I’m not really sure how to write this, but I’m hoping to see if there are others who can speak to having felt what I am currently feeling—or not feeling as the case may be.
We had to put our cat down this past Saturday, July 18.
I’ve had my Raffles since I was 14. She has been my best friend for almost 17 years and I loved her to the point of near obsession. My husband and I got together because we have a ton of the same interests and hobbies, but once we moved in together it was not long before it felt like pretty much the only thing we ever talked about was how cute our cat was and how much we loved her.
She was extremely easy to take care of for pretty much her whole life, and then a couple of months ago she started eating less and less until she was not eating at all. Then it became a nightmare of vet visits and a horrible cycle where not eating led to things like dehydration and constipation which just made her want to eat even less. The vet couldn’t really find any particular issues other than suggesting it may be early kidney disease, but it didn’t really make sense how *bad* things were for how mild her kidney issues were. We ended up having some issues with that vet, but to make a long story short we ended up at a specialist who told us there was a tumor behind her eye that was making it physically difficult and/or painful to open her mouth and that’s why she wasn’t eating. They said it looked like it had metastasized to her lungs and told us they could put her down or we could bring her home for a little while longer to spend some final time together before saying goodbye. We chose the latter and it seemed at first like we might be able to keep her going with syringe feeding, but things quickly took a turn for the worse and it became clear that it was time to say goodbye.
For the first two days I was a mess. But by Wednesday I felt… more okay than expected. Like TOO okay. When we were preparing for the end, I was really worried that I would fall completely apart because I honestly could not even remember a time before she was in my life. And now, less than a week after her passing, I feel like I’m already struggling to remember what it was like when she was here! I expected that nights would be the hardest because that’s when we had our best snuggles. But the other night I was lying in bed and actively trying to remember what it felt like when the bed shook slightly as she climbed up and walked with her little paws over my body to lie on my chest or by my side… and I just couldn’t.
For the last few weeks, we spent *hours* every day taking care of her. I don’t understand how it can already feel basically normal not having a cat around.
I know everyone grieves differently but I feel like it seems objectively way too soon for that. I cannot possibly have finished grieving already! Additionally, I had been wondering if I would need to unfollow all the cat reddits etc after she was gone because I thought pictures of other cats might make me too upset but now when I see pictures of other cats I sort of feel… not much? Like I was previously very “LOVE ALL THE CATS!!!” and now when I look at pictures of cats they just aren’t really doing it for me.
So basically, I’m worried that my brain has like buried memories and emotions down as some sort of defense mechanism or something? I just feel like that can’t be healthy and like it’s going to come out in unexpected ways. Like I’m sort of crying as I’m trying to write this out but it feels like my brain doesn’t really know *why* it’s crying. I know it’s normal for depression to result in a sort of numbness, but I don’t feel like I’m depressed in any other areas of my life? Can you have like super targeted depression that just numbs certain feelings? Or maybe I’m just wrong about what depression feels like and that’s the simple answer to what’s happening after all?
I guess I’m hoping to find ways to force myself to confront more emotions if they’re buried down, and to make sure I don’t forget my best friend so quickly. I am not sure what I should do. There’s a “cat café” in my city that I plan to go to in a couple of weeks. I’m hoping that petting some cats in person will remind me why I love them so much since looking at pictures is apparently not cutting it.