The angry side of grief.

by Tanya on March 1, 2012


Murdock and Amelia - The lovebirds:-)


Warning…. This is a rant, a rage and will be negative in tone at times as well as endearing!

It may just be the phases of grief, I’m in denial, deeply upset, emotional and have an incredible amount of anger built up over the probable loss of our kitty Matilda. This is where some reading this will stop and say “Oh good grief about a cat again?”  YES it is. See, I’m one of those that has deep feelings towards my pets, and though I’ve always known that not all people share these feelings, living out here in the country I’m surrounded by more people now who see animals as a means to an end, a way of life, as working animals, not as creatures that can give and receive real love. It’s not hard for me to understand how they come to feel this way but I wish some understanding was allowed for the way I feel about them too. Matilda has been gone for six nights now, living out here with the coyotes (of which I haven’t seen or heard yet, but I’m told are here), the bald eagles (which DO on a regular basis swoop in and take whole chickens from our farm neighbors yard), and other predators, the likeliness of her coming home is slim. This compounded with just having put down our Amelia, of 13 years, only five weeks ago, and then our Murdock (16, our first kitten together before we were married and mama’s boy) lost his battle with cancer yesterday, I’m at my limit, to say the least!  This has been an incredibly difficult week for the family. Matilda is three, she was the kids first kitten.   Addy picked her out at Pet Pal Animal Shelter. Then her name was Heather,  she would let Addy carry her around endlessly and would lick Addy’s hands and face.  Her hair like a bunnies, so soft and this dark black chin strap marking that reminded me of the penguin. She was our kitty with Catittude, was really good at giving the”F-you” or “WTF do you want?” glare and then at night she’d curl up in whichever lap was available and fall into a deep sleep, totally content, peaceful.  But she was a free spirit and craved the outdoors, she started missing a meal hear and there to prolong her time outside. We were gifted with a squirrel, a bird and a lizard in just the short time we’ve been living here.  Always so proud of herself.  We fought over what to do with the cats when we moved, knowing the possible consequences of allowing them to go outside, knowing about the dangers that linger just pass the fence line and some within.  We decided it wasn’t right to keep them locked up if they so badly wanted to be free,  that  we’d have to be ok with our choice.  But I can’t scream loudly enough that even though we made that decision it absolutely DOES NOT make this any easier, in fact, with a personality like mine, I just go through the guilt of not doing my job of protecting her. Oh yes I do. I will at times blame myself for this, so I don’t need anyone judging me for letting her explore, though they will, have, and in lack of knowing what to say have judged out loud.  I know they meant no harm, but seriously, I’ll beat myself up enough.  I  stare out the windows see her in the shadows, I hope to see her just walk up suddenly, see her head staring at me to let her in, like she did.  God how I miss her face!! I’m not sleeping, I cry all the time, I’m literally sick about it! The sadness of missing her is hanging over the family like a thick fog.  If she’s not home by Sunday we’ve decided to have a small family service for her by the fire pit just to bring some closure, to begin the healing process.  We can think positive and say maybe another family took her in, I’d like the kids to think so anyway.  I know, like our neighbor said so bluntly “Oh, you’ll never see that cat again”.  Only I’ll keep hoping we will.

I just want those that don’t share mine and so many others deep love and emotion for our beloved pets to know that there are those who do have these feelings and to us losses like this are tremendous, can be debilitating, are not funny or easily dismissed. We take it like a loss of a family member because that’s what they are to us, I know, silly?  Not to people like me. Please, please try to respect our grief as we respect what animals are to you.

I’m just terribly missing my kitties!

Please share the LOVE:-)!

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Robin King March 1, 2012 at 8:59 am

One of the most difficult loss of pet I’ve experienced is when my childhood dog went missing, never to return. The not knowing is what was so difficult. Muffin was not liked in our small town, and like the area you live in now, it was a combination of pets, and animals used for food and sport. We suspected that someone brought harm to Muffin since he was often found causing a ruckus with other animals; barking, chasing, and trying to find playmates.

We too lived in a rural area where the cats and dogs wanted to roam freely and explore with the other animals. Understandable, on their part, but also risky. Looking back, I think they preferred their life of exploration and freedom, albeit sometimes shorter than the life of a housed or fenced pet.

My heart goes out to you all. Thanks for sharing. You can rant and rage to me anytime.


kitty lover March 1, 2012 at 9:19 am

So, so sorry for your loss. Cats are very special animals. Try not to beat yourself up.


Jenn Haverty March 1, 2012 at 2:06 pm

Tanya I am so sorry for your loss and so much all at once :(

Cats are amazing creatures and I know you know that. When I used to work at the vet’s office we had a cat that got out. This was not just any ordinary cat but a very special needs cat – she was missing a leg and had trouble having bowel movements on her own. We searched everywhere, called animal services, posted flyers, etc. The clinic is located on a major 6 lane highway and is surrounded by woods and swamp where people hunt. After several weeks went by we thought we would never see Cutie Pie again. We went on thinking about her from time to time. Then one winter night about 6 months later, another tech and I were walking out to the shed to turn off the oxygen tanks and we heard this meowing and all we could think was “Cutie Pie?!” We got to the other side of the fence as quickly as we could and here came Cutie Pie out of the woods. She was definitely on the skinny side, but amazingly enough this girl survived a life she never encountered before.

I know you and the kids and Michael will need to move on and bring some closure to Matilda’s disappearance, but don’t be surprised if that crafty little girl shows up on your doorstep once again!
Big hugs to you all :) Jenn


Melissa March 1, 2012 at 2:17 pm

I’m so sorry to hear about your losses… my heart grieves for you! I cannot begin to imagine the various feelings you are experiencing and the unknown being probably the worst of all.

Just send you sweet Matilda some loving, positive thoughts and trust she’ll find her way back home. And, know that if her journey does not lead her home – that you gave her a freedom in a cat-happy environment that allowed her to be all of the cat she was meant to be. You are an amazing animal lover and advocate and her little spirit was greatly impacted and enhanced by the loving home you provided.


Tanya March 1, 2012 at 2:39 pm

I had completely lost hope, and she just came home! So amazing to see her face, what a roller coaster of emotions. I thank you all so much for sharing your stories and believing in her when I was losing all hope. Not even 10 minutes after I sent this post to publish I heard the pack of coyotes howling for the first time since we’ve been here and that all but sealed her fate in my mind. Thank you, thank you!!!


Fadra March 3, 2012 at 9:27 pm

So Matilda is home??? I’m SOOOOO happy!!!! I get every last word and sentiment. My pets are a huge part of our family and I was just having a little cry today as I came across rabies tags from pets we’ve lost over the past 3 years.

FYI – we once had a cat go missing. We never knew what happened to him until years later I was babysitting for a family at the front of our community (a few miles from our house) and they had been happily caring for my cat for years. They were actually worried we wanted him back but he clearly had a new and happy home.
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Tanya March 4, 2012 at 9:00 am

Thanks Fadra, we were so thrilled to hear her meow and walk out to find her. Had she not come home, your story was the one we were going to try to hold onto in our minds:-).


Cindy Brown March 9, 2012 at 10:53 pm

Awww! I love my pets like that too! So sad to lose a treasured pet. I cry for days when a death occurs. They really are family members :)


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