Ivey Funeral Home
Grief Support Library: Getting Another Pet
by Karin Baltzell, Ph.d
I was just searching the web for grievance websites (my grandmother just passed away) when i found your column. My pet cat, Kitty actually was her name, died more than 2 years ago. I was away at the time, I had started a new job 1000 miles away and had left Kitty at home with my parents where she had lived all her life instead of taking her to an empty apartment with me. She passed away about 6 moths after I left apparently due to multiple organ failure. The thought of this still brings tears to my eyes.
This death still affects me today as much as it did the day I found out and I sometimes wonder if that's normal. I'm also afraid to get another cat. Part of me feels that there's no point because I will again get attached and it will most likely end in sadness for me. I did get a pet bird when I moved, and he's great, but its just not the same as a cat. Do you think it would be healthy to get another cat? Do you think that I will change? I really do love cats and I loved my cat so much and treasured her companionship, I'm just afraid of another attachment. Any advice would be appreciated.
It would seem that you have a desire to get another cat after two years, or else you would not be asking the question. Even though you have pain over your kitty’s death after these long months, you will never forget her. She will always remain special. However, getting another animal might make your life feel more warm, loving, and secure. Yes, when your new kitty dies, you will feel loss and pain, however, it would seem you are feeling that right now, without a cat. Perhaps if you got a new kitten, it would give you many years of happiness and comfort, without the pain. When it is his or her time to die it will hurt, but it will also give you a feeling of having been better for having loved, and been loved, by another creature.
Once we experience a loss, we are quite sensitive to not wanting to feel that way ever again. However, it is my experience with many people that we cannot "save" ourselves from pain. We can only go bravely forth and enjoy all the good times. Then, when the bad times come, we have a little cushion to fall on, or, if you like, you have some emotional money in the bank to draw on because of the nice times. And, with that thought, you can change/will change, and you will probably surprise yourself!
Do let me know what you decide. Thanks for writing us at Beyond Indigo. And blessings on you now that you have lost both your cat and your grandmother.