For many people, the loss of their cat is as traumatic and emotionally challenging as the loss of any other family member. This creature that has bought so much joy and unconditional love into our homes and hearts – their absence leaves a massive hole and it hurts.
Whatever the circumstances of your loss, whether your pet battled with a long illness or you were in the position of losing a cat suddenly, it is likely that you will be grieving. Grief is a unique and individual experience, and while it is perfectly normal to grieve for the loss of a loved one, there is no normal way to grieve.
Everyone responds differently to grief and you may experience all, some or none of the following:
The relationship you had with your cat was likely to be a strong one. It’s an attachment relationship, similar to the type of relationship a parent has with its child. Little wonder then, that it hurts so much to say goodbye.
It may be that your beloved cat hasn’t died yet and you are anticipating, or even dreading, their death. Perhaps you have a difficult decision to make and are struggling with how you’ll get through this. This type of situation often brings anticipatory grief – a type of grieving that starts even before your cat has died.
When a pet is very sick or dies, it can be difficult to manage your feelings or thoughts as the world carries on around you. You may feel alone in dealing with the loss of your cat, as if nobody would understand.
Whatever you’re thinking or feeling, it is likely to be part of your own personal grief. There is no set time limit for grief. Equally, there is no set way to experience or process your grief.
Many people find it helpful to talk through their experience of grieving for a cat with someone who understands how important a relationship with your cat is.
If your grief becomes complex or prolonged, you might benefit from seeking out a personal therapist to support you through this difficult time. You can ask your GP about finding a suitable therapist.
If you’d rather have someone to talk to that will simply listen, you can contact our Paws to Listen helpline, where our trained listeners are on hand.