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Missing cat...replacing?

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Missing cat...replacing?

Post by helena on Sat Nov 26, 2011 11:36 pm

My 15 year old son is autistic and almost three years ago we went as a family to the Humane Society where he picked out a kitten.

Since then they've been inseparable. The kitten (Bernie) was The most affectionate cat I've ever seen; would sit on him, lick him, follow him everywhere and Mathew (my son) returned the love. He even said "I love you Bernie" when he'd come home from school... something he never says to anyone else.

Bernie was an indoor cat, but somehow, (probably when we were getting decorations out of the shed) between Saturday and Sunday last week, he got out and has been missing ever since. In the past when he got out, he'd be back within 10 minutes. But it's now been a week. I've contacted the Humane Society/Animal Control and local radio station, but no luck.

Mathew's a very naturally quiet boy (part of being autistic) and has become even more withdrawn and depressed by Bernie being missing

My question is; should I even think about getting a new kitten? We do already have another cat that we've had for about 9 years and she is quite affectionate, but it's not the same... of course, a new kitten would not be the same as Bernie either...

It feels too soon to think about trying to 'replace' Bernie... but at the same time, I'd give anything to be able to bring a smile back to Mathew's face.

What would you do?

Thanks for listening... this is really hard...
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Re: Missing cat...replacing?

Post by Gamezgirl on Sat Nov 26, 2011 11:41 pm

Have you asked him what he would like? You could just say something like "Well it looks like our friend is enjoying his trip! Would you like to look at bringing home a new furry friend to keep you company, or would you just like it to be us for now?" Or something like that. The other thought is...if you do get a new kitten and Bernie does come home...are you ok with 3?
Best of luck...we are facing the loss of our family pet in the near future (terminal illness) and I am NOT looking forward to consoling the children. Hugs to you!
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Re: Missing cat...replacing?

Post by TheGildedCat on Sun Nov 27, 2011 12:20 am

I'm so sorry about your kitty! I know it must be hard on your whole family - it sounded like a very special kitty. I second asking him - as much as he is verbal, to let you know what he wants. Perhaps he can be a part of the selection process as well depending on his level of functioning.

The animal hospital I work with has a pet loss support program. Here's the grief counselor's blog:
http://www.dovelewis.org/pet-loss-blog-enid-traisman/
She has a section on talking with children about pet loss/grief, which can be hard: http://www.deltasociety.org/Document.Doc?id=690
Firstly, be honest. Since autism is such a spectrum, I'm not sure where your son falls on it, but pretending the cat "went away on a trip" is probably not useful in most situations as it doesn't imply finality and doesn't allow for closure.

If you still think there's a chance - contact all your local vet offices. They often get in injured strays and without identifying info (microchip, collar, etc), they can't get it back to you. Microchips save lives!
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Re: Missing cat...replacing?

Post by Psalmbook on Sun Nov 27, 2011 7:42 am

I don't have a lot of help here. My son falls in the "Spectrum" and took it hard when our 4 yr old pug got cancer. He did recover(maybe because he's in the "Spectrum"). We got a kitten & he loves our kitty(who's not a snuggler Very Happy ).

I think you've got some sound advice, but I am praying your beloved pet finds his way home.
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Re: Missing cat...replacing?

Post by Who B What E on Sun Nov 27, 2011 7:53 am

We just lost our beloved kitten about 5 wks ago too. We had gotten her for our daughter and had all gotten really attached to her. I called every vet, humane society, shelter, ran ads in papers, hung signs all over town and still no luck. I still have a little glimmer of hope that maybe she will find her way home, I think someone has her in their house and as soon as she gets a chance to get out she'll come back. I know, wishfull thinking. I hope yours makes its way home soon and back where it belongs with your son. Good luck!
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Re: Missing cat...replacing?

Post by elantaura on Sun Nov 27, 2011 8:09 am

I have always had cats
but I had a cat years ago who was an indoor cat type, he got out. He was a desexed male I had pretty much given up. and two weeks later he turned up, he had a hernia and had to got to the vets cost alot of money at the time.
I would suggest waiting (and saving)

My brother in law is an RSPCA inspector, and his other half AWL (aust equivelent of ASPCA) and he told me that most indoor cats don't go far. within 8 houses they just get anxious and hide and it takes time for them to overcome there fear/anxiety (get hungry enough) to come home.
I would give it a little more time. Just in case.
I have 2 special needs children. after a few weeks then if hes ready I would talk to him about it, let him pick it.
we have 2 cats in this house one that is the childrens who they picked and named, and my cat. I have found it funny how both cats seem to know who they belong too.
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Re: Missing cat...replacing?

