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Dealing with Grief from losing an indoor-outdoor cat from antifreeze poisoning

By: Dr. Jon Rappaport

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Our question this week was:

Just this last weekend I had to put my sweet kitty down due to antifreeze poisoning. I did try the treatments but it was to late, I was devastated and still am. I will never again have a indoor outdoor kitty.

My question is...how do I get pass these awful feelings.

Sincerely,

Pam Sagardia


Answer

Hi – thanks for your email. I'm so sorry for your loss. I was talking to our managing editor, Debra Primovic recently about her loosing a cat she had. She volunteered to answer your question.

Hi Pam, I'm so sorry to hear about your kitty. Losing a special cat can be so very difficult. No one knows unless they have gone through it. I lost my first cat (I got her when I was in vet school) about 10 years ago and I still think about her. It was a year later and I could still come to tears in seconds after thinking about her. I'd cry if I saw a cat that looked like her. I'd cry if I thought about her.

I guess what I'm trying to say is what you are feeling is very normal. I know it is painful and it is hard but it will get better. As far as how do you deal with it...everyone is different.

Some people decide to try to give back. You could donate some time to your local shelter. Even writing this email may teach someone else that antifreeze is bad for cats and it may save another cats life or encourage someone from letting there cat out.

Talking to someone can also help. There are several support organizations that I'll give you below.

  • Pet Loss Support Hotline at the University of California, Davis, School of Veterinary Medicine. Toll-free number: (800) 565-1526 or 530-752-4200.

  • Ohio State University Pet Loss and Support Information Line: 614-292-1823. Fax: 614-292-4142, Email: petloss@osu.edu.

  • Chicago VMA – 630-325-1600

  • Cornell University – Staffed by Veterinary Students – 607-253-3932

  • University of Illinois – Staffed by Veterinary Students – 212-244-2273(CARE) or 877-394-2273(CARE)

  • Iowa State University – Staffed by veterinary students and volunteers. 888-ISU-PLSH (888-478-7574)

  • Michigan State University – Staffed by veterinary students. 517-432-2696.

  • Tufts University - Staffed by veterinary students. 508-839-7966.

  • Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine. 540-231-8038.

  • Washington State University - Staffed by veterinary students. 509-335-5704.

  • There are two recommended websites that have live chat moderated by trained counselors – these sites also have articles and links to other sites. www.aplb.org (Association for Pet Loss and Bereavement) and www.alln.org (Pet love & Loss network)

  • St. Louis: Debbie Horowitz at AVS and Humane Society does some grief counseling.

    What did I do? I cried a lot, drove my friend's crazy probably, volunteered to help cats and had an oil painting done of my "Kali".

    You can also create a photo album or scrapbook to memorialize her. If you need the name of a place that does wonderful paintings – email me back. You turn in a photo and they send you a painting and they do a very nice job.

    An article that might be helpful to you is Dealing with Grief. I hope this helps. Remember, what you are feeling is very normal. Life does go on as hard as it can be.

    Regards,

    Debra



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