Published by: Ingrid King. Last Updated on: June 28, 2023 by Crystal Uys
Losing a beloved cat is devastating, no matter what the circumstances. Grief is a very individual experience, and no two cat guardians will grieve in exactly the same way. Rituals can play an important role in the healing process. There is something about acknowledging grief through a tangible action that can help soothe raw emotions.
Rituals can take many different forms. The best ritual is the one that has the most meaning for you. Find something that resonates with you, and add your own personal expression to it.
The 8 Ideas to Cope With Pet Loss
1. Share the loss with friends and family
Sharing your loss with others who are supportive can help heal a wounded heart. Invite people who have either known your cat, or who truly understand how important she was in your life, and spend time sharing stories about the her and your life together. You could even structure this gathering as a memorial service for your beloved cat.
2. Plant something
Plant a tree, a rosebush, or a flowering plant in your cat’s memory. Doing something life giving is a wonderful way to remember a cat, and you can visit with your memorial plant whenever you feel you need to be close to your cat.
3. Photo tributes
One of the things I’ve always done after losing one of my cats is surround myself with photos. I would place them all over my house. In some small way, it made me feel like the lost cat was still with me in a somewhat tangible way. Other ways to use photos to remember lost cat is by creating a collage suitable for framing, or an online photo album. Going through years of photos may bring tears, but hopefully, it will also bring smiles as you remember your time together.
4. A painted portrait
After Feebee passed away, a friend surprised me with a painted portrait. To this day, it’s one of my most treasured possessions. There’s something about a painting that speaks to a different part of your soul than photographs.
5. Art and craft projects
Create an art and craft project in your pet’s memory. When Virginia, my first office cat at the animal hospital died, the entire hospital staff spent an evening creating mosaic memory stones. We made one for Virginia, and three more for other hospital cats who had gone before her. We placed the stones in the hospital’s front garden. Working on the stones together as we shared memories of the cats was a wonderful healing experience for everyone.
6. Make a donation to your favorite shelter or rescue group in your cat’s memory
Sponsor a shelter cat in your cat’s memory. Donate to the group you adopted your cat from. Some shelters will even provide a memorial stone or plaque with your cat’s name.
7. Create a special memorial space in your home
Find a special urn for your cat’s ashes. I have all my departed cats’ ashes on the dresser in my bedroom. There is something very comforting to me to see them just before I go to bed each night, and when I first wake up each morning. Gather some of your cat’s favorite toys and display them in a pretty basket in a spot that was meaningful to your cat.
8. Keep a journal
Write down all your favorite memories of your cat. Time has a way of blurring memories. Writing things down while they’re still fresh in your mind preserves these special moments. Feebee died fourteen years ago, and whenever I go back to read what I wrote shortly after he passed away, it brings back memories of things he used to do that I had long forgotten.
What rituals have brought you comfort after losing a cat?
Featured Image Credit: Antonio Guillem, Shutterstock
About the author
Ingrid King is an award-winning author, former veterinary hospital manager, and veterinary journalist who is passionate about cats.