I am not sure why I cry for a pet. Contrary to the slight ammonia scent & not so slight gob of cat hair on my person, I am not really that much of an animal lover. I have pets because they are easy to have; they keep me company; they guard my house. Most of the time I am irritated with one or all of them.
Over the past 20 years I have had 4 cats & 2 dogs(not all at the same time). I don't think that is an unreasonable amount. And apart from buying too many toys I don't treat them in any special way. I don't dress them up at Halloween. I don't buy them Christmas gifts. But, damn, I blubber and hiccup and wail when one of them gets old and has to be put down. Actually it is not the dying that makes me sad, it is decline of health prior to the dying that really gets me. One of my cats had a tumor and margins removed. It was as if half his body was removed. OMG. I cried.
I tell myself and my friends going through the same experience: the relationship with your pet is the only one where you will come to terms with death because it is inevitable. When you adopt that kitten or save that dog from the SPCA, you know, most likely that animal will leave this earth before you. So, prepare yourself!
Still, knowing that doesn't make it easier.
The same can be said for parents, except you are just born with those. Eventually you figure out that most likely they will leave this earth first. (Prepare yourself!) My mother is sick. She had surgery. I compare my feelings and I realize I was much more emotional with the cat. Sounds harsh, but it is true. Human relationships are so much more complicated. I don't think crying covers the complexity of feelings one has with an estranged parent. Sadness is in the mix, but not at the forefront. Instead I feel relief. When my mother dies I think I will sigh more than I will cry.