Paws to listen
A free support service has been launched to help grieving owners cope with the loss of their cat
Cats Protection's Paws to Listen service was launched as survey findings showed that 75% of cat owners believed that the public underestimated the effect the death of a cat has on its owner.
Owners can use the confidential line to speak to trained volunteers who can offer emotional and practical help in coping with the loss of a cat.
The services is supported by free online guides and leaflets to help owners with sensitive issues including understanding euthanasia and how to help children deal with the death of a much-loved pet.
The launch of the service comes as a survey of 1,011 cat owners showed that three-quarters of them believe society underestimated the impact a death of a cat has on its owner. The research - conducted in July 2016 - also showed that:
- Over half of all owners believed that making the decision to have their cat put to sleep would intensify their feelings of grief
- nearly 60% of cat owners would describe themselves as being 'very' or 'extremely' upset by the death of their cat
- a quarter of cat owners would expect their grieving process to take up to a year after losing a cat
- over a third of owners believed there was not enough support for owners to deal with the death of their cat
- over 40% of cat owners said that, during the grieving process, they would find it supportive speaking to someone who is not a close friend or family member
- when asked how they would feel talking about their grief over a deceased cat, a fifth of people said they would feel afraid of being seen as 'over-reacting' or like people wouldn't understand, while one in 10 said they would feel embarrassed or afraid of how others would respond
As well as the support line and information guides, Cats Protection also offers a memory wall on its website, where owners can pay tribute to their pets, and a page where people can offer support to other upset cat owners.
To find out more, please visit www.cats.org.uk/grief or to speak to a volunteer on the Paws to Listen phone line, call 0800 024 94 94. The line is open from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday excluding bank holidays.