Asking for a Friend: Will I ever stop feeling sad about losing my pet cat?

  • This week, we give tips on how to deal with grief after a beloved animal friend passes away, and what to consider if you’re thinking of doing a summer internship
  • If you have difficult, embarrassing, or awkward questions to ask about teen life, send them anonymously, and ‘Friend of a Friend’ will do their best to help
Amalissa Hall |

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It's not easy dealing with the loss of a pet, but there are ways to process what you're feeling.

Hi Friend,

My cat passed away recently. She was really old, but I basically grew up with her. The house feels so empty, and I really miss feeding her in the morning before school. I feel like a part of me has gone with my cat, too. I’ve never experienced death before, and I know she’s just a cat, but how can I get over this sadness?

Feline Sad

A guide to healing from grief and loss

Hi Feline,

First and foremost, your cat was not just a cat, she was important to you and that’s what matters. Animal deaths can be especially tough; because they can’t talk back to us, sometimes it feels like we can never tell them how much we love them.

But as long as we show them love and affection, they probably know. By feeding her every morning, your cat knew you loved her and she probably loved you, too.

This quote from WandaVision is particularly poignant and might help: “What is grief, if not love persevering?” The feelings you’re experiencing are a natural reaction to death. There’s no rush to get over them. You should feel free to feel what you feel.

How to comfort someone who is sad or hurting

To process your grief, remember that it’s okay to feel down or to cry when you need to. Don’t suppress it, because bottling it up will only make you feel worse in the long run. Talk to your family about it, because they probably feel the same way, and sharing memories with them will help you all heal.

You can keep your cat’s water bowl or toys around your home for a while, so you get used to seeing them without her.

If you need some kind of outlet, maybe create a collage of pictures of you and your cat, paint a picture, or write a story. If you need to do something active, share the love you had for her by volunteering at an animal shelter this summer if you can.

Experiencing death, and grieving, are different for everyone, so there is no one thing that will relieve your sadness. However, time is really the best healer, and as time it passes, you’ll realise the pain lessens. Honestly the feeling never fully goes away, but one day you’ll be able to reminisce about your cat positively rather than only feeling sad.

Good luck, Friend of a Friend.

Hi Friend,

I’ve almost finished my first year of IB, and life is really busy. I’d really like to do an internship over the summer to gain some work experience and add something to my CV before I apply to university. The thing is, I have a lot of assignment deadlines to meet straight after the summer holiday. Should I go ahead with getting an internship?

Working Girl

More than just a CV filler, internships help you find your passion

Hi Working,

The summer before your last year of secondary school tends to be a important one. You know you’ve got to make some concrete decisions about the next few years of your future, whether you’re applying to university, considering training for a vocation, or contemplating a gap year. And yes, for all those things, you might want some work experience on your CV, and this holiday is a convenient time to do it.

Let’s look at some of the pros of working over the summer. Work experience is a great addition to a student’s CV. It also teaches you how to balance your commitments. You will be exposed to a taste of life after school, and most likely learn new skills you may not get in the classroom. But remember, when you agree to an internship, you have to honour that commitment.

That brings us to the cons. How long are the internships you’re looking at, and do you have the time? Will you really be able to balance your school deadlines and daily work? Or will the stress of trying to manage be more than the effort is worth?

Only sign up if you think you will; it’s also crucial to have time over the summer to rest and recharge for your final year.

Hong Kong students aren’t getting enough rest

Another consideration: is the internship relevant to what you hope to do in the future? If you’re doing it just to have something, anything, on your résumé, is it really worth your time? If the internship only lasts for some of the holiday, that gives you the chance to benefit from the experience, but also to enjoy the summer.

But it’s also important to remember that you do have those deadlines, and that those assignments also affect your future. If you don’t complete your school work, that could have a far bigger negative impact than the lack of work experience.

Ultimately, only you can make the decision whether or not to take on an internship, but just make sure, whatever you decide, that you don’t overwork yourself and make time for what is most important for you.

Hope that helps you make a decision, Friend of a Friend.

If you have a question you’d like answered (about anything at all), please send an email to [email protected] with “Asking for a Friend” in the subject line. Don’t worry, you will remain anonymous!

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