Guest Post: Saying Good-Bye and Saying Hello…

SAYING GOOD-BYE AND SAYING HELLO:

When is the right time to get another cat after pet loss?

By BJ Burman

Poet Alfred Lord Tennyson said: ‘Tis better to have loved and lost, than never to have loved at all. And I have to say I agree with him. It is devastating to lose the cat we love, as many of us know first hand. And if you haven’t yet lost a beloved furbaby, inevitably you will.

But despite this loss, our heart still loves them, sometimes all the more. The human heart has such a great capacity for love. As much as we love our babies who have gone over the bridge, our hearts often start to yearn for another furbaby to share this life with. And without a doubt, loving another furbaby really does help to heal a broken heart.
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So, the question is going to come up sooner or later—When should I get another cat? If you are an avid cat-lover (like me), you’ll find it hard to live without at least one cat or dog in your home. But when is the ‘right’ time to do this?

Well, there is no ‘right’ time, really. The right time is when you decide it is. But as I mentioned earlier, you may want to give it at least a few weeks. Most importantly, you want to make sure that you are emotionally ready to give your new cat all your love, and likewise for your remaining pets.

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With this in mind, here are some points for you to consider:

  • Don’t rush
  • Older cats often don’t like changes (although my ‘oldies’ have been fine with this in the past). For some, adjusting to a new pet may be stressful. You know your pet best. You will know whether to introduce someone new, or not.
  • If you choose not to bring a new pet into the home, your cat will eventually adjust to being alone, if he’s old. He may even thrive.
  • A younger cat may need a companion, and so might you.

My Siamese mom cat was 19 when she died. Her daughter Princess got very sad. She started howling at my teddy bears, spraying outside. We got her a tabby kitten. She breathed new life into her and within a month they were curled up together. But the kitten needed a playmate so we got a second kitten three months later, a Siamese. Princess lived another 5 years to the grand dame age of 22 ½. The two Siamese often curled up together. The three got along so well, they made Princess’s last years so good and less lonely. We did wait 10 months before we got the first kitten, then another 3 for the second. Princess had a great life. (Annette)

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  • Let your cat help select a new pet. Perhaps foster a new cat or kitten and see how they get along. If they do get along, then you can make the arrangement permanent.
  • Think about whether you are ready for the work of having another cat? Can you give him what he needs?
  • Remember, getting a new pet won’t stop the grieving, but it can really help the healing.

My Sugar and Muffin are a month apart. Sugar was a very loving and loyal companion. He and Muffin played together, ate together and slept together with me. Sugar would lie up by my head and Muffin would curl up next to him. Sugar died suddenly in my arms one day. Muffin would look for him and her grief was devastating. She became very clingy and needy, having me as a replacement for Muffin since his death. But it wasn’t the same; she missed Sugar so much. After about 6 months I adopted a cat that was all white except for a gray spot on her head—Sugar was white except for a black mark on his ear. I called her Angel. Muffin became attached almost immediately but not as much as she was with Sugar, but Angel did help her through her grief in losing her companion. Each day they get closer and closer and I am glad she has a new companion. Angel also has helped me through my grief of losing Sugar. Cats do grieve as much as humans when they lose someone close to them, and they never forget either. (Claire)

  • If you know your pet is going to die, you might consider introducing a new cat before this so that the remaining pet has another familiar companion when the other pet dies.

I have 1-year-old siblings, indoor cats Lucy and Linus. When Linus (the adventurer) sneaks outside, Lucy goes nuts—following me, crying and making a racket until I realize she’s missing her brother. She calms down as soon as I get him back into the house. I hate to think of the day one of them dies! (Sue)

  • When introducing a new kitten, you might have to set their food, toys, litter box etc. up in a separate room, and introduce them to your old pet in your presence until you’re comfortable they’ll get along.
  • Consider a new pet of the opposite sex; it may reduce same-sex conflict.Should I get another cat or dog FOR KATZENWORLD_html_48d0e921-1
  • If you have an older cat, an energetic young kitten may be an annoyance rather than a friend, so keep an eye on this.

No question they notice an absence and it disturbs them. My elder cat died in June. He and the younger one were not best buds, although that was because he only tolerated her. She loved him. After he died she would howl and look for him. And, yes, she also got lethargic. Since she’s only 7 (he was 14—died of heart failure) I didn’t want her to slip into lassitude for the rest of her life. We adopted another 7 year old cat, an easy-going boy. He’s distracted her and kept her occupied as she adjusts to a new cat in the house and the loss of her old friend. She’s not entirely won over, but it’s only been a month and he’s gently persistent. Still, whenever she’s let outside for a supervised prowl through the yard she always heads straight to where her late buddy is buried. (Maggie)

  • If you decide on another kitten, consider a rescue cat—not only will they help you and your furbaby with your grief, but you are also saving a life, which is double the blessing.

