Feline

Will You Get Another One?

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Why I feel we should try not to say this sentence…

One of my very close friends is going through the loss of not one, but two of her cats. She is devastated. She is panicked. She has to make “that” decision. Again. For the second time in three months.

And the one thing people say to her almost constantly is this:

“Will you get another one?”

Or some version of that.

It’s the universal sentence people seem to say when confronted with someone’s grief over a dying pet. As I’ve witnessed my friend dealing with this comment over and over again, I have come to the conclusion that it is said because…

1.  People don’t know what to say. It is the first thing that pops into their head.

It’s not malicious. We simply and sadly do not know how to deal with other’s grief.

2.  It’s a practical response.

Some people have gone through the death of a pet and are trying to convey comfort – to convey to the grieving person that they will heal eventually and that another pet is not a replacement but just part of life.

As Louis CK said – getting a pet is a “countdown to sorrow”.

And that is so true. We all know when we get a pet, it is highly likely we will outlive them. And we hope  we will outlive them. Because who else would take better care of our beloved pets then us anyway?

3.  To the rescue minded person, it is a given. It’s an expression of  hopefulness. Of course you will get another cat, they think. It’s your duty and a privilege and a wonderful opportunity to save another life.

But still, to to person losing their beloved cat, “will you get another one” is cruel – as if one is negating the life and personality and how much the pet meant and was loved.

To the person losing their pet, “will you get another one” sounds as if you are pooh poohing their grief. As if you are saying their grief is silly or unwarranted.

So, I’ve been thinking … maybe … we should all try really hard to stop this one sentence before it comes flying out of our mouths. Even though we mean well and are so sad that our friend is suffering so much.

Maybe … we only need to say something simple… something that humans have been saying for a long long long time… something that encompasses … everything … our sadness that our friend is hurting, our recognition of her beloved pet, our belief that she will get through this, and our love.

And it is not difficult.

Take a moment. Take a breath. And say…

“I am so sorry for your loss.”

=^..^=

RIP Spike and Dory. 

RIP Shwa.

RIP Kitty.

xo and meow and squeak, 

cynthia + marcy + penelope kitten

 

spike and dory

Spike and Dory

 

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Shwa the Sheepdoggy and Patty

 

 

 

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15 Comments

  • Reply Patty August 10, 2015 at 6:09 pm

    This is a great post Cindy! It’s so true that that sentence just comes flying out of everyone’s mouth, mine too. It’s like it comes out and you have no control over it. Like someone sneezes and you say gesundheit. When Shwa died I was completely prepared for this statement and just answered (and still do, it’s only been three months) honestly in the moment.

    Thanks for including my sweet Shwa on your cat blog 😉

    Also, I am so sorry that your friend has had to go through this twice in three months. I cannot imagine how hard that must be.

    • Reply MarcyVeryMuch August 11, 2015 at 5:37 pm

      Shwa was a great doggie. A slobbery one, but still, a great doggie. 🙂
      xo,cynthia

  • Reply Vik August 10, 2015 at 6:56 pm

    Great reminder Cindy. It is sooo hard when our pets die…I always just say I’m sorry and I know how sad it is, because unfortunately I DO, and add that their pet was fortunate to have such a great person. When my last cat died, it must be 7 years ago now, I never did get another one, first time I haven’t had a cat since I was 6 years old. She was one of those soulmate cats, my husb was very fond of her too, allergic though he was. There was a lot of illness and trauma and expense the last few years, and never have wanted to start up again.

    • Reply MarcyVeryMuch August 11, 2015 at 5:42 pm

      I often wonder how Freddy and I will deal with the expense when our cats need vet care when they are older and not doing so great. We hear how much friends and family spend on their pets as they get to that point and are always horrified. And we’ve got four. We say to each other – we will not do that. But then I remember spending $1200 for Marcy teeth extraction because… of course… so who knows what we will do!
      I am sorry about your soulmate cat. xo
      us too, marcy + pkitty

  • Reply TheLadyK August 10, 2015 at 7:35 pm

    Thank you. Just… thank you.
    This means the world to me that you posted this.
    I am moved to (more) tears.

