Dealing with grief

I'd really be grateful for some help on how to deal with my loss - a much loved 19 year old cat. He'd been with us since he was 6 weeks old.

I'm sorry if I'm depressing everyone but I'm not coping and need help.

We went away on holiday three months ago. On the first morning we got a phone call from our son to say our much loved cat had been killed as we were arriving in Spain. We flew home - we could not stay on holiday!

The 33 year old son of our next door neighbor deliberately drove over Thomas. He saw him laying in the road - Tom got disorientated and didn't realize where he was laying. Rather than lift him out of the road on to our front garden, he just drove over him.

He dragged him along the road, on to his father's drive before removing Tom from under his car and dumping him on the path opposite. One of my son's found him the following morning when he left for work.

I just can't come to terms with it. I can't understand how he could treat Tom like that. He knew Tom - he'd fed him with his brother when we were away for a few days years ago. He never told anyone - just let himself in next door, went up to his old room and spent the night.

I've worn myself out decorating our house - we're putting it on the market later this month. I can't stay here. I can't look out every day at where Thomas died and I can't live next door to the father of this man. Luckily he doesn't live there he was only visiting.

We lost another of our cats two years ago - she ran across the road and didn't make it. I'd only just got over her loss. I think the grief caused my thyroids meds to stop working properly. I'd just managed to lose 7lbs - a bit under half of what I'd gained. I was feeling a lot better. Now I'm back to square one again. I don't know what to do. I'm not sleeping, I'm crying a lot, I'm eating a lot and I don't want to do anything.

My husband wants us to go on holiday again. I'm refusing - I can't stop this guy visiting his parents but I have five other cats including another 19 year old who can't get out of his way!

I can't forgive myself for not being here when it happened and not being able to say good bye. I saw a doctor last time and he couldn't help or suggest anything.

It's going to be at least four months before we can move even if we get a buyer straight away.

Any help or advice would be really appreciated.

I'm sorry for being so miserable.

26 Replies

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  • Hi dizzy 864 I'm so sorry for your loss. I have also lost much loved cat in the past and know it can be devastating. Allow yourself to grieve, but don't beat yourself up about not being there when it happened as you were not to know that it was going to happen. Has the person who done it not even apologised ? If not shame on him, I'm a keen believer in karma and I'm sure he will get his just deserts eventually. All I can do is send hugs to you and say time is the healer.xx

  • Hi, Thanks for your reply. No, I haven't seen the person that killed Thomas. Thank God he hasn't been back to visit his father since it happened. Even though I was quite friendly with the woman next door, she ignored my husband and I when we got back from Spain. Even to the extent of garaging her car so she could exit the car in the garage rather than leaving it on their drive where I would see her.

    The parent's attitude has been almost as disgraceful as their son. The person that did it is never going to apologize as he did it deliberately. When I accosted my next door neighbor three weeks after it happened, I was told that John had told his father that he saw Thomas laying in the road and tried to "squeeze" past. What he actually did was to drive over the top of Thomas thinking that Thomas would remain still.

    I don't believe that Thomas was the first cat to be hurt by him. The neighbor living the other side of them blamed them for her cat going missing some years ago. At the time, that was unthinkable to me but now I know different. John was living next door at the time.

    If I hadn't got other cats, I would have reported him to the police and the RSPCA but if he can kill Tom for no reason, my other cats wouldn't stand a chance if I give him an excuse.

    There is no way for me to express what I have wished for him. He's clearly a psychopath but knowing that does not help.

  • Hi dizzy864

    Wow that is awful. You poor thing. I'm a massive cat lover. I have 3, my lovely 3 year old silver tabby was grabbed by a lurcher from the BBQ at the back of our house, she tried to get in the window under the BBQ but he grabbed her, I saw it happen and couldn't get there in time. I shouted and attacked the dog till it dropped her, she died the next day. I struggled and went into a deep depression, I still think of it now and I feel angry . It does get better. Your cat was loved and had a good life with u but it doesn't stop the anger u feel to that person. I feel mad for u 😬. Do what's right for u and if u don't want to go away don't! I fuss my cats more than ever, will look for them and if I see a loose dog I go crazy at the owner. Can u speak to the person? The owner of the Lurcher said sorry to us. Time is a healer , u could get a memory plaque for the cat and light candles . I did that.. I'm sending u hugs . Rainbow bridge is a nice poem, u could read it and maybe feel peace from it 💞💙🐱 xx

  • Thanks for your reply.

