What to Expect When You’re Grieving the Loss of a Cat

grieving-the-loss-of-a-cat

Guest post by Sarah Chauncey

The loss of a cat is heartbreaking for any guardian, but many are blindsided by the depth and intensity of grief they feel. You’re grieving not only a being, but also a relationship that was unique to you. In addition, cats often with people through entire chapters of their lives. The cat’s death marks the end of an era in the human’s life.

No two people grieve alike, because no two people are alike. In addition, each person’s relationship with each cat is different. So when it comes to grief, there is no such thing as “normal.” With that very large caveat, this post is about what many bereaved cat guardians experience.

Not everyone will understand, especially those who have never lost an animal companion. Well-meaning people may say things that hurt. Seek out those who do understand, either in person or online.

Grief is a full-body experience. Even if you think you’re prepared, you may experience brain fog for a while and have trouble thinking or focusing. Some people want to sleep all the time; others have insomnia. You may feel anger, sadness, guilt, or numb.

Adjusting to a New Routine

When a cat dies, especially one that has been sick for a long time, it takes time to adjust to a routine without meds or sub-qs or trips to the vet. Even with cats who passed suddenly, you may find yourself waking up at 6am (or 3am). When there’s no cat, or one less cat, to feed, it can bring up waves of grief.

One of the most surprising grief triggers is the silence, especially if your household only had one or two cats. It’s a cliché, but the silence can truly be deafening; it can be hard to hear anything other than the absence of paws or nails on the floor.

In a multi-cat household, other cats may become needy or withdrawn—or they may show no signs of noticing the other cat’s absence. They may stop eating, gobble up all the food, or continue as though nothing has changed.

Visitations

This can be the most comforting or the most disconcerting aspect of grieving a cat. You may hear your cat’s paws on the floor, or swear that you’d caught a glimpse out of the corner of your eye. You might feel them jump onto the bed, or even feel their paw on your arm or back. Many, many people who have lost a cat report these experiences. It’s up to each of us to interpret what they mean. Some people find comfort in these “visits,” while others find them disturbing and a grief trigger.

At night, you may dream about your cat. Some people have reported nightmares in the first few months, especially after a cat has died a traumatic death. Many report neutral or happier dreams, in which their cat is healthy again. These can be gifts, yet they can also be bittersweet upon awakening.

Picking Up the Ashes

Picking up a cat’s ashes can be a major grief trigger, especially for those who weren’t present for the cremation. It means that the cat’s body is physically gone and will never return in that particular form—and holding the evidence in your hands can be extremely painful. Pet loss counselors (and compassionate veterinarians) suggest that guardians not pick up their cat’s ashes alone. Bring someone with you for support. On the flip side, many people also report feeling a sense of comfort once their cat is “home” again.

Feelings of Guilt

Feeling guilt is a nearly universal aspect of grieving a cat, in a way that it usually isn’t when we’re grieving a human. That’s because we are often the ones who choose when a cat dies—and if we’re not, we wonder if there’s something we could have done differently (and some of us experience guilt over both these things at once). These feelings are extremely painful and can multiply grief exponentially. Holding onto guilt can be extremely detrimental to emotional health and moving through grief.

Grief is not about “getting over” a loss; it’s about accepting that the loss happened and being able to move forward in our own lives.

Grief Comes in Waves

Grief is nonlinear. For most people, it comes in waves. At first, it may feel like you’re in the middle of a storm, and the waves are almost constant, with few respites. Over time, most people find that they are able to continue with daily tasks as they integrate their loss into their ongoing lives. The waves still come, but—with occasional exceptions, like anniversaries—they are often less frequent and less intense. Memories begin to bring smiles more often than tears. The time frame for this varies for each person.

When to Seek Help

Even if you’re experiencing “typical grief,” it is always okay to seek professional help. However, there are two circumstances in which professional help is essential.

Coping with Bereavement Overload

All of the above is written for those grieving the loss of one cat. However, some people experience two or more losses at the same time, or in a short time period. Multiple simultaneous or sequential losses can lead to “bereavement overload,” a state in which a person is still processing one loss when the next one hits. This can make it exponentially more difficult to process any of the losses. If you’re experiencing bereavement overload, it’s a good idea to reach out for professional support.

When Grief Doesn’t Get Better

For most people, grief becomes less intense over time, and they are able to function day to day. They will still have waves of sadness, but over time, the good days outnumber the bad.

For a few unlucky souls, though, the intensity of the initial grief remains for months, or even years. The respite between the waves never comes, and they can’t stop thinking about their cat, or what might have been. This is called “complicated grief,” and it’s a serious psychological issue. People experiencing complicated grief have trouble completing daily tasks like showering or going to work. Risk factors for complicated grief include childhood trauma, a history of severe depression and/or anxiety, and a lack of social support, among other factors. Unlike “typical grief,” complicated grief is a serious issue that requires professional help.

Be gentle with yourself.

Grief is not about “getting over” a loss; it’s about accepting that the loss happened and being able to move forward in our own lives. Any loss will always be part of your life experience, just as the animal (or person, for that matter) will always have been significant to you.

This is why, if at all possible, it helps to take time to let your emotions catch up before a cat’s death, and why end-of-life rituals are helpful. However, those are not always possible—sudden or unexpected loss makes grieving a cat so much harder. Be gentle with yourself.

What do you wish you had known about grieving the loss of a cat? Share it in a comment.

p.s.-i-love-you-more-than-tuna

Sarah Chauncey is the author of P.S. I Love You More Than Tuna, an upcoming gift book for adults grieving their cat. She runs @morethantuna on Instagram and Facebook, “a celebration of nine lives,” and she started #tunatributes, a support community for people grieving their cat. She lives on Vancouver Island.

239 Comments on What to Expect When You’re Grieving the Loss of a Cat

  1. Mike
    July 13, 2021 at 9:29 am (3 weeks ago)

    I had to say goodbye to my precious Pepper Ann who was almost 17 on the 10th of July. The grief we have experienced over this kitty shaped hole in our hearts was surprising in it’s strength. I have only felt this intensity of grief only at the loss of my own mother. I thought I was prepared and didn’t expect to hurt as much as it did. We feel like we lost a part of ourselves when we lost Pepper Ann.

