Published by: Ingrid King. Last Updated on: February 1, 2023 by Crystal Uys


“Each time I’ve lost a cat, I’ve gained something in my life—made decisions about my career, begun working in a new medium or style, found new friends. Perhaps the trauma of the loss caused me to see things from a new perspective, or it was a gift of gratitude from the cat I’d lost,” says animal artist and writer Bernadette E. Kazmarski.

She had determined years ago to design animal sympathy cards as most of the cards she’d received for her losses were not animal-specific, but wanted to make sure she had enough experience and perspective so she wouldn’t design something she’d later feel was incomplete or immature. One cat’s passing in 2009 gave her the space to follow through. As a fine artist as well as a commercial artist designing these cards was second nature. She intentionally chose photos rather than paintings for most of the designs, feeling the realism of a photo was needed when expressing the deep and sincere emotions of these cards. She visualized the style, wrote out a list of sentiments that were most heartfelt yet brief and general enough to be used by others, organized her own photos and designed one dozen cards while still deep in the grief of losing that remarkable cat.


Each of the cats was or is one of her rescues, and the dog Tika was a therapy dog whose guardian she’d worked with on a pet loss project. She is careful with the images she uses, not only that they are easily recognized and representative of all animal companions, but that she knows the animal well enough to use its image for this purpose; they are conveying a heavy thought, and she doesn’t take the relationship with her subjects lightly.

“I’m surprised to find these cards are also purchased for the loss of a human, or even a ‘thinking of you’ card for persons who like animals,” she says.


The Animal Sympathy set now includes 13 cards with the addition of a new card dedicated to the memory of a 20-year-old cat she’d rescued and lost after six weeks. In addition to the intentionally-designed sympathy cards are the variety of blank greeting and note cards she has designed from paintings and photos of her cats.

Ordering Information

All cards come with matching envelopes.

Single cards: shipped as soon as possible after order by first-class mail

Sets: pre-designed set of 12 or custom set by request

Wholesale for Animal Professionals: all cards are available for wholesale prices and quantities to animal professionals.

Customization: custom-imprinted with logo or personalized sentiment inside with quantity purchase.

Click here for more information about the cards, and to order.

*FTC Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Portraits of Animals, which means that I was paid to feature these products. Regardless of payment received, you will never see products or services featured on this site that I don’t either use or would use myself.

All photos ©Bernadette Kazmarski, used with permission.

About the author

10 Comments on Animal Sympathy Cards from Portraits of Animals

  1. Aren’t they beautiful? And so touching and sensitive as well. We have her art hanging in our home and love them. She’s so talented. We especially love the fact that sweet Lakota is remembered in this way.

    • I agree. Bernadette has a way of capturing the essence of an animal in both her art and her photography that’s very special.

  2. What a lovely idea, I wish you all success with them.

    When any of my own cats have died in he past I’ve made my own sort of stationery per photocopies of them which have helped ME tremendously.

    Yours are so much more sophisticated and really beautiful. Our local vets do similar (not so good) and put their own words in about the particular animal which is also nice.

    • What a wonderful idea to make your own stationery. I have made collages after my cats died, and I, too, found it very healing.

    • Pet loss cards do seem to be hard to find in stores, Sue. I think it’s worth waiting the extra day or two it takes to get these cards.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *