After Cat’s Death, Guilt over New Kitten
I am grieving the recent loss of my beloved 18-year-old cat, Tigerboo. A month before he got sick, my daughter brought home a kitten. I am having a hard time grieving Tigerboo because of my guilt about getting the kitten too soon. Two vets have told me to let it go and enjoy the kitten.
Madelyn, the grief you feel regarding the loss of Tigerboo is completely normal for most highly responsible pet parents.
You may find that you can treasure this new cat even more because of the brief but meaningful overlap with Tigerboo—just as a parent would value people who knew their child before he or she died. It sounds like Tigerboo had a very good quality of life until the very end, and that is something to be grateful for. It is a sad fact that a cat of 18 years has to die of something. Our primary goal should be to make the death a peaceful one.
- Dr. LaFarge
The purpose of grief is to allow us to mourn our loss and then reinvest in another healthy and gratifying relationship. Most people find that their guilt begins to fade after about three weeks and is replaced by pleasurable memories.