    Reply
    • Tom
      July 18, 2021 at 5:10 am (2 weeks ago)

      Just lost my near 17 year old girl. I live on my own and a cat lover, so we were super close. Hardly ever had to experience death in animals or humans. Only other was a dog I took over for couple years, sudden snake bite. No time to prepare for that. This time, my Smoothy girl gave me advance warnings. Been declining for months. I think kidney at least in the end. Been nursing her 24/7 for last 4 days. Rapidly deteriorated today. But by being semi prepared as much as possible, has so far made it slightly easier. Time will tell. Not looking forward to the silence or waking up to remember that she’s gone.

      Reply
  2. Rake
    July 7, 2021 at 11:29 am (4 weeks ago)

    This article helped me alot. Everyone’s comments made me feel like I wasn’t overreacting about my boys death. My Cosmo passed away Friday July 2nd 2021 in my arms, he just turned 6 in June. It was very unexpected and we don’t know how he passed. We were in and out all week because we had family in. We didn’t notice anything different only that he was a little distant, but we were also not around much to take it any other way. I went to feed him and noticed that his automatic feeded wasn’t empty as much as usual on a Friday. He was on his cat tower so I shook his food to make him look over. He didn’t move. I ran to him and he was lethargic. Breathing very heavily and stiff. I cried and screamed so hard. I called the vet and couldn’t get a call back. I let the kids sat good bye and told them to pray for him. 2 hrs passed and he was gone. My boy was the best cat. My kids did everything with him, From moring to night. He let them dress him up, dance with him, play dolls with him even lay their heads on his belly. He just sat there and took it in. He never once hissed, bit or scratched them. Our days have been miserable. The house is empty. A peice of us is gone. I feel like I killed my cat, I should have been able to save him. He went to soon and we are so lonely without him.

    Reply
    • Linda M. Jardee
      July 7, 2021 at 12:14 pm (4 weeks ago)

      Rake, please don’t feel like you did anything wrong. You gave your boy lots of love and care for those 6 years. Sometimes we just don’t know, and it happens quickly. We lost our boy–would’ve been 21 years old 1 month & 3 weeks before he passed in my husband’s arms. He had stage 3 kidney failure that came upon him quickly. Was failing more so the last month and a half of his life–coaxing him to eat. Although I know we were blessed to have had him that long, we have lost one boy who was only 6 also, sick on a Friday–to the Vet, blood count issues & even though given meds, gone–took his last breath at home the next afternoon. Our hearts break, they mend back together eventually–but always with cracks that have scarred over. We loved them, we grieve, we never forget. We go on because we know we gave them the best love we could, and they knew and survived on that love. Cling to that.

      Reply
      • Jackie
        July 7, 2021 at 12:38 pm (4 weeks ago)

        I wrote about my cat’s death in November on this thread, and have been subscribing to the comments. I echo what Linda said. I also went to grief counseling and it helped a lot. I recommend it.

        Reply
    • Roxanne Vanderford
      July 7, 2021 at 12:34 pm (4 weeks ago)

      Awww I am so sorry for your loss. I felt so many emotions come rushing back in reading your post. I lost my Nan back on June 13th 2020. She died suddenly also. I felt exactly like you. She was only 10 and I felt like why could I have done differently or what did I do wrong… same as you. As time has passed, I realized it was just her time. God knows she was my heart and my soul. Just know that your baby Cosmo is still and always will be very much alive in you and your families hearts. I hope this helps a bit. My love goes out to you and your family.

      Reply
  3. Sarah
    June 16, 2021 at 7:13 am (2 months ago)

    I’ve just lost my beloved boy Sweep (we called him Sweep pea) to a tragic accident at 3 years old. He was an adventurous boy but didn’t tend to go as far as the out garden or the church grande next door. He was found in a nearby road and walked into the vets where they contacted me due to his microchip. My world has come crumbling down. I can’t stop crying and this article has helped me a lot! He was the sweetest boy, so sensitive and so quirky. I can still hear his chirps! We called him human cat as he definitely acted that way. Preferring to sleep in bed with his head on the pillow and chattering away to us. My heart has a big hole inside. Three years were not enough with you my sweet sweet boy. I take solace knowing that he was the happiest cat and I gave him the best three years! My hubby is also very upset, they were very close. I have my little moggie Suzie (Floozie) left with me and I’m snuggling into her as I type. Cherish your babies.

    Reply
  4. Elwyn Richards
    June 8, 2021 at 4:28 pm (2 months ago)

    I live in the UK and have worked as a security guard at a civic amenity site. I have worked there for 19 years and when I started work there there were two cats, a mother cat and her 5 month old daughter. Sadly, the mother cat died some 10 years ago and since then I have been looking after the younger cat, who was given the name Suzie by the daughter of the woman who was a cleaner at the facility. Although the cat was a works cat, I doted on the little cat and bought the best food for her, including cooked chicken and cat milk, nothing was too good for the little cat. During the past year the cat’s health had deteriorated and I made many visits to the veterinarian with the cat. Recently the cat had taken a turn for the worse and the vet diagnosed a tumour on her throat which I was told was inoperable, especially for a cat of 19 years old. The little cat had trouble breathing and I had to make the heart- breaking decision to end her suffering and had her euthanized. I brought her back to the site where she had spent all her life and buried her close by.
    To say I am absolutely devastated at the loss of this little cat is an understatement. I am inconsolable and cannot stop crying at the loss of my constant companion for so many years, I am absolutely heartbroken. Some of the other workmen at the place I work have constructed a little cross to put on her the grave where she is buried. It has been less than a week since Suzie was euthanized, but I think about her constantly, even my wife can see how devastated I am at the loss of the little cat. I miss her so much.

