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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Kenyon chapter.

A few weeks ago, my cat died. Her name was Noisette, and she was a small calico. I’d known her for all the life I can remember.

Whenever I begin to talk about this, I feel a need to justify myself—to somehow convince people that losing a pet is still a loss, that my grief is legitimate. Well here’s your justification: losing a pet is heartbreaking. It is not losing a toy or losing a thing. It is losing a friend. She was old, and she lived a great life (the phrase we just can’t seem to stop repeating). But, she’s gone, and I don’t know what to do with myself. I have wept, and shaken, and held back tears in odd moments. Her picture is still by my bed, a constant reminder of absence. I can’t take it down though, and I won’t.

I feel her a lot of the time. She liked to sleep curled up into the indent of my waist, and I go to bed often feeling where she isn’t, where she should be. There’s an echo of touch, of her purring filling up the air. When I would lay on my stomach, she occasionally would come and sit right over the small of my back, perched atop of me like I was her throne. I wasn’t home though. I missed her last few weeks. I wasn’t there. There’s a guilt in that, a guilt in realizing you’ve missed moments by being gone. But the thing about death is it makes us think about moments that were missed when we should instead think about moments that were had. There will always be moments missed. You can’t do everything and be with everyone all at once.

At home, though, I would be with my family also experiencing it,  maybe with friends who at least knew Noisette. No one knew her here. I don’t know how many people here know about my pets, and that feels disquieting. At home, they’re who I frankly spend the most time with. They’re just not part of my college life. Losing Noisette also made me miss my other pets more. All I wanted was to be around animals, dogs or cats or whatever. So, when I saw a dog walking down middle path, I asked the owner if I could pet him, to which she said I could. A few seconds into hanging out with this dog, and I was choking up. I was upset, but I was smiling. The only true comfort after this kind of thing is spending time with other animals. Last weekend, I spent an hour outside with a cat, and, again, I cried. It was another smile cry though. Every animal I get to spend time with is a reminder of her, but it’s, more importantly, a weight off my shoulders, a way I know how to connect with the world.

If you’ve lost a pet ever, I’m so so sorry. You’re allowed to grieve sincerely and fully. And, if you’ve lost a pet while in college, I guess the only advice I have is to find someone with a pet you can spend time with. It hurts some, but it helps more.


Image Credit: Feature,1,2,3


Gabrielle is a hyperactive philosophy student at Kenyon College. She likes to get overly passionate about all things and apologizes if she's shouted at you. Especially if it was in french.
Jenna is a writer and Campus Correspondent for Her Campus Kenyon. She is currently a senior chemistry major at Kenyon College, and she can often be found geeking out in the lab while working on her polymer research. Jenna is an avid sharer of cute animal videos, and she never turns down an opportunity to pet a furry friend. She enjoys doing service work, and her second home is in the mountains of Appalachia.