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In a multi-cat household, other cats may become needy or withdrawn—or they may show no signs of noticing the other cat’s absence.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.

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.

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

  1. Lisa
    June 25, 2019 at 11:38 pm (4 weeks ago)

    I’m crying as I read this…thoughts love and good wishes for you.

    Reply
  2. Devastated
    June 22, 2019 at 7:36 pm (1 month ago)

    Earlier today, my baby boy departed this world. I chose euthanasia so my terminally ill kitty would not have to suffer a long painful death but I will forever be haunted by that decision. Was it the right thing to do? What if he had gotten better, even if only for a little while? He was the light of my world. He made my smile and laugh. He comforted me when I was sad. He was more than a pet he was a companion. I cannot fathom not even seeing his beautiful face again, or see him lounging in his favorite chairs, or have his cold nose wake me up in the morning when it’s time to eat. He was one of a kind. I don’t think I will ever be the same. I will also be haunted by the fact that I missed the early warning signs of his illness and may have been able to prolong his life had I acted sooner. I am living in a fog of grief and regret and don’t even know if I have the strength to make it through this.

    Reply
      • Devastated
        June 23, 2019 at 7:56 am (1 month ago)

        Thank you. I needed to read that.

        Reply
    • Robert
      July 13, 2019 at 1:52 pm (1 week ago)

      The fact that youre devastated shows how much you loved baby. If you ask yourself all the “what ifs” you will drive yourself crazy. Im strugling not to ask myself all the hard questions, i put my cat down today. It was hard, but it was the right thing to do, not only the right thing but i feel it was my responsibility as Pillows daddy to make sure she didnt suffer. My sister works at a vets office, and sometimes i tell her things ive read about my cats illness that she didnt know, so dont beat yourself up about not spotting early signs of an illness. Pillow had polysystic kidney diseas, which can change the color of her fur, which is also possible with liver problems. I read somewhere that people often wait longer than they should to have let their loved one go. Im sure you made the right decision. Be strong, and dont hesitate to reach out to friends or forums to help you get through this tough time.

      Reply
  3. Sinead
    June 22, 2019 at 3:25 am (1 month ago)

    I lost my beautiful Ellie 2 days ago. She had been ill for a month but was showing signs that she was getting better. Then she started going down hill again. She lost a lot of weight and she was being sick. Took her to the vets to find out she’s got a huge mass in her stomach and she was showing signs of jaundice. There was nothing that could be done. She went to sleep with mummy and daddy by her side.
    She was only 8yrs old, we had her from 8wks old. We rescued her from a garden, she was a dirty, skinny little kitten with fleas.

    I’m in so much pain, I feel like I’ve lost a part of me. She would always be in the kitchen in the mornings when I’d come down with my baby. I’ve still got her food and water bowl in her usual place in the kitchen. Can’t bring myself to move it.
    The feeling of guilt is so strong. What if I had taken her to the vets sooner, could we of saved her?
    I just want her home and for all of this to be a nightmare and I’ll wake up.

    Reply
    • Elaine Harrington
      June 24, 2019 at 11:53 am (4 weeks ago)

      Sometimes it is just out of our control. Your baby had the best eight years of her life. She would not have made it without you. We took in a cat years ago knowing that we were hospice. The little cat lived for a year in spite of all we did to save her. The vet said that we gave her the best final year of her life. It still hurts. Its hard to accept that some things are just out of our control. You gave her a wonderful life and you let her pass to the Rainbow Bridge. There isn’t any more to do except honor her memory and maybe in time give another kitten a chance at a wonderful life with you. God Bless.

