We have some wonderful furiends at Zoolatry who create beautiful monthly tributes to those who have crossed the Rainbow Bridge. We wanted to share the tributes for our Angel Tribe members Tucker and his sister Jasmine. We sure do miss them!
If you click on the photo it will take you to their memorial page
I am writing this post from the depths of the rawness of recent grief. My beloved Jasmine followed her brother Tucker across the Rainbow Bridge three days ago. Tucker and Jasmine were in my life for 17 years but no matter how many years we have with them, we still want more.
As I suffered through the loss of Tucker in February someone asked me how old he was. When I said 17 the person said, “Well, at 17 he had a good run.” I don’t believe this comment was made to hurt me but it did. This is not the first time someone has dismissed or belittled the grief I’ve suffered at the loss of a fur kid.
It was Tucker’s loss that prompted me to enroll in a certificate course for pet bereavement counseling. I had no idea I would be grieving his sister only four months later and that I would become my own bereavement counselor.
I am learning that each loss is unique and grief takes many forms. The circumstances of the loss of our cats vary, sometimes we have to make the decision to help them over the Rainbow Bridge, and other times that decision is taken out of our hands when our felines pass away suddenly or, we may never have closure as they just disappear.
Grief isn’t logical
Loss is always traumatic but when the loss is sudden or unexpected it can affect us very deeply and for an extended period of time.
This was the case with my beloved coal black, green-eyed mellow tempered and loving Buster. Buster never insisted on anything. He always expressed pleasure at every petting he received, every treat he was offered and every stroll around the back yard. We shared twelve wonderful years together until the evening we were sitting together in the downstairs TV room. He woke from his nap with a scream, had a seizure and died. It was 11:00pm and there was nothing I could do until the next morning. I wrapped him lovingly in a blanket, placed him in a carrier and put him in my car in the garage. My logical mind said, “He’s gone.” My heart and emotions said, “What if you’re wrong?” I worried that it had all been a horrible mistake and that he’d be sitting up in the box wondering why he was in the car. I went out to the garage several times during the night to check on him.
Buster’s ashes were spread in the beautiful memorial rose garden behind my veterinary clinic. I couldn’t bring myself to visit that garden. I moved along in life, shedding tears when I found a favorite toy of his, looked at photographs and when the tape of the moment of his death ran in my head. I believed that time would heal my broken heart and I soldiered on.
It was about a year later I decided I wanted to bring a kitten into the family. I was excited (who doesn’t love a kitten?) and entered the kitten room at the shelter with anticipation. The room was full of sweet little guys – and all of them were black. I felt my chest constrict and my eyes filled with tears. I ran out of the room and the shelter. There was no adoption that day and not for many months later.
My logical mind couldn’t understand my reaction and it was only when I was working through my bereavement counseling course that I began to understand the particular grief I suffered at Buster’s death.
I watched Buster suffer at the end. I never had a chance to say good-bye. I couldn’t stroke him and tell him how much I loved him in his last moments of life. His sudden and traumatic death left me with many unresolved feelings.
According to the Ralph Site, a pet loss support group, “Sudden and unexpected pet loss can cause pet parents to exhibit physical and emotional symptoms of shock. If your bereavement has just happened – or you’re reading this on behalf of someone it’s just happened to – you may find yourself shaking, experiencing palpitations, headaches, stomach aches, sleeplessness and more. Some people even show signs of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which is defined as ‘recurring memories and a heightened state of arousal that lingers for more than a month after a traumatic event’. You don’t even have to have witnessed your pet’s passing to feel traumatized. Sometimes not having been there can be just as painful.”
I realized that the loss of Buster had traumatized me in a way that my other losses had not. Please make no mistake, every loss is traumatic but my reaction to this death was unhealthy and extended. My mind constantly cycled through the same questions, “Did I do something wrong? Why didn’t I see this coming? Did I take care of him the best I could? Did he know how much I loved him?” The tape of his passing played repetitively in my head. I felt tormented.
