Friday, May 03, 2013

I Totally Get Why Other People Believe in Heaven

This will not be news to any readers out there over the age of four or five, but losing your pet really, really sucks. And by "losing" I mean "having them die." And by "having them die" I mean "putting them to sleep." And by "putting them to sleep" I mean "euthanizing them." And by "euthanizing them" I mean... Well, you know.

It sucks.

Suckity suck sucks.

I promise this won't become a Dead Cat Blog (I'm sure that's some trope out there, how could it not be?) but for now, for today, I wallow. How exactly does one grieve one's pet of 16 years without becoming one of those people posting pictures of their now-dead cat all over Facebook and creating a creepy shrine where the cat food used to be and/or writing an entire book about the experience? (I actually liked that book—like any good memoir, it was mostly about the author, not her cats.)

Why don't atheist WASPs (WASAs?) have more rituals and rites, dammit? Why must I always make them up or uneasily appropriate them from others? I mean, that's fine for, say, saying grace ("Cheers!" we say, and clink our forks together), but when it comes to dead cats? No idea.


p.s. I didn't keep the body, didn't pay extra to have the ashes returned to me, declined to have a clay print made from her paw... I would have said sure to the paw print if the vet had done it before euthanizing her—if nothing else the three-year-old would have found a use for it. But he offered to make the print after she was, eh, gone. Dead cat paw print? No thanks.


  1. I'm so sorry! I've not yet had to put down a pet, though I've had several "go." And you're absolutely right, there are times where being an atheist makes it harder because we have little to fall back on. My go-to ritual is crying alone and whispering that I'll miss (insert name) to myself. It's not much, but it's honest.

  2. I'm sorry, Wilson. One thing we did that was comforting when our dog died was have a wake. We invited over all the people who knew Chester and sat around and drank and told stories about the ridiculous things the dog did (a lot! he was a very bad dog) and we did put a lot of photos up on the bulletin board. Someone wrote a poem and brought it and read it. I also made little memorial cards, like Catholics give out at funerals, with his most handsome photo and his birth and death dates and gave those to people who I knew only from walking him. I have to admit I still think the dog is around, watching over us. That idea comforts me.