Consoling someone who had to get her cat euthanized

@scribe1 (1207)
United States
February 21, 2007 1:45pm CST
My friend, an ardent cat lover, recently had to get her 19 and 1/2 year-old cat named Elizabeth euthanized and is just broken hearted about it. I emailed her a note of sympathy, stating how sorry I was to hear the news and how lucky the cat was to have her as its owner during all of those years. I had a hard time expressing myself, even though I lost three cats last year and remember how I felt --- and still do.
5 people like this
12 responses
@ulderich (18)
• United States
21 Feb 07
Expressing sympathy for someone's pet is very difficult, but I know your friend really appreciates it. Last Feb 15 (just a year without him), my husband (and I) had to have his cat put to sleep. It was a decision we had to make on Valentine's Day, and this cat was a Valentine's Day present from his parents in '92! Bo, our cat, was legendary and everyone that knew us knew Bo. When Bo passed away we got several cards, several emails, and one lady that worked with Jeff's mother sent a gift with a card! Like I said, I can't say that it made it too much easier as far as deep emotions are concerned, but it did warm our hearts to know that people cared that much about Bo and cared that much about us. Again, I think you did a really good thing for your friend and was totally appropriate. I'm sorry to hear about your cats. They really become family members, don't they?
3 people like this
@scribe1 (1207)
• United States
21 Feb 07
I was sorry to hear about Bo, too. Having to put a cat to sleep is very difficult. After all, that cat was a family member for so long and his/her time with you seemed to be so short. I agree that cats really become family members. I only had my Leo for 12 years, Puss for 2, and Tabitha for 14 years, but miss them very much. When I lost Tabitha in October, I even felt that I didn't want to live any more! And I haven't yet told the friend who recently lost Elizabeth (she gave Tabitha to me in 1992)because I know how much she loved Tabitha. Now,I have Columbus, who is 10 years old, and Waffles, who is about 2 years old, and love them very much. I don't even want to think about losing them some day.
2 people like this
• United States
22 Feb 07
So sad, I can relate. We had to put down one of our cats a few years ago. It hurt even though we knew we were doing the best thing for her. She came down with a sudden and severe kidney problem and was suffering. Just a few months ago we moved. One night another of our cats got out of the house. In the 15 years we had her she has never been outside and now she's out there in a strange neighborhood and can't find her way back to us. Our hearts are broken. While its impossible to replace either of these girls we are keeping an open mind about adopting from the shelter. In our search for our missing baby we found that there are so many homeless cats out there. Perhaps it will lift your friends spirits to volunteer at her local shelter. Guarantee one of the inmates will touch her heart.
@scribe1 (1207)
• United States
22 Feb 07
I agree, but my friend has four other cats that she's adopted over the years and Elizabeth, the oldest, was her favorite. However, after losing my Tabitha, I visited the local shelter with my sister the next day and adopted Waffles, my calico cat. Then a week later, I went back to the shelter and adopted Columbus immediately. He walked over to me with his tail held high and rubbed against my leg. It was like love at first sight! I love both of my new cats, although I find myself still crying for Tabitha especially. She was my little affectionate 14-year-old "baby," a gift from heaven, truly.
@TinWolf (184)
• United States
22 Feb 07
Far more important than Grief is Celebration. Obviously we all Die, and a caring offer of sympathy is valid, but HEALING takes place, in part, when we CELEBRATE the LIVING essence of that loved one, animal or human, and even departed. Steven Wolf
• United States
22 Feb 07
I'm sure your friend appreciated your note. I will be brokenhearted when it is time for my cats to go. You lost three cats in one year? How awful. I think it is kind of hard to know what to say, but it wounds like you handled it well.
@scribe1 (1207)
• United States
22 Feb 07
Yeah, 2006 was a horrible year for me. I lost Puss in January and Leo on Feb. 28th. Poor Puss had a tumor behind her right eye and the vet told me that the only thing that I could do was to keep her comfortable. Then Leo had some kind of stomach cancer. I found his body, still clinging to the arm of the couch, when I came home from Mass. Following those cats' deaths early in the year was my dad's passing in mid-July, and finally, my poor Tabitha passed away on October 2nd.
@jwfarrimond (4474)
22 Feb 07
It's very hard to loose a pet who has shared your life and even harder to have to make the decision to have her put down. I have fortunately never been in the position of having to do that, but I lost my cat Cleopatra, just over a year ago after having her for 10 years. After a month I found that I could not stand the emptyness of the house, and arranged to adopt two 10 year old cats form the local cat's protection. I still miss Cleo, but these two help to fill the hole that she left. The best thing that I can suggest for your friend is that she consider adopting another cat or cats, they will help her with her grieving, cats are good at that:)
22 Feb 07
Incidentally, I'm using a photo of Cleo as my avatar picture.
• United States
22 Feb 07
It is not easy, I almost had my Goldie euthanized a year ago, but thank goodness it was only a hairball caught in her intestine. It was not cancer. In a case like cancer all one can do is put them down. I had to lose something worse than my cat six months ago. I lost my younger brother. He was only 20 years of age.
• United States
22 Feb 07
I recently lost 2 of my beautiful kitties and found http://indigo.org/rainbow/ gave me quite a bit of comfort. Your truely a good friend for even thinking and trying to comfort her.
• United States
22 Feb 07
its hard after something like that to try to explain how u feel about something like that. i feel for your friend, i to have had to put pets down. i guess it was one of the hardest things i had to do concerning a pet. some become like your kids. time heals all wounds. im sure your friend knows how u feel and its could be very beneficial as to look at photos of the pet and remember when..... this may help your friend with the loss, by looking back on the good times
@icequeen (2841)
• Canada
22 Feb 07
Yeah...that is a shame. My friend also has had a few cats...and has lost a couple...so it is hard. I think all you can do is be there and listen and try to console them. I have a cat too and would also be heart-broken if she passed away...
• United States
22 Feb 07
I'm sure your friend appreciated your thoughtful words. It's very hard when our cats, who for most of us, have become family members to us. The last cat I had to put down was Cougar. He had been sick for a while and I knew the end would come soon, he had chronic kidney failure and we gave him medicines and fluids which kept his quality of life still good. But the day I heard from the vet that there was no more we could do and he was in complete kidney failure it was horrible. Even though I knew it was coming, you always wish for more time. He had been at the vets so often in the last year of his life all the vet techs knew him and had tears in their eyes on the day we brought him in to be put down. The vet sent me a sympathy card for him a short time later which I appreciated, I'm sure they send them to all the owners who go through this but I thought it very thoughtful to also think of the owners in their time of need. Even though we all go through it I don't think we can ever really express our feelings to someone else adequately but it's always been the thought that counts to me.
• United States
21 Feb 07
I would be heartbroken if I had to put one of my cats down. You were very sweet to send her an email telling her what you did. Its so hard to go through and I'm sure you'll need to be there for her to get through this.
• United States
21 Feb 07
I have had a couple of my cats euthanized over the years, none of them were around that long so I cannot imagine how it feels to lose them at that age. I now work in an animal hospital where we deal a lot with sick,injured, and animals who need to be euthanized for one reason or another and to me it feels as hard to feel the grief of a person for their pet as it is to feel the grief of losing my own pets. Sometimes nothing needs to be expressed more than letting the person know you are there if they do need you. Words can be overdone, and sometimes silent sympathy goes a long way to helping the healing process begin.