On Losing a Pet
This is one of those posts that no one ever wants to write, but here I am, doing so in hopes of achieving some sort of catharsis. Let me preface what’s to come by saying I have lost pets before, and no matter how many times you go through it, it’s never easy.
That being said, it’s been three days since I lost my cat, Smokey, to a coyote. I’ve been through this before, almost exactly ten years ago: we lost her sister, Frankie, to a coyote. It’s an extremely fucked up sense of deja vu, but it’s a risk you run living in the hills with pets. I was an emotional roller coaster for the last day and half: sobbing on and off; driving around the area my parents live in, looking for a coyote to run over with my car. I think I’m better today, now that my parents have told my sister as well. But there’s this emptiness I’m not going to be used to for a while. The dog senses it, too.
Grief is a weird thing, and it manifests itself in myriad ways. At first I was sad. That sadness became guilt, and that guilt became profound rage. After a full day to let reality soak in, that sorrow, guilt, and rage dissipated and I was left with a variety of thoughts: was it quick; was my cat scared; is she at peace? I like to think the answers were “Yes, no, and yes.” I take a bit of solace in knowing she was happy for the thirteen years we had her.
But the loss still sucks. She was the family cat, but I was her human. Before I moved out a couple of years ago, Smokey would sleep with me every night. She would hang out in my room with me while I wrote, or read, or played video games. She was exceptionally annoyed when I decided to move, too, and always glad to see me when I came home to visit.
I’m glad I went over this past Wednesday, otherwise…I don’t know.
Losing a pet hurts like hell. I’ve lost two cats to coyotes, had to euthanize another, and had to euthanize my first dog. The important thing to know? Don’t bottle your emotions up, don’t try to ward away grief, otherwise it’s going to be so much worse. Things to do? DO browse forums regarding pet loss–they really help. DO talk to friends and family. DO grieve: cry, scream, yell. Whatever it is that helps. DO keep a journal. DO hold on to the memories.
2004 – 2018
I miss you.