    Reply
  5. amy
    June 3, 2021 at 9:30 am (2 months ago)

    I lost my little girl two days ago and I am absolutely heartbroken. she was only a baby, she would only have been two on the 26th July. I’m sorry to say this but reading comments i’m jealous of the long time people have had with their cats. My baby was in an awful accident and I found her on the road. I picked her up and wrapped her in her favorite blanket that she slept on, on my bed. She was my constant, she was so caring… any time i had an illness she would never leave my side, she would stay in my bed with me for hours and comfort me. I’m never going to hear her soothing purrs again I’m completely overwhelmed with how her death has impacted me. My little girl you were so special to me, you adored me and i adored you. you were my first cat and you will be my last. I hope you know how much I loved and cared for you. I feel like know one in my life understands how badly this has affected me, I even feel like i am annoying my partner with my cries. I wish I could just hear you come through the door and feel you jump up for a cuddle and hear your meow for attention. I don’t think the distorted image of your injuries will ever leave me. And I have anger you wouldn’t imagine for the driver who did not stop for her. They should know you were our beloved pet. They should have had some decency and respect and stopped for you. I am so so so so sorry you left this world so soon. The guilt will eat me alive. Till we meet again my little girl xxx

    Reply
  6. TrevorM
    May 20, 2021 at 7:35 pm (3 months ago)

    Our baby boy Kato died May 17th, 2021 at around 2:30 pm. He was 16 years old but looked like he was 8. He was a gorgeous ruddy Abyssinian. He developed facial squamous carcinoma, he was doing well on cancer meds but all of a sudden his kidneys gave out. We feel fortunate to send him off on a lavish last meal of king crab. He would not eat again after this. We measured the quality of life the next day and he was declining fast. The following day we had the vet make the in home visit so our little boy could have as much dignity and comfort as possible. We said our prayers over the last couple days for him and we gave him our last hugs and kisses. He chose to slip away in the glaring warmth of the sun coming through our condo windows. We were grateful for the beautiful day. He was ready to end the suffering. He did not complain at all. He was such a brave boy. My heart breaks. We wailed for him. I miss him so much. We wrapped him like a baby in a ceremonial temple sarong we got from Bali during wife and I’s engagement. We slept with his body at the foot of out bed until we were able to bring him for his cremation on a beautiful farm the next day. The experience was a beautiful nightmare that I am still trying to wake up from. But hope soon my memories of him will just be the beautiful part. I write this in hopes that it does something to ease my suffering.

    Reply
  7. JanaA
    May 17, 2021 at 10:00 am (3 months ago)

    Today I had to say goodbye to my sweet, tiny Zoe…she came into my life after a very bad break up. I went to a pet adoption on a whim the first day I was to spend in my new home. I was just leaving when I saw her. She was 8 years old but only weighed 6 lbs, I called her my pocket kitty.
    Adopting her was the first light I had seen since my break up. She made me smile every single day. The last week of March, I ran into my ex and thought “wow, I have finally healed from that heart break”…and then, a week later, Zoe got really sick.
    Vet said it was lymphoma. She said that Zoe probably had it the entire three years that I had her, that it was very slow growing until it turns aggressive in the end.

    I honestly believe that Zoe was sent to heal me. She showed up when I was completely devastated and brought healing and joy back to me…and then, it was her time. The vet called me last night and said he didn’t think she would make it through the night. I went in first thing this morning and he said “She’s still here, I can’t believe it” but I did…she hung on because she had one more gift for me, to let me be there with her…
    I used to tell her all the time “I saved you but you really saved me”

    I love you Zoe, I hope you are chasing all those bastard birds now sweetie <3

    Reply
    • Jana
      July 14, 2021 at 6:34 am (3 weeks ago)

      Hi Jana, my name is Jana too and I lost my cat Billy on exactly the same day you did but at 10 pm. He had kidney failure but seemed fine 10 hours before. I wasn’t there when he passed so feeling so upset but when I read your post I couldn’t believe the similarities. Just wanted to say hi and hope your doing ok. I also went through a bad break up and Billy was my rock . Take care

      Reply
  8. Linda M. Jardee
    May 15, 2021 at 12:21 pm (3 months ago)

    Casa was 1 month and 3 weeks shy of his 21st birthday when he passed away. He would have been 21 on May 26, 2021. Yes, he was very old, the longer to miss him.
    I know I had him longer than most people have their kitties, and that I am forever thankful for. Miss him more every day. My boy.

    Reply
  9. Linda M. Jardee
    May 15, 2021 at 12:18 pm (3 months ago)

    Casa was 1 month and 3 weeks shy of his 21st birthday when he passed away. He would have been 21 on May 26, 2021. Miss him more every day. My boy.

    Reply
  10. howard
    May 15, 2021 at 11:02 am (3 months ago)

    My heart ❤️ is with you,…21? Wow!!!

    Reply
  11. howard
    May 14, 2021 at 1:15 pm (3 months ago)

    These comments are truly beautiful, from animal loving people,
    I lost my puss, Bobby, my friend for 15 years on 11th may 2021…..I hurt so much.

    Reply
    • Linda M. Jardee
      May 15, 2021 at 10:27 am (3 months ago)

      I wish I could say I totally understand because we lost our almost 21 year old boy on April 7, 2021. He was so healthy up until the last couple of months of his life (whereas he started to fail–not in big ways, but having some accidents & not eating as much). Bloodwork showed he was in stage 3 renal disease. He failed more towards the last week of his life where coaxing him to eat and trying new foods, etc. was almost a fruitless endeavor. We finally knew we had to make that awful decision to have our home Vet help him to pass. I prayed that God could let him go on his own, and we were able to cuddle him and give him love, and he died in my husband’s arms at about 7:15 in the morning. The Vet was to come at 11:30 in the morning. My heart is still so raw and broken, missing him so, so much. He was so full of personality, quirky, talky, needy. If he wasn’t sleeping, he was following me around talking & “asking” for a lap. Famous for his head butts, face butts, kissing us. If we were gone, he would be waiting at his food dish looking at the door when we walked in–that’s why watching him lose the desire to eat was even harder for us. All I can offer to you during this very sad time is pamper yourself, take care of yourself, let yourself grieve. Know there are people out there that totally understand your pain. Despite your pain being “your” pain, other people who have experience the loss of a beloved pet can understand and have a lot of empathy for you.