      Reply
  4. natS
    June 21, 2019 at 8:44 pm (1 month ago)

    My kitty was only 6 months old. Kali got shot by the neighbor. HIs mom and his only brother are still with me. After he got shot he came to me looking for help. It was very traumatizing and devastating. I still cannot write about the journey between the shooting incident and the time of his passing because it’s heartbreaking.
    I saw him grow in his mom’s[ belly and I saw him grow next to his brother. They were inseparable. Seeing the mom and his brother look for him constantly breaks my heart to pieces. She keeps calling him. I myself cannot function. He loved cuddles and affection and looked me straight in my eyes. My boyfriend and I are really proud of our cat family, and this happened when my boyfriend was away. Now my boyfriend is going to return and Kali, our purr love, is not going to be here. For now I do not know how to cope with this loss. Last time I felt this way when my grandma died. It’s hard for me to believe i will never feel his soft fur or look into his eyes. I miss his little meows 🙁

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      June 22, 2019 at 5:22 am (1 month ago)

      What a horrible, traumatic way to lose a kitten. My heart is breaking for what you and Kali went through.

      Reply
    • Anna
      July 22, 2019 at 11:27 am (1 day ago)

      I can most definitely relate because my 6 month old kitty, Geralt, somehow got outside and I believe our ignorant neighbor caught him and tossed him over the fence, snapping his neck. Just 5 days ago we took him to the vet because he got stung by a bee. His face was swollen so he needed medication, as far as I know he was fine before we found him dead today this morning. I’m so grief stricken because I loved him. I helped nurse him because he was the runt. Now I’ll never get to see or hear his meows again. He used to love sitting in my lap when I’d play my video game or watch movies or YouTube. He was my therapy. I had to cope with the loss of my grandmother as well, which made this even harder. It’s like losing a part of you.

      Reply
      • Ingrid
        July 22, 2019 at 11:32 am (1 day ago)

        Oh Anna, I’m so sorry! What a horrific way to lose a beloved cat. My heart goes out to you.

        Reply
  5. Kyle
    June 19, 2019 at 6:21 am (1 month ago)

    I lost my 21 year old tuxedo fur baby Gemma on the 18th of June 2019

    She was most loving affectionate cat I have ever met, her purrr would warm my heart ❤️
    Gemma had become very week in her last weeks losing a lot of weight & eventually lost all balance & just could not stand under her own weight. Gemmas breathing was getting too much for her to handle and her quality of life was diminishing, seeing my baby like this was honestly the hardest thing I’ve ever had to deal with. I just wish there was something else I could have done for her 20 years we were a team & I just can’t come to terms with you being out of my life I will see you over the coloured rainbow one day gem

    ❤️ Rip Gemma
    1998-2019

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      June 19, 2019 at 8:40 am (1 month ago)

      I’m sorry about Gemma, Kyle. 21 years is a long time, but it’s never long enough!

      Reply
  6. Melissa
    May 28, 2019 at 12:37 pm (2 months ago)

    I lost my fur kid just about a month ago, she passed in my arms. I had her for 20 years and 11 months, almost to the day. I do so miss her. I still tell her goodbye when I leave the house

    Reply
    • Abby Frank
      May 28, 2019 at 5:20 pm (2 months ago)

      I’m sorry for your loss. It so hard when you lose a beloved friend – no matter how long they are there for us. I find comfort in my memories and looking at photos. That helps in very sad moments. I also found comfort with some online chat groups where others who experienced similar losses can help provide comfort. I wish you well.

      Reply
  7. Linda
    May 27, 2019 at 7:51 pm (2 months ago)

    Since 2012 I’ve lost my dog lady, my husband John, my friend Mike, my oldest cat Willy, then Pepper & Pie same day , Fred who was there through it all and kept me alive (tuxedo cat), my Dad in oct 16, my sugar baby Siamese, got a new cat from neighbor and she suddenly died Munchkin on Feb 13 this yr., and a week ago my uncle. I can’t handle any more loss. I’ve got 4 cats left and I’m a zombie. I barely am able to care for them I’m so depressed with grief. I can’t afford to get help, but I’m scared for them if I’m not here. I miss all my babies and have all their ashes in little urns. As long as I have a cat living I’ll live. Can’t say what would happen if I didnt.

