DEAR SOMEONE ELSE’S MOM: When my husband and I got married, I had already had my cat, PJ, for a few years. From the time we brought our daughter home after being born, she and PJ became best friends. PJ made it to 17 when she died last month. It was a gentle death, thank God, but it still hit us all hard, especially our daughter and me. Our now 10-year-old has never known our home without PJ, and PJ used to sleep cuddled up next to her.
My husband thinks the way to get our daughter happier is to get a new cat. I understand where he’s coming from, but I am just nowhere near ready to begin thinking of doing that. I don’t think he realizes you don’t just replace one pet with another. We lost a family member when TJ died, and she will never really be replaced.
I feel like our daughter is caught in the middle here. I can see she gets a little excited when her dad mentions adopting a kitten, but then she tells me she feels guilty about seeming to forget PJ so fast.
I know we will eventually get a new cat, but do you think there’s anything wrong with waiting for a time? --- JUST NOT READY YET
DEAR JUST NOT READY YET: No, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with waiting to bring a new pet into your home. While I understand your husband’s wanting to find a way to console your grieving daughter, I also know that grief is part of loving a pet, as she’s now learned.
In my opinion, a new family pet ought to be a family decision. Everyone’s thoughts on the subject should be openly discussed before moving toward bringing a new cat into your home. Your husband might be surprised to find out your daughter, like you, isn’t ready to start over just yet. And, you may be surprised to discover she is.