    Spike was a soulmate kitty. He was the undisputed love of my life.
    He died yesterday, August 9th, at around 5:30 pm. He was around 15 years old.
    I didn’t want to do it, but I finally had to admit I couldn’t watch him be so uncomfortable anymore.
    I don’t know how to sleep without him. He’s been my constant companion for 13 1/2 years.

    Dory died this past May, the 28th. He was about 19 years old. (I only had him for 4 years.)

    An hour after Spike passed yesterday, someone asked me if I was going to get a new one.
    I don’t want a new one.
    I want Spike with me, vibrant and healthy.

    I thank you all for listening and understanding!!!

    (C – I would post a pic of my beautiful boys, but I don’t know how to do that in comments… ?)

    With so much love and gratitude,
    Karen
    Spike & Dory’s mom

    • Reply MarcyVeryMuch August 11, 2015 at 5:44 pm

      xoxo, cynthia

      send me a photo at marcyverymuch@gmail.com and I will put it in the body of the post.

      =^..^= =^..^=

  • Reply Merrie K. August 10, 2015 at 10:29 pm

    Awww….he’s a sweet looking dog. I lost two kitties at the exact same time and it’s devastating. (It still hurts now.) It’s even worse when part of your responsibility as a loving pet owner is to make “that decision”. I’m truly sorry for your friend…give her a big hug for me. (Mary and Minnie send their love too.)

    • Reply MarcyVeryMuch August 11, 2015 at 5:47 pm

      Awww… so sorry about your 2 kitties!

      I think one of the things we have to remember is that our cats are so lucky that they have us to make “that decision”. I feel so horrible for the cats who are out there fending for themselves who don’t have someone to help them.

      Of course I tell my cats how lucky they are to have me but they don’t care. They are soooo entitled! 😉

      xo,cynthia

      • Reply Merrie K. August 12, 2015 at 11:34 pm

        LOL…no they don’t care. LOL

  • Reply Big Momma August 10, 2015 at 11:19 pm

    Cynthia, there is not a dry eye in the house. I can hardly see to write this.
    I am guilty of asking the dreaded question “will you get another one” but only after time has passed and what I’m really asking is, “is your pain easing, are the happy memories replacing the sadness, are you ready yet to take a chance on the inevitable joy and heartache?”
    The question never bothered me. It often came from animal-loving fanatics who understood the terrible void. I felt they were expressing hope that my grief would ease and I’d plunge back into the “countdown to sorrow” and that meant I was going to be OK.

    • Reply MarcyVeryMuch August 11, 2015 at 5:49 pm

      Awww… what a wonderful reaction to this question! I think this is how it is most often meant – it just gets lost in translation. Sorry to make you cry!!
      xo,cynthia

  • Reply Liz August 14, 2015 at 7:40 pm

    How terrible. It’s such a difficult, painful loss. I understand the sentiment, and you’re right, people aren’t being malicious. We all know the joy a pet brings to our lives, and when someone loses a pet, asking if they’re getting another one is like a ray of hope, a reminder that they can have that joy again with another pet. But it discounts that pets are family members. They’re all individuals and simply can’t be replaced. I try to remind friends and family that they gave their pets such happy, full, and loved lives and that I’m so sorry about the loss of their constant companion. It’s the worst, and I really appreciate your thoughtful, compassionate, and insightful post. *tears up a bit*

    <3 Liz
    http://www.withwonderandwhimsy.com

  • Reply Liana August 15, 2015 at 7:51 pm

    Oh. What a wonderful, moving post, Cynthia.

    It’s so true about getting pets being a countdown to loss. Pets bring us so much joy and happiness. “Will you get another one?” really makes it sound like a pet can just be replaced like an object.

    • Reply MarcyVeryMuch August 16, 2015 at 9:44 pm

      Thank you, Liana! I am loving all of the different responses I’m getting to this post and this question. So interesting!
      xo,cynthia

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