How to Cope With the Pain of Missing Your Cat
You may be surprised at the depth of grief you feel every time you think, “I miss my cat.” Here are seven ways to cope with the pain, plus advice from cat owners who understand the sorrow and sadness of losing a beloved pet.
“Grieving the loss of a beloved cat is an extremely personal experience,” says Michelle on for How to Survive the Loss of Your Pet. “Everyone copes differently, every cat owner has a different way to work through the loss and sadness. But one thing stays the same: we all have to find our own method of grieving. Otherwise the pain never heals. I miss my cat dearly and deeply, but I have to let him go. Otherwise I’ll never be happy again.”
When you miss your cat, there isn’t much that can take the pain away. “Grief can’t be shared. Everyone carries it alone, her own burden, her own way,” said Anne Morrow Lindbergh. The sadness you feel when your cat dies can’t be shared and is yours alone. But, it can help to read about how other people coped with the death of their cats. Below are five ways to cope when you miss your cat more than you can imagine.
These tips may not take away the pain of missing your cat, but at least they’ll help you see you’re not alone. Sometimes just knowing your pain has been shared can help you heal.
7 Ways to Cope When You Miss Your Cat
Surrounding yourself with people who understand what it’s like to grieve the loss of a cat is one of the most important things you can do. If you feel alone – and if you are alone because you isolate yourself – then you may take longer to heal.
Reach out to others. Talk about how difficult it is to deal with the death of your cat. Find people who understand, who can genuinely relate to your pain.
1. Share memories of your beloved furry feline
“As a child, we were encouraged to talk about the pet and remember him or her,” says cat lover Pam Vetter. “Pets are family members and have important roles in our lives. Whenever a frog, lizard, parakeet or guinea pig has died in our house over the last 14 years since my kids were born, we’ve held a mini-funeral in the backyard. We bury the pet, put a rock marker on top, and share our memories about the pet. The time together serves to recognize the pet’s role in our lives. My kids are encouraged to share their memories about our lost pets.”
Don’t bury your pain or try to hide how much you miss your cat. Even just telling someone “I miss my cat” can help you through the grieving process. Sadly, you have to feel the pain before you can heal.
2. Give yourself time to heal after your cat dies
“Healing takes place over time, and there is no single formula to saying good-bye when your cat dies,” says Dan, whose 12 year old cat disappeared without a trace.
“The loss of a cat is the loss of someone you loved, and when anything you loved is abruptly taken away from you, there is no substitute. Four years ago, my cat Peep disappeared without a trace. I live in an exclusive suburb of Los Angeles in the hills. It’s often you have wild life and predators roaming at night. I was sick with some dental problem and when I came home from pharmacy at 9 pm, I couldn’t locate both my cats…one of then came home and the other didn’t.”
Cry as much as you need to. Weeping – letting your heart melt in sorrow – is the only way to deal with a loss so great. Try to spend time outdoors in the fresh air, away from the invasive noise of people. Allow the pure music of nature to fill your ears, the smells of forest and soil and grass to fill your nostrils. It will do your soul good.
3. Try not to dwell on your cat’s death
After I lost my cat, all I could think was “I miss my cat.” But I learned that as tempting as it was to focus on how much I missed her, it was creating more pain and suffering in the long run. Focusing on my grief and pain was actually making things worse.
There is a difference between grieving and dwelling on the pain of loss. Give yourself time to grieve, but gently distract yourself from the long-term suffering that dwelling on a cat’s death can bring. Make an effort to remember joyful memories of your cat’s life. Keep busy. Find activities, places, and people who sooth your soul and quiet your mind. Learn ways to come alive when you feel dead inside.
4. Rescue an abandoned kitten or cat
“I had my multi-coloured white and ginger cat, Penny, for 8 wonderful years,” says Cynthia Colby. “Her death was sudden. She seemed to be losing weight to a point until she appeared too thin, so I took her in to the vet’s and got the bad news. They suggested an operation, but the next day I got a call during the surgery that she might not make it. I rushed in, and she died in my arms. In my case, whether or not to get another cat was already solved in a way, as I had just rescued a small black kitten. I missed my cat so much, but I found it helpful to foster the new kitten for the local Cat Adoption Team. The month before, I had decided to adopt her myself. After Penny died, I called her my ‘Little Gift from God’.”
Rescuing a cat who needs a home may be one of the best ways to cope when you miss your cat. Fostering or adopting an abandoned animal may give you a sense of purpose, and may help you look beyond the pain of your present grief.
5. Learn different ways to cope with your cat’s death
Read How to Heal Your Heart After Losing Your Pet: 75 Ways to Cope With Grief and Guilt When Your Dog or Cat Dies, for support. I interviewed veterinarians, grief experts, and pet owners about healing after putting a beloved pet to sleep.
It’s true that time does ease the pain of missing your cat, but it’s also good to learn what helped other people cope with the pain. For instance, I talked to one pet owner who got a paw print tattoo after putting her dog to sleep. I wouldn’t have thought of a tattoo of a cat’s paw on my ankle, but she said she is comforted every time she sees it.
6. Welcome another cat into your home – when you’re ready
“Last January we had to have our beloved cat, Janvier, put down,” says cat lover Jessica. “He was suffering from renal failure, and the treatment would have crushed his spirit and terrified him, so we made the hardest decision of our lives. Not a day goes by that I don’t miss having my first baby around. It’s pathetic, but we haven’t even gotten rid of his kitty litter (it’s clean!) or his leftover food.
I still think I can hear him puttering around at night. We have two young children and insanely busy lives, so we haven’t adopted a new cat yet. We feel like we wouldn’t be able to give him or her enough attention at this time, which would just not be fair. I really believe that having a new kitten would help us survive our cat’s death. I also think that bringing a new pet into our lives would help us honor Janvier, by constantly reminding us of the cute and funny things he used to do. So I hope that one day soon-ish, we’ll open our homes to a new pet both to help heal our hearts and so our children know the joy a cat can bring to a home.”
If you’re thinking about opening your heart and home to another cat, read Should You Get a Cat After Your Cat’s Death?
7. Picture your cat being held by an angel
The Willow Tree – Angel Holding a Cat With Affection is a beautiful symbolic way to remember your beloved cat. I always find it comforting to think of the cats I lost as being in Heaven, resting in peace, their souls intertwined with the angels’ and my other lost loved ones.
Think of your kitty being held in the arms of an angel; feel the peace and love and acceptance that comes with the thought of your cat resting comfortably. It doesn’t matter if it’s true or if you can prove the existence of Heaven. It doesn’t matter if cats have souls or not…all that matters is the comfort you’ll feel when you think, “I miss my cat.”
“There is something about the presence of a cat that seems to take the bite out of being alone.” ~ Louis J. Camuti.
Your stories and thoughts about grief and your cat’s death are welcome below. I can’t offer advice, but it may help you to share memories of the beloved cat you lost.
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