      Reply
  12. Helen
    April 15, 2021 at 1:00 am (4 months ago)

    My beloved cat Ivan began declining about mid-March and on April 8th my husband and I sat with on the lawn at our vet’s office and held him while he was released from this world. It all happened so fast that I cannot believe he is truly gone. He was the sweetest cat – loved everyone, including all the people at the vet’s. He loved riding on my shoulder and would stay up there as long as I let him. His eyes were like human eyes and he’d gaze at me for long periods of time. He was cuddly and playful and I miss him so much. He was only about 14, and we had him for 13 wonderful years. My daughter came up on Sunday and we held a funeral and buried him in the backyard under a fir tree. Rest in peace my sweet Ivan, until we meet again.

    Reply
  13. Morag howie
    April 13, 2021 at 8:10 pm (4 months ago)

    I lost my beloved cat echo on the 10th of April she had renal failure and underlying health problems she just turned 13 on the 27th of March my heart is breaking for her and she will always be loved ❤ i think she has been haunting me at the moment i can hear her claws on the carpet and her collar with the bell. Anyway her illness started last Monday afternoon i wasn’t ready for it but after the anti sickness jags and a night at the veterinary clinic I couldn’t put her through x rays and scans my heart ♥ for her is breaking

    Reply
  14. Barbara Griffith
    February 9, 2021 at 10:19 am (6 months ago)

    My cat buddy chose me during a dark time in my life. He was a little feral kid who kept coming to my house to be fed. I’d moved to a trailer, after losing my home due to a layoff. He just died at 10 years of age due to an aggressive, fast-acting cancer that came out of nowhere. I’d had cats when I was younger, some of whom made it into their mid-20s, and I was hoping we’d grow old together. Last night I had a beautiful dream about seeing him and holding and loving him again. I’ll open my home to another needy cat, just not right now.

    Reply
    • Robin
      February 9, 2021 at 6:09 pm (6 months ago)

      I’m so sorry, Barbara. Ten is far too young! I grew up with a cat, that I had for 15 years and doggies and had a cat as an adult that lived to nearly 18 years. One of my dear cats was diagnosed with cancer in the mouth early in October. One vet visit for her steroid treatment didn’t show much growth, but, in two weeks, it nearly doubled. It was beyond heartbreaking to lose my little girl. Two months later and I still feel crushed. I hope your heart felt happy from your dream. You’ll know when it’s the right time to bring another kitty cat into your home. Take care.

      Reply
    • Rachel
      February 14, 2021 at 4:24 pm (6 months ago)

      Barbara, I have a remarkably similar story. Last week, I lost my beloved cat companion at age 10 to an aggressive cancer that also came out of the blue. And when I was younger, I too had cats that lived into their 20s, so this untimely loss felt all the more cruel. I am struggling with feeling robbed of time, but I am grateful knowing I gave my sweet Ginny a decade of love and warmth. Sending you healing.

      Reply
      • Ashley M
        April 3, 2021 at 4:31 pm (4 months ago)

        I just had to say goodbye to my baby boy of 17 years. I got him when my dad died and hes been with me through everything. I feel like i lost them both again. I dont even know what to do now..

        Reply
        • Linda M. Jardee
          April 13, 2021 at 12:03 am (4 months ago)

          My heart goes out to you. We just lost our boy Casa who on April 7th (2021). He would have turned 21 on May 26th. Loved him so much. He talked a lot, followed me around all the time, wanted to snuggle, and always want my lap. He had the most unique personality, and my heart is broken. I know he lived a good long life, but does it sound weird to say I still never wanted him to leave no matter how old he was? He was diagnosed with Stage 3 renal disease only less than 1 1/2 months before he passed. Started eating less, when he normally loved to eat. Called home Vet cuz he hated going anywhere out of the house. He seemed to fade rapidly. I prayed that God would let him die on his own. His back legs were giving out, and we called to have the Vet put him to sleep on April 7th at 11:30am. He passed in my husband’s arms on April 7th at 7:15am.

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      • Bea
        July 13, 2021 at 7:35 pm (3 weeks ago)

        Lost my 13 year old kitty Alice today because of kidneyillness, she have been ill for awile. So Today and these last few days leading up to this has been the worst ever. Ive been crying, panicing, feeling so guilty for not being able to make her better (and now guilty for putting her to sleep even if i know it was for the best) She was the most loving cat, she gave real hugs(with one paw on each side of the head).Slept on my neck almost every Night Was always by my Side .. And to see her fade away like she did, broke my heart.. And now she is gone.

        Reply
  15. Jennifer
    December 28, 2020 at 9:19 pm (7 months ago)

    We took our 18-1/2 year-old calico Audrey to the vet for the last time this morning. She had been very easygoing and very healthy for most of her life but in the end succumbed to kidney disease. She made every effort to be with us for Christmas, but it was clear she was declining fast, and we could not bear to see her struggle. The pain of loss is profound. We have lots of support and understanding though from family, friends and fellow pet lovers who know the pain is offset by the sheer joy our pets bring us.

    Reply
  16. K
    December 23, 2020 at 5:30 am (7 months ago)

