This is an incredibly difficult post to write. I have been putting it off for five months. I kept telling myself that I needed to write it but just couldn’t do it. I told one of my lovely dog walking friends about it and she told me to listen to my own advice! It’s okay to feel how you feel. Be kind to yourself and only write it when I am ready.
I promised myself at the end of each week that I would write it on Monday. But then on Sunday when I was cooking the Sunday Roast I would be so sad because Pumpkin wasn’t there, winding herself around my ankles and meowing loudly for some beef or chicken. And I would start the week just feeling that I couldn’t write about it yet.
Grief is a strange beast. It’s incredibly good at sucking you down into dark and uncomfortable spaces. One minute you are getting on with your day and the next you’re beating yourself up because you didn’t do something that might have stopped it from happening. What if, what if, what if?
Cat Loss and cars.
And then today when I got into work, our last day before we close for Christmas, there was a pretty package and when I opened it there was a beautiful Rainbow Ring. Rich – my husband – had sent some of Pumpkin’s ashes to Helen – one of our incredibly talented jewellers – to make a silver ring with 7 different coloured memorial stones, he even had Pumpkin engraved on the inside. Well after the tears had stopped I thought it was time to write this post.
Pumpkin was run over outside our house whilst we were on holiday. My Mum & Dad were looking after Mabel, Pumpkin and Midnight whilst we went on a two week break with the three boys. I got ‘the call’, you know the type, you get a slightly uneasy feeling when you answer even though you don’t know why. My Dad said that a couple of young lads had been speeding down our very steep and narrow road & he heard something untoward. By the time he got outside there was nobody about but Pumpkin was lying there, he rushed over to her but couldn’t save her and after five horrible minutes she passed away.
Cat loss when you’re away from home.
Shock is a bizarre thing. It numbs you. You can hear yourself talking and sounding reasonable but it feels like an ‘out of body’ experience. I spoke calmly to my Dad and then called our lovely friends at Meadow Wood Pet Crematorium who said we could take Pumpkin to them. I called my Dad back and gave him the address and said that Zoe would be expecting him.
But telling the boys felt incredibly real. I’ve no idea why I felt that I should hold it all together, but I couldn’t. We all cried. and then cried some more. The rest of the holiday was a little subdued. It was odd and we all wanted to get back to Midnight and comfort her.
Losing your cat sister.
My lovely Mum and Dad were brilliant. My Dad said that Midnight – Pumpkin’s sister – had come out onto the road and stayed with them until Pumpkin passed away. I was so relieved that she was able to fully understand that she had gone. It was something that I had not been able to do and I think it can really help you to come to terms with sudden loss.
I think that might be partly the problem I have had in writing this, it still feels a bit unreal. I get a sudden jolt every Sunday when I’m getting the roast dinner ready. I miss her so much. Sundays just aren’t the same without her.
I definitely wasn’t ready to anything with Pumpkin’s ashes, I still don’t think I’ve processed the loss, I feel that I am very early on in my bereavement journey this time. It was such a lovely surprize to get my Rainbow Ring this morning and I think it might help me to start mourning Pumpkin at last. I am loving being able to touch the ring, I do feel closer to her.
Losing our cat April
My Pet’s Ashes was founded because we lost our cat April to a hit and run. You can read the full story here. I am so cross that you don’t have to legally report hitting a cat. Both April and Pumpkin were members of my family and yet nobody had to even stop and let us know that they’d hit them with their car. It’s wrong.
If a driver hits an animal not listed in the Road Traffic Act, such as a cat, they are not legally required to report it.
Unfortunately, a cat does not fall within the remit of the Road Traffic Act and therefore you do not need to report the incident to the police as long as there are no other factors involved like damage to another vehicle or injury to another person.
Cats Matter took a Private Members’ Bill to parliament in 2017 which failed to progress through to a second reading but the amazing team continue to campaign hard to change the law and have managed to get 59 councils to adopt a scanning procedure so that missing cats can be reunited with their families. Head over to their website to see how you can help them in their vital work.
Cat Loss at Christmas
If you, like me, are coping with cat loss this Christmas please remember to take good care of yourself. I have written an easy to read and digest article with some tips for coping with pet loss at Xmas, you can read it here. Remember to take it gently, pet bereavement takes it out of you physically as well as mentally. Try to get outside and get as much fresh air as you can, it won’t take away the pain but it will improve your ability to cope. Nature is the best healer for grief.
Don’t forget you can sign-up to my 12 step pet bereavement guide that has lots of helpful advice for coping with the loss of your special family member. And there is lots of helpful advice on our website.
Take take lovely animal lovers
A peaceful Christmas to you all