Cats and Grief: How to Cope with Losing a Pet

When it comes to coping with the loss of a cat, there’s no simple method. Grief is a highly personal matter. Even for those who have dealt with it before, the process is never easy.

If you’re struggling to come to terms with your pet’s passing, know that you’re not alone. Every pet owner can relate to what you’re feeling. We all know that bringing a pet into our lives means this difficult day will come, but the way they enrich our lives makes the tough times worthwhile.

We’ve put together some suggestions for coping with the heartache. Remember, there’s no right or wrong way to grieve. Take what is useful to you and disregard the rest.


Find (and Use) a Support Network

Reach out to your friends and family members. It’s nearly impossible to find a person who hasn’t gone through the same thing at least once before. They might offer an insightful perspective.

Don’t put on a brave face and power through when what you need is comfort from a friend. Just as you would want to know if someone you loved was struggling, your support network wants to be there for you. If you don’t want to talk to people directly in your circle, try going online. There are communities of pet lovers on forums and social networking sites that will understand.

If talking about your pet’s passing is too difficult for you, look into literature on the topic. Reading about how others have handled the situation may help you.


Celebrate Your Cat’s Life

Many find comfort in remembering the good times they shared with their pet. It may be a while before you’re ready to reminisce, but when you are, there are many avenues to consider.

Ideas for memorializing your cat include:

  • Build a scrapbook full of your favorite memories.
  • Develop and frame a picture that captures your cat’s personality. You can even create or pick up an artistic frame developed for this purpose.
  • Write a letter or poem to your cat. You can hang this in the house or keep it to yourself.
  • Create a memorial video or digital collage.
  • Commission an artist to create a drawing based on a picture of your cat.


Respect Your Process

After reaching out to your support network, you may receive more feedback than you bargained for. Let no one impose their opinions on you. People mean well when they give advice, but what worked for them may not work for you.

For example, some people move forward by bringing home a new pet as soon as possible. Others take an extended time to reflect upon the life shared with their cat. Focus on what helps you. Don’t worry about making others happy with your personal choices.

We quote the old cliché that time heals all for a good reason. Take care of yourself both mentally and physically as time helps you process the loss. It will get easier.
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