The Norman Transcript


May 22, 2014

Grieving the loss of animal companion

NORMAN — Dear Dr. Fox: I have appreciated your advice about animals in our newspaper for many years. Now I seek your insights.

My 15-year old cat, Greyboy, passed away from chronic kidney disease, and it has shattered my life. I know that with time, my grief will pass. Sure, I’ve lost some relatives and buried my parents, but I never expected to grieve so much with the passing of Greyboy.

How do you account for that? My close friends give me words of sympathy, but they do not understand.

— V.C., Arlington, Va.

Dear V.C.: You have my deepest sympathy and understanding. I have received many letters over the years from readers grieving the loss of their animal companions.

Worst of all is the uncertainty of not knowing the animals’ fate, as when cats slip outdoors and never come home. Many, like you, are surprised by the intensity of their grief, often far more emotionally devastating than the death of one of their own relatives.

In my opinion, such intense grief is an indicator of our capacity to deeply love other beings whose souls have touched ours more profoundly than most other people. I see no reason to question the intensity of your grief, which few of even your most supportive friends may fully comprehend.

Simply mourn the loss of the blessing your beloved cat bestowed upon you, carry that memory with you as you get back to your familiar routines, recover your appetite for food and life — and perhaps consider adopting a rescued animal from your community in the future.

Dear Dr. Fox: Our 8-year-old, spayed, 20-pound female tabby has urinary tract infections every month or so.

We feed her wet food during the day and a small amount of dry food at night. Our vet has her on ClinDrops, which work after a week. The vet says that she has sludge in the bladder and a very small opening to let the urine through. He has suggested keeping her on a low dosage of ClinDrops forever.

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