Even if our cats live into their late teens and sometimes early twenties, it’s just not long enough. The price we pay for sharing our lives with these wonderful companions is that all of us who considers our cats family members or best friends will sooner or later experience the pain of loss, and it can be as devastating as the loss of any loved one.
There are any number of books on pet loss on the market, but until now, there wasn’t a book that addresses the issue of pet loss specifically from a cat guardian’s perspective. In Soul Comfort for Cat Lovers: Coping Wisdom for Heart and Soul After the Loss of a Beloved Feline, Liz Eastwood provides a roadmap for the journey through grief.
Liz weaves her own experience with grief together with expert advice from grief counselors and stories from other cat lovers. The end result is a manual on how to navigate through grief in a way that not only soothes the pain, but also provides healing beyond just “getting through.”
The book is divided into two parts. In Part One, Eastwoold provides practical advice ranging from how to get through the first few days and weeks and how to continue to function at work to taking care of yourself physically. She offers suggestions for rituals to honor and celebrate your lost cat’s life. I particularly liked the section titled “Choosing Continued Connection Instead of ‘Closure'” – because let’s face it, there’s no such thing as closure. We never “get over” these losses, the best we can hope for is that we learn to incorporate the love for our lost cats into our lives in a meaningful way.
In Part Two, Liz explores the possibility that death is not the end. She examines the topic from a spiritual perspective and with an open mind, without applying any dogma or belief system. “When my feline soul mate Bastet died, my relationship with her illness, and her dying process, were all so intense that it was like I became aware of death for the first time,” writes Eastwood. “And. Death. Suddenly. Terrified. Me.”
Eastwood felt that she had two choices. “I could either become permanently, tragically disappointed in the universe itself….or I could try to recover the best of me, try to rediscover the sense of wonder and optimism I used to have about the Mystery of Life.” I addition to the spiritual component, she presents scientific research that suggests that there is more to life and death than we think we know, and she ultimately finds comfort in her findings – and so will the reader.
“…if you can still feel connected to your loved one who has died, why not embrace that? If you, in your heart of hearts, envision being with them again someday, why not allow that possibility?”
She concludes that there is a way to change your life for the better through grief – a concept I wholeheartedly embrace. I’m flattered that Liz chose to quote me on this topic in the book’s final chapter (from my article Coping with unexpected loss: a personal journey):
“Grief can be a transformational experience. It rips your heart wide open, and you’ll never be the same. It’s up to each individual whether they’ll choose to let grief destroy them, or whether they’ll do the challenging and difficult work that will ultimately allow it to be transformed into personal growth and expansion.”
This book is more than just another book on pet loss. Reading this book is like talking to a friend who knows you almost better than you know yourself. It provides comfort and hope for anyone going through the agony of grief after losing a beloved cat, but it doesn’t stop at just helping you through the grief. It offers healing on a deep level, and it will help you find an even deeper connection to your lost loved ones.
Liz Eastwood, CNC publishes the popular Natural Cat Care Blog with the tagline “Never say just a cat.” She has worked for bestselling health & wellness author Julia Ross and was a writer for Apple for many years. She holds a certification in holistic nutrition and a degree in psychology with an English minor. She has a habit of collecting experiences and facts that challenge the notion of an indifferent universe. For more information about Liz, please visit NaturalCatCareBlog.com.