Photos and grief

The other day, while looking for older photos of Pavarotta, I found some photos of the cats who are no longer with us. I managed to finish and publish the post…with photos…but…

…simply put, I was overcome by sadness. Grief. All over again.

Piccolo (left) and Puzzola, 2007

It doesn’t matter how many years go by, how many other cats come into your life: you will always grieve for the ones who died. I’ve read that the grief you feel after losing a beloved cat, or a pet in general, is similar to that of losing a close family member. There are many articles online on this topic, including this one: https://www.vet.cornell.edu/departments-centers-and-institutes/cornell-feline-health-center/health-information/health-topics/grieving-loss-your-cat

In the time that Stefano and I have been together, we have lost:

  • Keshé, my Canadian cat, who was with me in grad school and who traveled all the way from Toronto to Italy only to die a few months later (this must have been in 2001) from undiagnosed renal failure. She was only 5 years old. (No digital photos of her, unfortunately.)
  • Puzzola, who died in June of 2014 at the age of 16-17, was the first cat that Stefano and I adopted together after moving into our new home in 2001.
  • Piccolo, my sweet boy, who died a few months later, in September of 2014, at the age of 14.
  • Priscilla, who died at age 14.5 in January 2020. Her death was totally unexpected…hit us like a ton of bricks…

    Priscilla, 2018

I was particularly attached to Piccolo. I just did a search of my health blog to have a look at the post I wrote about Piccolo after he died. (https://margaret.healthblogs.org/2017/09/08/piccolo-2003-2017/)

Oh no, big mistake. Tears began running down my cheeks, and I got very upset (stuffy nose, too!). As time goes by, you may think you’re over the pain, or you can deal with it, but it can come flooding back when a memory pops up or, as in this case, when you read something you wrote about your cat. That’s why Stefano never wants to talk about the kitties that are “gone,” and that’s why he will probably never read this post. Too painful.

I do, however, want to write about this topic at some point. It’s important for people to know that it’s okay to grieve after you lose a beloved pet. And those who don’t have pets have to respect that grief and be supportive.

Whenever one of my cats died, I remember wanting to “share” my grief with some of my closest friends, but they just didn’t understand. They didn’t have pets, and animals were just animals, bluntly put. In the end, I simply hid my pain and pretended that things were okay, even though they weren’t.

But that’s enough for today. I’ll write a happier post tomorrow or the day after…my Peekaboo post! 🙂

3 Comments

  1. Sending you love. THere’s a special place in our hearts for every loved one who dies, human or non-human, and grief stays alive there, for the simple reason that grief is tied to love. <3

  2. I totally agree with you..Losing a cat is so so paintful. I lost mine at the age of 12 because of cancer. I felt so guilty as the ultimate choice was to put her down. Once i said i would.never do that but…I did.it. Poor Missy..my beautiful tabby cat….

  3. I adopted a cat while I was living in Colombia, a golden tabby I named Pascal because he came to me around Easter… he was feisty but had some unknown ailment and after several trips to the local vet I brought him home to die because the vet told me “I don’t know what he has or how to treat it but this cat isn’t going to thrive.” He snuggled up to me on the way home and we had two sweet days. Then he went out into the garden and crossed over. When I look back at those photos of him I still feel sad that we couldn’t figure out what was wrong. But I also feel glad he had a few months of being loved.

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