grief

Yochabel’s Wisdom: Living with Loss

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Guest post by Casey Hersch

This is the last in a series of eight posts by Casey Hersch. Casey discusses the many lessons she learned about caring for Yochabel during her illness, including her quest to stop Yochabel’s cancer from growing and spreading, barriers present with senior cats, variations in diet including supplements and herbs, and how to focus on the individual cat’s needs. Yochabel was not only Casey’s feline companion. She left Casey with ways to cope with her own illness, and with a greater sense of acceptance and gratitude.Continue Reading

The Gift of Anticipatory Grief

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Guest post by Sarah Chauncey

Anticipatory grief is grief that arises before a death—when you know it’s coming, but your cat is still alive. On one end of the spectrum, anticipatory grief can cast a shadow over the time you have left with a sick or senior cat. But this “grief in advance” can also be a gift, if we can recognize it and work with it.Continue Reading

Six Ways to Care for Yourself When You’re Grieving the Loss of a Cat

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Guest post by Sarah Chauncey

As painful as it is, grief is a universal human experience. There isn’t a person on the planet who has not, or will not, experience the loss of a beloved family member. Our culture ranks humans above animals, and therefore, grieving the loss of an animal friend is often not recognized for the painful experience it is. This disenfranchisement can leave people feeling isolated and misunderstood—which compounds the grief.Continue Reading

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

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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.Continue Reading

In Home Euthanasia: A Better End of Life Experience

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Making a decision about whether it’s time to let a beloved pet go is one of the hardest things anyone loving a cat will have to go through. What can compound the difficulty of the decision is that most cats don’t like going to the vet’s. Having the euthanasia performed in the comfort of your home, perhaps even in one of your cat’s favorite spots, can help make saying goodbye a more peaceful experience for both cat and human.Continue Reading

Rainbow Bridge Memorials: Beautiful Jewelry to Remember Lost Loved Ones

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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. Finding ways to remember the lost cat in ways that are meaningful to each person can be an important part of the healing process.

Jennifer Muldowney, the owner and creative force behind Rainbow Bridge Memorials, helps pet parents heal after loss by creating unique pieces of jewelry that contain a small portion of the pet’s ashes.Continue Reading

Coping With the Pain of Losing a Cat: A Round Up of Resources That Can Provide Comfort

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Even if our cats live into their late teens and sometimes early twenties, it’s just not long enough. The price we pay for sharing our lives with these wonderful companions is that sooner or later, we will experience the pain of loss, and it can be as devastating. Joelle Nielsen, a veterinary social worker at the Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine, says she often compares the loss of a pet to the loss of a child or a close family member. Nielsen says the big difference between losing a pet, compared to losing a human, is that “much of society is not aware of the strength of the human-animal bond, so pet loss is often seen as ‘disenfranchised loss,’ meaning it is not socially recognized.”Continue Reading

SoulSessions: Photography At the End of Life

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We live in a culture that doesn’t like to discuss death, let alone look at it, yet pet guardians who ask former zookeeper and Portland-based photographer Kristin Zabawa to take pictures of their dying pets say the photos are critical in helping them process their grief.

For the past five years, Zabawa has been quietly capturing the final moments between guardians and their pets during what she calls “SoulSessions.” Continue Reading

Review: Soul Comfort for Cat Lovers by Liz Eastwood

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Even if our cats live into their late teens and sometimes early twenties, it’s just not long enough. The price we pay for sharing our lives with these wonderful companions is that all of us who considers our cats family members or best friends will sooner or later experience the pain of loss, and it can be as devastating as the loss of any loved one.

There are any number of books on pet loss on the market, but until now, there wasn’t a book that addresses the issue of pet loss specifically from a cat guardian’s perspective. In Soul Comfort for Cat Lovers: Coping Wisdom for Heart and Soul After the Loss of a Beloved Feline, Liz Eastwood provides a roadmap for the journey through grief.

Liz weaves her own experience with grief together with expert advice from grief counselors and stories from other cat lovers.Continue Reading

Review: Love Saves the Day by Gwen Cooper

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From the moment I turned the final page of Gwen Cooper’s New York Times bestseller, Homer’s Odyssey, I was hoping that Gwen would write another cat themed book. When I met Gwen back in September, and heard her read the first chapter of Love Saves the Day, I knew this book was something very special. A book like this doesn’t come along every day.

Love Saves the Day is a novel written from three points of view. The primary narrator is Prudence, a brown tabby rescued from a deserted construction site on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. Prudence is a keen observer of humans and knows them better than they know themselves at times. “Humans best understand the truth of things if they come at it indirectly. Like how sometimes the best way to catch a mouse that’s right in front of you is to back up before you pounce.” You’ll find yourself smiling, and sometimes laughing out loud, at Prudence’s insight into human nature and astute descriptions of her world. From the “wonderful heated cat bed” in a place called “Home Office,” to Prudence’s dismissal of a self-cleaning litterbox (“It scared me so much that I started going on the living room rug just to avoid it“) Cooper’s love for cats and understanding of their nature and emotional lives, tempered with a sense of humor, is evident throughout the book.Continue Reading

Coping With the Pain of Pet Loss

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Even if our cats live into their late teens and sometimes early twenties, it’s just not long enough. The price we pay for sharing our lives with these wonderful companions is that all of us who considers our cats family members or best friends will sooner or later experience the pain of loss, and it can be as devastating as the loss of any loved one. Joelle Nielsen, a veterinary social worker at the Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine, says she often compares the loss of a pet to the loss of a child or a close family member. Nielsen says the big difference between losing a pet, compared to losing a human, is that “much of society is not aware of the strength of the human-animal bond, so pet loss is often seen as ‘disenfranchised loss,’ meaning it is not socially recognized.”

Another significant difference is the matter of euthanasia. Deciding to end a pet’s pain and suffering is one of the most difficult choices pet owners ever have to make, and it can engender massive feelings of guilt and regret after the fact.

While there are some commonalities, grieving the loss of a pet is a unique experience for each individual.  Factors that play into how the loss is handled Continue Reading