My 18-year-old brother and sister cats (Jasper and Jitterbug) were together in my life since they were 9 weeks old. This past November, Jitterbug had a stroke, lived a few more days, and then passed. Jasper was inconsolable. Wandered around with a mournful yowl off and on all day. He’d wake up several times in the night with this mournful sound. Finally, in January, I rescued a 13-year-old cat (about to be euthanized by its owner) and brought her home. Jasper started to settle down. He likes his new friend. They eat side by side, sleep on the bed together, but are not as close as Jasper was to his sister. However, we are all happy with the arrangement. (Denise)

When adopting from a shelter, you will need to visit and meet the cats in person. Spend some time with the cats—don’t rush it. And possibly the most valuable advice of all, if you can’t decide, then let your cat choose you—you won’t be able to say NO when she does.

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Here’s to another happy adventure!

Best wishes,

BJ Burman 

(For more interesting reading, visit me at www.petsrememberedforever.com or www.petlossjourney.com, or talk to me on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ibelieveincatheaven)

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63 thoughts on “Guest Post: Saying Good-Bye and Saying Hello…

  1. By experience, its too difficult to overcome the loss of a dearly loved pet even after getting a ‘suitable’ replacement, as it is
    just impossible to overcome the emotions that come rushing at the very sight of the new one refreshing memories of the lost one! 🙁

      1. A new addition to the family, of course – a family used to pets, furry or feathery, is never complete without at least one of them making the rounds! 🙂

  2. I like the point that is made in this article about cats grieving too. I have seen it so often and it is such an added heartbreak for the owner. I had the terrible situation of having to have one of my cats put to sleep (someone had fed her food with glass in it) on the actual day we moved house. Her companion literally never recovered from the two traumas. They were so close to each other, and I would often have both of them curled up on my knee together.
    I have had to say goodbye to many cats through my life, in 48 years I was only without a cat for 3, and I agree that having another warm, furry cat to get to know and form a bond with does help the healing. The new cat will never replace the one you have lost, because you never lose the love you had for them, but it’s a distraction of the very best kind.
    Lovely, well written article – thank you for sharing it Marc 🙂

  3. I loved my little, sickly Mashka – and so did her “cousin” (from the same farm, but not from the same mother). When she finally passed away in hospital I waited till FunTom showed signs of missing another cat – he was complaining, when I came home and I could feel he was lonely. So I went to the same cat shelter and askded for a lady cat, a little older (FunTom was about 5 then). I got a lovely, very human-shy cat, and it took her months to get used to the idea to go somewhere near the human. But with my tom she settled in quickly. He serenaded her, she taught him about head-bumps (which he never got around receiving some). They get along, though HER rose-tinted-glasses phase is over. No stress around feeding time, sometimes they fight for a special place to sit on, all in all it was very, very low-maintenance to get the two acquainted. And for me those 7 months she let me wait were just right … by that time I had got over the worst of losing Mashka.

      1. No, it is not. But before I got my cats I posed this question to me: Can you, when it is time, decide about death? And I only got my cats because I answered this question with Yes, even when it hurts.

  4. The cutest post ever!!! And the photos are adorable too 😀 🐱
    Thanks for sharing and making me laugh 🙂 Lucy & Linus – too cute 😉
    Have a beautiful day 🙂

  5. A great post. When our beautiful Maine Coon died a few years ago, we feared for Minstral, our Birman, as they did everything together – walking side by side, eating, curling up on a chair, etc. We decided against getting another indoor cat (but have 7 outdoor adoptees) because we thought he was a bit senior for the change, and just gave him lots of love and affection. He’s been fine and is now almost 18. We have a boisterous kitten in our outdoor ‘family’ that keeps coming in the house and it would be good to let her stay, but Minstral is not impressed with her presence!

  6. It is never easy to lose a friend, but don’t think of a new cat as a “replacement” – we always look to the new one as an homage to those cat-friends that have gone before.

  7. Great post! Knowing the right time for another pet is such an individual and personal decision. I waited five years after my Rose went to the Bridge before I adopted my latest clan… also because I was travelling a lot with work and wanted time to spend with a new pet rather than leaving them home on their own most of the time.

  8. Very nice post. I agree you need to think of the other pet(s) in the home and how they will adjust not just when the human is ready.

  9. When my 18-year-old cat passed I “replaced” him with two younger cats. My older cat (10 years) seems to enjoy watching the two young guys playing together but has no desire to join in. Sometimes all three will be peacefully watching the birds out on the deck or all sleeping on different corners of the bed. So they are company for each other and it has worked out well.

  10. Friends for a short time, remembered for a lifetime. Some waif, or two or three always shows up and we are never catless. The departed are honored, and remembered, the new arrivals welcomed with love.