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      May 28, 2019 at 5:13 am (2 months ago)

      Oh Linda, what an awful lot of loss! I’m glad you have your four cats to help you through this, but I’d urge you to get some counseling as well if you’re not already doing so. My heart goes out to you.

      Reply
    • Abby Frank
      May 28, 2019 at 9:27 am (2 months ago)

      I’m writing though I’m in the midst of my own struggle. It started when my mother died. My cat, Nellie, died a week later. I have never been the same. Last year, my 18 1/2 year old boy, Sammy, passed away.. I couldn’t get out of bed. I adopted two cats several months later so I’d have a reason to be. I didn’t know that one of them was 2 months away from death. I cry all the time but know that my love for my Dawn will help me along. Sammy enriched my life and I know I gave him the best life. He was so loved. That’s all one can hope for. I have his ashes in the bedroom, but it’s the memories that comfort me most. I hope YOU find comfort in knowing that you enriched your pets’ lives as much as they enriched yours. https://www.rainbowsbridge.com provided unlimited comfort for dealing with the loss of the pets I lost. Check it out. You might also want to visit https://www.healthfulchat.org/bereavement-chat-room.html . It might help you find comfort by talking with others who experienced similar losses of loved ones. The site offers other resources, too. I’m sending a prayer your way. I wish you well.

      Reply
  8. Nancy
    May 27, 2019 at 4:57 pm (2 months ago)

    I lost all 5 of my cats in my house fire last October. 3 of them had been with me for more than 10 years. I miss them every single damn day and night.

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      May 28, 2019 at 5:14 am (2 months ago)

      What a horrible way to lose your cats, Nancy. I can’t even imagine what you’re going through. My heart is breaking for you.

      Reply
  9. Jessica
    May 25, 2019 at 1:26 pm (2 months ago)

    I lost my cat three days ago. It happend so quicky, it was something like a heart attack and within 3 minutes, before we realized what was happening, he was already dead. We couldn’t do anything about it. Seeing his dead body, was an awful shock for me. Tapsy was only 8 years old.

    I still can’t believe he’s gone, it doesn’t feel real. Everytime I look at places he used to be, I expect to see his adorable face, hear his voice.
    I still feel his soft fur on my fingers.
    It even feels surreal to type these words, because they mean that he’s truly gone…

    I feel lost and empty, a part of me is missing, because it has always been me and him. Our connection was very special.

    I have never experienced a loss of a cat like that, but reading your article gives me hope. I don’t know how long it will take for me, but I hope I can turn my grief into beautiful memories someday.

    Thank you.

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      May 25, 2019 at 4:22 pm (2 months ago)

      I’m so sorry about Tapsy, Jessica. It’s always hard to lose a cat, but when it happens so suddenly, it’s devastating. My heart goes out to you.

      Reply
    • Elaine Harrington
      May 26, 2019 at 8:57 am (2 months ago)

      I’m so sorry for your loss. If its any comfort, it was quick and hopefully your cat did not suffer. I’ve had cats linger for long periods of time and watching them deteriorate is horrible as well. Pick out your favorite picture, enlarge it frame it. I hope this helps. God Bless, Elaine

      Reply
  10. AZ Desertgirl
    May 4, 2019 at 9:00 pm (3 months ago)

    Thank you for this informative article. I had three chronic kidney disease cats. All senior females. I lost one in April 2018, and two in April 2019, two weeks apart. I had all three over 12 years. Lucy, my favorite, just passed at the end of April. I had been able to enrich and extend her life with sub q’s, every other day. I convinced her to eat by changing up her food every day or two. Most CKD cats starve as their main cause of death. So I worked hard to keep her eating. We had the greatest bond; she tolerated my treating her which was no fun. The last couple of weeks, I purchased a screened in pet stroller and we went for long neighborhood walks. She was absolutely enthralled! She had so much joy being outside in her pet stroller! It balanced out the fact that she was end stage Renal disease. My last day with her was very unexpected. Her hips were so shallow, and she weighed 5 1/2 lbs. She slept more and came upstairs less, due to her muscle wasting. If I brought her upstairs, she’d go back down and sleep in her regular bed.
    Depression, anxiety, and complex PTSD were lifted because of this beautiful white dilute calico that I had adopted on Craigslist.
    It takes a special person to bond and understand a cat. I’ve greatly loved all of my cats; they have given me so much joy and compassionship. I think, especially, of Lucy every single day. ****Grief is love that has no where to go. **** I don’t know who wrote that, but it is very true. Thank you for listening and for sharing.

