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Still Grieving Over My Late Cat

Double J

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I posted a thread about this in the "Pets" Forum but was hoping to get additional responses here.


I found my cat -- he was only a year and 5 months old -- lying dead on the street last Wednesday. He had no blood, bruises, or marks of any kind. Since I didn't have a necropsy performed on him, I'll never know if he was hit by a car, died of food poisoning, etc.


Both my previous cats were also indoor/outdoor cats, but they lived to be 8 and 15, respectively. This one wasn't so lucky, and it hurts mightily because I found and raised him from a very early age -- he was only a few weeks old when I first spotted him in the bushes in June 2010. (My sisters found and raised my previous cats.)


I've carried a lot of guilt this past week. I've pointed the finger at myself and my mom for not leaving the cat inside all the time. I was pretty adamant about it for the first year of his life -- sometimes I had to bring him in by force because he didn't want to come in at night -- but I began letting up the past few months. He had been staying out overnight of late, but he seemed happy doing so. My mom argues that she didn't want to keep him in against his will, and that the cat became awfully aggressive sometimes if kept indoors.


I know hindsight is 20/20, and this really isn't anyone's fault. But I really miss him, and it kills me to know that I will never see him grow old. A year and a half is way too young. It's left me wondering how long he could have lived if we'd only kept him indoors.


To know that I saved his life and gave him a loving home made me feel good, but I'm still having a hard time coming to terms with the fact that he's gone forever. I feel like I've lost my child, or a little part of me. I don't think I'll ever get over this completely.

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Aw, I'm sorry for your loss... You'd never know if he would have lived long and healthily as an indoor cat, since he did not clearly have an accident, he may have suffered a heart condition that you didn't know about and this would have happened regardless of where he was... stop feeling guilty. If he was miserable and aggressive kept indoors, this would have made you feel guilty too.

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Personally, I don't feel that I have the right to dictate how my cats live. If they like going outside, then outside they go. They may live a shorter life, but I am certain it is a happier life. Length is not what determines a good life.


And you never get over a loss completely. You just learn how to live with it.

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I'm sorry for your loss. You shouldn't blame yourself. Cats who are exposed to the outdoors at a young age yearn to go outside. My mom's cat begs to go out and she cannot ignore his cries. On the other hand my cat was raised inside so he is content at home and despises going out (making vet trips extra difficult). I'm sure your kitty lived a happy life.

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To know that I saved his life and gave him a loving home made me feel good, but I'm still having a hard time coming to terms with the fact that he's gone forever.


Just keep remembering you did save his life, if you had taken him in as a kitten he could have died then, so you gave him a year and half he otherwise might not have had. If he enjoyed being outside, then you can't beat yourself up over it, he probably had a lot of great times pouncing on mice and defending the neighbourhood. Like Arwen said it could have been a medical condition that you had no control over. If there were no marks or broken bones, I think it was unlikely he was hit by a car.


It is perfectly natural to grieve and miss your pets, I still miss my pets I have lost years ago. You will always feel pangs of sadness, but in the end you remember the love they gave you the most.

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My condolences for your loss


Isn't it amazing though? That we adopt pets, knowing that we will outlive them and the great mourning we will have to endure at their loss, and yet, we adopt them nevertheless, because it is completely worth it to get to experience our love for them, and their love for us, and the joy and happiness they bring into our lives.


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I agree 100% with the above, especially the last part about how we know we'll outlive them, but we take them into our homes and hearts anyway KNOWING that we will have to grieve their loss when the time comes. That is the ultimate form of love, to me. Pets teach us so many things about love because they love us unconditionally and provide so much warmth, comfort, and unfailing companionship. While they live, they bring so much joy, and even when they are gone, we are left with wonderful memories of the time we spent with them.


I lost my beautiful cat a little over two years ago, and I still think of her every day. I have pictures of her in my apartment, and she often comes up in conversation as I recall fond (often funny) memories of things she did, her personality quirks, etc. It took me a long time before I could talk about her -- or even think about her -- without crying, but now, when I think of her and talk about her, I only smile. As with people who pass on, our pets never really leave us as long as we can remember them.


I hope you will try to stop thinking you did something wrong. Cats are strong creatures, very survival-oriented, but they aren't invincible, and your cat just came up against something that he couldn't fight off. It's not your fault. Even if you had kept him indoors, eventually he would have passed (my last cat was 100% indoors and still got sick and died of cancer). Go easy on yourself, and when you're ready, I hope you'll give another lovely kitty a new home -- I did, and I'm so glad I did!

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