It is impossible to “replace” an animal who has died, and for more than a month after losing Felix I felt no desire to get another cat. This was partly because there is other feline company in this house, for besides having our own dear Daisy, we receive frequent visits from two male cats who live nearby. Another reason was that I dreaded the prospect of growing to love another and then, more likely than not, having to go through the agony of bereavement again in a few years’ time.
Then I began to feel differently. I started scanning websites about cats available for adoption, and felt very tempted when I found a young black and white male who not only looked just like my own Felix but also had the same name. However, many experts advise against seeking a carbon copy of the previous cat – there is a risk that the two animals will always be compared, usually to the newcomer’s disadvantage.
Many experts also advise against getting another cat “on the rebound” while still grieving for the one which was lost. However there are no rules and sometimes this is the best way of easing the pain, at the same time as giving an unwanted animal a new home. On a recent volunteer shift at the SPCA I met a woman whose cat had died only one week earlier. She had apparently been crying ever since, but after choosing a new kitten to adopt was transformed with joy.
Rather than permanently adopting another cat myself at this time, I have decided on a compromise. Last week I accepted an invitation to become a foster carer for a local cat charity, and am very much looking forward to picking up two kittens – not black and white, but tabby – from the vets tomorrow.