We grieve alone

This morning we took Peekaboo, our 14-year-old kitty with an inoperable sarcoma, to the vet clinic for the last time.

She’s in a happier place now, so I hope, at least. A place with no pain.

Stefano and I grieve alone.

Those of our friends who don’t have animals in their lives just don’t understand our grief…they don’t understand the intense love that we have for our furry companions. And yet losing a cat can be as difficult as losing a human companion, according to this Cornell University article: https://www.vet.cornell.edu/departments-centers-and-institutes/cornell-feline-health-center/health-information/health-topics/grieving-loss-your-cat

Keshé, Puzzola, Piccolo, Priscilla, and Peekaboo are all gone now.

My heart is heavy today.

Peekaboo. My strong, beautiful, curious, tough girl. Who is going to head butt me now? Who is going to greet me when I come home and give me a long list of all the things that happened during my absence (she was such a talker…)?


I will miss you so much, sweetie.

Much love.

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! 🙂