The Hervey Foundation for Cats

Grieving a Lost Cat

Grieving a Lost Cat

Cats are more than a pet. Their personalities are unique and their love for their owners can be plainly seen every day online. When we have a cat for a number of years, we fall into routines with them. They seek attention and we are more than happy to oblige, to feel loved by this mysterious creature and reciprocate it. We set up spaces for them, allow them into our most vulnerable moments, and care for them as a member of the family. They recognize when we are in pain, when we are excited, and they want to share these moments because they care. 

When a cat passes away, there is an instant pain felt. As an owner, you realize you just lost someone special, and one of the most painful parts of dealing with your sadness is the notion some people just won’t get it.

“It’s just a cat,” some say. 

Except it’s not just a cat.

Grief is a process, and it doesn’t just go away because someone told you to stiffen your upper lip. If you’ve recently lost a cat, or a pet of any kind, here is some advice for getting through the process of grieving.

Acknowledge and Feel Your Grief

This is the first step. Fighting the pain and bottling it up is never a good idea. This can lead to stress and even health defects if you are carrying a lot of emotional weight day to day. What’s best to do in this moment is let it all out. Have a good cry. You will feel slightly better after, and you may have another cry later in the day, but eventually you will stop. This is the body’s natural reaction to grief and it shouldn’t be fought.

Try to be Around Other Cat Lovers

Spending time around people who also have a love or adoration for our feline companions is the best thing to do. They understand the bond between a cat and a person and just how wonderful these little creatures truly are. They won’t write off your feelings and can sympathize with your situation – exactly what the doctor ordered.

Watch Videos and Look at Old Photos of Your Cat

This part may be difficult, but it helps draw out more of your grief instead of letting it well up deep inside. Watching videos of your beloved departed kitty is likely to bring on the tears, but that’s healthy. If you really feel up to the task, put together a little slideshow of your cat you can show friends and family, or simply to keep for yourself. Another way to make a tribute to them is to assemble a list of your favourite moments or qualities. 

Take Extra Care of Your Existing Pets (If You Have Any)

The loss of a pet isn’t just hard for us, but other animals too. Some animals seem indifferent to the loss of another pet, but for others it can be devastating and confusing. Some cats show their sadness through lethargic behaviour or meowing. Try to be there for them as they are hurting too. 

Rediscover Your Passion

The loss of a pet can also serve a purpose in pushing you to be better. If you always wished you could do something or try something new, now is a great time to do it. Do it for them. Your cat wasn’t the thing holding you back from climbing a mountain or buying something you’d always wanted, but these actions can be good to take our minds off things and get us to a point where we experience positive emotions again.

Decide if Another Cat is Right for You

For a first-time cat owner, when your cat passes away, you wonder if another cat could ever fill their shoes, and the answer is no. What another cat CAN do, however, is create a new bond and a whole new experience with an animal who needs you just as much as you need them, if not more. Think about why you loved your cat and consider that there are millions of cats in the world who need love and care still. In many cases, bringing another cat home can bring a smile back to your face and provide a good life for an animal that may not have otherwise had the chance at one. And with a new cat at home, you won’t feel alone anymore.