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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.

SuperiorCat Mon 12-Aug-13 10:22:52

I still feel a cat shaped hole from our fluff ball who died last year.

It was easier for me in that she was old and her time had come, and we still have superiorcat in the house so it's not so empty.

If it were a human family member no one would expect your grief to be over, just because it was your cat doesn't make the pain any less.

SuperiorCat Mon 12-Aug-13 10:23:42

Forgot to say, beautiful cat Mignonette

cozietoesie Mon 12-Aug-13 10:31:37

What a great boy, mignonette.

For me, it hurt a lot for a while - particularly for the first - but the rawness was overlaid by time. Nowadays, with Seniorboy so elderly, I know that I won't have him for long and, equally, I know that I shall have another boy to fill up some of the holes in the house when Seniorboy goes. It's no disrespect to Seniorboy (quite the opposite in fact) but I couldn't live without a cat around. I shall have a stiff drink of whisky in salute to him and then go out looking.

Maybe the time will come soon when you find the right cat for you to have in your life again. An older rescue cat who needs a loving home, say.

Don't give up - or let Thomas's absence overwhelm you. He would likely have thought you were daft, you know.

All the best


PS - I know you said that Thomas was away from roads but I think that the likeliest explanation is still that he had internal injuries from a car incident, ran away a bit (as they do) and then fell asleep as he was finally overcome by them.

mignonette Mon 12-Aug-13 10:49:49

Thank you for the kind words. I try to hope that he didn't die in pain. The worst of it for me is that he went missing for more than an hour (never ever happened as he was a stray who was very anxious about missing food) and I saw a white heap lying on the wasteland over the road. I mentioned it to DH who said he was sure it was not Thomas. I sisn't get the binoculars to look. The next morning it was still there so DH climbed over the gates at 6:30 a.m to look and it was him. I am wracked with pain that he lay there helpless all night. He had odd breathing that the Vet couldn't identify as from any cause and snored very badly. I so hope he didn't suffer but I am obsessing over it.

People keep telling me that it is really my Father/FIl who I grieve for (had a lot of deaths this year) and I can assure them it is not. I specifically miss my cat as not at all close to my Father who was a bit of a g*t. I can separate them out. Trouble is nobody takes you seriously (apart from my DH who is still so upset) and so you go to ground with your pain.

cozietoesie Mon 12-Aug-13 10:56:29

Yes, you do.

If he had massive internal injuries from a RTA, the likelihood is that he just fell asleep and died as soon as he stopped running and rested. It would have been very fast from his perspective.

picklesanne Mon 12-Aug-13 11:06:34

I really feel for you, my little dog Pippi was put to sleep December 2012 and I really felt i would never get over it. But with time things are better and although i think of her often it is with happy memories. Give your self time everyone is different in the grieving process, my thoughts are with you. Xx

GetStuffezd Mon 12-Aug-13 11:07:56

Your pictures are absolutely beautiful. I love the one where he's rolling on his back.
Maybe I can't advise like some people on here, as I've never experienced a cat die, but it's something which I utterly, utterly dread.
All I can say is SO many people just don't understand how you can grieve for an animal. It sounds like the circumstances surrounding his death are causing you awful feelings of guilt. It sounds like I'm stating the obvious, but you can never know what actually happened, so the only way these feelings can fade are when you let them. You gave him a wonderful, happy life - something millions of cats never experience. I honestly, honestly hope the pain lessens soon.

Sparklingbrook Mon 12-Aug-13 11:15:48

Hello mignon. I had similar happen to my beloved Coco in 2010. She was found dead without a mark on her, she was only 18 months. We know she had a heart murmur.
She went missing on the Saturday but wasn't found until the Wednesday and I was absolutely distraught, we had only had her for 3 months. I stopped eating and just sat on the settee all day willing her to return.

I was adamant I wouldn't be having another, our previous cat had lived until 15 and had to be PTS so I had had enough heartbreak.

But the CP had a cat they thought may be perfect for me. I very tentatively said I would go just for a look, and brought her home with me. Even though Coco's disappearance was still very raw. Sparkling Cat helped me to get over it.

But we are all different, and I still think of Coco a lot, and still wonder what happened.

You will know when or if the time is right to have another cat in your life.

Don't be hard on yourself. xx

mignonette Mon 12-Aug-13 11:18:19

We do laugh about the memories of him. In fact one of the funniest is the day he went missing when he tried to jump onto the kitchen table. He missed and hung off the edge by his claws swinging backwards and forwards with this frantic look on his face. Then he got down and did the 'I meant to do that actually' look. I smile whenever I see the little claw marks on the wood.

He had so much personality. And serious attitude.

Sparklingbrook Mon 12-Aug-13 11:20:00

I did notice this the other day and thought what a good idea it was.

I still have teethmarks from where Coco chewed the toggles on my coat mignon. smile

mignonette Mon 12-Aug-13 12:30:11

Thank you for that Sparkling. I may well take that up as cannot walk around town with tears running down my face like today.

moonbells Mon 12-Aug-13 12:41:14

mignonette I don't think you ever forget. I can't stop missing the dog I grew up with and he's been gone for 24 years. There is a piece of lego I refuse to throw out because of the teethmarks.

We lost our old lady cat almost 2y ago and I still melt down sometimes. It's been made temporarily worse right now because we have only just (3 weeks) ago got new cats so yes it can take a long time before you're ready and our black and white kitten is so similar to her in a lot of ways that it's hard not to compare.

All we can do is think that we gave them as good a life as we could, all the rest is out of our hands. Take care.

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


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.

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 12:55:10

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


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 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 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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....

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