Why animal lovers like me feel Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle's pain over losing his Maine Coon cat Patrick

Losing a pet is devastating.

By Laura Longworth
Friday, 18th March 2022, 2:00 pm
Updated Friday, 18th March 2022, 3:03 pm

When Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle Tweeted about his beloved cat Patrick dying at the age of 12, many people sent him supportive messages or shared their own stories of pet loss.

Not everyone understands pet bereavement - but many of you who are deeply attached to your animals know just how painful it is to lose them.

I lost one of my cats, Ralph - a huge ginger teddy bear but Mafia-esque when it came to territory - in August, 2020. His death was sudden, and it left us in shock. It still upsets me to think about it. Although we were able to give him a gentle end through euthanasia, and protect him from a brutal death, I still feel guilt over it.

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Vets suspect that Snowy - AKA Snowbear - might have an incurable form of cancer.

It’s a grief you somewhat bury because society often tells you it’s “just an animal”. I feel silly saying Ralph’s death was “traumatic” - but it was.

Now my family faces that loss again.

Another of my cats, Snowbear, a long-haired white female who is incredibly loving, has suspected cancer. We’ve spent hundreds of pounds and hours attempting to find out the causes of her daily incontinence over the past year. Some people might not understand why we would go to such lengths for a cat, but she is a beloved member of our family, and we will stick by her, no matter how hard or costly caring for her might become.

As we reach our final treatment option in the investigation into her dwindling health, we may soon have a heart-breaking decision to make: vets cannot save her; but can we give her enough quality of life for however long she has left?

Ralph died of a suspected tumour in August 2020.

My cats have been there with me through some of the hardest points in my life: family crises; mental health battles; being pregnant in a pandemic. For many people, their animal companions have also been a constant source of comfort for them during difficult times: keeping them company during lockdown; getting them up in the morning when they’ve lost their job or a loved one; showing them warmth and affection as society discriminates against them for their race, gender, sexual orientation etc. You never feel judged by a pet. And you feel less alone. Best of all, you feel unconditionally loved.

That’s what we all want, right? So, you can imagine how difficult it is when all of that is stripped away from you. Animals aren’t just pets. They’re family.

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