Healing and moving forward
There is no timeline on grief, every situation is different, every person is different and therefore there is no one size fits all formula to recover from the grief you feel. In sharing my journey to healing my hope is that there will be something in these five points those suffering from the loss of their cat or other pet can take and use to find their own healing. They a re helping me deal with the loss of Jasmine.
1-Feel Your Pain: No one likes to hurt but not allowing the grief to work itself through is unhealthy, physically and mentally. As awful as it is, there is healing in feeling the pain.
2-Accept solace from those who understand: Find the people who will cry with you, comfort you and who understand the grief you are feeling. Stay away from those whose attitude is, “It was only a cat.”
3-Stop the Distressing Tape in Your Head: This is not an easy thing to do. I am a person of faith and when that tape starts running I stop it with prayer. If prayer isn’t part of your lifestyle acknowledge what is happening and refuse to let the tape play. Replace those images with thoughts of happy days, remember the joy and love you shared with your cat. Refuse to allow the tape to play and every time it starts, fix your mind on something else.
4-Dump the Guilt: Refuse to play the “what if” game. Remind yourself of the care and love you lavished on your cat, focus on the wonderful times you had together, not the last moments of your cat’s life. The fact that you are grieving so much is a testimonial to the love you had for your fur kid.
5-Don’t dwell on the death, honor their life: Honoring your cat’s life needs to be done in the way that is best for you. Some people write a letter, some set up a memorial, some talk to others about their cat; some have a memorial service or another memorial type of activity.
My closure and healing will come soon not just for Buster but for my recently deceased and beloved Tucker and Jasmine. I will go, for the first time, to the rose garden where their ashes have been spread and I will remember them with some friends who also have recently lost their beloved fur kids. I will celebrate their lives and the love they brought into my life.
The answer is……..there is no answer
We all grieve differently and we move through our grief differently. The key is moving through it so that it isn’t detrimental to our physical and emotional health. This is why it’s so important to say goodbye, in whatever way is best for us as it will help navigate this rocky path of grief. When we say a proper goodbye to our beloved felines we find that in time (and that time is different for everyone) we focus on our cat’s life and how much we loved them, and not the loss. Our memories of them will be full of the happy days, the joy and the love.
Wherever you are on your journey of grief, I hope that you will find some help from my story. If you do not have supportive, understanding people around you, I highly recommend The Ralph Site Facebook page and group to share your story. You are always welcome to have a discussion in this blog in the comments or contact me directly. Don’t suffer alone, there are many of us who understand what you are going through.
Hello Furiends, I didn’t want to miss my regular Wednesday feature although things have been a bit sad at our house because of the loss of Tucker. The Female Human still gets leaky eyes when people talk about him but she is getting better and she’s thankful for all the kind words you furiends have been sending her. She is in the process of responding now.
The Female Human is spending extra time with us and giving us love. LIly is the one that misses Tucker the most as he was her cuddle buddy (and Oliver and I would never mess with her when the big guy was with her). They had a great bond and Lily is very sad now. This is the way you would always see them together.
It’s time to get to the feline news for this week. Stay safe and healthy my furiends and always make time to cuddle.
A Kent Online office has been targeted by a mysterious artist who has been placing cat stickers across the county. The new tag appeared on a door of the Kentish Express in Ashford – just hours after an article was published about the feline phenomenon.
Black cats have popped up across the county, often on entrance signs to villages and towns – including Sittingbourne and Fordwich. They are also used to mark hospitals like the Kent and Canterbury and businesses such as Ramsgate’s Royal Victoria Pavilion Wetherspoons.
The miniature moggies have been spotted as far away as Rye and Bexley.
Ashford and its surrounding areas are becoming a hotbed for the unknown artist’s activity, with one at the William Harvey Hospital, one near Wye and another on the Orbital Park industrial estate.
Many believe this is the work of Whitstable street artist Catman, but he has denied any involvement.