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      May 5, 2019 at 5:24 am (3 months ago)

      Thank you for sharing your story with us. I’m sorry about Lucy. I love how you made her final weeks so special.

      Reply
  11. Tess
    April 11, 2019 at 4:58 am (3 months ago)

    Thank you for this article, it’s nice to know others out there feel the same way. We lost our 8 month old kitten last month to FIP (or so we believe) we only had her for 5 months and my heart is broken. We are waiting to get another cat but I just wish I would have known about this horrific disease before the day my cat was lost. My boyfriend and I moved in together last year and decided to get a cat since we work diffrent work scheduals and don’t get to see each other (awake) everyday. Reese was there when the other wasent and really helped us transition into our new place and cure the loneliness. It has been 20 days since she went over the rainbow bridge. Time heals all wounds but I swear it has slowed since the loss of my precious little baby angel. So sorry for everyone else’s losses.

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      April 11, 2019 at 5:31 am (3 months ago)

      I’m so sorry about Reese, Tess. FIP is such a horrible disease.

      Reply
  12. Frank
    February 15, 2019 at 9:36 am (5 months ago)

    I lost my 12 year old cat Sammy on Feb 11th 2019. He passed unexpectedly while at the vet. Oct 2017 he was diagnosed with advanced kidney disease..he prospered for the next year with prescription food and sub q fluids at home. But then in Oct 2018 he was also diagnosed with chylothorax (fluid buildup in the chest that compresses the lungs) At that point he needed to go see the vet routinely to get the fluid drained. On Feb 11th I took him in to get the fluid drained and he passed away right after the vet was finished… it was very unexpected. The only good news is Sammy was already sedated and most likely felt no pain when he passed. The worst part is our house now, it feels so empty!! : ( I might actually visit some shelters next week…

    Reply
    • Trudie Holland
      March 20, 2019 at 5:45 pm (4 months ago)

      So sorry for your loss. I am 3 days without my Joey – 16 and had to let him go. Thinking of you. If you can do the shelters that would be wonderful. I know I would break down. I still have another 16 year old step brother to Joey and could not introduce a new cat.

      Reply
    • Abby
      March 21, 2019 at 7:39 am (4 months ago)

      So sorry for your loss. I lost my 18 1/2 year old tabby boy, Sammy, in Oct. 2018. (I met him when he was 4 hours old and adopted him when he was 2 months old). After he passed it was unbearable. I let two months go by and opened my heart for 2 cats. Please check into the true health history of the cat(s) you want to adopt. I chose two bonded cats. The shelter’s info told to me by the founder (about the cats) was wrong from the very start. One of the two cat’s names were wrong (learned about that from the website photo), the ages were off (they were 3 years and 10 years old, not 6 and 8 years old), McCloud was with us for 2 months and we had to put him to sleep (he was in end-stage renal failure and had FIV) and from the start he was unapproachable….hiding under the bed or sofa, even with his friend right by his side). Dawn had ear mites and dental disease. Her last vet check was more than 7 months before I came in to adopt her. The claim on the website was that all cats are vet checked and chipped. No way was McCloud chipped, he was too sick. And yes, Dawn was bet checked….7 months before the adoption.

