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cat mourning loss of his sister: should I let him outside?

althe
March 12th, 2012, 03:08 PM
My 10-year old male cat Mitza lost his sister to squamous cell carcinoma on January 9th. They were Extremely close. In hindsight, I regret that I didn't allow him to see her body after she passed, it might have given him closure, so to speak. He spent a week searching for her, staring intently out all the windows, going from window to window. They were always huddled together and they spent every night sleeping together. For that first week I'd hear him walking around at night. So now it's getting nice out and he's begging me to go outdoors and it's making me nervous. I'm a bit worried that he'll go off searching for her. Today I purchased a cat collar and got an ID tag, but I'm still very hesitant. It's obvious he's lonely without his lifelong companion, and I don't feel like I can get him a friend because I have a beast of a dog who thinks cats are snacks (the dog is a rescue from jan2011 and it's taken me all year to teach her to leave him alone, but that's whole another story).

Should I let him go outside? It's only been 2 months since he lost his sister. I read somewhere on the internet that it's best to wait 6 months. I'd really appreciate the opinion of other pet owners as I'm really struggling with this decision right now.

Thanks,
Tee

Love4himies
March 12th, 2012, 03:37 PM
I'm so sorry to hear about your kitty :grouphug:.


Please do not allow your kitty to go outside, it will really be of no use and may be a danger to your kitty. Also, a new companion does not eliminate the sadness he is going through and putting any extra stress on the family, IMHO will be of no help to anybody.

There is no doubt Mitza is missing his sister and it may take some time for him to go through his mourning. Have you tried just picking him up, or giving extra attention to him to distract him?

althe
March 12th, 2012, 04:06 PM
Thanks so much for your input. Yes, he's getting lots of extra love and attention. We got him all new toys and new beds. He got a big new cat tree, new blankies, and every single night at bedtime I get him and bring him with me and cuddle him, not that he needs any coaxing, he's a major cuddler. I hate feeling like I'm being so overprotective, and it's not easy seeing him want to go outdoors so badly, but losing his sister was very traumatic for the whole family and with the exception of the dog, we're all still grieving losing our sweet little Pisi. Because I'm still grieving myself, it's difficult to know how much I'm projecting my own sadness onto him, so thank you again for your objective opinion.

Love4himies
March 12th, 2012, 06:43 PM
For sure, your Mitza and your dog are feeling your grief, but there is no doubt he is feeling his own. Sounds like you are doing everything possible to soothe him :grouphug:.

sugarcatmom
March 12th, 2012, 07:15 PM
I wonder if Mitza would benefit from some flower essences. There is a specific formula for loss made by Spirit Essences that you could look into: http://www.spiritessences.com/products/Loss-Remedy.html

I've used a few of their products over the years with great results (their Ultimate Peacemaker kit and Stress Stopper remedy really helped integrate my rescued feral and her 2 kittens with my existing senior citizen kitty).

I'm so sorry for the loss of your Pisi. :candle:

althe
March 12th, 2012, 08:17 PM
I think flower essences is a great idea and one that I'll explore first thing tomorrow! Thanks so much for the link to spiritessences.

It's interesting how just writing these few lines has made me realize how I've really not gotten over losing my little girl. I'm in my fifties now and had cats my entire life, but never had an experience with cancer. It was a truly terrible experience to see our precious girl deteriorate so quickly before our very eyes and I wouldn't wish it on anyone. I need to find a way to get past it so I can truly be there for my other pets. Sooner or later, I'll have to let Mitza back outdoors; we don't have air conditioning and the patio door is open all summer. I hope he'll be ok in a couple more months.

Thanks so much sugarcatmom.

Mom2Kitty
March 12th, 2012, 11:58 PM
Althe, I don't have anything to add to what others have said but I just wanted to say I'm sorry for the loss of Pisi. My Kitty was just diagnosed with cancer on Friday. Like you, I have had cats all my life but this is my first time dealing with cancer. I can already tell that this is going to be a very difficult journey that Kitty and I have ahead of us. I had not thought of how all this may affect my other 2 kitties. They don't love each other as much as yours did but they have lived together for many years.

I'm going to look into flower essences also. I have learned a lot these past few days from reading Sugarcatmom's posts about cat nutrition so I know she knows her stuff.

Koteburo
March 13th, 2012, 12:46 AM
I'm really sorry for your loss. I think the flower essences is a GREAT idea.
I also think 2 months is too soon and maybe eventually a companion would be a good idea (it all depends on each case) but it's still too soon for all of you and would just probably stress Mitza (plus what you were saying about the dog)
As well as L4H I don't think he should go out either.

I'm also sad to hear about Kitty and her struggle. Mom2Kitty be strong for your furbaby :lovestruck:

althe
March 13th, 2012, 02:56 PM
Thank you all! Your comments have been very reassuring. I feel fine now about not letting him go out.

Sugarcatmom, thank you again for the link to spiritessences. I've placed an order with them and also ordered other essences for friends.

Mom2Kitty, my heart goes out to you. Our experience with the squamous cell carcinoma (in the mouth) lasted approximately 6 months. We had a "fairly certain" diagnosis after about 3 months, then in the final month we saw the cancer become very aggressive very quickly.

I'll post again when I receive the essences.

