It’s been over six months now since my brother’s cat, Lee, passed away. It was the worst day of my life; I was absolutely devastated and I spent the entire day crying at my desk. I couldn’t function knowing that he was gone, and so unexpectedly too. The video call in which my mom told me what happened still haunts me and serves as a reminder to appreciate my loved ones while they’re around, as I never know when I’m going to lose them.
The first few days after Lee’s death were the hardest; I had to pick myself up and go to school and work and pretend everything was alright when inside I just wanted to curl up in a ball and cry. I remember being amazed that life was still going on around me, as for me, it had stopped completely.
Going out was good for me, as it taught me to compartmentalize my feelings – something I’d need to be able to do when my family’s dog passed away a few months later. As time passed, my wounds began to heal, and a new normal emerged.
Since then, I have cried a few times, but generally I’m fine. I still miss him, of course, but the pain I feel is a dull ache and only bothers me occasionally. Lee will always be in my heart, but I have moved on and grown to enjoy my life as it is.
As those with pets understand, you know you have really moved on when you are ready to open up your heart to another pet. My mom mentioned looking for cats on the SPCA website when I came home almost two months ago, and I wondered if we were ready. She said that my brother really missed his cat, as evidenced by the increased attention he paid to my cat, Jenny. So, we began searching.
Not long after I started looking, I found Zeus. I knew he was special the moment I saw him. He was a beautiful cat, with a few personality traits similar to Lee’s. Most importantly, he was very sweet, and loved cuddling. My mom showed his picture to my brother and he liked him, so we contacted his foster and adopted him about a week later.
He is very skittish – he hid in my mom’s bedroom the first day we had him, and over the subsequent days he hid under her dressers but would let us pet him. Eventually he started coming out from under the bed, but he would run away every time we tried to approach him. It’s been a couple weeks now and he’s improved a lot – he comes out from under the bed and bothers us for cuddles, he meows a lot, and he plays constantly (he’s still a kitten, so he has A LOT of energy).
I was hesitant to get another cat, as I thought it would feel like we were replacing Lee, and I worried that I wouldn’t be able to love a new cat, but I was wrong. Zeus is a different cat with a different personality who we have welcomed into our home, not as a replacement, but as an additional family member. I loved him from the moment I saw him, and now that he’s become comfortable and cuddly with me, I love him even more than I thought possible. My mom told me that when you get a new pet, they don’t take over the part of your heart that belonged to your previous pet – your heart expands to make room for them, and I truly believe that.
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