Recently I posted that our beloved Shadow had to be put to sleep. We miss him dearly.
Now I wonder, how will Precious handle the loss of her friend and housemate? Although they were not close in a way that they slept together and groomed each other, they did get along well, and appeared to play and enjoy each other’s company.
Before we adopted Precious and Shadow, we had two other sister cats that we adopted as kittens. They had a long and happy life of about 19 1/2 years. Their names were Suzie and Tessie. Tessie went first, as she stopped eating and drinking, and after a short period of weight loss and no real improvements, we had to let her go. As expected, about a month later, Suzie got sick. We took her in to the vet’s with the expectation of having to put her to sleep. We discovered she had a tumor in her tummy. My heart says she fought the cancer until she lost her sweet sister. They slept together, groomed each other, and were inseparable. After 19 years it was a hard loss, but also expected.
It’s been 9 years since we lost them and brought these two into our lives. Precious and Shadow have been pure joy. Given their ages (around 11 years), I have not been sure how they would exist independently of one another. As far as I know they have lived together most of their lives.
Precious is the bold and fearless one. We have to watch her as she loves to escape and explore the yard. Shadow was the nervous one, easily spooked. He was not a happy camper when Precious was not in the house.
I ran across a great article on Hill’s pet food website. It has some great tips, such as not changing the remaining cat’s surroundings, and giving her lots of added attention. I need to watch for a change in eating habits, which I have been doing, and it does not suggest adding a new pet right away, which we have decided not to do.
The article says she could become more vocal, which she actually does appear to be. Overall that is the one thing we are noticing with her. And it is hard because we don’t know if she just wants more attention? Is she sad? Or does she not feel well? The other thing that changed, is that she no longer tries to escape. She hasn’t slipped out of the house in weeks.
On a positive note, the article says that one survey done by the Humane Society showed that the 160 households surveyed reported pets behaved normally after six months.
One thing I did observe (and I’m glad I was able to see this), was Precious making close contact with Shadow on his last day. Her nose went close to his, as if sensing he was dying, and perhaps providing comfort and saying goodbye. This gives me comfort because I want to think this helps her understand why he is no longer here.
In this same article, I discovered there is a Pet Loss Support Helpline. I think this is wonderful. We humans are extremely attached to our pets, and without our own support to deal with our loss, it could be even more devastating.
The article stated:
Helping your cat to overcome grief can be especially difficult if you are having trouble coming to terms with the loss of your cat yourself. Sometimes it helps to share your feelings with someone who knows from personal experience just how distressing the loss of a pet can be. The Pet Bereavement Support Service is a confidential telephone helpline that offers such support through a national network of trained volunteer Telephone Befrienders. The Helpline is run by two charities, The Blue Cross and The Society for Companion Animal Studies. The Helpline is open daily 8.30am to 5.30pm with an answer phone outside these hours.
To make contact, call the, free phone number: 0800 096 6606
A co-ordinator will give you details of the nearest Telephone Befriender. Ref: Feline Advisory Board – http://www.fabcats.org
In my heart, I believe Precious misses her buddy. But I also see her playing and interacting in a very positive way. I will give her all the attention I can, and hope and pray that she is able to enjoy several more happy years here in our household.
To my dear Shadow, and my previous pet babies Suzie and Tessie:
I know I will see you in heaven someday.
Luke 12:6 ESV
Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? And not one of them is forgotten before God.
Isaiah 11:6 ESV
The wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the young goat, and the calf and the lion and the fattened calf together; and a little child shall lead them.
Psalm 36:6 NIV
Your righteousness is like the highest mountains,
your justice like the great deep.
You, Lord, preserve both people and animals.