    On Monday, two days ago, I lost my wonderful Zengi, one of two Bengal boys that we homed in 2008. I love all our cats but Zengi was my special boy. We ‘saw’ eachother. He was the hardest cat to get to know that I had ever known or taken in and was so feisty! With many years of love, care and attention, plus spending hours with him taking him out when he had a paralysed hind leg (which lasted for 4 months), he became the most loyal of cats. We would chat and talk to eachother all the time. A relationship I just dont have with my other cats. Zeng was something else. We took him on holiday, would only ever go on a harness to the vets, and was happy planted on my shoulder but was SO vocal wich I loved. He lived a full outdoor and indoor life as we live in the countryside. He wanted for nothing. I was always joyed to see him and spend time with him. He was my world. I looked forward to coming home to see him. On Sunday he went out to patrol his patch, as he did at 4pm every day after sleeping until 3.30pm. He didnt come back. I found him on a neighbours drive on Monday morning. Dead. No sign of trauma (including claws and paws, ruling out an RTC). Not a mark on him, but he had been there for hours. The vet suspected a heart attack, as Bengals are prone to it. I scooped him up and brought him home in floods of tears. After spending a few hours with him lying on the floor and being with him, we buried him in the back garden next to his favourite scrating post. That night, the other three cats slept on the bed with me, the first time they have ever done it, they have not done it since. We are all grieving. Since then I have been floored. I cant beleive I wont ever see, hear or hold him again. I dont think I can cry any more but I still do, constantly. I hate our favourite chair where we would sit every night, wrapped up together. I cant spend time in the living room. No more does he get in bed with me at night, throwing himself down or, if soaking wet, throwing himself down and firmly planting all four feet on me to warm himself up! I cant begin to think I will ever have this relationship with another cat again. He was not simply a ‘cat’ he was a big personality in his own right. And I uttterly adore him. Me, I have not eaten since Sunday, I struggle to sleep, I feel that I am just existing at the moment. I cant see a way through this. I know it will come, but I feel floored and numb. I simply do not know what to do with myself.

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    • Robin
      December 23, 2020 at 7:48 pm (7 months ago)

      I’m so very sorry, K! The heartbreak runs so very deep, especially when it’s sudden. I think it’s wonderful you wrote about the wonderful things you and Zengi did, beautiful memories that will remain with you always. I too have such different relationships with my Lina, that I had to let go two weeks ago, and her sister. Such different cats. Lina was miss personality with a side of goofiness, while Bella is an aloof cat. I’m so glad I have Bella, but it’s been a terribly tough two weeks. I’ve never had a cat that was so engaged in my life as Lina. I will forever mourn the time we didn’t get. I hope as the days go by, you’ll feel stronger, that a smile will form on your lips thinking of those wonderful times. Try to be good to yourself, Zengi would want you to be. Time does heal, but grief has its own agenda. In time, the sharp edges of grief will dull. Please take care.

      Reply
  17. Hector
    December 22, 2020 at 10:05 pm (7 months ago)

    I put my boy Junior down last month after 15 years cause he had a tumor that was incurable, it was a hard year for him as he had diabetes as well and one of his eyes died on him and where we live the place had to be renovated so we had to move and that stressed him out even more, I knew in my mind that this could be his last year and unfortunately what I didn’t want to happen did as one day I saw him walking strange at first I thought it might of been his hip but as I checked him I felt this big ball around that area, I took him to the vet the next day and got the bad news, the vet said there was nothing that could be done just to watch him and when he couldn’t poop anymore it would be the time. well I pretty much lost it when I heard what he told me I was hoping he could make it to the new year but it wasn’t to be as he got worse by the day he would still eat and drink but going to litter box was a struggle for him he did his business but on Thanksgiving eve I knew he was done his back legs just couldn’t work I even tried to hold him up to see if I could help him but with no good of an out come so I had to wait a day but that last day we had I just held him and told him how much I loved him and the pain would be gone soon, it killed me to see him struggle so much to keep going, next day he passed quickly while I petted him and we looked at each others eyes for the last time, I kept his ashes and brought him home, I had another cat that I had to put down but Junior meant more as I got him when he was just a few weeks old and we had a special bond and now with out him in my life I feel so empty as he was my family as the only other human in my life is my step mom but she has dementia and really doesn’t know what I’m going through, people tell me to get another cat but I don’t know if I can.

    Reply
    • Robin
      December 23, 2020 at 8:34 pm (7 months ago)

      I’m so very sorry, Hector!! And I’m so sorry for the pain you’re in over losing Junior. From what I read above, I think you are an amazing cat Dad! I hope you have many wonderful memories of Junior to draw from. Getting another cat is not a bad idea. You’ll feel in your heart when you are ready to do that. As humans, we have love to give when we’re ready or even when we’re not quite ready but have come into contact with a little fur being that grabs our attention. Don’t rush yourself if you don’t feel ready. Take care.

      Reply
  18. Robin
    December 10, 2020 at 8:40 pm (8 months ago)

    While I don’t at all enjoy reading these touching comments about the loss of your beloved babes, there is a bit of comfort in knowing how much other people loved their cats and how terribly they are missed. I lost my beautiful Lina this past Monday, Dec 7. She had a carcinoma in her mouth. She’d been struggling a bit and I had hope that she would make at least the minimum months of life expectancy suggested by the veterinarian, however, her struggle became worse a bit over a week ago. The darling girl tried to eat, and still showed wonderful signs of how lovely she was, but her doctor said we were on to pain management from the hope I was getting from the steroid shots. I got Lina and her sister, Bella, at the same time in July of 2009. I had amazing years with them both. Bella is still here and I’m showering love on her. I want to cry so hard and for a long time, but I can’t do that here with Bella and I can’t do it at work, although I have my moments. I have understanding bosses and co-workers, thankfully. I’ve always said that I loved Bella and Lina equally and as much as I loved their predecessor, Kitty, but I have had to accept that Lina and I had a special bond that has now been forever broken. She was the cutest black and white short haired kitty cat with a black nose with the black hair reaching up her snout a bit. She was wonderfully good natured and a silly goof ball. Who else’s cat treats the wooden arm of their rocking chair like the monkey bars at the playground?! lol Lina loved to play ball and also played fetch with a long pink shoelace. She followed me around quite a bit, and sometimes sped past me on the stairs to one of the spare bedrooms that usually had its door shut. She loved getting into a room or a closet after its door was open! She loved sleeping in one of my arms at night, and would hitch herself on back closer and closer to me until I could reach her head and kiss her goodnight. She loved to wake up in the morning and have me tickle her belly. Lol Lina seemed to love life! Bella doesn’t fill the room like Lina did and, bless her heart, Bella has over-grooming issues. I’m hoping in time, as I heal, Bella will understand that she is the fur queen of our home and doesn’t need to groom and chew so much. At this time, I don’t notice any significant loss of mate in Bella, and I’m thankful for that. I’ve been brushing Bella and cuddling her when she’ll let and telling her I lover her so very much. With you all, my heart is broken. We will heal, but will never forget the love given to and received from our amazing cats. Blessings of peace to all of you. Thank you for reading. Robin