Belarus might look confused, but it’s only his eye condition. He has been hard at work earning thousands of dollars for other rescue cats just like him. Those eyes were the main reason his human, Rachel Krallk, fell in love with him the first time she saw him on her local shelter’s Facebook page. She went to the shelter that day and adopted him.
Krakk began selling shirts and hoodies featuring Belarus’ unique face. She donates 100% of the proceeds to animal rescues and has donated to date, several thousand dollars. Be sure and visit Belarus’ online Bonfire store if you want to support shelters. Our Female Human thinks that we should be doing the same thing with the items in our store.
If you want to purchase some Belarus merchandise of your own, be sure and visit his online Bonfire store.
A survey of 1,000 cat owners conducted by Fresh Step Litter found that cat owners take seven photos of their feline daily. And 41% of cat owners have a framed photo of their feline. As to treating your cat as part of the family, 84% said, “You betcha’!” Some of you humans won’t buy a toy for your 2-legged kids without purchasing something for your four-legged kids. The study found that cat owners are not just partial to their own cats, they love everyone else’s felines too.
Most of those surveyed brought their feline home through adoption.-22% adopted from a county or state shelter, 16% adopted from a friend or relative and 13% adopted from a at specific rescue.
A whopping 60 % of respondents said their cats were loyal and 53% said they were well-behaved. Nearly half of the respondents said their cat often cuddles with them. In addition to cuddling, over three quarters of owners talk to their cats and they said it was like therapy. Their cats helped them through difficult times and 66% said they would rather snuggle with their felines rather than spending time with friends. My question to you humans is this, have you spent your 20 hours with y9ur feline(s) this week?
Five years ago husband and wife Shane and Maryvonne both in their 50s decided to leave their fast passed careers to sail around the world. After the humans were at sea for about a year, they met their furry shipmate. Mis Rigby (or Rigs) was given to them by a Connecticut breeder. Before they took of for foreign ports they trained Rigs and she now lives on and loves the 50 foot boat. She’s a natural sailor. The Burmese breed is very loving and loyal and trainable and Rigg’s sailing skills prove this. Her humans cannot imagine sailing anywhere without her. If you want to follow Rig’s ocean adventures, you can follow her on Instagram.
A Swedish self-storage company has launched the Cat Flat, a cat house with space for your cat to play, sleep and feel at home-all inside a very attractive cabinet that won’t ruin your décor. The company describes the Cat Flat as “The world’s first non-ugly cat furniture” . The Cat Flat was designed in response to the rise of small space living in Sweden. According to cat psychologist Susanne Hellman Holmstrom, author of the book, :” The Cat Could Decide” when cat’s can’t fulfill all of their needs it will result in a change in their behavior. Cats need the opportunity to spy, hunt and have a place where they can hide.
Designed by Eleonor Moschevitz and built by Stockholms Möbelverkstad, the Cat Flat enables kitties to feel safe and secure inside their own enclosed environment and come and go as they please.
Cats can move freely throughout the three-level cabinet, which is made out of walnut veneer. The slats covering the doors of the cabinet function as an abstract interpretation of nature, while inside the cabinet is decorated with sisal mats and leather. The brushes are made of FSC-certified beech wood with boar bristles and the scrubs consist of ecological coconut.
The product will launch during Stockholm design week. The famous feline duo of Prime and Raven (who have 141k Instagram followers) were the first product testers. The product is being presented at Stockholm Design week this week. At the time of this report, no price could be found for the Cat Flat.
Although I didn’t say the words out loud that‘s exactly what I thought all those years ago when my beloved Miss P was being examined by the vet. I struggled to paste a smile on my face as I gazed into the blue eyes of my sassy Lynx Point feline. Granted, she was 10 years old but she still looked like the sassy little kitten I’d first met. The kitten who began life as “Puddy” but let me know in no uncertain terms that she required a more dignified moniker and soon became known as Miss P.
