On this day in 2014, my husband & I lost one of our special cats, Georgie. We adopted him & his brother, Pretty Boy, when they were only about 4 weeks old. They were adorable tiny, fluffy black powder puffs, born to a stray living in a local lady’s yard. She said she was going to have animal control take all of the cats later in the week. Rather than let them take their chances at the shelter, we decided to adopt the brothers. After all, we had lost 2 cats in a short time prior, & another one was dying from cancer- we knew she had very little time left. Kittens always help to cheer us up (they’re so fun & silly!), these two were in need, black cats are the least likely to be adopted & also my personal favorites. It seemed like everything was saying we needed to adopt these two precious little boys.
That was in 2002, & in the 12 years we had both boys, we had a lot of laughs, mostly because of Georgie. He was mischievous & ornery, where his brother is much more serious. In spite of their very different personalities, they were inseparable. Georgie was always Pretty Boy’s protector- if another cat went to mess with Pretty Boy, Georgie intervened, even if the other cat only wanted to play. When Pretty Boy was diagnosed with diabetes in 2011, Georgie was always there to comfort his brother, especially when he came home smelling like the world’s most horrible place, the vet’s office.
Then on April 16, 2014, I realized around 10:00 that I hadn’t seen Georgie since the previous night. I texted my husband who said he hadn’t either. I thought maybe Georgie sneaked outside (as he had a couple of times before), or was hiding somewhere napping. I searched the house & couldn’t find him. He didn’t come when I called, which was very unusual. In a panic, I asked my husband to come home & help me find him. He found Georgie in our bedroom closet. Apparently he passed away in his sleep, why we don’t know.
Pretty Boy was devastated, & as you may know, stress & emotions can play havoc with one’s blood glucose levels. For a month, Pretty Boy’s already sensitive levels could jump 600 points or sink 600 points in a 12 hour period. Thankfully, his glucose levels started to level out after about a month. Pretty Boy has not been the same since losing his brother. He became even more serious, but at least he has developed closer friendships with the other cats.
Losing a furbaby is excruciating for people, but we aren’t the only ones who suffer. Their furry family suffers too. Blood related or not, if you have more than one pet, chances are good that they are bonded to some degree. Maybe they don’t show their love as openly as Georgie & Pretty Boy, but there is a bond there. I have had 27 cats in my adult life, & have lost 17 to date, plus had 3 dogs & lost 2 of them. I can tell you that the survivors always grieve. Not all grieve as hard as my Pretty Boy did for his brother, but there was still a great deal of pain when others passed on. I have seen it over & over
If you have lost a furbaby, please remember this! I know you are suffering, but so are your surviving furbabies. You need to help each other through the grief process. It will help you both to get through & bond you even closer.
How do you help when you feel like you’re falling apart? First, pray. Ask God to help you to help your furbaby. Pray for your furbaby- lay your hands on him or her & pray out loud. I have yet to have one pet not like this. They understand what you are doing, & they do appreciate it! Mine certainly have.
Offer your surviving furbaby extra love. Lots of snuggles & saying “I love you” truly help you both a great deal. Don’t think animals don’t know what you’re saying, only the tone of voice- they understand exactly what you’re saying! And, like humans, hearing a heart felt “I love you” is always welcomed, but especially when they are hurting. This helps you too- when you receive snuggles in return, it helps to lift your spirits.
You can take your baby for a walk- not only dogs enjoy walks, but some cats do as well. In fact, some cats enjoy walking with a harness & leash, believe it or not. If your kitty isn’t a fan, they make pet strollers that safely protect your cat in a netted cage of sorts, allowing her to enjoy the fresh air & remain protected at the same time.
Playing is always a good bonding experience with your pet, & it helps to elevate both your moods. I have yet to meet a dog who didn’t love a good game of fetch or tug of war. Most cats enjoy cat nip, chasing a piece of string or rope & some even enjoy jingle bells or small crinkle balls. The experience also helps to cheer you up because it’s such fun watching your furbaby have fun.
Losing a pet is a painful, horrible experience, but never forget, it also hurts your other pets. They need you now more than ever, & you need them.