    Reply
  19. Christina Seeley
    December 4, 2020 at 8:35 pm (8 months ago)

    I had to say goodbye to my beautiful gray cat Joey. I had him for over 12 years. For the last year he started having breathing issues. I took him to vet more times than I can count. He endured bloodwork, x-rays and many different kinds of medicine. He hated taking medicine. I always felt like I was torturing him. Unfortunately no one was able to truly determine what was wrong with him. I feel so much sadness, anger and a pain that I never imagined I’d feel. My house is quiet without him. He had such a big presence in the house. He and I had a bond. He was my companion when my husband was working, before my children came it was him and I. I was his person. He always snuggled with me on the couch, he would sleep above my head on my pillow every night, he would always knead my hair whenever we snuggled. Whenever I would take a bath he would sit beside me on the tub. He was always near me. He loved laying on the window sill sunbathing. He loved his treats and would run down the hall whenever I shook the bag. He was so sweet and loving. He could fall asleep anywhere. It’s only been a day and I miss him so much. I knew I’d be sad but I didn’t expect to feel this much pain inside. Every room I go into, every little noise I hear makes me think of him. I have no appetite right now. The grief is horrible. He also left behind a sister and my heart breaks for her. She’s never been alone. She’s been wandering around the house looking for Joey. I’ve been trying to give her extra attention. But seeing her in her bed next to Joeys empty bed is almost too much for me. The loss of him is something I was so afraid of. I wasn’t ready. My heart is broken. I try to keep reminding myself that Joey wasn’t himself. He wasn’t able to do the things he liked to do. I know he’s at peace now. He knew how much I loved him. I needed him just as much as he needed me.

    Reply
    • Michelle
      December 5, 2020 at 7:09 pm (8 months ago)

      Dear Christina, every word in your post is exactly the same as my life right now. I lost my gray cat Shady on December 3rd. He was 17 and diagnosed with cancer one week ago. His behaviours are exactly the same as your beloved Joey. I relate to every single word in your post. It’s so painful. And like Joey, Shady left behind a sister also. Her name is Rosie. I am snuggling with her right now. We are so broken without Shady in the house. It’s a pain like no other. I hope you find healing through all of the good memories you have of Joey. We both lost a best friend. I am thinking about you. Your post made me realize I’m not alone right now. Thank you.

      Reply
    • K
      December 23, 2020 at 5:41 am (7 months ago)

      Oh Christina, I am so sorry. I am in exactly the same position, not the way they have left us but how we felt about them and how broken we feel now. The sense of loss in imense. I have lost cats before and have been floored. I know it gets better but I was not ready for Zengas sudden death. He was so well and bouncy! I am only glad that we found him and not that he went somewhere where we couldnt find him. I am besides myself and dont know what to do. I am glad I am not at work now (Monday was my last day and that was cancelled). I hate this house, it reminds me of him, his tricks to get attention, our snuggles, the scratched wallpaper! Just do understand that you are not alone. Huge hugs to you x

      Reply
  20. Katrina
    December 2, 2020 at 9:20 pm (8 months ago)

    I lost my girl 4 days before my father passed. She was an outdoor cat who never left my yard. And the one time she did a mad dash after a bird, she was struck. She was my baby. She had been there through so many things, including my Dad’s diagnosis and the shattering of my world that followed. I only got 5 years with her and it kills me that I won’t get the next ten or so. She was my best friend. She didn’t care what I looked like or when I cried or when I was sick. She was just there, loving me completely. When I got home each night, she would come running and yowling like it had been ten years. Then we would talk and she would tell me about her day and I about mine. Then we would cuddle for the evening and I would fall asleep with her pressed into me, her soft purr soothing and making me sleepy. Beckett was one of the few things in my life that made sense. Now nothing makes sense.

    Reply
    • Robin
      December 10, 2020 at 8:43 pm (8 months ago)

      I’m so sorry about both the passing of your father and the loss of Beckett, Katrina. So much pain in such a short time. Let yourself grieve for both, but each day try to celebrate them a wee bit. Let good memories give you strength. It’s very cliché, but time does allow for our heart, soul and mind to heal. Take care. Robin

      Reply
  21. Jackie
    November 26, 2020 at 4:11 pm (8 months ago)

    We lost our beautiful 10 year old Max to lymphoma 2 days ago. I think I have been crying over half the time I have been awake since. I thought I would have him for another 5 or more years, so this is even more devastating. The chemo didn’t work and we had to say goodbye. I donated his food to a rescue group but I’m not ready for a new friend yet.

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      November 27, 2020 at 5:01 am (8 months ago)

      I’m so sorry, Jackie. My heart goes out to you.

      Reply
      • Jackie
        November 27, 2020 at 10:24 am (8 months ago)

        Thank you so much, Ingrid. Doing my usual routines without him is so hard. I thought I heard him jump on the table like he usually did last night. My husband said he came back to check in but took a couple days to do it because he was having fun seeing our old dog up there. I love this website. It’s helping a lot.

        Reply
      • Ben
        December 5, 2020 at 12:29 pm (8 months ago)