Post by helena on Sun Nov 27, 2011 11:27 am

I've found that too, elantaura! The other cat is definitely mine - goes to the kids, but always hangs about my feet. I do hope that Bernie is close by and will be one of those who come home soon. Thank you for the information from your brother in law, it's hopeful to think on!

Whobewhat - I'm like you in your wishful thinking whobwhate - trying to convince myself that he's okay, just hiding in someone's nice warm house right now but will escape back home as soon as he can... I do hope it's true for your little kitty too... it's so hard not knowing

Gildedcat - thank you so much for the links; they've got some really good information and suggestions there... how nice of them to have a grief counselor at your hospital, I'm sure it's very helpful to many people.

Psalmbook, thank you for your prayers. I'm glad your son is enjoying his kitty now Smile

Gamezgirl, I'm sorry to hear about the illness of your pet. Preparing for your loss and how to comfort your children must be so very hard.

Thank you all so much for your encouraging words and advice.

Mathew does understand that Bernie is missing and I should probably ask him if he'd like another cat... but I'm in two minds about that myself as to whether I want to get another one now, so I don't want to let Mathew down if he was to say 'yes'... if Bernie does turn up then I would have three cats and I'm not really equipped to cope with that (either financially or physically - small house filled with kids and me already.)

I guess I'm just unsure as to how long do I go on hoping that one day he'll show up again before I broach the topic of replacing him

Thanks again for all your kind words and encouragement, it means a lot.
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Re: Missing cat...replacing?

Post by Psalmbook on Mon Nov 28, 2011 12:51 pm

Six months is a good waiting period(but I'm still holding out hope Bernie comes home). This will give you time to go through the grief process & prevent you from making a knee jerk decision. We waited about 6 months after our dog died before we got the kitten. We rally wanted to make sure it was a decision we wanted.
Now... I wish we could have had a bigger warning on my adult daughter & her cat moving back home. Her cat has a few issues... like not knowing the difference between the litter & the floor, blankets, dog bed, etc. & not knowing that stealing my dinner is a nono....
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Re: Missing cat...replacing?

Post by Janb on Mon Nov 28, 2011 7:58 pm

I'm such a kitten\cat lover. I've lost so very many pets and I know the pain. Bernie will be in my prayers as well.....and so will your son. Sad
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Re: Missing cat...replacing?

Post by helena on Mon Nov 28, 2011 8:08 pm

Thank you so much.

The weather is getting so cold, I just hope "they" are keeping him warm and cozy (until he has a chance to escape Smile)

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Re: Missing cat...replacing?

Post by debranewmanart on Tue Nov 29, 2011 9:34 am

Make sure you go around the neighborhood every night and call him. I'd make 2 trips around, and he might just come running on the second trip.

I had 1 cat leave for 3 months and come back. Another was gone for 4 YEARS and returned. Just walked up one evening like he'd never left!

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Re: Missing cat...replacing?

Post by Ester K-D on Wed Nov 30, 2011 8:03 pm

Helena....go on line and contact Helping Homeless Pets...they have a "lost pet" section (they are an umbrella organization for about 45 rescue groups - mostly dogs...but also, cats, ferets, rats, rabbits, guinea pigs, horses... the groups are wide spread and you never know...someone in your area may come forward.... www.helpinghomelesspet.com (Markham, Ontario)

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Re: Missing cat...replacing?

Post by helena on Sat Dec 03, 2011 4:02 pm

Thank you!
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Re: Missing cat...replacing?

Post by Who B What E on Sat Dec 10, 2011 2:23 am

We decided we needed another kitty after our Zoey didn't come home, it had been 7 weeks, it was the first time she had every been out, so hopes of her returning when she didn't know the area was slim.... So this week we adopted the cutest little darling. We named her Willow. She is the perfect fit for our family! She is adjusting very well and we have gotten so attached already. It really did help ease the pain of losing our beloved Zoey. Hope this helps you make your decision.

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Re: Missing cat...replacing?

Post by helena on Sat Dec 10, 2011 6:11 am

awww she's adorable! Smile
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