Miss P was with me for nine more wonderful years and during that time I began to learn to not only accept the geriatric time of her life but to embrace and enjoy it. She’s been gone for five years now and I am happy to say every memory I have of her is a joyful one.
A year and a half ago my world was rocked when 17-year old Jasmine was diagnosed with kidney disease. I immediately went to the worst case scenario, my heart was broken and tears flowed so fast couldn’t concentrate on the lesson the vet tech was attempting to give me in administering subcutaneous fluids. Then, something the vet tech said permeated my fog of sorrow.
“Anita, we’ve had so many kitties live many good years with this diagnosis on sub-Q fluids.”
I grabbed a tissue, blew my nose and said hopefully, “Really?”
Their Senior Years Are Only A New Stage
That was the moment I turned the corner and began to embrace the reality of my cat’s senior days. I thought through Jasmine’s treatment and felt that no matter how hard it would be for me to give her the fluids, she deserved much better than being terrified by a vet trip every other day. I screwed up my courage and learned how to administer the fluids myself. We discussed what Jasmine needed and how to monitor her health. I left the vets that day with prescription food, sub-Q fluids and a hopeful heart.
It took a few weeks to get Jasmine stable. We made one more vet trip when she seemed to be in distress but we managed to get her back on track. I monitor her weight, give her fluids religiously (although she has some issues with this as seen in this short video) and make sure she’s hydrated and her diet is low in phosphates. Instead of bemoaning the fact that she’s a senior I take the time to create new rituals and fun times together. Now, while I give her fluids, she also gets an Inaba Churu Grain-Free Chicken lickable treat and despite her meows to the contrary, she enjoys the new addition to the treatment.
It’s natural to want our felines to remain kittens forever but if we don’t embrace all their stages of life we miss so much. Tucker, Jasmines brother, Jasmine and I have developed routines and ways of living together over these 17 years that are a constant blessing to me. Yes, there are adjustments. Tucker can no longer come out on the deck with me and sit on the railing as his poor depth perception has made him more tentative in gauging how much space he has on that ledge. There is a 35 foot drop into the woods from that ledge that he already misjudged a number of years ago so now he and all the cats enjoy the great outdoors in their pop up catio.
Jasmine went through a stressful time of bullying and, as a result, she now lives in the bedroom suite. I tried to reintegrate her into the rest of the house for several years but I finally had to respect her wishes to have her own space. Since the arrival of my “foster failures” Alberto and Oliver, she does have periodic visitors and enjoys bossing them around. I constantly look for other ways to enrich her environment as well.
Tucker’ has always been a rather “laid back” fellow which is only enhanced in his senior years. Still, there are things he does that delight and often amaze me. He likes to jump up on the stools at the kitchen counter and then hop up on the counter to “snoopervise” the goings on in the kitchen (he is a cat that lives to eat and this proclivity for eating seems to have been enhanced over the years). I would never dream of chasing him off the counter. If the old guy can make it up there, he deserves to stay there. Any visitors to my house have to deal with the fact that the counter is religiously cleaned with cat-friendly disinfectant and is often decorated by a rather large, cross-eyed feline. He has also been known to enjoy box sitting sessions and giving the “young ones” the occasional whacky paw when he deems them to be annoying. Tucker makes sure he never misses an opportunity to roll in some nip as well..
Granted, life and routines change over time but that doesn’t mean the changes are bad. Many are quite enjoyable. As you navigate the senior years of your cat, consider these five lessons for living with and loving geriatric felines that I’ve learned.
The Five Rules For Your Cats Geriatric Years
Plan financially for your cat’s senior years. As they age, cats will require more veterinary visits than they did as young felines. Think about getting pet insurance when they’re young or, start a savings plan for their medical needs. I have a line item in my budget for “Cat Medical”. Whatever I don’t use in a month, I put in savings as insurance.
Make sure you begin a habit of yearly wellness exams for your cats. Wellness exams help your vet identify and treat potential problems at their earliest stages.
