On the “Smaller” Trials of Life

Row with Kitty1

I recognize that a post on my cat dying is somewhat of a departure from “homemaking with intention, beauty, and mirth,” but the reality is it’s what happened at my home last week.  And I suppose how I deal with the ups and downs of life at my home can be “homemaking with intention, beauty, and mirth” after all.

hen your pet dies, you lose a companion, a small part of the family.  You’re sad and you grieve.

The tears hit you when you sit by the fire and miss him sitting on your lap, when you realize all your passwords are somehow cat-related, when your kids want to pet the kitty and the kitty isn’t there—when you remember how he always tolerated them laying on him, pulling his fur, and “giving him hugs.”

And you also feel like maybe you shouldn’t be so sad.

Because it was a cat, not a person.  And, anyway, you’re not one of those people who gets pet insurance, the best cat food, or even all the recommended shots.

You agreed with your husband that you would pay for the necessary surgery last year, but after that, he was in God’s hands.  You forked over the cash and prayed that the little guy would make it at least another year.

He made it a year, two weeks, and one day.

You’re unfamiliar with death, having never lost anyone close to you.  Holding an animal as its life comes to a close is strange and prompts all kinds of thoughts and questions.

Now you have to decide what to say to your preschooler when she asks where the cat is.  Now you have one cat instead of two.


The one that’s left has never been apart from his brother.  They were buy-one-get-one free at the shelter, so you got them as a pair.

It ended up being really bad deal, financially speaking.  Double the shots, double the medication for kitty respiratory issues, double the kitty food.

But it was a good deal otherwise; they kept each other company, which probably kept the neurosis to a minimum.

Their affection was endearing, even to your cat-tolerating husband.  They snuggled in the winter and licked each other’s faces.

You wish you could make the remaining kitty understand what happened to his brother.

You try to tell him all about it and remember that you’re talking to a cat.  And that you’re probably projecting all these human emotions onto him anyway.


No, you didn’t lose a person–you lost a pet.

You know someone whose husband died this winter.   You know someone else who lost their father.

Your mourning isn’t like theirs.  It’s much less intense and will be shorter-lived.

But it is grief. 

Kind of like when you move and leave friends behind. Or change jobs, find a new church, or when a friend moves and leaves you behind.

These are the comparatively smaller trials of life that don’t feel so small when you’re in the midst of them.

But it’s probably healthier not to compare sorrows and to just let yours run its course. In my experience, it seems to be over sooner when you don’t ignore it anyway.

About Jenn

Jenn is a mommy of three and wife to her best friend. She enjoys good books, dinner guests, elevenses, and proper apostrophe use.

  • Julia Stockwell Reynolds

    Oh, Jenn, my heart goes out to you. Please don’t ever apologize for what you choose to write and share on your blog, especially when it simply comes from your heart. Also, please don’t apologize for or negate your feelings and emotions, even over the “smaller trials” – I get it, I think we’ve all had similar “guilt” associated with what we somehow deem to be “insignificant” compared to the burdens and trials of others. The thing is, your feelings and emotions are genuine and THEY MATTER. Also, it’s okay to let your kiddos see that you are sad when that’s what you are feeling. They need to learn how to handle these moments from their God-loving, God-trusting mama instead of learning ONLY how to put on a brave face and pull up the ol’ bootstraps. God bless you!

    • Thanks for your kind words, Julia :). That’s a good reminder about it being ok to let the kids in on emotions.

  • Ana @ Lessons From Yesterday

    I’m so sorry–I know how tough it can be to lose a pet, I have tears in my eyes from your post. Big hugs, and remember your wise words about not comparing grief.

  • brenda venable

    Our 4 legged companions count for so much in our daily lives. They are such a comfort in times of need, we never seem to mind taking care of them, and they are always there for us. Children and pets go together in a loving home just like yours. Death is such a part of life and it is difficult to deal with sometimes. You will not forget Morris…… ever. Big warm hugs to Oz and I look forward to seeing him real soon. Tell him Grams is on the way to play with him too. Tears now.

  • Allison

    I too, have tears in my eyes reading your post. I’ve lost many pets, including my “first-born” – yes my 2 daughters knew/know they were born after my “first-born” – even though he was a cat – he truly thought i was his mother. He’d be where i was and if i went i vacation he wouldnt talk to me for 2-3 days after i returned.
    This thought always comforts me when i lose a pet – think about the good life you gave your cat. If you hadnt adopted your cat maybe no one would have. But you did and you loved him, kept him warm and fed and safe. A good life.