Mabel's grief

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Mabel's grief

Post by Bella » 19 May 2011, 13:29

I'm not sure where to put this or even if it's a problem as opposed to natural behaviour.

Jessica, our 17yr old cat, had to be put to sleep on Tuesday. It was both expected and unexpected. She was only diagnosed with cancer last Wednesday after she lost a bit of weight and went downhill unbelievably fast over the last few days. Mabel and Jess have always been friends. Jess was the cat who tolerated Mabel's arrival best. Her brother Stan tolerates Mabel and they live quite happily side by side but Jess was more understanding of Mabel. They would share beds, cuddles, toys etc.

Mabel was very worried about Jess over the last few days. She would run downstairs in the morning and run to check on Jess. Something she didn't normally do. On the morning Jess was put to sleep we came down and found she could barely walk. Mabel would not leave her side. Jess went from walking, eating, cleaning herself etc on Monday night to not doing any of that on Tuesday morning. We rang the vet, made the appointment and off we went with tears in our eyes.

After Jess was put to sleep we wanted to bring her home so her brother could see that she was gone. We read this helps with the grieving process and the vet agreed. It turns out Stan wasn't all that bothered. The vet thinks he knew for the last week that she was on her way out and said his goodbyes already.

Mabel on the other hand is heartbroken. When we put Jess's body on her sheepskin on the kitchen floor for them both to say their goodbyes, Mabel went nuts. She frantically ran around Jessica, crying. Mabel does not cry. She never has but this was full blow crying. She licked Jessica for about an hour trying to wake her, crying and whimpering as she did, she pawed her gently to see if she could stir her and she ran back and forth between us and Jess to try and get us to come and get Jessica moving again. She pulled at the sheepskin and when it moved, Jess moved and her tail wagged, then stopped. She went and got her teddy bear, Buddy, and left him beside Jess. She was frantic. This went on for about an hour until she calmed down a bit and lay down beside Jess. Every move we made she stood up and thought we were coming to help Jess.

It came time to take Jess back to the vet as we are having her cremated. We're moving house in a few weeks and don't want to leave Jess here without us. We put the carrier down just inside the front door as we put our jackets on and Mabel stood between the box and the door. when we went to go she tried to follow us. We discussed whether we should bring her with us but decided against it as we didn't want her to associate the car with sadness. Maybe one of us should have stayed with Mabel but for the first time in almost 4 years we put ourselves first. We both wanted to take her to the vet, say a final goodbye and smell her fur one last time.

We were back in about 40 minutes. Mabel flew down the stairs and checked the pet carrier. When she saw it was empty I swear she let a little cry out, just like a person would. It sounded like "oh" in a teary voice. She came downstairs with us and began to search the house for 2 hours.

Since Tuesday Mabel has not been herself. We've put a DAP collar on her and it's making her a little bit less stressed but every noise etc she is over-reacting to. This morning a very dry leaf fell from a tree outside and landed quite loudly on the concrete. Mabel ran out in a panic to check it out and so began another 30 minutes of checking the garden, checking Jessica's usual spots. When Stan appears suddenly she runs up to him, tail wagging and then inevitable disappointment when she smells him and realises he's not Jess.

My question, after that long winded story is, should we be worried? Is this normal? It's breaking my heart to see her miss her little friend so much but I don't know if there's something I should be doing other than just being here.


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Re: Mabel's grief

Post by watto » 19 May 2011, 13:36

That is heartbreaking, I am so sorry for you all. You must feel so helpless watching Mabel in such distress. I am sure someone will have some advice to offer you.

R.I.P Jess


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Re: Mabel's grief

Post by Madeleine » 19 May 2011, 14:25

That is so sad - have tears while typing this - so much for the myth of fighting
like cats and dogs.
Lots of TLC and time I hope will help you all.

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Re: Mabel's grief

Post by Bolster » 19 May 2011, 14:33

It's not that unusual for dogs to miss a much loved companion, although with us, it's always been another dog. We've never had the grieving and searching last more than a few weeks, but it is heartbreaking to see, especially when you're also grieving for the pet you've lost.

Just keep to your normal routine with Mabel as much as possible and hopefully she will settle down before long, although in spite of what some would claim, I'm sure she'll never forget her friend.

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Re: Mabel's grief

Post by Barneyboy » 19 May 2011, 14:39

Have you tried putting some drops of Rescue Remedy in her water? Or even a couple of drops on her tongue (you can ever drop it onto the insides of her ears) this can comfort.

I hope she's gets over her loss soon, but be careful of rewarding the behaviour.

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Re: Mabel's grief

Post by cazandgus » 19 May 2011, 14:48

I just read your sad post I am so sorry about your little cat and the affect its having on Mabel, you could try Bach Flower Remedies either the Rescue Remedy or Star Of Bethlehem, I hope she gets back to her old self soon.