      Reply
  13. whitevalleyprincess@gmx.com
    November 14, 2018 at 8:13 pm (8 months ago)

    FAB article!!! I recently had to put Purrince Siddhartha Henry to sleep…he had Panleukopenia & the end was anything but pleasant for both of us. Your article has helped me see I’m doing all right & working thru the grief.
    It is coming up to tha anniversary of Nylablue Sweet Feet’s leaving (Nov. 22nd) & I am always gentle on this day towards myself.
    Now to learn to be gentle about Siddhartha Henry…..
    Thank you again, Sherri-Ellen aka LadyMum from THE Purrfect Pad

    Reply
  14. Nan Faulkner
    November 8, 2018 at 2:24 pm (9 months ago)

    Each cat/kitten lost is individual. And what we do to cope is also individual. Ingrid, like you stated in the article, is a step by step process. And is never easy.

    But…. I feel each cat/ kitten has enriched my life. And when I cross that rainbow bridge, all the cats we had will greet me and we will be together for eternity.

    Reply
    • Kristin
      November 9, 2018 at 5:33 pm (9 months ago)

      I pray this to be true every day. I am a cat rescuer and have unfortunately had so many losses over the years, as to be expected with the title. Every time they go, I tell them to meet me at the bridge. I only hope the bridge really exists

      Reply
  15. Vernon
    November 8, 2018 at 10:26 am (9 months ago)

    I lost Trixie on September 19, 2018. She was only 6 years old. I was on my vacation at the time. I let some friends care for her while I was gone. I received a call 5 days later that she had passed away. After I got back, I went collect her things. I found their trailer disgusting and full of roaches. If I would’ve seen the inside their trailer first, I never would’ve taken her there in the first place. Almost 2 months later, I still feel negligent about causing her death.

    Reply
    • Sarah
      November 8, 2018 at 2:46 pm (9 months ago)

      I’m sorry for your loss, Vernon. That sounds so painful. You did what you thought was right at the time, and that’s all any of us can do.

      Reply
  16. JohnD
    November 8, 2018 at 9:23 am (9 months ago)

    I lost a beautiful little boy on January 22, 2016 and still break down with grief a few times a week. I still have 3 more cats, but little Myrko was a truly special little soul. I hope we’ll see each other again some day.

    Reply
  17. Sue Brandes
    November 8, 2018 at 7:55 am (9 months ago)

    Thank you for the post. I had a very hard time after I lost BearBear. I did so much before him when he was sick I didn’t know what to do with myself after. Toke some adjusting.

    Reply
  18. Andrea
    November 7, 2018 at 10:02 pm (9 months ago)

    I’m also in the complicated grief category but I’m getting help. I will never get over losing my precious Mewdy Blue. It also seems that whenever I lose someone they go in three’s. That makes it extra hard to handle.

    Reply
    • Sarah
      November 8, 2018 at 2:49 pm (9 months ago)

      Multiple losses do make it harder, especially when one (or more) is particularly close to us. I’m glad you decided to get help. Nobody should have to go through that alone.

      Reply
  19. Steven Howard
    November 7, 2018 at 7:18 pm (9 months ago)

    Thank you for this article. Losing an animal companion is… It isn’t very pleasant. I’m truly sorry for your losses.

    Reply
  20. Bbetty
    November 7, 2018 at 11:06 am (9 months ago)

    Thank you so much for this article. I recently lost my beautiful little Tortie, Rusty. The initial grief was overwhelming and I still can’t think about her absence without crying, even though it has been over two months since I lost her. Cats are special companions and their absence in our lives leaves a hole in our hearts that nothing else can ever fill. I look forward to seeing her waiting on the rainbow bridge so we can spend eternity together.

    Reply
    • Sarah
      November 8, 2018 at 2:50 pm (9 months ago)

      I’m sorry for your loss of Rusty, Betty. Time is strange in grief–two months feels like forever and just yesterday at the same time. Grief takes much longer to process than most of us expect.

