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When A Beloved Pet Passes Away

One of our cherished cats, Luna, passed away yesterday.

She was part of our family for 14 years; a long time! Still, I am stunned at how much I miss her and how empty the house feels without her soft round self asleep on the sofa.

With her passing goes a chunk of my son Matt’s childhood. He was ten years old when he selected her out of a box of kittens abandoned at the wildlife center.

He chose her for her silver color, and then found himself challenged to come up with a name for a female cat!

He wound up stringing together the most beautiful girly-cat name his pre-adolescent guy mind could concoct: Luna Anastasia Titania (Luna for the silver moon, Titania for Matt’s favorite metallic element, Anastasia just because it sounded so pretty.)

And in Matt’s raising of and caring for Luna, I witnessed an enduring trait in my son: his extraordinary gift for nurturing.

You see, Luna and her littermates, abandoned in the woods, were infested with “wolf maggots.” Of the five kittens, only she and her brother, Fish (my daughter Hannah adopted him and he is right here, missing his sister), survived.

Luna almost died, and had to have a large portion of infested skin cut away from under her chin. The open, bloody wound had to heal slowly and be cleansed and irrigated several times per day, and it was young Matt who did the job over and over; holding her in the sink, gently washing her, rinsing her with warm water and patting her dry.

What is it about our animals that makes us love them so much?

  • Is it their innocence?
  • Their trust?
  • Their gratitude for the care we give them?
  • Their simple beauty?
  • Their mindfulness? (animals truly live in the moment, whereas we struggle towards this ideal without ever fully achieving it)
  • Is it the way that they bring out the best in us?

Please do share your thoughts and stories about the animals you have loved.

What is special about them?

What have they contributed to your life?

You can type in the Comments section below, or e-mail me at

I hope we can share some special impressions and remembrances.

photo of Luna and her brother, Fish

Good Music for a Good Cause: UFO’s album, Unity Creates Strength, benefits Chile and Haiti.

When A Beloved Pet Passes Away

Leigh Pretnar Cousins, MS

Leigh Pretnar Cousins, MS is an educator, counselor, writer and speaker. She's been a tutor, test prep coach and home school teacher for over thirty years. Click HERE to visit Leigh's website and to subscribe to her newsletter, "Learning Something New."

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APA Reference
Cousins, L. (2010). When A Beloved Pet Passes Away. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 26, 2020, from


Last updated: 21 Apr 2010
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