Saying Goodbye to a Family Pet

As we all know life sometimes decides to kick you in the butt and throws things at you that you may not be expecting. This is exactly what has happened with our family. I wanted to share a little bit of our story and some resources in case you have to go through this as well.

Baby Leata

When I was 15 I found a little kitten across the street by my highschool. I was skipping science and she ran across the street into oncoming traffic…I lost my mind for a moment and ran out in front of a car to save her. She was mine at that moment. I yelled at the teens driving the car as I was convinced that they wanted to hit her, and decided to cut the rest of school that day and walk home.

My mom didn’t want a cat, didn’t want the responsibility. I promised that I would take care of her. I begged, I cried. I had an all out tantrum I am sure. My best friend was cat sitting for me as I did the responsible thing and called the SPCA to report her, to see if anyone was looking for her. I secretly hoped that she was just a stray, and it turned out she was.

Her Favourite Thing to Do

I brought her home one day and my family fell in love with her, and my mom decided to gift her to me for my 16th birthday. She made it clear that Leata was mine and mine alone, and I was in charge of all the duties that come with pet ownership. I would have promised anything that day and agreed.

She used to sleep in between my arms, curl up on my lap, give me kisses on my nose and ride on my shoulders like Luna from Sailor Moon. (which was my favourite show at the time). She would go on walks on a leash, she would try to steal my Doritos, and one time even came up and licked my chupa chup….she was mine all right. One day I thought that I had lost her as she swallowed a needle and thread that I had carelessly left out…I don’t think I had ever been so scared.

Us in our younger years.

As the years past, she became more of a family pet, and when I moved to University she stayed with my parents. When I moved back, and then out with my boyfriend (who is now my husband), she came with. We decided to get another cat to keep her company, and then we started our family.

3 kids, and a dog later and Leata is an elderly cat who just likes to curl up on the couch and wait for us to go to her. A couple months ago she was diagnosed with renal failure. She started to pee on everything that we have in our basement. So much so that it will all have to be ripped up and reno’ed. She is now incontinent.

The vet has told us that it is time. We know in our hearts that it is time, so now we spend the rest of this month starting rituals to say goodbye. I just see the little kitten that ran to me so many years ago, and my heart aches.

To get my kids ready for this I have visited a couple pet-loss websites and read them a couple books. I really feel that you can never get enough information on how to deal with life’s difficult situations. Not only does this help me, I hope that it will soften the blow for my 7 year old in particular.

Nothing can truly prepare you, but sometimes information can help. Here is what I found. I hope that they can help you as well.

1. Helping Children Cope
2. The Rainbow Bridge
3. When Children Grieve
4. Lifetimes: The Beautiful Way to Explain Death to Children 
5. The 6 Do’s and Don’ts of Explaining Pet Loss to Children
6. Explaining Pet Loss to Children of Different ages. 
7. Sesame Street explaining the Death of Mr.Hooper. (circa 1970’s)

If you know of any other resources please leave them in comments.

Such a pretty lady. She will be missed!

Post Author: Alisha

While I spend most of my time homeschooling my 4 kids, I am also on a journey to better myself by exploring all the interesting things that life has to offer. I am passionate about human rights, especially in regards to birth, and am an advocate for families and babies.

2 thoughts on “Saying Goodbye to a Family Pet

    Brooklyn Berry

    (November 29, 2012 - 7:32 pm)

    I can’t imagine having a cat that long! You are so heroic to rescue her.

    The Piercey Family

    (November 30, 2012 - 7:25 pm)

    Sorry baby. That’s sad. We have gone through it this year as well with our cat and they built a memorial in the backyard. All on their own. It was healing and complete in their minds.

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