You: I miss Ben. I think about him all the time. She: Who’s Ben? You: My cat. She: Oh.
Your pet provides unconditional affection and is a constant companion. You show it love and care. You have daily rituals such as walking and playing and even the food that you offer your pet is carefully selected. Your pet is an important member of your family.
You know that one day in many years to come your pet will pass away. You hope though that it does so at a very old age without pain. You hope that it never become lost or seriously unwell. You worry thinking about this. You may even feel guilty that you have not cared for your pet enough.
No matter what other emotions you experience it is a given that you will feel sad when your pet passes away. Grieving for human loss is expected but grieving for a pet? You may wonder if the sadness that you feel is normal. Should you be worried about your feelings as after all it was a cat and not a person? Will others understand? Or will they see you as odd?
Of course we know that pets are not human. That does not mean that our bond with them is not strong and real. You are not silly for crying over your 6 year old dog who passed from complications during surgery. Understand the stages of grief-denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance and know that these are not linear and there is no time line. The uniqueness of you means that your grief will not be the same as someone else.
Gather your human supports and give yourself permission to feel as you need to feel. Connect with other people and your other pets. Accept that you did the best that you could have done for your pet. Show compassion to yourself. Remember your pet and do not rush to replace him/her. That time may come.
If you find that your grief is relentless and you feel that it will be enduring then it may be time to consult a psychologist.
At My Psychologist we will listen with empathy, take your concerns seriously and offer strategies to reduce your level of distress. We care about your wellbeing. You are in safe hands.
Please call us on 0427277237 to make an appointment.