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When animals grieve as well.

(22 Posts)
merlotgran Mon 15-Jul-19 10:10:22

As most of you know, our DD died in May. Her two DSs are still living next door to us on the same property but they will be moving on with their lives soon. The elder lad is going to Hendon Police College and the younger one will be moving back to Northern Ireland to live with his father and step mother as he has been set up with a job in Belfast.

We've all been supporting eachother during the grieving process and there have been many ups and downs - particularly with the elder one's temper (usually aimed at me) but it's our cat's behaviour I have found quite distressing.

DD loved her and as soon as Jazz heard her voice she would leap off whichever cushion or widow sill she was dozing on and charge across furniture and worktops to greet her. She has a very loud purr and it would make us all laugh when she seemed to run out of steam and would have to drop down to a lower gear and start again.

In the last couple of weeks Jazz has no longer charged in through the back door demanding breakfast as soon as she knows we're up. Concerned, I go and look for her as she's getting on for twelve and I find her at the top of the path with her eyes fixed on DD's kitchen window. She would often jump on the windowsill and tap on the window to be let in for a cuddle. She's fine when I pick her up and bring her back with us but later on in the day she asks to be let out and curls up on the gravel drive, even on very hot days. This is something she has never ever done and then it dawned on me....It's where DD parked her car. sad

I suppose it's to be expected that animals grieve. They're more perceptible than us after all so I should have cottoned on sooner but it's easy to overlook these things when you have a lot to cope with.

She'll be fine. We all will.

crazyH Mon 15-Jul-19 10:20:02

Oh dear Merlot, yes, I did read about your lovely daughter. I can't even imagine how you and the family are coping. The boys will slowly get on with their lives, and so they should. They will make their mum proud.
so sad for Jazz. Animals show their grief in different ways. Is she eating ok?
May you all somehow find the strength to carry on flowers

MawBroonsback Mon 15-Jul-19 10:20:06

That must be a poignant reminder for you Merlot , of course she is looking for her.

Hattie whimpers whenever I visit Paw’s grave in our local village graveyard - our regular walk - I suspect she is reacting to my emotions and that I talk to him, but it was actually Gracie who adored him and was always unhappy whenever he was away in hospital, wandering round the house, unable to settle.

Doesn’t make it easier for you though, sending flowers and love.

Jane10 Mon 15-Jul-19 10:30:23

Aw. Poor puss. Poor you too of course. Our nieghbour died very suddenly indeed last month. He was very devoted to his cat. It was mutual. We are currently so aware of the poor thing wandering about the garden and car park looking for him. That sad wee face at the glass entrance door to our flats is heartbreaking. He never did it before. ❤️

Sparklefizz Mon 15-Jul-19 10:43:25

Jane10 Is somebody looking after your neighbour's cat now?

I have had pets that do grieve badly, both for an owner's absence (eg. holidays, let alone death ) and for each other. One of my cats took 2 years to get over the loss of his sister, plus he was traumatised because he saw her torn apart by 2 German Shepherd dogs.

travelsafar Mon 15-Jul-19 10:57:30

Oh how sad this bought tears to my eyes, sad

Bellasnana Mon 15-Jul-19 11:05:39

Pets definitely feel more than we think. When my DH died at home I, rightly or wrongly, took our little poodle in to see him. He jumped on the bed, nuzzled my DH’s arm and then howled. sad
He was not the same little dog after that, despondent and not his bouncy self. He died 9 months after DH and I still think he had a broken heart.
I hope your cat will be ok. What a tragedy for you all to

dragonfly46 Mon 15-Jul-19 11:27:30

I have been wondering how you are coping Merlot it must be very hard especially when you DGS is taking his grief out on you.

Yes animals do sense things. Whenever we look after our Granddoggy he is okay for the first couple of days then always on day three he has a wobble. He won't eat and just slopes around. It is almost like he is saying the weekend is over now I should be going home. Fortunately after that he perks up until the before he is due to go back and he becomes very bouncy. Strange.

Jane10 Mon 15-Jul-19 12:10:35

Such sad stories here. Don't worry, the little cat at our flats is being looked after by the wife of the poor chap who died so suddenly but he was that little cat's sun and moon and now he's gone.
We both love cats as do others in our flats and are very happy to pat him and make a fuss of him but we're not who he wants. He's quite an old cat. It wouldn't surprise me if he just faded away. sad

EllanVannin Mon 15-Jul-19 12:15:49

Oh dear, I've often found myself wondering about my cats should anything happen, particularly one who never leaves my side and sleeps at the foot of my bed every night.
I know she'd fret dreadfully and sometimes the worry and thought of this makes me feel quite unwell as I know she wouldn't settle anywhere else or with anyone else.

Bellasnana, my beloved German Shepherd died a year after my husband. I'm sure the dog felt my pain. It's horrible. The dog had slept outside the bedroom door for years.

Jane10 Mon 15-Jul-19 12:42:58

It's not the same thing at all but once, after I'd been away for work for a couple of weeks, our little female Birman heaved herself with difficulty up on to the sofa next to me and purred. I was very surprised. She was such a tart and infinitly preferred my DH or DS. She was, in her dignified and distant way, showing that she'd noticed I had been away. I felt so ridiculously honoured. 'My' cat Buddy was all over me from the minute I got home! He had no pride!