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Re: Mabel's grief

Post by Bid » 19 May 2011, 14:57

I'm so sorry to hear about Jess - you must both be devastated as well as Mabel. Poor Mabel to have lost her friend :( :( . My only experience of grief in pets is from when Barney died. Poppy wasn't bothered at all - we did as you did and let her look at and sniff him afterwards, and Poppy clearly isn't the sensitive soul her sister Mabel is - she looked, sniffed, and that was that! Daisy on the other hand was very different - she wouldn't go into the room where Barney lay, but looked in the door, ran out into the garden and stood and barked and barked. Daisy was very out of sorts - just not her usual self for about 3 weeks, and then she came back to normal - we tried to keep everythin as usual during this time. I hope Mabel will get back to herself soon - I expect part of it is missing her friend, and part of it will be that she knows you are upset. Big hugs, to you both, and to Mabel xx
Beauty without vanity, strength without insolence, courage without ferocity, and all the virtues of man without his vices - Byron

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Re: Mabel's grief

Post by Liz! » 19 May 2011, 17:50

Oh boy, this did make me cry. I'm so sorry I can't think of anything except time... or maybe a kitten? Something to avert her thoughts anyway. Poor Mabel.
Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read ~ Groucho Marx


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Re: Mabel's grief

Post by ebug99 » 19 May 2011, 19:12

I'm afraid I have no advice as it's not something I've had to deal with yet but just wanted to say how sorry I am for your loss.

Liz xx
xxxXX Teddy & Harvey XXxxx

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Re: Mabel's grief

Post by Glenda » 19 May 2011, 20:57

Oh dear, I'm in tears too :cry: :cry: I am so sorry that you have lost little Jess and Mabel is so sad- but what wonderful friends they must have been :( :D

Sending lots of hugs to you and Mabel xx


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Re: Mabel's grief

Post by lara's mum » 19 May 2011, 21:32

What a sad situation for you all.
Must be made worse to see Mabel in such distress.

Yep - also typing with tears in my eyes

Take care and i am sure time will ease the loss.
Alison & Lara


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Re: Mabel's grief

Post by poodledoodleted » 19 May 2011, 21:53

How Sad :(

We lost our cat in very similar circumstances just a month ago. One day he was fine, then drastic weight loss a week later we had to say goodbye. Ted being only 7 months and not knowing Lucky that long didn't react in the same way as Mabel but he does even now try and search for Lucky as they did used to play together.

I know this must be a very sad time for you, I would just let Mabel grieve in her own way and she will come back to you.

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Re: Mabel's grief

Post by Bella » 19 May 2011, 22:13

Oh I'm sorry! I didn't mean to upset anyone!!

Well the good news is this afternoon she came back upstairs to lie on her own bed rather than sit by the catflap waiting for Jess to come home. Stan has been very unimpressed with the large fluffybutt blocking the catflap but he's very patient with Mabel the last few days and worked around her.

We went out for our walk today and she was as happy as a lark. When we got back home she went down to the kitchen and got up on her tippypaws to check Jessica's old haunts like on top of Mabel's crate etc. She checked all her spots for about 10 minutes, curled up on the floor and let out a big sigh. It is actually an improvement. She gave up after 10 minutes as opposed to the hours she has spent doing it over the last few days. When I called Stanley for his dinner Mabel came too to check if Jess turned up and rather than again sitting by the catflap she went to her own bed and played with her bear.

They're small improvements but it's something. We'll definitely try the Rescue Remedy. I had no idea we could put it on her ears. I think because I'm at home during the day and missing Jess at every turn I make, Mabel is picking up on it as well as dealing with her own grief. She's a very sensitive dog which is ordinarily a good thing, I just wasn't expecting this reaction. I had a good cry on the couch today when I realised it was the first time I had sat on it and not been jumped on by Jess. Mabel came with her ears down and we had a good cuddle and a sob.

I think she'll be fine. I was just so worried it was an extreme reaction and needed to do something other than watch her be sad.

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Re: Mabel's grief

Post by MrsAdmin » 19 May 2011, 22:53

Some animals do grieve for their friends, as well as their owners.

I'm so sad that Mabel (and you) has gone through so much pain but she will be reconciled and you did exactly the right thing, bringing Jess home for her.

My Mum's old dog really mourned Judy, the old Collie my sister has to leave with her when she emigrated, and then some years later he mourned Moses, the tabby cat, too. :(


Re: Mabel's grief

Post by michala » 20 May 2011, 12:00

i never cry - but your posts have brought those tears to my ears - so sad and yet so poignant that love we all share with our pets just rang out in your posts - they do bring such joy to our lives and then one day we have to say goodbye............
Sorry no more suggestions except echoing others but thinking of you we have never met but you and your animal family have touched hearts xxx

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