How to manage the grief of losing a cat.
Losing your beloved cat can be just as devastating as the loss of any other friend or family member.
Your feline friend is a constant source of comfort, joy and unconditional love, someone that gets you out of bed in the morning, welcomes you home after a hard day and is always there to listen to your worries and problems.
Not having that faithful companion around anymore, whether that’s because they have gone missing, passed away or you have had to make the difficult decision to give them up or have them put to sleep, can leave a big hole in your home and your heart.
Sadly, the loss of a pet isn’t always seen in society as a significant loss and others can struggle to show understanding and compassion for those grieving for an animal.
This can sometimes make you feel like you are unable to express your sadness and cause you to feel alone, but it’s important to allow yourself to grieve.
Here are some important things to remember when going through the emotional pain of saying goodbye…
1. There is no ‘normal’ way to grieve
Grief is a very personal process and everyone experiences it differently. You may feel sadness, anger, anxiety, guilt, denial, shame, despair, confusion, tiredness or even experience physical sickness and pain, but all of these are completely natural.
2. There is no set time limit for grief
You might find that your grief subsides after a few weeks or months, or it could last for a year or more, but the intense feelings will eventually pass. Be patient and allow yourself to feel the sadness and pain. Only you will know when you’re ready to move on.
3. Look after yourself
It can be difficult to stay healthy and active when you’re grieving, but looking after yourself will help you to cope. Try to keep up your daily routine, eat healthily, and get plenty of sleep. Also avoid things that could ‘numb’ the pain, such as alcohol, as this will only make you feel worse when the numbness wears off.
4. Talking about it helps
Sharing how you feel with someone who understands how important your cat was to you can help you process your grief and cope with painful emotions. You could talk to a friend, family member or one of Cats Protection’s trained volunteer listeners who can provide emotional and practical support during this very difficult time. Our free and confidential Paws to Listen helpline is available Monday to Friday, 9am-5pm on 0800 024 94 94. If your grief becomes complex or prolonged, you might find that speaking to a counsellor will help. Talk to your GP about finding a suitable counsellor for you.
You can find more advice and support in coping with the loss of your cat on the Cats Protection website where you can also pay a special tribute to your beloved feline friend on our Memory Wall.
For advice on how to support a friend or family member who is grieving for a cat, take a look at our tips here.