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kitszu's avatar

How hard will it be for you when your Pet dies?

Asked by kitszu (1326points) January 3rd, 2013

Our little cat, literally walked us home and straight through the front door. He’s the most amazing companion ever. We adopted a (unbeknowoist to us) very sick kitten a year ago, who I was immediately attached to and we’d only had her a week when she died in my arms. I felt devastated. Attachment disorders aside…

Why are we so attached to our animal companions? Does anyone else wonder what animals bring to our lives that make us grieve as deeply for them as when a human we loved passes?

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16 Answers

AshLeigh's avatar

I don’t know that Chaos is dead, and I’ve found a lot of comfort in thinking that he’s with someone who loves him.
My mom got me a new kitten for Christmas, and I love him so much already.
I wouldn’t say that it was anything like being the same thing losing my cat, than losing my friend. Losing Chaos has been a small amount of constant sadness. When I lost Asher the pain comes in big waves. When I think I’m okay, I realize that I’m not.

Mariah's avatar

Well I always thought I’d never be able to handle it when my girl died. Just tried not to think about it. But she did, last summer, and I’ve handled it, because what other choice does anybody have? I’m still very sad about it sometimes. She was a beautiful cat and so very sweet and loving.

dxs's avatar

The cat in my home ran away a few months ago as well, and nobody has heard from her since. She was eleven years old. A few weeks ago, I found a new cat on the streets and after a little time, he eventually followed me up to my home and now lives with us. He seemed like an indoor cat based on his personality, but no listings pictured him. I guess we’ll keep him.

cookieman's avatar

Well, I’ve had to put down two of my own dogs already, so probably about as hard as those. It’s never fun.

The toughest was not even my dog. My daughter found my nephew’s of “sleeping” on his balcony last Summer. When I went up to check, she was dead. All 100lbs. of American bull dog.

My daughter’s crying and runs downstairs to her grandmother. My 30-year old nephew comes home from work, freaks out, and drives away.

So here I am alone, on the third floor, with a large dead dog. I wrapped him in a blanket and lugged him down three flights of stairs into my car. Drove the poor thing to the animal hospital to handle the remains.

Not a great day.

kitszu's avatar

I was hanging out with a girlfriend of mine a few years ago and her daughter was chasing their indoor/outdoor cat around outside. The cat runs into the road as this car come roaring down (small residential road), and my first thought was terror that her daughter would run out after the cat and get hit. Neither of us was near enough to get to her in time if she did. The next thing that happened was that sudden sickening thud. If you’ve ever hit an animal on accident or seen one be hit you know what I mean.

Thank all the powers that be that her little girl was smart enough not to go after the cat but that poor animal.

blueiiznh's avatar

Animals are a part of your family.
I lost my 13 yr old Akita 2½ years ago and I still feel sad at times over it. But know that it may not be the hardest thing you ever experience in life.

From The Rainbow Bridge
Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge.
When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge. There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together. There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.

All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor. Those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by. The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.
They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent. His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.

You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.

Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together….

Author unknown…

burntbonez's avatar

I had a fish tank for a while. But the fish died, and I didn’t really have an interest in keeping the tank going. It was more wallpaper than companionship, anyway. It never really hurt me when the fish died.

Coloma's avatar

Oh man….I’ve been through this dozens of times, everything from the usual cats and dogs to horses and my beloved geese. It is always sad but the animals quality of life and comfort is tantamount to my emotions, as it should be.
My old granny goose “Babby” passed in 2008 after raising her from a few day old gosling. She was 10 and could have lived much longer but had a crippling foot condition from tripping walking into the barn and breaking her middle toe which left bone fragments and a calcified toe joint that didn’t respond to cortisone and other treatments.

