Wednesday, March 9, 2016

There goes the cat

 My cat died.

There she was, a healthy, rotund 12 year old, my bed buddy when my husband was out, a real, breathing teddy bear.

And then there was cancer.

And Cubby, my cat, was overtaken in a number of weeks.

The tumor filled her mouth and she stopped eating. From a pebble to a golf ball, her tongue no longer fit in her mouth.

My husband cried, my daughter cried, my son moved on and I set my mind to work with the details. What will we do with the body? If the cat survives the average amount of time for this type of cancer, and the weather follows the typical weather pattern, can we bury the cat in the back yard? What does my son need in order to process the death? What does my daughter need to understand the death? How can I support my husband as he processes? Does it make more sense to have her euthanized at the vet or the humane society.

My husband cried. My daughter cried. My husband wondered if my son was cold. I wondered if I was cold.

Then I came across an article detailing the different styles of grief and apparently my type has a name. Instrumental griever. According to Instrumental mourners experience and speak of their grief intellectually and physically. They are most comfortable with seeking accurate information, analyzing facts, making informed decisions and taking action to solve problems. Remaining strong, dispassionate and detached in the face of powerful emotions, they may speak of their grief in an intellectual way, thus appearing to others as cold, uncaring and without feeling.

Now it made sense.

This is why, upon the death of my father, I volunteered to call his friends to inform him of the death, and shuddered when they asked me about how I was doing. This was death, there were things to be done.

I wasn't cold. It was just how I grieved.

As for the ground? It was frozen when she died.

We didn't bury her.

We didn't cremate her.

My husband found a program where her body would be donated to veterinary students. Our cat is a cadaver.

Our hearts hurt but something good has come of it.


  1. So sorry to hear of Cubby's passing, my friend.

  2. So sorry to hear of Cubby's passing, my friend.

  3. Just reading this for the first time. Losing our pets bites. But you helped other kitties! And you helped by sharing this cadaver program... because we donated our kitty's body to the science program too. I feel very good about that!

    1. This is Heidi N. I have NO Idea why my name says that above. It's not even familiar to me. oh well