Should you get a new cat or kitten after the loss or death of your own cat? If you feel guilty, sad, or confused about adopting another cat or even buying a kitten from a pet store, you’re not alone. Here are a few things to help you decide if it’s too soon to adopt a cat.
“I hear many people say they don’t want to replace a cat they’ve lost,” says Sandra on Healing Your Heart When You Miss Your Cat. “But honestly, adopting another kitten was the only thing that made me feel whole again. We waited 11 months after Cooper died before we brought home our new kitten, but that entire time the house felt empty without a cat. It took some time for the initial shock and pain to abate, and to deal with my husband’s sudden health crisis…but a house isn’t a home and a family isn’t whole without a cat. For me, it’s never too soon to get another cat.”
Is it too soon for you to adopt another cat? Everyone is different…and you need to find your own answer. Your circumstances are unique, and you are the only person who can make this decision. Do you have other cats or pets who are lonely without your lost cat? Animals grieve their friends, and they don’t like to be alone. Another consideration is your personality, lifestyle, and home situation. You may also be coping with guilt or shame over the loss of your cat. And finally, thinking about whether you should get a kitten or an adult cat is also important! Lots of things to consider. Here, you’ll find a few thoughts that will help you make this decision.
You’re searching for tips or help deciding if you should get another cat, which tells me that if you’re not ready right this second, you will be soon. I believe the very thought “should I get another cat?” means you love having furry friends at home. Your home feels empty and sad without your cat, and you know that having a pet is comforting, healthy, and fun. Let’s face it: animals are awesome! Until they die. That’s their worst quality.
Should You Get a Cat After Your Cat’s Death?
The most important thing is to work through your feelings of guilt, grief, and pain over the loss of your cat. This doesn’t mean your heart needs to be totally healed – because that will never happen. We never, ever “get over” the grief of losing a cat. Especially if we played some role in our cat’s death.
You are not alone. Even more importantly, you have nothing to feel guilty for. Part of healing after the loss of your cat is forgiving yourself, accepting that your cat is gone, and opening your heart to love another beautiful creature.
When you get another cat or adopt a kitten, you’re giving a beautiful animal a home. This cat needs somewhere to live, and you need a cat to love…what could be wrong with that?
Remember that getting a cat is part of the healing process
If you waited until you fully grieved your cat’s death or loss, you’d never be ready to adopt another pet. It’d always be “too soon” to get another cat. To heal your heart after pet loss, you need an infusion of love, hope, light and life.
“I highly recommend getting a new cat after your cat’s death,” says Julie on Comforting Prayers After the Loss of a Beloved Pet. “Another cat will never take the place of the cat you just lost, but in a matter of days or weeks, this new cat will love you unconditionally. A cat will demand attention, demand feeding and demand lots of your time. You won’t be able to help starting to fall in love with the little guy! He will never replace your past cat, but he can fill the void left from your cat’s death. Cat death is not quite so hard if you have some other little cat who wants to cuddle and kiss your face.”
Honor your cat’s death by living in the moment
“To adopt a new cat is to honor all your previous pet has taught you about unconditional love and living in the moment, not ‘forgetting about them.’” says Sid Korpi, author of Good Grief: Finding Peace After Pet Loss.
“I cannot feel as though I’m betraying his/her memory by moving on if I ask my dead cat’s spirit to help me find the next exactly right-for-me cat who needs my love and a good home. Then I sit back and trust that when the time is right, that former cat ‘angel’ will play matchmaker between that next new four-legged/two-winged family member and me.”
It’s never too soon to trust your intuition about getting a cat
When you think about adopting a kitten or cat, do you feel a red light or a green light? Do you feel a “yes” or a “no”?
Tune in to your intuition, your gut instincts. You know yourself better than anyone, which is why nobody can tell you if you should get another cat after your cat dies. You know your routine, personality, health, home, and lifestyle. Try not to overthink the “is it too soon to get another cat?” question, and trust yourself.
I have two dogs and one cat. I formally adopted the second dog after a trial period of four nights, to see if she’d fit in with our existing dog and cat. My husband didn’t really want to get another pet, but it was a crisis situation…and we discovered fairly quickly that yes, it we wanted to adopt another animal.
Consider fostering a cat or kitten for a week, to help you decide if you should actually adopt another animal. I think this is one of the best ways to know if it’s too soon to get another cat – second only to trusting your intuition!
If you get a cat – allow her to be her own “person”
“It can be a mistake to get a new cat too soon,” says Flo on Living Without Your Cat. Her kitten’s death affected her deeply. “Allow yourself to grieve over the cat you lost, and to grow accustomed to being without him. When Punkin died, I got two littermate kittens the very same day. Big mistake! I did not allow myself to grieve over my kitten Punkin, and that might be why it took me so long to come to terms with her death. If you get a new cat, don’t look at it as a replacement for the one you lost. He deserves to be treated as his own cat self.”
Don’t compare your cats to each another
Some people think it’s better not to get the same color, sex or breed as the cat whose death you’re dealing with. Others love a certain breed, and can’t imagine living with another type! Again, it depends on each person. But one thing is the same for everyone: don’t compare your cat.
You may think things like, “Kitty Cat Coco would never pee on the carpet” or “Fluffy Feline” always came when I called.” Getting a cat is like parenting, and it’s good to remember that, like children, no two cats are alike. They have their own habits, personalities, tastes, quirks, strengths, and weaknesses, and they should be loved for their unique selves.
What do you think? Is it too soon to get another cat, or are you ready? Tell me how you feel in the comments section below. Writing your thoughts is a fantastic way to process and make a decision, and can be one of the best ways to decide if you should get a kitten or a cat.
Let your cat go – and heal your heart
I wrote Kitty Comforts: Help and Hope for Coping With the Loss of Your Cat for you – my fellow cat lovers. Saying goodbye and letting go of my beloved animals is one of the most painful parts of my life, and in this ebook I share what helped me heal.
Give yourself time and space to say farewell to your cat. Grieve the way you need, and allow your heart to heal in its own time. You may be ready to open your home and heart to welcome a new cat…and your spirits will be lifted when you accept the companionship of others.
Life without your cat is a sad adjustment of heart and home. Whether your loss was a planned or accidental, you’re grieving the end of a season of your life…and you’ll never be the same.
How are you feeling? Your stories and thoughts about grief and your cat’s death are welcome below. It’s good to write about your experience – not only does writing help you heal, it also shows other sad cat owners that they’re not alone.
Blessings, with sympathies,