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Dear Dish-It: My Cat Died

Dear Dish-It,

I had a cat who I had my whole life ever since I was a baby. She was a kitten and we grew up together. Now I’m 12 and she just died. I am so sad. I feel like I have lost my best friend. I don’t know how to feel better and I’ve been crying a lot for the past week. Please help!

nevadaxox


Dear nevadaxox,


I’m so sorry for the loss of your cat. It sounds like you were a very good pet owner, and your cat was a really special friend to you. You may have even considered her to be a part of your family.


Unfortunately, pets can't stay with us forever. Like all living things, they will die at some point. Sometimes a pet dies from old age because its body has worn out. Sometimes a pet dies from an accident. Sometimes a pet gets too sick to live. Even when an animal doctor or vet helps, there are some problems that just can't be fixed.


Your Feelings
It's definitely very, very sad when a pet dies. You say you’ve been crying for a week or so, and that’s OK. Your sadness may come from feeling lonely because your cat was your friend or from something else. Even if you don’t understand why you’re feeling this way, you should know it’s perfectly normal.


Talk It Out
You may be able to get some help in overcoming your sadness by talking to your parents about what you’re feeling. Unfortunately, when it comes to death and dying, not even adults have all the answers. The truth is, death is a mystery, and people have different beliefs about what happens after an animal or person dies. I’m certain, though, that your parents will agree with you that it’s really, really hard to say goodbye, that it’s OK to be sad when animals die and it’s not silly at all to cry.


Even if you don’t feel like talking about it yet, I definitely encourage you to go to your parents. Talking about your feelings is the best way to work through them – definitely better than keeping it all bottled up inside.


Next Steps
There are some other things you can do to try and feel a bit better. You and your family may want to find special ways to remember your cat. It can be a big help to share a sad thing with people you love. You might have a ceremony to bury your cat or just share memories of fun times you had together. You might want to tell stories or write a poem. You could do a project, too, like making a scrapbook.


There are many ways you can hold on to your happy memories. And you can always love your cat – I promise you that while you may not be able to see her or hold her anymore, she’s definitely alive and well – and always will be – in your heart.


Finally, I know that a new cat can't replace your old pet. But someday the time may be right for you and your family to adopt a new animal for everyone to love.


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