      Reply
  21. Elaine Harrington
    November 7, 2018 at 8:59 am (9 months ago)

    I put Blue down because I knew it was the right thing to do, but I took him to our Humane Society and did not get to go in or say goodbye like I thought I would so there is no closure. H passed August 7th. We had a funeral, we buried his ashes, I said a prayer and sang, but last night I was sobbing as I was doing the dishes. I’m crying as I write this. We have 4 other cats, but he was a very special boy.

    Reply
    • Sarah
      November 7, 2018 at 2:17 pm (9 months ago)

      I’m so sorry for your losses, Elaine.

      Reply
  22. Chelsea
    November 7, 2018 at 8:54 am (9 months ago)

    I lost my boy Murphy back in June. Murphy was a cat who was different than most. He never left my side, never got upset, and was always up for a good cuddle. He was with me during my hard parts of my life. He was also the silliest cat I’ve ever seen (always got himself in the weirdest situations). He was diagnosed with mouth cancer in April, and at that point it was too late. Since the cancer was under his tongue, he eventually stopped grooming, drinking, and had a very hard time eating. There was nothing I could do except give him medication and all the love in the world. I’d use wipes to help groom him and give him meds multiple times a day. I’d have to keep switching to different food with different texture and make mountains to help him bite the food instead of lick his food. It would take him up to 45 minutes to eat a meal. He got so scared and stressed out, I could see it in his eyes and his behavior. I made the decision to have him put him down where he was most comfortable (at home on the couch on my lap). It was very peaceful but one of the hardest things I’ve had to do. Once he had passed, I brought my other cat Lily out to say her goodbye to help her process. I had him cremated and he is now in my bedroom on the shelf. I placed photos of him in picture frames throughout the house. The photos of him were when he was acting the most goofy or where he looked his best (bow ties!). My best friend had a picture of him drawn by an artist and we framed that as well. I rescued a cat a month or so after his passing. The new cat wasn’t meant to replace, but meant to be another animal I could save. I dedicated so much time to Murphy, and I wanted to find another companion who was scared and struggling and needed a home that I could rescue. Adopting Winston has been wonderful, and makes me feel that if I couldn’t help Murphy, I could at least help another animal. I got married this past weekend. I used to sing a song to Murphy to calm him down when he was scared. I asked the DJ to play that song for me. It helped as I will always remember dedicating a piece of my wedding to him. It’s the little things that have helped me grieve with losing Murphy. Consulting with a vet was beneficial for me. It helped me understand when it was the right time. It has gotten easier overtime. I think it’s important to remember the funny things he did and to channel my grieving into positive ways.

    Reply
    • Sarah
      November 7, 2018 at 2:21 pm (9 months ago)

      It sounds like Murphy was a really special guy. I love that you were able to incorporate him into your wedding, even though he couldn’t be there physically.

      Reply
  23. Janine
    November 7, 2018 at 8:35 am (9 months ago)

    The last two cats that I have lost have been the toughest ever. I remember when I lost Nani and the vet clinic called to tell me her ashes were ready to be picked up. I was doing my grocery shopping at Walmart when I got the call. I just stopped and tears filled my eyes. I had to do all I could to get through my task and back in my car. I didn’t want to cry in front of people, but I sure broke down as soon as I was in my car.

    Reply
    • Sarah
      November 7, 2018 at 2:26 pm (9 months ago)

      You are not alone in having that experience, Janine. It seems like the more we love, the more we grieve.

      Reply
  24. Laura
    November 7, 2018 at 8:27 am (9 months ago)

    Thank you for this blog post. I lost my cat Bebe two days ago and I’m still dealing with the grief. Since I’m a cat rescuer I have experienced loss before but each time it hurts profoundly. That’s part of the process and I’m grateful it is this way. Blessings!

    Reply
    • Sarah
      November 7, 2018 at 2:29 pm (9 months ago)

      I’m sorry for your loss of Bebe, Laura.

