14 years ago I wanted a pet, but I was traveling too much to take care of a dog. So I got a cat. I went to a local shelter, picked out a small black cat and paid the money to take her home that day. She was about 6 months old and had just had a litter of kittens. BUT she was given to the shelter without those kittens, and still physically in recovery from delivering them. I was single at the time. The two of us watched a lot of daytime television. She loved "Who's the Daddy?" shows because she hoped to one day find that jerk who walked out on her.
Then I got married and we moved to a quiet house next to a lake. She was an indoor/outdoor cat and often left dead birds, squirrels, or chip monks, (once it was two semi-live baby geese) on my bed as presents. Then I got divorced and we moved into a small apartment. Then we drove her to Montana [OMG you guys you should read this] and I got married again. Then we had a baby and moved back to a house in the suburbs. Then we had another baby, and then she got sick.
And now she's in a box in the backyard.
And between every single word of our short summary of 14 years is a lot of love. And snuggling. And cat puke. And litter boxes. And fur. So. Much. Fur. Stephan constantly threatened to shave her. It's incredibly hard to put into words what losing a pet is like. Because it's pretty much something you own. But it's something alive. It's not a person, but you take care of all of its needs, and it connects to you without words. And if it's not your pet, it's just an animal. We lost our other cat a few years ago, but I never felt like he was "mine". So it was sad, but very different. A long time ago we lost our family dog. Again, not "mine" so not devastating.
Pets have been dying lately. And it's hard to know how to be supportive or to know if anything you say will make it better. I'm pretty sure nothing really does at first. You just sit in the suck. And don't do laundry because the litter box is still down there and laundry can wait a day or two.