    I was so sorry to hear about your poor cat. Why do people keep such dogs? It's so unnecessary. We took on two fullly grown cockers when we had two adult cats and had no problems at all with any of them. They even cuddled up and slept together.

    When I went to collect the cockers - they'd been abused and were in a terrible state - the owner also had a small grey bird. I was fussing the two dogs when the bird flew in to the room and landed on the floor a few feet from the dogs. The dogs charged at the bird before I had a chance to grab either of their collars. I almost screamed. But the dogs screached to a stop, after sliding along the tiled floor. They then went "kissy, kissy" with the bird's beak. I don't think I've ever laughed so much in my life! Mostly relief at finding that the two dogs and the bird were the best of friends.

    I alternate between being really angry, upset, depressed and really missing Thomas. I had to give him a pill for his thyroid condition at 6.30 each evening and I still watch the clock waiting for it to be time to pill him.

    I have lived in this house for over 14 years but I hate it here now. I hate opening my curtains each morning and looking out on where Tom was killed. I dread John coming to visit his parents.

    We tried to put the house on the market before Christmas but there was nothing on the market for us to buy. So we've decided to do some painting and decorating and other work and get the house on the market by the end of the month. But we keep hitting problems with the workmen we've booked and things are being delayed.

    I just want to be gone. If we could have found somewhere to rent, we would have done so. But land lords won't rent to cat owners especially ones with five cats! So we've no choice but to stay here for at least the next four months till we can find and complete on a new house.

  • Dizzy864,

    I'm terribly sorry for your loss and your pain.

    I think it might be helpful if you had bereavement counselling. Your GP may be able to recommend someone.

  • Hi,

    Thanks for taking the time to reply.

    My gp was going to arrange that for me when I lost Buffy two and a half years ago but he was not able to. Grief only applies to people and not much loved pets.

    He was not able to suggest anything else.

    He offered instead to arrange stress counselling but I declined. I can cope with stress but not grief.

  • Dizzy864,

    Perhaps you could Google "Bereavement counselling" or "Greif counselling" and arrange something privately.

  • (((dizzy))) Something similar happened to one of our beautiful Bombay blacks. He was an absolute bandit and loved to play chicken across the main road we live on. One day, he pushed his luck too far...

    We give our cats such love and invest in them human emotions they can't possibly have; yet they do give us the honour of returning to our homes every day, every night - more than food keeps them returning. Now isn't the time to have a new kitten, which I've found a comfort in the past. Allow yourself to grieve for Thomas and maybe ponder this, which a chum sent to me when Krishna died...

    Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge.

    When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge. There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together. There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.

    All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigour. Those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by. The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind

    They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent. His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.

    You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.

    Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together....

    Author unknown

    xx

  • Hi, Many thanks for your reply. I really hope it's true. It's such a lovely thing to believe in. I so look forward to seeing my three lost cats and two dogs.

    Even after three months, I can't move beyond, "why" and how could he do it to my poor Thomas.

    When we lost Buffy, it was no body's fault. She insisted on going to fields across a particularly nasty road every day, returning between 4.30pm and 5.00pm. Her luck ran out on her 7th Birthday. We still have her twin sister and each year her birthday is tingedwith sadness for Buffy.

    My husband and one of my two son's still living at home decided the best cure for grief was to take on another couple of kittens. My other son and I were against this at that time. But we ended up taking on three beautiful kittens 6 weeks after losing Buffy. I still think it was a mistake to rush into getting kittens so soon. I had and still have such mixed emotions. The two girls reminded me so much of Buffy and her twin when they were kittens. My husband and other son still think it was the right thing to do and that it helped them with their loss.

    I can only say we are all different.

    As we still have five cats, taking on kittens at this time is not an option.