      Reply
  25. Raine
    November 7, 2018 at 4:19 am (9 months ago)

    I fall in the complicated grief category. I’m still in denial over loosing my big man. I have ptsd among other things and he was a bottle baby that came into my life at my darkest time. I have other kitties and I love them but it’s nothing like the bond I had with him. I “what if” constantly thinking about missing symptoms and my mom picked up his ashes and is holding them until I am up to bringing him home. 8 It’s more painful than the loss of any human. My heart breaks for everyone else who is going through this pain. I wish I had words of comfort. I will definitely be getting this book as this post hit home on all levels.

    Reply
    • Abby
      November 7, 2018 at 4:24 am (9 months ago)

      Raine, I know how hard it is to lose your precious one. I recently lost my boy and while my heart is breaking, I am thankful he didn’t suffer. He was such a huge presence in this house and now it’s so empty. We have album and photos of all our precious ones around and it’s a comfort.

      Reply
      • Lynn
        November 10, 2018 at 1:47 am (9 months ago)

        I lost my very special boy, Little Man, a beautiful orange tabby, just 6 years old, just one month ago. He was the only bright spot in my life since I lost my husband of 40 years 10 months ago to Alzheimer’s. Little Man was special from the day I found him on the side of a barron road, he weighed just 1.2 lbs. I cannot express the amount of comfort he gave me in those dark days after my husband died. Little Man was a totally inside kitty, never got table food, yet he suddenly had an acute pancreias attack and was gone in mere hours. I cannot make sense of it and at times can hardly believe he is really gone, except for the emptiness in this house and in my heart. I will never be as close to another kitty as I was to him. I see him, I hear him, only to realize he is truly gone. I pray dear Lord the Rainbow Bridge truly exist, cannot bear the thought of never holding my sweet Little Man ever again

        Reply
    • Sarah
      November 7, 2018 at 2:32 pm (9 months ago)

      I’m so sorry, Raine. There’s such a deep bond with bottle babies, and also with the ones that help us through the hardest times. On top of PTSD, that’s a lot to handle. It sounds like a wise move to have your mom hold onto his ashes for now. Be gentle with yourself.

      Reply
  26. Abby Frank
    November 7, 2018 at 4:12 am (9 months ago)

    I met my boy when he was 4 hours old, brought him home when he was 2 months old, and I laid next to him when he went to heaven a few months short of his 19th birthday. When I became sick and became home-bound, Sammy was my shadow and my biggest cheerleader. It’s been a little more than 2 weeks and I miss him so much. I’m also so grateful he was my friend for so long.

    Reply
    • Sarah
      November 7, 2018 at 2:34 pm (9 months ago)

      After that long together (and having known Sammy since birth), it can feel like an amputation. Time is strange in grief–two weeks can feel like forever and no time at all, simultaneously.

      Reply
  27. Ange
    November 7, 2018 at 4:12 am (9 months ago)

    I lost my beloved cat Blade earlier this year, I’ve never cried fully and never gotten over him, I know he’s with me in spirit and that he’s no longer in pain. I kept his ashes and they’re next to his older sisfur who passed away a few years ago, I haven’t gotten over her either. This was a wonderfully written article, thank you for the information.

    Reply
    • Sarah
      November 7, 2018 at 2:35 pm (9 months ago)

      I’m sorry for your loss of Blade and his sister, Ange.

      Reply
  28. Liz
    November 7, 2018 at 1:49 am (9 months ago)

    I lost one of my torties almost three years ago and I still grieve for her every day miss her terribly – she was the love of my life. I buried her little body outside my bedroom window so at I know that I brought her back home where she loved to be. Losing her has been the worst thing that has ever happened to me.

    Reply
    • Sarah
      November 7, 2018 at 2:39 pm (9 months ago)

      That sounds so painful, Liz (in my experience, losing a forever cat is even more painful). You buried her in a meaningful place, which is lovely, but of course you still miss her. I’m not sure we ever stop missing them (to one degree or another), because we never stop loving them.

      Reply

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