Charleygirl5 Mon 15-Jul-19 12:49:24

When my last cat died, I drove from the vet surgery to a friend's house because of the state I was in. Her two cats who normally never came near me or gave me the time of day, each sat on the arm of armchair allowing me to stroke each of them. They just seemed to know.

SueDonim Mon 15-Jul-19 12:57:08

I've often thought of you and your special daughter, Merlotgran. Such sadness.

Animals do indeed pick up on moods and changes in routine. I think with Jazz, as it only started in the last couple of weeks, I'd get her checked out by the vet in case there's a hidden problem. Could be a urine infection or a thyroid problem.

You could also try Feliway which is a pheromone solution that soothes cats.

merlotgran Mon 15-Jul-19 13:39:41

Thank you, everyone. I saw evidence of a dog's loyalty and devotion when I was staying in the hospice with DD during her last week.

There was a small ward of four beds opposite her room and one night DD2 and I noticed a new patient being admitted accompanied by her daughter and small dog. It looked like a Jack Russell cross. They allowed well behaved pets to be in the rooms but not in the wards so the dog just settled down in the doorway. The nurses were quite happy to step around him even if they were wheeling equipment. Apart from being take out for short walks, he didn't leave his chosen spot.

Three days later the woman's condition worsened and she was moved to a private room where she lapsed into a coma. The dog could have gone with her but refused to move, guarding the entrance to the ward day and night.

When the woman died I chatted to her daughter in the car park. She was taking the dog home to be cared for by her sister and I mentioned how strange we thought it was that he didn't want to go into the private room with his owner.

The daughter reckoned that the dog thought her mother's spirit was still in the ward where she had been fully conscious and he could hear her talking. By the time she went into the room she was unresponsive so in the dog's mind, she'd already 'gone.'

No other explanation really but I often think of that dear little dog. I hope he is happy now.

lemongrove Mon 15-Jul-19 13:50:20

Like others, I have been wondering how you are Merlot
Grieving is a long process, and no wonder that your cat misses your DD who was part of her life.

Pets do miss family members when they die, or just leave home and move on, which was the case for our cat when all the adult DC left.He was distraught and never really was the same after that.Animals miss each other and the human family members, something we never really think about.

annsixty Mon 15-Jul-19 14:29:55

A friend of ours bought a bulldog when he retired, she was his pride and joy and they spent all their time together.
When he died she moped but seemed to recover.
His wife went away a few months later and put the gog in kennels.
When she went to pick her up, the dog waddled into the office having heard her voice, she was very excited.
She came round the corner of the counter, saw R waiting, looked around for D and when she didn’t see him ,turned round dejectedly and walked back into the back room.Our friend and the kennelmaid were both in tears.

Iam64 Mon 15-Jul-19 14:32:23

Hello Merlot, grieving is a long process and yes, animals grieve. We took one of our very old and poorly dogs for yet another check up, he'd been going alternate days for 3 weeks. On the way there, we agreed it was time, he'd told us so. He didn't come home with us. Our other dog searched for him for several weeks. It was heart breaking. If anyone said his name, she'd jump up and go to look for him. She missed him and was subdued.
Animals reciprocate the love we give them. They are also closely connected to our own emotional states. I don't have cats but my dogs definitely 'know' how we are and cats are highly sensitive creatures.
It sounds as though your daughter's boys have good plans and support in place.
Look after yourself x

sodapop Mon 15-Jul-19 14:40:28

That is sad for you Merlot but more evidence if it were needed as to how much your daughter was loved. Your strength as a family will see you through this difficult time.
The stories of the JR and Bulldog were so touching.

Fennel Mon 15-Jul-19 15:41:36

I remember your sad news Merlot. But as you say life goes on for those left behind.
My story seems insignificant compared to yours - when we lived in the country we had various poultry, including a pair of white ducks. They were devoted to eachother, inseparable.
But they wouldn't leave the pond to go in for the night.
So one morning the female had disappeared, probably a fox.
The poor male, now a widower, just stood there, lost. He didn't move for ages, seemed stunned. It was a miracle the fox didn't take him too.
In the end I took him to a neighbour who had a fenced in pond for her ducks. But every time I went round he was just standing alone at the side of the pond.
Ducks mate for life.

rosecarmel Mon 15-Jul-19 15:52:59

Years ago we were caring for a man who eventually died at home- As his body was being carried over the threshold his dog wailed with every fibre of its being- It was haunting yet a beautiful tribute to the dedication of their relationship- I had never seen an animal cry prior, actual tears falling across its fur- It lost interest in its usual activities, obviously was grieving-

KatyK Mon 15-Jul-19 17:57:35

So sad. My friend's husband died last year. Their placid little dog began running from room to room in the house trying to find him. The dog became aggressive and bit someone. Eventually my poor friend had to have him put down as she was afraid he would hurt a child.

grandtanteJE65 Tue 17-Sep-19 12:29:08

It's heart-breaking isn't it, to see our pets mourning too.

If you still have any article of clothing that belonged to your daughter, let the cat have it as a rug - that might help. She will still be able to smell your daughter's scent, and as it fades, the cat's grief will too.
So sorry for your loss.