  • Hi Dizzy, wow, How horrible for you. I am in tears just reading your post. I understand how you feel. We feed some feral cats in the woods behind our house. My neighbor used to also watch out for them. All of a sudden last summer, he started trapping them. You know what happened to them . Some of them were tame. One I had for 8 yrs. That was last May. I'm still not dealing with it at all.I hate it here. There's more cats out there, and come spring, he'll probably start again. Every time I look at his house, I feel such anger. Don't go out in my garden anymore. I'm so sorry for your loss. There are no words to help. Ruby🌹

  • If you google therapy for you, you can refer yourself, much easier , it's the same place the gp would send you. It helped me. Definitely google rainbow bridge 💐xx

  • Hi, How terrible. A lot of people just don't have any respect for animals. I blame parents - it is their duty to instill at least a respect for animals if not a love for them. No one should have to live in a house and feel anger. Is it not possible for you to move?

    I need to be able to enjoy my house and garden. Every time I open or close my lounge and bedroom curtains I look at the spot where Tom was murdered. My neighbors are next door - I can't avoid looking at them. Although, the son that hit Tom no longer lives next door, he is one of identical triplets. His two identical brothers still live next door and I can't avoid seeing them.

    I have to move, I really believe I will never get better living here.

    The really sad thing is that my youngest son told me that he will never adopt a cat as we can't keep them safe. He is still suffering so much after finding Tom.

  • Can't really move, dizzy864 . we rent our house. Not easy to find another. Also can't really move feral cats.when I fed the outside cats this morning one was missing. It's very cold here today, so I'm hoping that's why. There are a daughter and son of the 8 yr. old cat outside, that are tame. We have quite a few cats inside. Never let them outside. Really worried about the one missing. I wish the neighbor would move. He also rents. I've been depressed since last summer over this stuff. Ruby🌹

  • Hi,

    It's so sad for you to be stuck in this situation. It seems so unfair that us cat lovers should be in this tough place.

    I really hope your missing cat turns up. We get so worried when one of our cats is missing. One of our younger one's likes to find a nest to hide in. As soon as we find her hiding place, she finds somewhere else to hide. She's a very small cat so doesn't need much room to hide in. She's a really friendly girl so we don't understand why she likes to hide so often and sometimes she's "missing" for hours. All my love goes to you at this difficult time.

    i'm surprised you find somewhere to rent that would accept cats. We had to rent for a year before we moved here. We had 2 spaniels and 2 cats at the time and really struggled to find somewhere. We eventually found a willing land lord but he was only willing because the house was in such a state no one else would move into it.

    I would rent again just to get away from here but can't find anything.

    Unfortunately, it will take at least three months to complete our house sale once we find a buyer as our local council is the slowest in Britain for completing the necessary searches.

  • I am huge cat lover myself and have a lovely Tortie kitty who i adore, i am so very sorry for your loss it was disgusting what happened to your kitty, sending you big hugs

    Dotti xx

  • Hi,

    Thanks for your reply. It does help that there are other cat lovers out there thinking of us. I was feeling so alone.

  • Hello dizzy864 ..

    What a dreadful thing to have happened to your poor Tom. What that man did is absolutely unforgivable to an old cat who might have been a little deaf to the sound of approaching cars and maybe not as nimble on his feet. I am also disgusted at the way this man's family have given you the cold-shoulder. They are probably the types that would say "it's only a cat".

    People that say those kind of things do not have a shred of empathy in their dark souls. When I was an Animal Nursing Auxiliary many years ago I consoled hundreds of grief-stricken owners of much loved pets who are departed from us through many reasons and I can tell you that the grief is just as raw as if a human in the family had died. Walk away from people if they try and tell you otherwise. I feel your rage and upset and can only offer a ((hug)) through the ether and I fervently hope that this creep will pay through Karma, that's for sure.......and his ghastly parents.

    Talking and counselling is a good thing and should be carried on for as long as you feel it's beneficial to you. It sometimes helps if that person is not directly a friend or family. The Blue Cross offer a telephone Pet Bereavement Support Service on 0800 096 6606 (UK only including northern Ireland). The support line is open from 8.30am - 8.30pm everyday. All calls are free and confidential from a landline. If calling from a mobile phone, some phone networks may charge. Alternatively you can also email the Pet Bereavement Support Service on pbssmail@bluecross.org.uk

    Be gentle on yourself, dizzy (the name of Sponge's daughter. Sponge is in my profile pic.)

