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Is it normal not to cry much when your pet dies?

Earth Girl
Community Member

Last year around this time, my cat passed away because he was very old. When I saw him dying at home, I cried a little bit, but I wasn't a wreck. My parents were also sad, but I don't think they cried. I went to work because otherwise I would have been at home by myself with my cat dying which would have been hard. All day, I felt really weird.

 

When I got home, my Mum told me she made an appointment with the vet to put him down. When we got there, and this is going to sound strange I guess, we probably seemed quite happy. When my Mum saw the vet she said "Here is a very old, little Grandpa" and the vet asked us how long we had him for and I said since I was in year 5. At the time I was thinking more about how I was happy that my cat lived a long, happy life rather than the fact that I was losing him and I think my Mum was thinking in the same way. 

 

The vet took him to the other room to see another vet to organize things and then came back out and put him back on the table and Mum and I were patting him as the injection was going in and then he passed away. The vet then asked if we wanted some time alone and I said I would so she went to the next room and closed the door and as Mum and I were talking, I heard her quietly laugh and say to the other vet "I think I would have been worser off."

 

The next day, Dad wrote an email to my sisters to let them know that he passed away and my older sister was sad, but she wasn't broken (I think she thought of it in the same way I did as well), but my younger sister was extremely upset.

 

I think his passing actually affects me more these days than it did on the day. I sometimes have dreams about him and wake up crying and when I think about him, it makes me emotional, like right now.

 

Only just a few days ago, I told my parents what the vet said and they said "She just meant she would have been more upset if it was her" and I said I know, but it felt like she was also saying that I didn't care much about my cat and my Mum said "if she meant it like that, she wouldn't have that job, she would get fired." I'm still not sure though because I've had people bully me straight to my face several times and my parents couldn't even tell they were bullying me or when they could, they would just make excuses for the person and laugh it off. Also, the vet didn't think I would be able to hear her.

6 Replies 6

Sophie_M
Moderator
Moderator
Dear Earth Girl,

We are pleased that you found the strength to post about your confusion around grief when losing a pet. The topic of grief is one which confuses many people.

We understand that your cat was old, and the vet helped with the death. Fortunately, you were able to be with him during his passing. You had already cried quite a bit earlier, and now you were in a much better place. You could be happy because you knew he was not going to suffer any more.

Contrary to what many people believe, grief is actually a very personal experience. We all grieve differently, and we all take different amounts of time to work through our grief. In your case, as we stated above, you already worked through the immediate, extremely distressing, initial part of your grief before you went to the vet. As for what the vet said to her colleague, we suspect your mum is correct. Vets are not allowed to make such comments anywhere where the pet owners might be able to hear them.

We would like to encourage you to call our Support Service on 1300 22 4636 whenever you feel distressed. Our phone support service is available 24 hours per day, every day of the year.

We are a very supportive community, and we would like to help when you get stuck or confused. Please feel free to post whenever you wish. We are always here for you.

Warm regards,

Sophie M.
 

Thank you Sophie M. 🙂

ecomama
Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor

Dear Earth Girl, welcome to the forums. This is a safe space to talk out your feelings and get support. 

 

Hugs. I'm so sorry for the passing of your dear pet cat. What an AWESOME life she must have had with people who loved her. 

 

What you're going through is completely normal IMHO. 

At the time, you were probably thinking MORE about the comfort level of your cat as she was dying. Hoping her pain would end, as a slow process of dying can be horrible for the pet and awful for us to see. 

 

So it could be that your RATIONAL side as taking over and that's a GOOD thing! 
Your little sister, being younger perhaps, was very emotional and that's okay too! 
I get very emotional about my pets passing and that's normal too! 

 

But now, because time has passed and you did have a traumatic set of events at the Vet's, unsure of what the people around you were saying. It's no wonder that now that time has passed, your emotional side is opening up to this loss. That's normal too. 

 

I find that at these critical times of "loss" / grief / death of a loved pet or even family member, other people usually have no idea what to say. 
But they say something just to give a response. 
People want to comfort you or make sense of things, but can often say things that can be taken the wrong way or come out wrong. 

 

They're just uncomfortable with death. 

 

Dear Earth Girl (LOVE that username btw!)... if we spend our lives looking for hints of bad behaviours in others, we'll find them. 
I'm not saying you weren't bullied to your face. You know that happened!
I'm so sorry this happened to you. Hugs. 

Same with all difficult situations, others aren't sure how to handle it and support you. 

 

Keep talking on the forums. We love that you joined! 
EMxxxx

Yeah, they probably just felt uncomfortable and not really know what to say. Thanks EM. 🙂

Bob_22
Community Champion
Community Champion

Hi Earth Girl,

 

Thank you for sharing your story and I'm very sorry to hear about your cat and what you have been feeling recently.

 

In answering your question it is absolutely normal not to cry when a pet passes away. During the immediate grieving process it also not uncommon for people to experience a sense of relief for several reasons such as the fact that they're pet is no longer suffering or that as an owner the uncertainty and dread that you feel in the lead up to their death has come to an end. You and your family sound incredibly loving and I'm glad that you could acknowledge your cat lived a long and happy life. If you continue to experience further feelings of grief or loss please be sure to touch base with a mental health professional as they can assist with these ongoing feelings. It may also be worth raising the vets comments, if you do decide to seek help, so that you can unpack how these comments made you feel at they time and the accompanying thoughts of past bullying.

 

Hope you're feeling okay. We're always here to listen. 💙💙

 

Bob

Thank you Bob. 🙂