How do you survive the great loss of your cat’s death? There are no easy answers here, only wisdom from other cat owners who miss their beloved felines.
Here’s what a reader said: “My husband and I just had our 14 year old cat, Kordell, put down last Tuesday,” she wrote on When Your Cat Dies – Help Mourning Pet Loss From Cat Lovers. “We miss him very much. He had diabetes and dementia, he was acting very strange right before we put him down. He would wander around the house with a glazed look in his eyes. I would like to know how to survive this great loss. Thanks.”
Surviving the pain pet loss is one of the most difficult things you’ll ever do – and many people are surprise by how hard a pet’s death is. My articles on pet loss are among my most popular, because we feel so helpless, heartbroken, and unsure how to heal when we lose an animal we love.
The following tips are excerpts from my ebook, Letting Go of an Animal You Love.
How to Ease the Pain of Your Cat’s Death
“The animals in my life represent my most intense and valued of relationships,” says Sid Korpi, animal chaplain and author of Good Grief: Finding Peace After Pet Loss.
“I come from a human family fraught with conflict, addictions, and abuse. Over the years, I’ve pruned away the most toxic of those relationships, but through it all, I’ve had the purest love and devotion I could desire from my pets. They’re my ‘family of choice’ rather than of biology. They were always thrilled to see and be with me; they reminded me to play, to live in the moment, and to love without thought of myself. In short, these animals helped me be a better human being.”
Create a new routine
If your cat slept on his own pillow in your bed (like our cat, Nunki, does every night), consider rearranging your bedroom furniture or changing the type of bedding or pillows you use. If you watched TV with your cat on your lap every night, find other ways to fill your evenings – write that book you’ve been fantasizing about, clean your junk drawers, or organize your photos in a family album.
Distract yourself by creating new, different, interesting habits or patterns of living. This may help you learn to live without your pet and ease the pain.
Change the pattern of your life
“A pet’s death means that the pattern of life has changed,” writes Gary Kowalski in Goodbye, Friend: Healing Wisdom for Anyone Who Has Lost a Pet. “Ingrained habits – going for a walk with the dog every evening, setting food out for the cat before work – will serve as persistent reminders of the loss that has befallen us. Like a person who has been recently widowed and automatically makes two cups of coffee instead of one, we may have to be retrained.”
It’ll take a conscious effort to create your new habits when you’re living without your cat — and it won’t feel great at first — but it’ll help you heal.
Think of your cat’s spirit in the next world
“As a psychotherapist, I investigate the origin of emotional difficulties,” says Barbara Stone, PhD, author of Invisible Roots: How Healing Past Life Trauma Can Liberate Your Present. “To my surprise, several times I have found that unresolved grief about a pet’s death keeps the spirit of the pet earthbound and present in the home of the owner.
This drains the owner’s energy – and the larger the pet, the more energy its spirit will pull from the owner. Being earthbound also prevents the pet from moving on into the joy of the next world. Owners who really love their pets need to let them go after their death. They can ask the pet to be on their greeting committee when their own time comes to leave this physical body and enter the spirit world. I hear that every pet we have ever loved will be there to greet us!”
Remember that the pain of living without your cat may never completely leave you. I had to give my cat, Zoey, away when I moved to Africa for three years. That was 10 years ago, and it still hurts.
Learn how others coped with pet loss
To help people cope with the death of their dogs or cats, I wrote Letting Go of an Animal You Love: 75 Ways to Survive Pet Loss.
This ebook represents the best pet loss tips from dozens of interviews with pet experts, veterinarians, pet psychics, and pet owners who survived their cat or dog’s death.
If you have a surviving pet, you may find Do Animals Mourn? Helping Your Pet Cope With Separation or Death helpful.
I welcome you to share your stories of your cats here. It won’t bring your beloved pet back, but it may help you work through your feelings.