Rgeurts
March 13th, 2012, 03:56 PM
Hello althe :)

I don't have anything of use to add as the only thing I really know about kitties is how to love and cuddle them :lovestruck: :cloud9:

I do, however, know about the cancer. I'm so sorry you had to go through this with your furbaby :cry: :grouphug:
I just lost my precious boy, a 12 yr old Malamute/GSDx, to Malignant Histiocytic Sarcoma on March 4th. He was soul my dog and my baby. We also have another Malamute from a byb, 2 yr old with numerous health issues. We took him with us so he could see the body, say goodbye and not keep searching for him. It was a huge mistake. He saw Thorin's body, stopped a couple feet short, sniffed the air, then completely panicked, freaked out and tried to run the other way. When we got home, he wouldn't let us near him for hours. He wouldn't even look at us, then had a grand mal seizure the next morning. He still goes to Thorin's "spots" and will walk around in circles, sniffing, then lift his nose and howl :cry: :(
I guess my point is that there is no right or wrong and all animals react differently. They told us to bring him so he could say goodbye and know Thorin wasn't coming back and that animals aren't traumatized by stuff like that. They couldn't have been more wrong. Please don't second guess what you did. I think it would have been better for ours had he just thought Thorin was gone and looked for him. If you had let yours say goodbye, there may have been a much more negative response than you are seeing now. It just breaks my heart.

My heart goes out to you and your family (both furry and non). :grouphug: :grouphug:

Robyn

P.S. I love your pics. Both your remaining babies look very healthy and content. The kitty tree is amazing with that little swing bed! :)

althe
March 14th, 2012, 11:42 AM
Hi Rgeurts,

What a painful and sad experience for you and your boy to have lost your precious Thorin this way...and barely a week ago, I don't even know how you manage to write about it. It's true that all situations are different and the numerous decisions we have to make as pet owners are difficult enough even when we have all the facts and we're able to take everything into consideration. You couldn't be more right about not second guessing ourselves; I'm realizing that being at peace with the decisions we make might be the most important part of our relationships with our pets, if we don't find peace with our decisions, we're not fully able to care for remaining pets or care for ourselves for that matter.

Thanks for you kind words, your boy is lucky to have you.

Tee

sandyrivers
March 14th, 2012, 09:44 PM
Hi,

First of all, I just want to tell you that you have my kindest sympathies for the loss of your girl...

I too lost one of my cat friend this past year, Gwion was his name, he was the brother of my cat Elphin... it's not an easy thing to deal with to say the least. I am pretty much in the same situation as you are, kids gone away, time to myself and my cats are now my babies.

Perhaps it would have done good for your cat to see his sister's body, to put closure to his loss, but then again, we can never know for sure...I am certain that you did all that you taught was right at the time, and that was the right thing to do.
Your boy will surely miss his sister, as you miss her also, giving him lots of extra love and attention is the best you can do in this trying time.
Grieving the loss of a pet is not 'time wasted' as some people may say or think. Our pets/friends who passed away left an indelible mark in our hearts our minds and our lives, we will carry their memory with us forever.
It can be hard to 'keep going' after such an event, but remember, you still have those two who are there, who are alive and who need you very much also.

I think that you should wait a while until you let him go outside, he is certainly very aloof and confused right now, maybe not the best time to be wandering outside alone...
As for getting another cat friend for him, well, another cat will never replace his sister... as no other cat will replace her for you either... Maybe in a few months, you could think of adopting another cat from a shelter, but take your time before you do this; it will not replace your precious girl you lost, it will be a whole entire new and different being...
I would personally wait before adopting another cat.

It is nice that you got your boy a whole new set of toys and cat tree, but maybe you can keep the old toys and things that were his sister's also, where her smell still lingers on them, and he may have fond memories of these items as belonging to 'him and her'.

Pets are not stupid, they understand our pain as much as we understand theirs.
I know some people may think this suggestion is silly or pointless, but perhaps you can have a little memorial celebration in honour of your girl who passed away... Gather the toys she liked, the blankie she slept on, the pictures of her you have and take a long moment together to remember her and talk about her, have a little feast ready for your pets; sardines and tuna perhaps, and fresh bones for your dog, (sorry, I have no experience with dogs and don't know exactly what treats they like, but I'm sure you do!), and take this moment to put closure to your loss.

There is no standard 'time frame' for mourning a loved one, but you still have those with you who are alive, being strong can be a very hard thing to do, but showing those who are still with you that life still goes on even if your girl is no longer part of it is also a way to help them get through it.

It can be very hard to smile and laugh in times like this, but we must, if only to show that life keeps going, even though it will never be the same.

I wish you the best of luck in this hard time.

sandyrivers

Rgeurts
March 15th, 2012, 10:56 AM
Hi Rgeurts,

What a painful and sad experience for you and your boy to have lost your precious Thorin this way...and barely a week ago, I don't even know how you manage to write about it. It's true that all situations are different and the numerous decisions we have to make as pet owners are difficult enough even when we have all the facts and we're able to take everything into consideration. You couldn't be more right about not second guessing ourselves; I'm realizing that being at peace with the decisions we make might be the most important part of our relationships with our pets, if we don't find peace with our decisions, we're not fully able to care for remaining pets or care for ourselves for that matter.

Thanks for you kind words, your boy is lucky to have you.

Tee

Hi Tee :)

Being at peace is very important, which is something I'm still struggling with, but getting there slowly. It hurts to talk about it, most definitely. It also comes with a lot of tears still. But if I can give someone else a little comfort just knowing there are others that have/are going through the same thing, then the tears are worth it. That's the reason I joined this forum 2 years ago for my other furboy. The people here are kind, compassionate and very knowledgeable in many different areas :)

Take care,

Robyn