Behold, the most damaging deleted scene of all time.
The removal of this scene fundamentally alters the relationship Lilo has with Stitch in their early stages, reducing her affection to Stitch to her simply being a nice girl.
This scene establishes her patience and always blindly optimistic attitude towards Stitch as transference from her parents, contextualizing their entire relationship.
“I needed you.”
As for the sadness of the scene, it is nothing that can’t be found in Fox and Hound, or many of the other Disney Renaissance Film.
If this scene was in the final cut, I would’ve outright CRIED
“He was part of our family, you don’t let them die!”
Lilo feels somewhere deep inside, a pang of guilt from what happened to her parents. Be it she forgot to feed Pudge, and he in turn forgot to make it a peaceful day in weather, or simply because she was in the car too. She felt guilty and used Pudge as a type of coping tool to let her know her broken family couldn’t be torn apart any further, even though the stitches were unraveling right before her eyes.
I mean, that’s what’s so devastating about this film. Nani and Lilo are both trying as desperately as they can to create a family. Nani is trying to keep the one she has, trying to find a semblance of normal. Lilo tries to find a new one, she tries to find Stitch. That’s why, when he becomes the ultimate reason for her getting taken away from her sister, it’s that much more painful. Stitch, in turn, has never been loved or wanted—he is slowly trying to come to terms with the very idea of family. He has none, he was created and instantly abhorred. The payoff is greater, but the price we pay to get there is steep.