When Do You Add Another Pet After a Loss?

by Melissa R. on July 7, 2014

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The Cuteness of Cosmo

The Cuteness of Cosmo

This past winter, we unexpectedly lost our much-adored Bengal kitty, Cosmo. He was young: only 1.5 years old. Though we had not had him long, he took a piece of our hearts with him when he left. I’m not sure that hole will ever be filled. So now I ask myself nearly every day: when is it time for another?

When my Border Collie, Mocca, passed away – I was already lined up for a puppy on the way. So that decision was made long before. When my Irish Setter, Molly, passed away, I had Mocca, and felt no need for another at the time. When Cosmo died, I just stopped wanting to have any more pets. We had been through enough in the year & a half previously with losing 3 beloved pets. I’m still not healed, and grieve for Cosmo more often than not. Surely it’s lessened, but the time just doesn’t feel right.

Part of me is afraid we will just be trying to “replace” Cosmo. Is that what we want? Or do we just want Cosmo back? Will another Bengal be like he was? Or will we get something else entirely? When we added Cosmo to the group of 3 other cats, it was MONTHS before everybody got along (mostly), and even longer for Cosmo and our new puppy to work out a deal. I am not sure I am up for that again right now. We’ve been through too much. I think in time I will be ready, but not right now. We probably will get another Bengal, because he was just the most amazing cat and we would hope that is part of the breed.

When did you know it was right to add another pet?

Our four cats

Our four cats


About the author: Melissa is a devoted pet owner with several cats: Kai, Cirrhi & Ritter; and the newest addition, Emme a Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever. Melissa is an avid dog agility enthusiast, and hopes her new pup will someday be an agility champion! She is a Graphic Designer and Project Coordinator for the DrsFosterSmith.com and LiveAquaria.com websites. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design from Michigan State University and is a lifelong pet lover and owner. See more articles by Melissa R.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Sherri O July 7, 2014 at 9:50 am

This is such a personal issue, and no two people are alike. I was involved in rescue for a long time and we saw the extremes and everything in between – people looking to adopt the day after they lost a furkid because they couldn’t stand the empty house, people looking to adopt years after a loss because they were “finally ready,” and even people for whom it had been a few months but it was clear that they weren’t ready and we had to help them come to realize that. Personally, I’ve always needed anywhere from a few months to a year to get past the heartwrenching pain, but my last adoption was different. My puppy (now a year old) was adopted just a couple of weeks after I lost my senior girl, which was one of the hardest pet losses I’ve experienced. But I had another dog who struggles with terrible fear issues, and he was always a much more confident, comfortable dog when around my senior girl. When she got sick and stopped joining us on walks and trips to the petstore, etc., I watched my fearful boy start to regress. So I had that to take into consideration, and ended up getting a puppy long before I think I otherwise would have. She is wonderful and such a great addition to our family, and has really helped my fearful boy, but looking back, I know it would have been better for me to have waited longer. But not better for my boy – and at that time, he had to be my priority, so it was the right decision.

Melissa R. July 7, 2014 at 1:27 pm

Thank you Sherri, for sharing your experiences. Our 3 other cats and pup seem happy and haven’t missed Cosmo that we can tell, so we don’t have that to go by. I know one day it will be the right time.

Maxine G July 31, 2014 at 8:57 pm

Last her. year I lost my heart and soul, a 12 year old German Shepherd who had been with me since 8 weeks old, and I felt as though the world had ended. After 6 months I started looking at shepherd puppies but my reaction was ” you are cute but go find another home. ” This June I was looking at a rescue web site when up popped a picture of an 8 week old Shepherd ( girl) puppy. Curious to know how I would feel I arranged to meet her. I expected to feel indifferent, but when she ran to meet me, I knew it was right. I cannot explain to you what was different. I can only say when you feel you can meet other dogs try going to a rescue. No one thinks ill of you if you walk away and it maybe that one day the puzzle will come together for you. Trinity can never replace Reiker; I wouldn’t want her too, but she is slowly making her own paw prints, and by adopting we feel we have honoured Reiker for the love and devotion that he gifted to us.

Maxine G July 31, 2014 at 9:03 pm

Sorry Melissa, I should have said when you feel ready to meet other cats/kittens. I still cry over my beautiful boy and I will never have that unique relationship again. But Trinity and I will build our own bond. When a beloved pet leaves, they take a part of our hEarts with them. When a new pet arrives, they gift us part of theirs.

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