartbroken.
- Talk to someone. Talk to a friend or call a pet helpline that can help you come to terms with your loss. If you are really suffering then do consider visiting the doctor for some further help with your grief.
- Let others know. You will be surprised how supportive people can be, especially if they have pets themselves. We have informed our daughter’s school and they have been very supportive and understanding.
- Help your other pets come to terms with the loss. You cannot explain to them what has happened, so expect them to be unhappy or stressed. Rosie did search and cry for her sister for a few days. We found that sticking to Rosie’s routine was essential, even putting out two bowls of food as she wouldn’t eat with only one bowl. We will also be getting some Feliway to help her cope with the change and make sure she has extra playtimes and fusses.
- Allow yourself to be happy. Your pet would want you to enjoy life and to remember them during happier times.
- Get another companion without feeling guilty. When you are ready, you may want to get another pet. You will never replace the pet you have lost but you can build a long and happy relationship with a new one. One day we may get another cat to keep Rosie company.
We will never forget our feisty, quirky and funny little kitten and she leaves a Poppy shaped hole in all our lives.
Thank you for reading.