Nola, we each have our own way of preparing ourselves for the inevitable. There is no right or wrong, just what works for you. You know what you believe and that is what matters
As for being "prepared"? I don't think any of us is ever prepared even when we know it is coming. Something inside us hangs on to denial and hope. That is just what us humans do
It is always a shock to lose a loved one but in time we recover from our loss. We all do it our way, in our time.
I do hope you took the kitten in. It will be a comfort to you!