Still grieving for my cat - how long will it hurt?

(38 Posts)
mignonette Mon 12-Aug-13 10:13:34

My beautiful cat Thomas died last November. I still find it hard to cope with him not being here and that his cause of death remains a mystery. He was found on wasteland away from any roada and without a mark on him. I am in tears over missing him most days. We went to look for another cat thinking this is what we might need but it only made it hurt more and we have decided not to for the time being.

Here is a photo of him, another one and one more.

When did it stop being so acutely painful for other cat owners? I feel like I cannot breathe sometimes when I think of him.

mignonette Sat 17-Aug-13 10:29:42

We have a local gunslinger of a boy living nearby. He has clearly led a raffish life with his one eye, moth eaten ears and low slung walk. He reminds me of John Wayne in his twilight years, creaky, ageing but still got it and wants others to know it. He is a local celebrity cat but has a loving owner so no cajoling him in. That is the kind of cat I like.

A cat that has had a hard life. That is what I will wait for. One will arrive soon I hope.

cozietoesie Sat 17-Aug-13 10:23:47

Know what you mean. I acquired Seniorboy when he was 13 (he's 18 coming up on 19 now) and we suit to a 'T'. He's a very measured cat - apart from when he has his mad 10 minutes. (He's getting a bit past the full half hour nowadays!)

smile

mignonette Sat 17-Aug-13 10:16:47

Yes very sad. I am actually not that keen on kittens. I find them too brittle and tiny but I do socialise them at a cattery as many of them are born of feral parents. I like the gravitas of an older cat especially when they forget their age and have a little mad half hour. I go for the scruffy less photo pretty cats.

cozietoesie Sat 17-Aug-13 10:09:24

Plenty of them out there, mignonette. Too many in fact because so many people want a kitten gambolling about that the older boys and girls can be completely overlooked. sad And if they have a special condition, their chances of getting any sort of home for their sunset years are slim indeed.

mignonette Sat 17-Aug-13 09:49:04

Yes that would be the kind of thing we'd like. An older cat that needed a fire side and no outdoor excitement.

cozietoesie Fri 16-Aug-13 11:15:32

We have a largeish old house (unfortunately also a largeish, old roof!) with lots of stairs to run up and down and our boys have always been happy inside. (There's a people presence all day as well.) Even The Lodger started staying indoors most of the time although he was allowed to go out at will: he seemed to like being in, safe, and able to hang out with people.

Some rescues do 'long term fostering' - eg where they have, say, an older special needs cat who can't go out and may have a medical condition, they put them to a foster but pretty well on a permanent basis - and pay all medical bills etc. Maybe that would be for you?

mignonette Fri 16-Aug-13 11:04:17

IWonder How kind of you that you comforted your colleague. My colleagues said they had never seen me so grey faced and shocked as when I tuned up at work afterwards.

Yes a house cat would be a solution. We have vile boy racers outside and my cat loved scrapping with other cats underneath cars. He was permanently stained with engine oil.

Miss That is a great age for a cat to reach.

Exit I will try. I have offered to foster so maybe that would help? There are so many cats and maybe if I spread myself around them a little I would have the pleasures without the terrible fear. I was neurotic enough about the road when he was alive and Thomas never spent more than twenty minutes out because (I think) he needed to keep checking that he still had a home from being an ex stray. I knew after 40 minutes that he was gone/dead. I just knew it. My Thomas was a home boy.

MissStrawberry Fri 16-Aug-13 10:57:52

We lost our 18 year old 3 months ago and we already have two new rescue cats we have had for a couple of months. The house was just cold and miserable without a cat and we were chosen by the two cats we have now. We didn't expect to be cat owners so quickly but they have really helped all of us though of course we still really miss our first cat and wish she was still here. She would have been 19 in a couple of weeks.

So sorry you are struggling.

We all cope in different ways.

She cats wander less.

Please get another.

Iwouldratherbemuckingout Thu 15-Aug-13 22:16:26

Bless you, thats so kind when you're feeling so bad. One thought - what about (when you're ready) a house cat that cant go out? I must admit we live in a very quiet cul de sac but after losing my boys, even though they weren't run over, i cannot bear it when they go out the front. They are only allowed out under supervision!