    Tom will always be in your heart ........and play hard at The Bridge, Tom.

  • Thanks for your reply. Yes, Tom was very deaf and his sight was not too good either following a stroke earlier last year. He would not have known the car was there until it was on top of him.

    It's surprising, we have another old boy who has just had his 19th birthday. He still has good eye sight and hearing although they have dipped slightly. He surprised my son a few weeks ago by jumping in his upstairs bedroom window. There's a flat roof outside the window and Oliver climbed a big cherry tree and jumped from it to the flat roof. Not bad for almost 19!

  • Hello dizzy864, just wanted to send you hugs and understanding having been in a similar place when my lovely Rogercat was left to slowly die in a gintrap set by my neighbours son (the foul things have been illegal for years, and he knew this but didn't care, couldn't even be bothered to check his traps regularly - It was only due to the intervention of another neighbour that I ever got his body back so that I could bury him.)

    Do call the Blue Cross Bereavement service that Spongecat has given the details for - it's manned by people who really know what it means to love a fur family. You need a place to grieve and to talk about Tom to other people who know what it's like to love. Take it one hour, one day at a time and as Spongecat says, be gentle with yourself and walk away from people who don't understand, there are lots of other people who do. Thinking of you.

  • Hi, Thanks for your reply. It was so sad to hear about your poor Rogercat. It makes moving so very difficult. We live in a very quiet cul de sac where most neighbors have a cat or cats of their own. So I was not that worried about Tom laying in the road. We all just kept going out and fetching him indoors.

    Where is safe for cats ? We had been considering somewhere more rural thinking the roads would be less busy but it only takes one car! We were concerned about foxes and other predators but never considered that gin traps are still about. They are such evil things.

    It meant so much to us being able to bring two of our lost cats home. The first cat we lost over twenty years ago. We never found him. He went out at 9.30 in the morning after being scared by the door bell. We never knew what happened to him.

    When Buffy was hit, the driver never even stopped - it just wasn't important enough to him or her. We'll always be very grateful to the very kind lady that was following. She picked Buffy up and allowed her to die in her arms. She then took her to a local vet who then contacted me. We had Buffy micro chipped or else we would never have been able to bring her home.

  • Dear dizzy864, I'm so very sorry for your loss, and in such a needless, and evil way. I can fully understand your desire to move as quickly as possible, and I hope that the perfect buyers spot your house very quickly.

    I too have lost dear feline family members and sadly many people fail to understand that the pain is just as real, and at times, even greater than the loss of a human loved one. There is a website catchat.org who has a bereavement support page where they list quite a few support services, including Blue Cross.

    It obvious from your replies dizzy, that people understand and care, and I do hope you can take some strength from this. I know it will be hard, but I send you love and understanding, and I'm hoping that karma rules!

  • Thanks for taking the time to reply. It has been difficult for me because no one will talk about losing Tom. My husband and two sons have been greatly affected but they say it makes them feel worse talking about it.

    It's taken weeks for my husband to agree to move house. He has always liked it here more than I have. He said he did not want to be driven out of his home by a cat! I don't see it that way at all. I'm being driven out by our psychopath neighbors.

    I just can't stay here. I can't live next door to such cruel, horrible and peculiar neighbors. Moving is just proving so difficult. There's so little on the market at this time of year. When we find something that looks nice, we rule it out because it's location is so dangerous for the cats.

    But as my mum used to say, "something will turn up, it always does."

  • I would recommend you go see someone who can help you through your trauma. I am a hypnotherapist and also do something called EMI eye movement integration. And I have dealt with this kind of hurt before.If you can find someone who does this so that you can let go of the guilt and hurt you are carrying.

  • Hi,

    Thanks for your reply. I did try to find someone after I lost Buffy two and a half years ago. I could not find anyone anywhere near where I live. I saw my Gp but he wasn't able to help as all his grief counselling contacts will only deal with human loss. I will try again.

  • Hi where about do you live? If it is in Britain I could maybe be able to help you find someone. I believe loss is loss, we greave whether its the loss of a human, animal, relationship or job, These are all losses.

  • Hi, I do live in the U.K. I live a few miles from Lincoln. I'd be grateful if you could help. I live in a bit of a black hole area as far as services go.

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