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PTS DS and grief

(21 Posts)
Wolfiefan Tue 27-Oct-15 22:16:05

We had to have our 19 year old cat pts at the start of July. Very sad and lots of tears.
Took the summer to spend time as a family and get over the loss.
Now have two gorgeous kittens.
But earlier this month my dsis had to have one of her animals pts. I gave the kids the chance to say goodbye and we took lots of photos.
DS (12) still keeps bursting into tears whenever something reminds him of these animals.
I don't expect him to forget them but he hardly ever saw my sister's animal!
So far we have cuddled and I've told him it is ok to be upset but have also tried to distract a bit and remind him of nice times.
I suppose my question is whether grief like this is usual. Will it just pass or do I need to do more?
So I'm not drip feeding there have also been quite a few other changes recently and we have talked and he swears blind nothing else is bothering him.
TIA

cozietoesie Tue 27-Oct-15 22:28:00

That's quite a long time Wolfie - even though he may not have got over your own cat; and the other one's death could have resurrected the feelings. I would be inclined to agree with your implication that the 'other changes' are making him unsettled and miserable and that the deaths are almost a sort of 'acceptable' (within the family) release for that.

Wolfiefan Tue 27-Oct-15 22:33:54

sad
He's quite a sensitive sort of a chap. I gave up work just over a year ago due to depression. Work on the house and new school etc.
I'm wondering whether I need to do more and suppose I'm also worrying he may have inherited my MH issues.
Even the kitten climbing the curtain can't distract me!
wink

blackcatzspookypyjamas Tue 27-Oct-15 22:35:12

As with human deaths, grief over animals is different for everyone. He may still be grieving or he may be projecting his feelings about the other changes through this. I cried recently about a dog I lost 20 years ago after finding his collar so I know that animal deaths can be felt just as hard (or harder) than loss of a human family member.
I always think the Blue Cross are really helpful with advice over pet bereavement.

I hope your DS feels better soon.

Wolfiefan Tue 27-Oct-15 22:35:17

And thanks Cozie. You are always such a voice of reason.
And I promise I'm not such a headcase in RL as I appear here. It's just I can share anonymously here and ask for advice.

Jenda Tue 27-Oct-15 22:38:50

I lost my 22 year old cat at 17 and for a good few years the mention of his name had me in tears. It was my first loss and he'd been around my whole life as I imagine is the case for your DS.

I wonder if doing something like planting a bush in his memory might help him? If hes a sensitive soul he might be struggling with a bit of guilt about the new kittens, and that they aren't quite the same as the departed cat

Wolfiefan Tue 27-Oct-15 22:39:30

X post blackcat. Thanks for that. It reinforces that we did all the right things. I think he just feels like his safe world. (Primary school, clubs he went to, mum worked, only child until a few years ago, changing bedroom, same pets all his life) has been shaken to the core. I think there's a feeling of "if I can lose that then I could lose anything"
I'd bloody hate to be that age again.
sad

Wolfiefan Tue 27-Oct-15 22:46:10

Thanks Jenda. I'm slow tonight. Lots of x post. We deliberately didn't get another cat until he felt ready. There were a lot of discussions. We wanted kittens, different colour etc exactly so it didn't seem like we were replacing them.
He really likes the kittens. They are fun (but complete buggers and I've had to rescue him a few times when they attacked his laces or wouldn't let him in his room!) when he's upset a kitten cuddle actually helps. Both kids came with us to meet the kittens. It was a family decision to get them and both kids were sooooo excited.
He has a photo and a cuddly toy to remind him of the last cat we lost. (Poor kid had that to deal with a few years ago. And that cat had cancer and was hit by a car.) I have chatted about a montage of pets (both with us and not)
I have also mentioned the idea of the rainbow bridge. It may be a bit woo for some but it offers me comfort.
This detail could well out me but it was a horse dsis lost. I'm looking to get a necklace of his tail hair. Don't dare at the mo.
sad

blackcatzspookypyjamas Tue 27-Oct-15 22:49:37

Poor love. I hated being 12 apart from that being the year I got the aforementioned dog.
DD hates change too. I have to remind her that this is how life works, unfortunately.
Maybe let him choose something he'd like to change so that he sees change as positive too.

Wolfiefan Tue 27-Oct-15 22:53:07

Thank you blackcat. We have worked a lot on his confidence and a lot of the change has been good. (I'm sooooo much happier not working, the kids are enjoying my experimenting with food, I have more patience, the house is better and he's enjoying new clubs at school.)
My mum and I still talk about pets long gone! Bloody things worm their way into your hearts. I did threaten to resort to pet rocks after the trauma of losing our first two cats. But I caved!
grin

Wolfiefan Tue 27-Oct-15 22:53:25

Oh and I want a dog too!

timtam23 Tue 27-Oct-15 23:00:07

The Blue Cross also have a leaflet about pet loss & children. Can't link from phone but it is on their website. I think their bereavement helpline is a lovely idea, although have never used it myself.

Wolfiefan Tue 27-Oct-15 23:14:30

Thanks. I had a look at that. I might offer him the phone number too.
My DH is trying to sleep. One kitten has got under the duvet and attacked his butt. One is climbing him like a mountain goat.
You can see why we miss our pets so much when they are gone.
wink

timtam23 Tue 27-Oct-15 23:18:25

I wasn't too far from calling the Blue Cross helpline last year when my old boy cat died - it was entirely expected but he was 18 & had been with me all his life, I was really devastated and even now it still brings a tear to my eye when I think of him & my old girl cat. So I would say it could help your DS to talk to someone "neutral" but who understands about pet loss.

Wolfiefan Tue 27-Oct-15 23:22:13

Timtam I have just seen a post about your cats and kitten on another thread.
sad
I thought he might like the chance to tell a neutral person some of his memories about her. At his age I'm sure none of his friends would admit to loving their pets.
BTW I have had stern chats to the kittens. They are under orders to live to at least 20. I figure I will have recovered a bit from the other losses then!
blush

cozietoesie Tue 27-Oct-15 23:32:24

I'd agree with that - having the opportunity to chat with someone neutral might do him good.

Wolfiefan Tue 27-Oct-15 23:33:53

Thanks. You are lovely. I'm so glad there is a place on MN where I can find people who bloody love are quite fond of their pets.

LeftMyRidingCropInTheMortuary Thu 29-Oct-15 19:15:20

Your DS never knew life without that cat.

Our family cat died at age 23, same age as me at the time. I was a wreck for months.

How nice that you have such a lovely boy.

You can tell him that it's ok to love a new pet, that his cat would be pleased he is helping provide a nice home for another cat. And that it's not a replacement and doesn't mean any of you loved Cat1 any less.

Re pet bereavement - for those of the Christian persuasion, I can't recommend highly enough the book Cold Noses at the Pearly Gates. Not as cheesy as it sounds. It's a bible study of animals and talks about how God loves his animals and brings them back to heaven. Not juvenile either, quite a bit of Biblical analysis.

Wolfiefan Thu 29-Oct-15 20:31:44

He's fine about having the new cats. He was a bit upset again tonight.
I mentioned the Blue Cross. He just says he wants a mummy cuddle!

LeftMyRidingCropInTheMortuary Thu 29-Oct-15 20:32:34

You can never give a child too many cuddles so crack on!

Wolfiefan Thu 29-Oct-15 20:37:42

Oh bless Left. I agree. Luckily he's cuddly anyway. (Not in public! That's not allowed!!)

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