I dont think anyone understands who hasnt loved a pet. One of my team sought me out the other week, she had just lost her little cat and desperately needed to talk to someone who understood. We ended up blarting together like mad fools.

Please take care of yourself xxx

mignonette Thu 15-Aug-13 07:52:15

IWouldRather Oh my goodness, what a lot you have had to endure. I do sympathise and well done for rehoming some new pets. I cannot imagine how difficult you must have found it and the remaining cats must have reacted as each of their numbers died.

Lurking That is terrible. No wonder you are grieving hard. It is very early days for you and people really underestimate the trauma of such a loss.

My son had his first driving test an hour after we found Thomas's body and he failed it of course. We all sat in the kitchen unable to function really. The shock and pain was more overwhelming than I ever imagined as I thought we'd have more than a year with him. Good for both of you for getting new cats. I tried to but just wasn't ready. I will continue to help out in the evenings with socialising but our road scared me (even though statistically it is quiet roads that cats die on more) when I had Thomas and now I just see it as a death trap. I will hopefully take on some old boys needing house care only in the future.

flowers to you both

OP so sorry for your loss. He was such a beautiful boy. I'm in a very similar situation. My gorgeous cat (also Thomas) was killed by a car (we think) and his body taken by a fox on 18th May and I'm still a wreck. I cry most days and haven't yet moved on to the stage where I can remember the good times happily.

I've spent a lot of time looking for answers and the one thing that keeps coming up is that this intense pain is actually fairly normal. Lots of people experience it but we just don't admit it/talk about it openly often enough. It helps me to know I'm not alone feeling so bad and you're not alone either.

We got two new rescue cats very quickly. They haven't replaced Thomas in any way but it does help a little that the house isn't empty. The knowledge that we are helping another couple of little creatures is a comfort but I know everyone has to go at their own pace but it's certainly helping me cope.

Take care flowers

Iwouldratherbemuckingout Wed 14-Aug-13 22:23:09

I think your grief is normal, but please don't let it overwhelm you. I lost my 3 old boys over 12 months, I grieved for dilly but we had 9 months from his lymphoma diagnosis which were very precious. My jakey went 2 months later, my little ginger shadow. That left poor zeb by himself, he was distraught and we threw everything into looking after our little deaf man. We lost him in march very suddenly.

Thinking of them has me crying now. But I have my Lillie stretched out next to me. Shadow is causing mayhem on the windowsill. Storm is rummaging in somewhere. Our house was so empty, I had to fill it with rescues who needed love. I think I needed them more. Doesn't stop the hurt, but brings a new joy.

Please don't torment yourself, remember the love and joy xxx

mignonette Mon 12-Aug-13 17:45:53

Harriet Wednesbury Sunshine

My sympathy to you all and all the others who have lost their cats. I remember your thread Wednesbury and understood your mental torment over what had happened. I still find his fluff in odd places, have a little back/white cat on a side chair in his memory and his fleece on the chair arm.

We buried Thomas on our allotment under a Cobnut tree and visit him several times a week. He is surrounded by interred Hamsters too! My son was going to do me a framed photo for Christmas then my birthday but hasn't so I will probably have to do one myself. I would love one as I too keep 'seeing' him; a flick of a tail disappearing round a corner, a noise upstairs as if he has clumsily leaped off my bed, the noise of him pushing his china bowl around the kitchen stone floor. I hear him a lot in my head. I'm just having a bad tearfilled day today. It comes at you like a truck doesn't it, the grief?

Yes, the price we pay for love is this. Worth it having them but ouch when they go smile....

SunshineBossaNova Mon 12-Aug-13 17:33:51

My sympathy to you OP.

We lost our Jasper in 2010 to an aggressive form of cancer. I was devastated when he died, and it took me some time to stop crying when I thought of him. Now I think of the funny things he did and his lovely personality and smile at the memory.

Like someone upthread said, we lost our family dog over 25 years ago and I still miss her.

Our other tom is 19 and I know, although he's great for his age, he doesn't have lots of years left. I will be devastated but that's okay.

