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missysw December 19th, 2013 19:07

Still having trouble with loss and it's been about 5 months now.
I lost one of my best friend's about five months ago, my precious kitty Tasha. She was nearing 18 years of age when she passed, so she was a big part of my life for a very, very long time. I lost her suddenly to a stroke, and then the problem was not addressed correctly by the vet, so really she died of a heart attack from too much fluids. I suffer from guilt as I took her to the wrong vet, but didn't know where to go since I was not that familiar with many vets in the area. And this problem hit me quickly. One day she was okay, the next day she was not.

You know, I have lost other pets over the years. Those were not nearly as hard as losing my Tasha, so yes, I most definitely had a favorite. Many people say that cats are aloof or independent, or that they aren't connected like dogs are. I'd have to correct them and say that my cat Tasha was very much connected to me, and she was also very protective over me. There were things that she did that I've never seen a cat do before. She could be expressive, but it often meant something when she was.

I'm not sure I can put into words what made her so special. She was just very different from the other cats that I had had over the years. She was very gentle, caring, and attentive, and very sweet. She also had a tremendous amount of grace. Very, very graceful and smart as a whip.

I was taking a calculus class online right before she got sick. I didn't have a lot of spare time during that course. Tasha lost a few pounds within the course of a few weeks, and so I bought a different kind of food to try to entice her to eat more. I also started to weigh her on my scale. The few pounds that she had lost within a short time span was really the sign that something was wrong, and I missed that sign. So I am suffering from guilt at this point. I know that she could still be here with me right now if I had gotten her to a good vet right away. It was a few weeks after the weight loss that she had a stroke, and when that happened, I was extremely stressed out and over diligent in trying to fix the problem. Tasha slipped through my fingers in her last days. She just slipped right through my fingers. So I am still dealing with how I could have done things differently.

I realize that a big part of life is about loss, but Tasha was very much a big part of me. I think of her before I go to sleep, and think of her when I first wake up. I've got a new kitten now, and have had the new one for a few months now. That has helped a little bit but this new one is not really a lover or a comforter.

Finally, I dumped a guy right after I lost Tasha. This guy had a lot going for him, a degree, good job with the state, owned his own home, etc. Well I dumped him because two days after I lost Tasha, he said "Don't get stuck in it." He sent me flowers, but what he said was just horrible. This guy by the way is a big hunter as he lives in a northern state. He is not into animals or pets, and would rather kill them than love them.

My love for Tasha was so strong that I felt dumping this guy was the right thing to do, and really my reaction was "HOW DARE YOU SAY THAT TO ME." I sent him a final email and pretty much told him off. Told him the thought of being with him made me very sick inside, and that he's disgusting. I did that for Tasha to, because her memory is a very beautiful thing that deserves to be honored. Just wish the pain of losing her would get better.

hazelharris December 20th, 2013 15:27

i'm so sorry for your loss and our pets are part of our family when we lose one it does break our heart it always gives me comfort to know i gave an animal cats and dogs all the love and care possible in their far too short lives we read about such animal cruelty our beloved pets could have so easily ended up with someone that didn't care for them so be strong proud and relieved that Tasha came to you and shared your life and you gave him a wonderful happy life
love to you hazel x

j's daughter December 26th, 2013 10:25

Missysw, I'm so sorry, I've just now seen your message.

I am sorry for your loss of Tasha, and all the guilt and grief you feel about the time around her crisis. I, too, lost a long-time friend. Mine was Casper, and he was with me for 16 years. Casper died last year, in January, so almost a year ago. I went to an animal shelter and brought home not a kitten, but 5-year-old Poppy. She, like your new kitten, is a good cat, but not yet what anyone would call "cuddly." I miss Casper's nightly cuddle session. He would come every night and find me, jump into my lap, and settle for his pet and cuddle. I admit to missing that.

Poppy has blossomed over the past year. She was at first very timid, very afraid, and would run away and hide whenever I approached. She didn't have a good life before she decided to adopt me, but we've come to an understanding, and got to know each other and trust each other. She is not a replacement for Casper, but is very much her own self, her own cat, so to speak, and I respect that.

I understand the heavy sorrow you feel. I understand your anger if someone says "it's only a cat" or "get over it" or, as your friend said, "don't get stuck in it." Easier said than done!

Any pet with us for a long time is as important to us as a person would be. I lost my Mom in 2010, and all of my family before that. Losing Casper, who was with me through all the other losses, was a blow I didn't think I would recover from easily. The last of what I had to lose that meant anything to me.

I can tell you, from the perspective of being almost a year down the road, the pain will feel less in time. I am delighted to have Poppy. She is a beautiful cat. I feel more and more attached to her as time goes on. But I don't forget the pets who've gone before, either.

If Tasha could speak to you now, she would be thanking you. She would be saying how very much she loved being in your home, being with you, and she would be saying "Thank you! I had a wonderful time!" And she would be smiling at your taking in another kitten, telling you that you've done a good thing. Likely, Tasha would be teaching that new kitten a few tricks, how to get on your best side, and reassuring the kitten she will be well cared for with you.

I can't advise you about your relationship with your friend. I do know, people sometimes don't feel as we do about our four-footed companions. (I have 3 fish, too, and would be sad to lose any of those!). All I can do is tell you I, too, mourn a 16-year companion.

Do you know about Rainbow Bridge? I read it through tears, but it helps:

missysw December 30th, 2013 01:36

Thank you for those kind words. It is getting a little easier. It's a process I guess, and one must go through the process in order to get healing. It sounds like you understand my loss, with your loss of Casper, but you have found strength yourself to move forward. I'm doing that myself, but also made an album for Tasha with a bunch of her pictures in it, along with bible verses that help me to believe that she in a better place, and still alive somewhere.

Yes, I know about the Rainbow Bridge. That helped but what really helped were these pet mourning books. One is called "There is Eternal Life for Animals." by Nikki Shanahan
Those helped as they were very much a source of hope, and I was just grateful that they were written for those of us going through such a loss. Death feels so final but the books by that author really gave me some much needed healing over time.

Your Poppy sounds like my new Tessa. Is yours afraid of men? Tessa is very afraid of men, and can be very skittish and scared at times, although not so much with me, or is getting better that way. I think that this is a course in seeing how this new pet develops over time, and requires some patience. I'm glad to hear that you are bonding better with Poppy over time.

Sometimes pets can become like a child to us in many ways, especially for those of us that don't have children of our own. It's definitely gotten easier, as I'm not where I was back in July, but then again I've been allowed to go through the process and have had supportive people around me. Got rid of those that weren't. That right there is where the healing comes from. It's a loss that has to be reconciled with, ya know? And like you said, when you've lost a lot already, losing that source of unconditional love that has been with you for close to 20 years is very tough. Like you, I knew it was going to hit me hard, but I seem to be through the worst of it.

Thanks again for your response and prayers to you.

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