Have a first class pet sitter. If I have to leave home, I need more than someone who will come in and feed twice a day. Both Tucker and Jasmine have medical needs that must be addressed and medications that need to be dispensed. My sitter needs to know what to look for if the cats are not feeling well and when to take them to the vet. I always make arrangements with my vet before I leave in case my cats need medical attention.
Just because they aren’t as active as they used to be doesn’t mean they don’t need environmental enrichment. Tucker enjoys box sitting and catnip is still a favorite.Jasmine has an assortment of toys and enjoys the occasional roll in the nip too.
Love them and enjoy them and be thankful for every day you have with them.
Charles Dickens said, “What greater gift than the love of a cat?” and if we can receive that love for 19, 20 or more years, what a wonderful gift that is.
Hi There Furiends,
Although this day makes our Human’s eyes leak, it is good to remember the members of our Tribe who have crossed the Rainbow Bridge. We hope you are remembering your former Tribe members with love.
Hello Friends, Furry, Feathered or Otherwise,
Lily here. It’s my turn to host a Linky Party and, as you can see, Alberto is a bit distressed that he might miss the most recent Linky event. Those youngsters, there’s always drama.
But I’m not here to talk about Al. I purrrrused the entries from the last Linky Party and I have selected my top three (it was hard, there were so many good ones!)
I hope you enjoy the picks as much as I did and please don’t forget to click on the link at the bottom of this page and add your favorite blog post!
MC and BC have been having some unnerving conversations lately about aliens. Here’s one that kept me up last night after the human read it to me. I’m not so sure there aren’t aliens around our place and heaven knows we have enough to worry about with all the wild woodland creatures that walk on our downstairs deck and stare into the glass sliders at night. But, you decide, did Bear dip a little too deep into the nip or are there really cat-attacking aliens out there?
It’s not only the animal tribe that misses a friend when they go over the Rainbow Bridge. Our humans did some things that helped them remember Miss P. and Buster and I think it makes the humans feel better. The female human always says that “Our fur kids leave paw prints on our hearts”. I’m not sure if that is medically correct but I think I know what she means. We are all loved greatly by our humans.
I know about scaredy cats but never knew there were fraidy dogs. This human knows how to make your fraidy dog feel more comfortable. Now if she could just give us some tips for the scaredy cats in our house!
Welcome to the Pet Blogger Showcase!
This is the place for you to show off your favorite family friendly pet related posts, find other great posts to read, show some love to other bloggers and maybe be featured on one of the host blogs!
Miss Molly Says– Pet product reviews, pet training, pet health, pet nutrition and all things pets!
About the Pet Blogger Showcase
Twice a month, On the 1st and 3rd Saturday of the month, you have the chance to link up one of your blog posts to the linky party link-up. Then visit 3 other blogs that joined the party and leave a meaningful comment. Feel free to share with your followers on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, etc. Then each week the hosts will feature their favorite 3 posts from the previous Linky Party on the new party post.
Pet Blogger Showcase Rules
Share apet specific post, past or present, from your blog in the linky below. Family friendly posts only. (We love reading about other topics and niches, but posts that are not pet related will be deleted this includes any posts that don’t mention pets even if they are on a pet blog or if the post could pertain to pets.)
Spread the Love! Leave a quality comment(more than just a few words) on at least 3 other posts from the linky party. Tell them why you love their post, encourage them, share on social media.
Check back for the next linky party to see if you are featured on one of the hosts’ blogs.
*Note: By adding your post to the linky party you are giving the hosts permission to use an image from your post if your post will be a featured post on their blog to help encourage people to click through to your post. The image may be used individually or as a collage.
That’s it! No need to RSVP. No need to bring a covered dish. No need to add the linky to your post. No need to include a button. Just come join the party and PAWTY ON!
Powered by Linky Tools
Click here to enter your link and view this Linky Tools list…