How do you get over the loss of a pet? I hate it when people shrug it off and say, “Oh, it’s just a pet. Get another one.” It’s not helpful at all. In fact, it’s annoying.
People love their pets and grieve deeply when they’re dead. Unfortunately, cats don’t live as long as we do. But if pets outlived their beloved humans, who’d take care of them when we’re gone?
I can tell from first hand experience that copying with the loss of a cat is devastating. After my Persian cat had died from pkd and enlarged heart, I was walking toward the supermarket, and suddenly, I didn’t know where I was and what I was doing there. I just froze, unable to form a coherent thought. Luckily, I came back to reality after a few minutes.
How do you get over the first shock of losing your pet, and the years afterward?
Get into forums dealing with the loss of a pet
There are forums that deal with this kind of pain, where people trying to get over the loss of their pets get together and offer comfort, advice, and memories. Here’s one. https://www.griefhealingdiscussiongroups.com/forum/11-loss-of-a-pet/
There’s also the rainbow bridge with hotlines, forum, e-cards, and more. https://www.rainbowsbridge.com/
Hide or look at pictures and videos
For some people, it helps to look at videos and remember, while for others, this will only bring painful memories. Every person is different as an individual, but we all know ourselves and know which approach is better for us. I don’t have any pictures of videos of the cats I used to have, and if I did, I’d get rid of them because they’d remind me of what I’d lost.
Buy a new pet
This will work for some people, while it may not work for others. If you’re not sure buying a new pet will help at the moment, take your time and don’t rush into it.
Find a challenge
Set yourself a goal for something, whether it’s saving money, taking a course, or opening a blog. A challenge can be a great distraction and help you get over the loss of your pet.
Family and friends
Spending more time with the people you love can be healing and can help you get over the loss of a pet.
You have nothing to feel guilty for
Pets owners often feel guilty when their pet dies. Know these feelings usually have no hold in reality. I had felt guilty after losing my cat, even though now I know there was absolutely nothing I could have done to save her. When you lose your pet, you don’t think clearly and reasonably. There’s usually no logic to the guilt. It’s nothing but an emotion born out of pain and loss.
Knowing it wasn’t your fault, and that you could’ve have possibly changed the outcome of things can help you get over the loss of our pet.
Train your mind
This is difficult, but I found out I could do it. This is my story.
First, I took my cat to the vet for teeth cleaning, left her there and went home, intending to pick her up when the vet calls. When they called, the vet said he has bad news. I had foolishly though they had to take out a tooth, but he said she’s dying.
Turned out she had pkd and an enlarged heart. One kidney was ruined, and the other barely working. This was the first shock.
The second was when she’d run away for two and a half months. I could hardly sleep or eat, and I’d lost weight. But I had a feeling she was alive. I just knew it.
And then one day, on a bus going home from work, I suddenly had the feeling that two huge blue eyes were watching me, her eyes. I arrived home feeling hope that she’d come back that day, and was bitterly disappointed when I opened the door, and she wasn’t there.
So I had sat down and tried to watch TV. Suddenly, something made me look up, and she was there, having leapt into the my first floor ground-level apartment from the window.
At first, I thought she was a hallucination, because I’d fantasized about her coming back so many times. When I picked her up, it was like I was picking up nothing. She had no weight, and I could feel her ribs and spine sticking out.
And then two or three months later, she died. Not from her starving on the street, but from her enlarged heart.
And then three and a half years later, my other cat had to be put to sleep because he had some problem in his spine, being fifteen and a half, an old cat. He was in pain and disabled, and the vet said nothing could be done.
The thing is, and this is what I’m getting to, after so many blows, my mind had found a way to avoid the pain, like an immune system that had finally found the way to fight a disease, a form of self-preservation. When in the past, I couldn’t stop thinking about my cat, Milky, now whenever I thought about my other cat, Angel, there was a switch in my brain, and I started thinking about other things instead. It helped a lot with the grief.
Although each person is different as an individual, and what works for one person may not work for another, this could work for some people. Whenever you think too long about the pet you’ve lost, and the pain gets too much, simply think about something else and concentrate on it real hard.
Picture the beach, for example. See the waves up close, closer and closer. Pay attention to the smaller details, like the foam on the waves and the seashells. Feel the hot sand under your bare feet, hotter and hotter. The noise of the waves getting louder, and the salty small sharper. You can train your mind this way and get better with practice.
I call this method ‘the switch.’ It’s what it is in my mind. I don’t know if someone out there had thought about this before me, and if there’s a name for it in psychology. All I know is that it helped me get over the loss of my cat.
This statue of a sleeping cat will honor the memory of your furbaby. Each piece is individually hand painted, lightweight and can be placed in the house or the garden. There’s a statue of a dog, too. Click to view.