Operating on a gooses foot is almost impossible, being waterfowl and keeping the foot clean and dry.
I spent the last year of her life carrying her to and from her swimming pool, the barn, up to the lawn for grazing, and bi-monthy trips to the exotic vet for treatments.
I have also had the awful experience of losing a horse and spent nights in a barn and limping him out to the field for an all night vigil next to his pre-dug grave for an early morning euthanasia.
A horse that goes down and dies in a stall needs to be chained and drug out with a tractor and a grave must be dug by a backhoe unless you call out the rendering plant for “disposal.”

A very sad thing not only because they are your loved animal but also because the death prep is so involved.
Poor Rusty…we sat with him all night and after he was euthanized he was rolled into his grave. Really traumatic.
I have lost 2 cats in the last 2 years and am now facing another goose with a crippled hock that is flairing up again in the cold weather.

I spare no expense for my critters, large or small and will probably be living in the damn barn myself one of these days. haha
My newest cat survived a major bite by a rattlesnake last July.
Bless the beasts and the children.

ETpro's avatar

I remember how I grieved when Treasure, my previous cat, died. It took ages to get over the loss. Now Spoony is getting on in years. She’s still healthy and can chase a toy all over the house. But I know the clock is ticking.

Maybe next time I’ll get a parrot. They can talk back to you, are incredibly intelligent, and live 100 years. Let me pet mourn me next time. They just don’t take well to being left alone, and that is one promise I probably couldn’t keep to a pet likely to live for half a century more than me.

Coloma's avatar

@ETpro Oh they talk back alright. My Military Macaw was insanely jealous of phone calls, and would scream and yell at anyone on the phone and drove us outdoors even in the dead of winter. haha
Hell….I am dealing with this with my geese. Marwyn is only 14 and can easily live into his later 20’s if not longer. I think the record for a goose is late 30’s to 40ish.
Lord, love a duck! lol

Only138's avatar

I will be totally destroyed when something happens to mine. I have a Black Lab and a Black Pit Bull who are my friends without fail. I Love em.

rojo's avatar

Odd that I find this question now. I was thinking this evening about my old dog, Ayre. He is a 13 year old border collie and I know that one day I am going to wake up and he will not. I realized that I have been preparing myself now for that happening because our other border collie died three years ago at 13 and I am projecting.
I actually hope that he will die peacefully in his sleep. It was very painful to take Skye in and have her put out of her misery and I do not want to have to do that with him.
I will be truly saddened and will bury him in the back yard next to his old friend.
I hope someone will do the same for me some day.

Pachy's avatar

I’ve never quite gotten over my guilt about having put my first cat “to sleep” because she had leukemia even though it’s been decades. I have a cat now who’s around 12, and I dread the day when he might become too ill to be kept alive. (

Coloma's avatar

All we can do is love them enough to assist them in their leaving. The highest act of love is letting go.

OpryLeigh's avatar

My Jack Russell, Bella comes, pretty much, everywhere with me, she really is a constant companion. I know her death will be incredibly difficult for me when the time comes.

hearkat's avatar

As a child, I was very emotionally attached to the family cats. I was also very emotionally needy. When I was 16 a neighborhood kid hit my Tigger with his car and I had to have her put to sleep, and I was a mess for days. At 24, a few weeks before my son was due to be born, my cat went missing. We had moved her from my mother’s house not too long previously, and she had been indoor/outdoor there. She got out, and I went bonkers looking for her… walking through the woods with my wellies on and my belly sticking out like there was a basketball under my shirt.

Two decades later, and I’m far less emotionally attached to our pets. I love them, and I am there primary caretaker, and I am their preferred lap and cuddle partner at night; but I accept that death is inevitable for all creatures, and their life expectancy is far shorter than our own. I do what I can to give them a fun life. I don’t anthropomorphize them to the degree that many people do with their pets. When they get sick or old, I will ensure that they are comfortable, but I’m not about to go into debt for medical tests and treatments… to me, that experience traumatizes them and deteriorates their quality of life, since they can’t comprehend the purpose. Without my intervention, they likely would have died long before, so I simply believe that quality of life is key.

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