In July 2013, an event happened in my life that brought me to my knees. My heart hurt so bad, I wasn’t sure I could go on. What was it, you ask? I lost my precious baby, “Sugar.” Silly as it may seem to some, she was my best friend. Her love in my life made the darkest of days seem ever so bright! Grieving for the loss of a cat you love so dearly, can be overwhelming.
Please know this first and foremost, I am deeply sorry for the pain you’re facing. I know you loved your cat like he/she was family because they were! We understand because we love our pets this way too.
Over the years, grieving cat owners have shared their own methods of coping with the passing of their cat. Everyone has their own way of dealing with the loss, and it’s important that you prepare yourself mentally and physically, especially if you suspect that their time will soon come.
In this post, we’ll be taking a look at a couple of tips that will help you cope with the loss of your cat. My hope is you will find solace in these words and know that you are not alone!
Understanding The Stages of Grief
One thing is for certain, grief is the same, no matter the type of loss we face in this life. One type of grief isn’t easier than another.
One of the most helpful things when it comes to coping with the loss of a cat is understanding the five stages of grief. While not a universal truth for everyone, most people will experience five distinct emotions when dealing with loss.
The order you experience these emotions can vary, but you’re very likely to experience all of them before you begin to regain your sense of ‘normal.’
- Denial – This is typically the first stage of grief that you’ll go through. Everyone experiences denial differently, but it often passes quickly once the reality of your cat’s passing settles in. For some people, the denial stage can last a long time, especially if your cat has gone missing or if their passing was extremely sudden. Acknowledging this as a normal emotion will help you process their passing and assist you in moving forward.
- Anger – Anger is another common stage of grief that most people will experience early on. Anger can take on many different forms and the target of your anger can constantly change. You might be angry at someone for not doing enough for your cat. You could be angry at family members, the disease that afflicted your cat, or even yourself. This anger may cause you to lash out at some people, so it’s important to try and keep that anger to yourself and find ways to work through it. There’s nothing wrong with allowing yourself to be angry, but we must find ways to handle it in a healthy way. Consider exercise to release stress, talking with a pet loss grief counselor, or seeking comfort and counsel from supportive friends and family.
- Bargaining – Bargaining is a strange stage of grief that doesn’t always make sense in the case of the passing of your cat. In this case, bargaining can refer to the “what if” scenarios that could be running through your head. For example, what if you could have detected the disease earlier, or what if you spent more time with your cat when you could. These sentiments can be highly painful and emotional. Remember this always: you did the best you could do with what you knew at that moment. ‘What if’ scenarios do us absolutely no good, as it is impossible to go back in time and change the past. Show yourself some grace by not tormenting yourself with unhelpful thoughts for your healing journey. What would you say to your best friend if they were facing the very same situation? Say that to yourself!
- Depression – Depression is something that almost everyone experiences at one point in life or another. It can lead to many side effects such as losing your appetite, disengaging with life, or a powerful feeling of loneliness. These feelings are very difficult to overcome on your own, so it’s important to surround yourself with people who love you, are there for you, and have your best interest at heart. Prayer is powerful too! Allow yourself to feel what you feel without heaping on guilt! Grieving for the loss of a cat you spent your life loving is a good reason to take a time-out, seek help, and be patient as you learn to live again.
- Acceptance – The final stage of grief is usually acceptance. It takes time to reach this point, but it often happens when you’ve come to terms with the passing of your cat and are ready to adjust to a new life without them. It will slowly get easier over time and you’ll eventually reach a point where you can accept their passing. Accepting their passing doesn’t mean you forget your love for them. I keep Shug’s urn in my office with her memorial plaque and photo. I remember her fondly, often. She will always be in my heart!
Day after day, our grief becomes a little less. What once seemed impossible to overcome starts getting a litle easier.
Grieving For The Loss of a Cat You Love:
What Should I Do Now?
Understanding these stages of grief is important, but what should you do after? Here are just a few ways to keep your love and memory of your beloved cat alive.
# 1 – Consider having something to honor your cat’s life
There are many different things you can use to honor your cat’s life. For instance, a cremation urn for the ashes of a cat can be something to remember them by and also keep them close to you on a shelf or in a cupboard. Alternatively, you may want to consider having a framed picture or favorite photograph of your cat to remember them by.
# 2 – Grieve together with your family, friends and other pets
Your friends and family members may also grieve with you. A loving support group can be one of the most healing helpers on your grief journey. However, remember, other pets can also notice your grief. They need support through what they’re feeling too! Grieving together can help make the process a lot more bearable, so seek comfort with others when possible.
# 3 – When things get bad, don’t hesitate to call for support
Whether it’s contacting your friends and family members for a chat or finding a grief counselor, there’s a lot of support out there that can help you while you’re grieving the loss of your beloved pet. It’s important to rely on others for help when your situation gets worse and the stages of grief are becoming too much to bear. Please, don’t be afraid to reach out if you need support. So many of us understand exactly what you’re feeling right now!
# 4 – Should you adopt another cat?
Some people believe that adopting a new cat is the best way to help you grieve the passing of your previous cat. Some even suggest getting a new cat as soon as possible. While they will never be able to replace your previous cat, they will love you unconditionally and help with the healing process.
They’ll also help you take your mind off the grief that comes with the loss of a cat, and help you honor their memory by pouring your love into a new feline friend.
I’ll be honest with you, for me, I couldn’t even bear the thought of adopting another cat after the loss of my cat, Shug. My heart hurt too severely. It took a long time for me to even consider having another pet, and I adore them!
It’s an individual choice, and there is no right or wrong answer. Don’t feel guilty if you choose to adopt a new cat. Likewise, don’t feel guilty if you’re simply not ready. You may never be, and that’s okay!
Whatever you do, don’t rush the decision! You will know when the time is right! I can’t explain how… you just do.
Have You Grieved The Loss Of A Cat In Your Life?
My questions for you:
- What helped you as you were grieving for the loss of your pet?
- What books or websites encouraged you in your healing journey?
- Do you have any stories you’d like to share about a beloved pet you’ve loved and lost?
I’d love to hear from you, friends! Your comments always make my day. I value each and every one of you!
And again, sincerely, if you are dealing with the loss of a cat or other pet right now, I am praying for you. I’m so sorry for the pain you’re feeling! Many hugs headed through the internet, straight to you.
All My Love & Healing Puurrrs,