Saturday, January 12, 2013

Loss Of Pet Leaves A Hole; New Pet Is Not A Replacement

Dear Tazi,

My cat “Indiana” had to be put down this past September, after 18 years of life. I’d had Indiana since he was a kitten; I loved that cat more than anything. My seven year old daughter – who I have custody of part-time – was also upset over Indiana’s death, which is why my girlfriend went out and bought me a new kitten for Christmas.

My daughter loves “Sadie”, and I have to admit that she is a cute kitten, but I am just not ready for a new cat, and I am afraid that it is showing. Try as I might, I just can’t bond with this new kitten. Indiana was a man’s cat; he was a total [tough guy]. Sadie is gentle when she plays – great for my daughter, but hardly a good replacement for Indiana.

I don’t want to insult my girlfriend or upset my daughter by getting rid of Sadie, but I just can’t bond with her like I did Indiana. I am just not ready to start over without my main man, Indiana. You’re a cat. Do you have any suggestions on what I should do here? I feel badly. Sadie is just a kitten and always looks like she can’t understand why I don’t love her like everyone else.


Dear Hoosier:

The loss of a pet is an inconsolable one, yet you have my deepest sympathies on the loss of your beloved cat. I have always said that until you have owned a pet you have not known unconditional love. Your Indiana sounds a lot like my predecessor, Koko Kat, who was also a [tough guy]; in fact, his nickname was Bad A--. Koko ran off after coming out on the winning end of a tangle with something large and dangerous, but he was missing for several weeks, during which time my Mommie looked for him every day – all through the neighborhood and at the animal shelter – which is where she saw and fell in love with me.

Like you, Mommie did not wish to adopt another cat (even me); she wanted her original cat back! Then, she realized that I was not a replacement of her Koko Kat; I would not replace the memories she had of Koko, rather, I would bring her new memories all our own, of just her and me. Different does not necessarily mean better – or worse; just unique. My personality is the polar opposite of Koko Kat, who chose to return to his pre-adoptive feral ways. Mommie does not love me more or less than she does Koko – just differently. If you were to have another child, would you love him/her more or less than your first? Of course not; you would love them the same amount, just in different ways.

I suggest that you give little Sadie a chance to be her own self – not a shadow of Indiana or a replacement of him, either, but a kitten with her own personality. Try to think of her as an additional cat in your life, not one that is a replacement for the cat you lost. Get to know Sadie by playing with her, offering her a cuddle, and cleaning her litter-box. She may never be the rough and tumble cat that Indiana was, but unlike dogs a kitten’s personality does not always reflect the cat she will become!

If, in the end, you simply cannot bond with Sadie please do not send her to a shelter; try to find her a home with friends or family or even your girlfriend, which would allow your daughter to still see her, or find a good home for her with someone who will love and cherish her. It is unfair, but kittens more than six months old are not adopted very quickly – people want a baby kitten, not a half grown one, and sending Sadie to the shelter may mean that is where she is to live out her days.


Ask Tazi! is ghostwritten by a human with a Bachelors of Arts in Communications. Tazi-Kat is not really a talking feline.

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