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C2002-04

Dear Christopher Cat

Toonces, the most wonderful cat in the world, has died.  He shared every part of my life for 15 years, and I feel like my world has ended.  My co-workers say, "He was just a cat.  Get another one."  I want to respond, "If your friend's child died, would you say, 'Just have another child'?"  Will my pain ever go away?

Christopher Responds

You must get some support.  Confide your feelings to friends and family members who love their pets and will be compassionate.  If the pain isn't diminishing, talk with a therapist about your grief.

Bookstores and libraries are full of supportive books, including:  The Loss of a Pet, by Wallace Sife, and When Your Pet Dies:  How to Cope With Your Feelings, by Jamie Quackenbush and Denise Graveline.

Helpful websites are: the Pet Loss Support Page, www.pet-loss.net; the Web site of the Association for Pet Loss and Bereavement, www.aplb.org; and www.findinfo.com/petloss.htm, a directory of resources.

Also visit the American Veterinary Medical Association's website, www.avma.org/careforanimals/CFAsiteindex.asp.

The three cats in my family (and even the dogs, who actually do have big hearts) send you our best wishes as you grieve the death of your wonderful Toonces.

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