Can the loss of a pet be compared to the loss of a loved one? We don’t think so!

An internet user asked, “Am I a jerk for telling my sister she is not allowed to compare my daughter’s death to her cat?”. We need to hear your thoughts on the matter.


Sad adult woman crying sitting on the sofa holding pillow in the living room at home
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So, the Original Poster (OP) (f38) lost her daughter (15) just 2 weeks ago. Her daughter got Leukemia 4 years ago and it just ended up spreading throughout her body.

“She fought very hard for a long time. Cancer is the worst thing to happen to anyone, I watched my poor baby suffer so much because of it.”, says OP.

What Has Been Happening Lately?

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Anyway, since the loss of OP’s daughter, a lot of people have been trying to comfort OP and she understands they are just trying their best but it doesn’t always help.

OP’s sister who doesn’t have kids (a personal choice of hers) (f36) specifically has been the worst at trying to help OP.

A Year Ago

crying woman
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A year ago, OP’s sister had to put down her 16-year-old cat. OP lost a pet before so she knows how difficult that can be but she thinks it’s certainly different than losing her actual human daughter.

What Does OP Say?

Teenage Girl Lying On Her Bed Looking Sick.
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“She has said things like I know how you feel about (daughter’s name) because of the loss of (cat name)…she was my child. I understand animals are like family but my daughter and her cat aren’t the same. I was trying to just ignore her and let her comfort me with how she felt.”, says OP.

What Happened Today

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Today, OP’s sister came over and started talking about how she knows exactly how OP feels because of her cat.

OP finally got upset and said “No, you don’t, yes pets can be part of the family and mean a lot to you. I understand losing your cat was hard. But my daughter was my daughter. So until you experience this type of grief and have to see your daughter die slowly from a horrible disease, you aren’t allowed to act like losing a cat is the same thing.”

OP’s sister got mad and called OP a heartless jerk. OP talked to a few people and they agreed that she acted like a jerk…so she wants to hear it from you now.

The Two Situations Aren’t Comparable

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“Not the jerk at all. I’m a HUGE animal lover to the point I went vegan to avoid contributing to animal harm but it’s not the same as human harm, it’s just not. Especially a teen daughter – I truly can’t imagine and am so sorry you are going through this.

Not only are humans and cats just not comparable, but when you adopt an animal, it usually comes with the knowledge they will likely die before you. Their lifespans are significantly smaller and that’s something people know when getting a pet. No one expects or is prepared to lose their child.”

Grief Shouldn’t Be Compared

redhair pretty woman feeling extremely shocked and surprised, anxious and panicking, with a stressed and horrified look
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“I’m an animal lover (and child-free by choice). My pets are my babies but I would never ever compare losing them to losing a child. Especially to a grieving mother.

Even if she had lost a child, grief shouldn’t be compared, everyone’s grief is different. No one can actually say they’ve been in your exact shoes, they can just offer support and understanding. I’m sorry for what you’re going through. You’re not the jerk.”

A Cat’s Lifespan Is Kind Of Given, Isn’t It?

puzzled beautiful fair-haired woman shrugs shoulders with open palms. she cannot find the sloution of problem,puzzlement. feeling and emotion
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“Sounds like the cat lived a pretty long life. Your daughter did not. She’s not sitting around wondering who her cat would’ve been or what the cat would have accomplished, etc. You had a whole lifetime of things to look forward to with your daughter and it was taken from you by a horrible disease. Not the jerk.”

You Were Completely Justified

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“Anyone who even remotely understands empathy would never tell someone experiencing grief that they know ‘exactly’ how that person feels. I think you were justified in your harsh response to your sister. You tried to ignore it, but she continued and needed a reality check. Not the jerk.”

It’s Not Even Close!

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“It’s not the same. It is not anywhere close to the same. She adopted/purchased a pet and had to euthanize it. You grew a human being inside your body, raised her, and had to watch her slowly lose a fight no parent wants to watch.

I understand how pet parents feel about their animals, but it is not the same. Not at all.”

Maybe, She Didn’t Really Mean It?

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“I’m going to get flamed for this but TBH I lost my soul cat in 2021 and my desire for children tanked because I felt and still feel like I lost a child.

The idea of having a baby deeply hurts the same part of me that grieves him. Thinking of getting another cat hurts the same way as thinking about a baby.

I don’t think she meant to be unkind and I know that parents of actual children feel like it’s not a fair comparison, but figured I should explain this piece so you can understand where they’re coming from a bit. No jerks here.”

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