I recently spoke to a Cat Rescue about a cat they had that had just shut down, offering my help. He wasn’t eating, drinking, toileting, and had seen the vets too to check for obvious issues.
I have seen one cat before that was shut down, and it was heartbreaking, so anything I could do to help, I would.
The Loss of a Pet Parent
This cat had recently lost his Mum. He was also living with a dog too, but upon rehoming, they had to be separated. He was rehomed somewhere where there was another dog, as they thought that would help him settle.
In his new home however, he shut down.
The Changes That Can Exacerbate Loss
And I would like to explain something that people don’t always consider in these circumstances. This cat has gone through multiple changes. Think about it:
– loss of Mum
– loss of the family dog, whether they got on or not, and loss of perhas what role he played in the fmaily dynamics too
– loss of his home, its surroundings, its contents, the familiar smells, etc.
– loss of any neighbouring friends
Sooo many losses to comprehend, to process.
On top of that, he is then trying to get used to:
– new home, with all its contents, smells, EMFs, surroundings
– new family, with their own energy, personalities
– new pets, with their own energy, personalities
– new routines
The list goes on.
That is a lot to cope with at one time, and sometimes it’s just too much.
Finding The Right Home to Move Through Grief
When he was moved to a quieter home, with just one elderly cat, and a caring female owner, he began to open up, he began to eat, to interact, to drink, to blossom.
He was telling people with his behaviour, this is just not the right space for me to deal with my grief, it’s was sensory overload for him. Yet, swapped into an environment that was right for him, he began to come out of his shell.
So, when a loved one passes, and a pet comes into your care, think about all the changes they are/have gone through. Think about the losses that have occurred for them.
When you take on a rescue who has been bereaved, think about the circumstances:
Did they get to say goodbye?
Do they know why they are here?
Did they witness any trauma to their loved one before they passed? Were they left on their own to deal with their emotions, not knowing if someone was coming for them?
Has anyone explained what has happened to their owner?
Have they come with some of their belongings, or none? How do you know if they are their favourite items, the one item they may want may have not been considered….
Put yourself in their shoes.
A monent of reflection can allow you to be more compassinate to their needs, their emotions, feelings, traumas and much more.
Think how you would feel if you were them and everything that has happened to them. The losses, the changes, and remember that their senses are much more heightened and sharper than ours. So really think on those levels, especially if they had any sight issues – they are used to a certain layout, and a change in that can bring a whole new level of emotion and vulnerability.