  11. Nice post. When HMC’s sister died, I knew I wouldn’t be able to get another cat until HMC died – he was very persnickety that way. My husband always had said that he wanted to wait a couple of months after HMC died to get cats, but the reality was the other way around – my husband wanted some right away! I’ve always loved cats, so we went and checked out some at our local SPCA, and there were the 2 we have now. We were fortunate that our dog loves cats as well.

  12. Here we shall say: telepathy, or like cacio (cheese) on maccheroni.
    Marc-André, you have posted this guest-article in the right day! I have four cats, but tomorrow they will be three…
    Ciao
    Sid

  13. This is one of the BEST POSTS EVER and one to which I very much relate. My beloved Ms. Cali turns 19 in May. Though she is happy and thriving, she cannot live forever. For 5 years I have been “preparing myself” for that horrible day when she does LEAVE ME. No one can ever predict when that will be. She is a domestic and is years past the average DSH life span. But one day it will happen, and honestly? I have NO IDEA how to live without the love of my life, Ms. Cali.

    This is a propitious and highly relevant blog post and each and every one of us cat lovers can and do relate. VERY, VERY WELL DONE and thought provoking too!

  14. This is great. I want another cat myself, and my cat has always had issues when i try to adopt another cat. maybe a kitty is the way to go and not an adult cat.

          1. really? ok Ill go by the aspca and ask. i never see it on thier website maybe im just blind. I see plenty of cats for adoption but i see no rescue animals section

          2. Kittens often are not on websites of shelters as they are easy to re-home. But trust me the one near me in London has plenty of them especially in spring and autumn 😡

          3. where can I find a rescue animal? do I specifically ask for a rescue? theres plenty cats up for adoption but i dont know where rescue cats are.

          4. Generally in shelters like those of the ASPCA. So if you just look for shelters the cats for adoption there will most than likely be rescued. 🙂

          5. ok Imma call them sometime then. I’ve ALWAYS wanted to voulenteer there or at a no-kill shelter, I just never seem to have time =[

  15. Excellent information, all of it, with info we’d dealt with time and time again. We think the advice not to rush and to let any current pets help make the selection are key. Choosing a shelter pet sweetens the whole thing and we could never think to choose another.

  16. Beautiful article! It brought tears to my eyes remembering that sad September, 2013, that my 19-year-old Billy cat was put down due to bone cancer. That summer my husband and I did everything we could to make his final months comfortable and have him die in dignity. We miss our baby boy terribly. My other cat Derick is now 19. We smother him with lots of love. Derick was always a needy cat, but also a jealous one. He always picked on Billy Cat until the summer Billy got sick. So I fear getting a new cat. Knowing Derick, he will not only pick on the new one, but his little heart will be broken. That said, the part about an old cat thriving by being a solo cat truly resonated with me. Derick still runs around like a kitten and looks like a kitten. I believe that’s from all the love he gets from us. And every day I am so grateful he is still around to love us back! 🙂

  17. Excellent article. It’s nice to know others wonder when the right time to get another cat is also. I don’t want to get a kitty too quickly and not respect the other kitty’s memory and when I got Shoko it was really as company for Kali….I thought she was lonely. I was wrong and Kali didn’t want any kitty in her house….so it took Shoko awhile to get into Kali’s affections. Now, they are buddies but at first…Shoko wanted to play and Kali didn’t want anything to do with this scrap of fur.

    Jean

  18. All excellent advice. We’ve never been through the separation anxiety with any of our kitties (even siblings) as we have always had several cats at the same time. We have two sets of siblings now. I don’t believe Misty May and Mauricio will grieve for the other when one of them passes, but I am quite sure that Giulietta and Fiona (now five years old and inseparable) will definitely grieve for each other when one of them leaves us. XOCK, Lily Olivia, Mauricio, Misty May, Giulietta, Fiona, Astrid, Lisbeth ad Calista Jo

  19. Reblogged this on Candace Gauger and commented:
    A thoughtful post made over on Katzenworld. I have lost a few cats to death and four mysteriously. I have three now and they are a joy to love. Though I know they will one day pass from this realm, I will love and care for these three kitties with all my heart and soul. They are as much my children as my sons are.

      1. You’re welcome. I have several friends who have lost their feline companions this last year. They’re handling it all well. I felt their loss as strongly as I felt the loss of my own long ago, so this was a much welcomed article.

  20. What a fabulous post. Having lost Juno on New Year’s Day I am acutely aware of the loss. However, living in a flat and occasionally working away from home, I need an indoor cat. I also have to time it right for bringing a new rescue cat into my life, so I can devote the initial time to getting them settled in before I am away for a couple of days at a time. This post was perfectly pitched for recognising so many important considerations. Thank you.

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