        Me and my girlfriend lost our cat Maddison 2 days ago on December 3rd. I’ve lost pets before but this is a whole new level of sadness. We adopted her 3 years ago from a rescue her owner had passed and her daughter did not want the cat. A rescue took her in and we found her at pets mart. We adopted her As a senior at 13, it was the best decision of our lives, she brought so much joy and happiness that I can’t explain. She was so loving and he such a big personality. She filled our hearts with so much love. She battle kidney disease a year after we got her, she wasn’t in pain and we didn’t see any changes until later. She had hypertension and went blind but she adjusted find, she never lost her personality. The last month we really noticed a change, she was getting confused and was sleeping more, she still loved to cuddle and head bump us which I miss so very much. Last week is when we saw the biggest change, she just slept and slept and stopped purring which she always had done. She stopped meowing and it was heartbreaking. December second we placed her in our bed and she slept with us the whole night, I woke up because she lost her bladder control and peed on me, I picked her up and placed her down and she just slid down and she couldn’t stand she had a stroke. We took her to the vet and that’s when we confirmed she did have stroke we instantly dissolved into tears as we had never imagined ever going to the vet and that she would not be coming home with us. The vet had recommended euthanasia as she was so very tired and her body was shitting down. We made the decision in her best interest and we held her and kissed her and snuggled her for 10 minutes before letting the vet take her. Because of COVID We could not be in the room and this broke my heart. We’ve been going to the vet for wet long time and the nurse held her close until the very last minute. It’s only been two days and I’m constantly crying and can’t stop thinking about our angel Maddison. Works been tough but being at home is worse, especially in the living room next to her cat tower and multiple beds. I haven’t had the strength to pack up her things, I can’t even bare to look at her litter box without crying. This has been the most painful loss I’ve ever experienced. I love her so much and miss her so much I can’t stop crying. She was family and a huge part of our hearts that will never be filled again.

        Reply
    • Gilly
      April 3, 2021 at 10:13 pm (4 months ago)

      I lost my beautiful ginger moggie,Lui, after 23.5 years together. I am so lost without him. I retired early to care for him as he aged and he was my world. We adored each other. We would chat and cuddle and pass the time together. He slept in my bathroom and in the mornings when popped my head in he would bounce out of bed for a cuddle and his breakfast. Even at the end when his back legs weren’t working very well he would struggle up to greet me. In a house where my partner cannot show affection he was warmth, my companion, my comfort. My partner did not like him and I am so angry that he is trying to comfort me now when he never have Lui the time of day. I wish I had gone before Lui. I wasn’t ready to lose him.

      Reply
  22. Kelly rooney
    October 30, 2020 at 2:49 am (9 months ago)

    We had to put my fur baby to sleep a few days ago .I was not prepared for the Greif that would hit me and my husband . There is a void in my home . It’s quieter . I miss hearing the bell from his colllar , hearing that lovely noise of him lapping his water from his water bowl and the softness of his beautiful fur . It’s hurts so much but I have managed to empty and clean his litter tray and clean and remove his food dishes . I need to gain emotional strength to remove his numerous beds and this is killing me because some of his beautiful fur has naturally been left behind . I also hurt at the thought of washing my floors as I feel like I’m washing away his DNA and invisible foot prints . I just miss every single fibre of him x

    Reply
    • Peta
      November 22, 2020 at 11:32 am (8 months ago)

      This is me too, November 2. My kitty died from reaction to a medication. It was a horrible 2 days before she passed. I’m doing the same as you. I’m crying on and off during the day. Hard going to sleep expecting her jump up onto me in the dark.

      Reply
  23. Roxanne Larsen
    October 13, 2020 at 4:18 am (10 months ago)

    I just euthanized my 16.5 year old cat Sasha a week ago. I’m feeling guilty like I could have done more for her but, I pretty sure she was at the end of her life, she was having difficulty breathing and walking too so we decided to do what was best for her, I wanted to keep her with me forever! A day or so passed and my daughter felt a cat jump on her bed and felt claw on her shirt while watching tv & she was shocked and in disbelief. I just spoke to my estranged husband who did care for Sasha after I moved out of the house and he was crying as he told me that he feels the presence of Sasha jumping on his bed every night since she passed (I had to ask him the questions about how often, etc.) He didn’t cry about his parents passing away like he did about Sasha. This is very strange that both my adult daughter and my estranged husband having the same encounters with Sasha passing. We lost Sasha’s brother Thomas 3 yrs ago to a heart embolism and no one ever experienced any encounter after his passing. Has anyone else experienced a cat passing encounter of this sort? Miss my BabyGirl ❤️

    Reply
    • Carol Lester
      October 13, 2020 at 6:43 am (10 months ago)

      The morning after we buried Dolly our beloved “naughty tortie ” we were sat up in bed talking about her when a large sparrow hawk with big yellow eyes landed on the bird table and just perched looking straight at us. We had put a bird table right up to our bedroom window because we have two cat beds on the wide windowsill. Our cats loved idly watching the birds while nodding or Dolly would sit up in her bed chattering at them excitedly. She was a real hunter and just a week before we had to have her put to sleep she brought in a bird… she used to bring mice in too then get bored and let them go leaving us to try to catch them and put them back outside ! Anyway, we have never seen a sparrow hawk so incredibly close up, it was literally pressed up to our window and we were both struck at the colour of it’s feathers up close – it was very much like Dolly, mixtures of gold and brown and the eyes were round and yellow like Dollys eyes. It perched there looking in for what felt like a minute at least then it flew off. We were speechless and looked at each other and I said imagine what Dolly would have made of it seeing that so close up ! It was amazing that we were both there looking out at that precise time and just a few seconds later we both wondered if it was a sign from Dolly – it was such an unusual thing to happen. Normally a bird of prey wouldn’t ever come so close up and stay there perched. The colours were so like hers and the eyes….and she was a great huntress… also, a few days after we lost Dolly our final cat we both heard a cat jump down on to the wood floor and weve heard the patter of feet early in the mornings. Neither of us are spiritual but we have experienced the bird and the noises and we just quietly accepted it was them. We don’t know what it means but we love and miss them beyond belief and they must know just how much we miss them. They are always on my mind and our house is empty now without their loving presence.

      Reply
    • Kim
      October 26, 2020 at 3:39 am (9 months ago)

      I had to euthanize my 17 year old cat, Max, on September 25, 2020. I wish I could say I feel better, but I don’t. I too feel my cat enter a room, or think I catch a glimpse of him from the corner of my eye. I keep telling myself it’s my mind playing tricks on me because I miss him terribly but who really knows? I am grieving him more than I ever did with losing my human family! I feel guilty at times for feeling that way, but Max had always been by my side through thick and thin. I lost his companion 2 years ago and just when I thought I was over that lost, I lost him too. It’s been a tough couple of years to say the least. I’ve thought about getting another cat but I’m just not quite ready.

