My next experience of
the death of a pet was with my cat Amber. Amber joined us at the same time as Barney and Ginger and had a similar sad story.
Her owner had died and apparently had no relatives, as she was left to fend for herself locked in his flat for three weeks with no food or water.
She was only discovered when council workers came to clear the flat of her deceased owners belongings.
Having no food or water for weeks resulted in damage to her kidneys which led later on to her life being cut short as her though she was quite healthy otherwise, her kidneys just stopped working.
Amber - now at Rainbow Bridge
She was an incredibly shy cat and spent the first 6 weeks I had her hiding inside the drawer of my kitchen table. I would put food down for her but she would only come out to eat it if noone was around. I could see she needed time to adjust so I left her to get used to her new home in her own time.
Slowly she came around and began to trust me. It can be so rewarding having a cat who fears all contact suddenly coming to you and trusting you. I left her to do this in her own time, and once she realised I meant her no harm she became a very loving cat.
She was also very beautiful and had a beautiful coat and eyes that everyone used to remark on.
The death of a pet can sometimes come completely out of the blue and her illness was sudden and unexpected.
One night I was getting ready for bed and going around the house switching things off. Amber was in the kitchen and I kissed her goodnight and walked out switching the light off when suddenly I heard this commotion and plates smashing.
I thought it must be two of the cats fighting and so went to investigate.
When I turned the light I was shocked to find Amber writhing around on the floor obviously having some sort of fit. The noise I had heard was actually her falling off of the kitchen worktop and taking the plates with her as she fell.
I tried to get hold of her and hold her which was incredibly difficult as she was fitting so badly. Eventually I managed it and held her tightly until she stopped. Her heart was racing and I made a box up for her with a blanket and took her to bed with me. I phoned the vets and they told me to bring her in the next day.
When I did they examined her and said they thought she was having kidney problems caused by her previous ordeal and gave me various tablets but didn’t hold out much hope for her future.
The death of a pet can invoke different emotions in different people and I was surprised to find that despite the Vet telling us that she was 'on her way out' as he put it, my Mother on hearing this still felt she had a good chance.
Amber gradually got better and seemed fine for a few months, but then a week before that Christmas she started to eat less and just laid there staring into space. Her breath started to smell and and her health deteriorated again.
I took her to the veterinarians and they kept her in.
The next day at about 8am the vet phoned me to say she’d had a fit in the night and he thought she should be put to sleep. We discussed this and as there was nothing they could do to save her I opted to end her suffering.
I’ll never know if she really had that fit and I always felt like maybe she didn’t and the vet just said she did because he felt it was pointless continuing and it was the only thing that would convince me to end the situation.
I found myself questioning things and wondering if I did the right thing. I have since learned that this is a very common reaction to the death of a pet.
Even my Mother's relunctance to believe that Amber was nearing the end of her life, is one of the five stages of grief in the grief process, known as 'Denial' and is also a common reaction to the death of a pet.
I collected Amber from the Vets the following day and as with my other cats I buried her in the garden. Her illness had lasted a few months but it was still a shock to deal with the death of a pet and again, even after all this time I still really knew nothing about the practical things such as pet burial or pet cremation I could do when dealing with a pet death.
At that time there was just no readily available information for pet owners to help them deal with petloss and the death of a pet.
All of my experiences with petloss and the death of a pet have prompted me to build this website and to write a book about petloss. I hope to help others deal with their loss as well as educate owners in advance of their options so they can make the best decisions for their pet.