Big hugs xxx

Wednesbury Mon 12-Aug-13 17:28:40

PS Don't know if it's your cup of tea, but DH did a collage of all the photos we had of our cat over the 10 years we had her using software he found online. When you stand back from it it creates a picture of her. I think it's called photo mosaic or something. I haven't put it up yet, but I liked the idea at least of being able to gather all those pics from over the years and have them displayed all together.

Wednesbury Mon 12-Aug-13 17:22:31

I remember you from the thread I started about my cat in November (I was posting under a different name then) when she was killed (we think, we found her the same as you, dead without a mark on her other than a bleeding claw and I started a post asking whether anyone thought I could have saved her had I found her sooner). And I was thinking the same thing as you just today, how much I miss her. The curtains in front of me here still have some of her hairs on them and we still have her scratching post in the kitchen. Every now and then we think we hear her. She was really a part of our lives for a very long time and I don't think I will ever not be sad that she died before her time, and I don't think it will ever not hurt at all, I suppose it just gets easier - albeit very slowly. She was also my first cat.

I have not yet felt ready to own another cat and was reassured by a friend who said it took her well over a year before she was ready. For me it is partly that she was killed on the road outside our house and because we want to move, I feel it is only right to wait until we live somewhere that seems safer.

The young apple tree which we planted above the space in the garden we buried her in has grown 20 apples this year. But I still feel massively sad that she is gone.

So not much help really - but sympathy.

cozietoesie Mon 12-Aug-13 17:19:20

I think you might be surprised. 19 is pushing it, I grant you, but I acquired Seniorboy when he was 13 (no-one else wanted him and I, luckily, had a vacancy) and he's now past his 18th birthday and still going fairly strong. (Well at the moment he's snoring his head off underneath his fleece throw.) They can surprise you.

harrietlichman Mon 12-Aug-13 17:10:16

My old boy died when we were on holiday at Easter. He was getting on a bit and very much a home body, so we didn't want him in a cattery and instead paid for a house sitter to come in twice a day to feed him and let him in in the evening (not that he ever went very far).
I had a terrible phone call to say she had found him dead by the back door - no idea what had happened as he had been fine the evening before. I have been wracked with guilt at leaving him alone, and also tortured with the idea he might have been in pain over night with no one to comfort him.
I still miss him so very, very much and keep imagining I hear him at the back door or just around the house, and sometimes even think I have seen him in the corner of my eye.
I am no way ready to get another one yet, but also hate having an 'empty house' - I totally feel your pain, unless you have had a lovely relationship with a cat, I don't think people get how much they are missed when they are gone... I guess time will pass and it will get easier, but just wanted you to know you are not alone with your grief.

mignonette Mon 12-Aug-13 17:02:06

Yes I know I'll probably end up catatonic with grief again but my instinct is to spoil some old cats to bits rather than have 15 or so years (possibly) with a young cat far more likely to be homed faster. I could take on more cats I guess in the long run. But not just yet. I cannot see anything other than my gone Thomas at the moment.

cozietoesie Mon 12-Aug-13 15:29:45

Now that would be a real act of love, mignonette. I saw a 19 year old boy on a breed rescue site the other day who had just lost his owner. Luckily he found a home (probably because he was a breed and a good looking old fellow) but how awful still must it be to be in trouble for a place to stay at that age ?

mignonette Mon 12-Aug-13 14:25:28

Cosie sorry that emboldening went a bit wrong! I'm the one who once mentioned wearing a 'kitten blanket' in another thread because i sit with them in their cages to get them used to lots of different people. It is lovely but although they are very sweet, I wouldn't want a kitten. I'd likely take on a series of old cats unwanted by other adopters.

cozietoesie Mon 12-Aug-13 12:55:10

Excellent. Do as much of that as you can. Well done.

smile

mignonette Mon 12-Aug-13 12:51:54

I do go to help socialise the kittens Cozie at a local fosterer.. It is fun but hard.

cozietoesie Mon 12-Aug-13 12:45:14

mignonette

I know that you're not ready yet to get another addition to the family - but have you considered doing some volunteering for a local rescue in his memory? I'm not even talking fostering, which might be too painful although there's much call for it, but something as basic as cleaning out cages or doing some weeding in the rescue grounds. That might help.

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