      Reply
  24. Mirinda
    October 12, 2020 at 2:44 pm (10 months ago)

    I lost my 13 yr old Alice 2 weeks ago. I feel so guilty that I didn’t get her to the vet sooner. I am slowly removing her stuff, but I can’t sweep her cat hair off the porch yet.

    Reply
    • David Wheat
      October 13, 2020 at 2:23 am (10 months ago)

      Dear Mirinda — I’ve just lost my cat Zoe to kidney disease. She was 20, and as things progressed a pressure built up in my mind of protective love and worry and also a kind of denial about what would inevitably come. Right now, thoughts of things I could have done better are so easy to find, and that adds to the pain. Years ago, I was a carer for my mother, and when she died, exactly the same thing happened. Eventually, though, I was able look back and realise how incredibly difficult it is to get everything right when you’re under such pressure, with a part of you knowing what will inevitably come, and another part of you holding out for recovery right till the end. Right now, though, even though I know this, it’s hard to stop those could-have-done-better thoughts from drowning out the good memories of love. I think probably just about everyone feels the way we do, and I know that in time it will pass and all that will remain is your love for Alice and her’s for you. By the way, I’ve kept a tiny piece of Zoe’s fur — if you do that, it might help you to sweep away the rest. Best wishes, David

      Reply
      • Mirinda
        October 13, 2020 at 10:32 am (10 months ago)

        Thanks so much. I too felt the same about my mom.

        Reply
      • Lous mum
        May 16, 2021 at 4:14 pm (3 months ago)

        David, thank you for sharing your story & for being able express your feelings. It has helped me a great deal.
        Sarah

        Reply
    • Kelly Rooney
      October 30, 2020 at 2:38 am (9 months ago)

      I understand this ! My cat went to sleep on Tuesday . I have managed to empty his litter tray and collect his wash his feeding bows but I can’t bring myself to move his water bowl , it’s empty and I have washed it I just can’t move it . I need to wash my floors but it’s hurting because my cat spend a few of his last moments sitting in the Door way of the bathroom and I feel like I’m washing away him image and DNA. I was never prepared for the pain of grieving fir my fur baby x

      Reply
    • Katie
      November 12, 2020 at 8:16 pm (9 months ago)

      I lost my beloved Cheshire today. He was the sweetest, most affectionate little guy ever. He was my baby and I loved him with all my heart. Chesh was only a little over a year old. But in the time we did spent together he was an angel and one of the greatest friends I’ll ever have. We even got lucky enough to spend nearly every day together from March to September because of COVID19. He was there for me when I lost my granny in September.

      Having to leave home for college after her death was so hard and having to leave him (and my other fur babies) was hard too. I knew I wouldn’t be able to see him at weekends like I had the year before due to restrictions. The next time I expected to see my baby was at Christmas (video calls aren’t the same because he didn’t really know). I didn’t know that I wouldn’t see him again. My mom brought him to be neutered today and my little angel didn’t wake up from the anaesthetic. I’m devastated. And feel so much guilt that the last time I pet or gave him a cuddle was weeks ago. I didn’t know my time with him would be so short. Knowing he spent the last few weeks missing me hurts. He went so soon and so suddenly that it really doesn’t feel fair. And while we’re going ahead with an autopsy to know what happened, the fact that the statistics should have been more than in his favour hurts.

      I miss my boy so much. ❤️

      Reply
      • Estefania Aviles
        November 14, 2020 at 3:36 am (9 months ago)

        Oh my gosh, I’m so sorry… I was lucky too to be able to work from home and be with my fur babies (Specially my senior kitty who isn’t doing so hot right now :() from March-August also!

        Reply
    • Christina Seeley
      December 5, 2020 at 10:46 am (8 months ago)

      My Joey has been gone 2 days now. I find myself just sitting and staring off into space. His Christmas stocking is still hung up on the fireplace. I keep saying that I’ll take it down and pack it away. I miss him. I just stare down the hallway expecting to see him walking down it. I look at the food and water bowls and just ache. Joey loved his dry food. Laying on my couch and wanting to feel him above me. I loved to hold and squeeze his paws. He always let me. I miss his purr. It was so loud when we snuggled. He was the best. He always seemed to know when I needed him. He would jump on my bed and meow and want me to pet him. Only feeding one cat, giving one cat treats. It’s awful. I feel like I have to force a smile. I don’t feel happy. I feel pain and sadness. I wish I knew how long I’ll feel this way. Joey was struggling at the end. He was tired and weak, he lost weight, he was dehydrated and breathing so fast. Deep down I knew it was his time but I just didn’t want it to be real. He was laying comfortably on a blanket on the couch and the thought of taking him off the couch and putting him in his cat carrier to go to the vet was awful. I knew he wouldn’t be coming home alive. I laid next to him and pet him and kissed him before we left. The vet told me Joey was in bad shape. I knew he was tired. He fought so hard. Endured so much. I didn’t want to give up hope. The vet tech brought him out to me and he was breathing calmer from the sedative and he just laid in my arms. My hand was on his belly and I felt his heart just stop and that was it. My sweet boy was gone. I held him and just sobbed. I never thought I’d be able to do that but I thought of him. I didn’t want him dying with a stranger. I wish I could make this hurt go away. I feel lost…

      Reply
  25. SaraB
    October 12, 2020 at 8:54 am (10 months ago)

    Your article has explained a lot, thank you. I lost my darling Teddy 11months ago and still go to sleep crying. I close my eyes and remember those last few days, after his thrombosis.

    Every day I wish he was here.
    I miss him terribly.

    Reply
    • B Sing
      November 19, 2020 at 1:42 pm (9 months ago)

      It’s been 4 months since I lost my kitty. We spent almost every minute together, and now she’s gone forever. I lost a big part of myself when she died, and it seems I’ll never get that back. I thought I understood sadness, and I’ve lost pets and family members in the past. For whatever reason, this brings sadness to a level I never thought possible. I just wish I could be with her again. Maybe someday. For those wondering if the hurt goes away, I don’t think it does. It just gets a tiny bit more tolerable over time, but don’t expect anything soon. Sleep would help, but that has been extremely difficult the past 8 months since she got sick.

      Reply

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