Cat Loss Grief: Tips on Coping with Losing a Cat

Post Published on April 22, 2016 | Last Updated on July 15, 2021 by Jenny

Cat Loss Grief: Tips on Coping with Losing a Cat

Rags' Box on My Mantel
Rags’ Box on My Mantel

Grief over the loss of a cat is perfectly natural – pets can be members of the family and precious long-term companions. Everyone grieves differently, and it is important not to let other people dictate how you should feel. Here are a few constructive ways to process and move through pet loss grief:

Putting a Pet to Sleep

Putting a pet to sleep is usually the result of both your veterinarian’s assessment and your own judgment. Cats who are terminally ill might still have a good quality of life for a while, but there are signs you can watch for to determine if your cat is really suffering:

  • Low activity level and appetite
  • Obvious signs of pain
  • Lack of response to affection and participation in family life

If your cat it showing these signs, it might be time to consider ending their suffering in a humane way. A lot of veterinarians will allow you to be with your cat as they are put to sleep, which for a lot of people is an important first step in the grieving process; it makes the passing real and allows for you to comfort and say goodbye to your pet in their final moments.

Finding the Necessary Support

It’s important to consciously seek out family and friends who are pet lovers to support you during this time – don’t be influenced by people who say “it was only a cat,” or try to bury your feelings in an attempt to appear strong. Often Humane Societies can also recommend pet loss support groups and counselors that can be another source of pet loss help.

Memorializing Your Cat:

Urns

You might want to find a special urn to put your pet’s ashes in them.  There are a lot of custom urns on Etsy.

Custom Cat Urn on Etsy

Grief and Other Pets

Pets typically notice changes in a household, so surviving pets may also go through a period of grief for a lost feline companion. These pets will need some extra love and care for a while, and this opportunity to bond with your other pets can be healing for both of you.

A lot of people have also been helped in their grieving process by adopting a new kitty, especially if one is available from the same litter. Of course, this new addition can never be a replacement, but it is something new to focus on and a constructive distraction from grief.

Coping with Pet Loss is a significant struggle in the lives of pet-lovers, but there are so many healthy ways to express and share your grief, as well as continue to experience your love of cats through old and new pets. How have you dealt with the loss of a pet?

How did your family members and other pets react? What recommendations do you have for getting through the grief?

When my Rags passed, I decided to make a box for this ashes – and it was a really therapeutic process for me.  You can see the start of the box for Rags here, then there’s a second post showing progress and the third post shows the final product. Related Reading: Custom Cat Engraved Night Light7 Touching Cat Loss Sympathy Gifts

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6 thoughts on “Cat Loss Grief: Tips on Coping with Losing a Cat

  1. Teresa Carpenter says:

    Hello.
    It looks as though loss of a beloved Ragdoll are posts from last year. I lost my beautiful girl to pulmonary embolism too. It was on June 28, 2021 and it happened so quickly. She was acting differently. I picked her up and put her next to me. Her feet were ice cold and she cried loudly and continueously. I put my hand on her and spoke soothingly. I took my hand away only for a moment. When I touched ber again, she was gone. I am having trouble moving on. Her ashes a lock of her fur, and paw print are in a wooden box. A funeral home nearby will do this for a small fee. They know that our pets are family and their loss is felt also. I have two exotic shorthair sister and a loving goldendoodle. I give them lots of love. I’m just having trouble getting over my grief.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Just lost my beautiful ragdoll Halee. She was fine one minute and gone the next from a pulmonary embolism. I am devastated. So is her twin sister. I lost my furbaby. I held her in my hand at 2 days old. I lost a piece of my heart.

  3. Patti Johnson says:

    Thank you for this wonderful post, Jenny! Such helpful information. Truly! It’s a subject that is not easy to talk about for most people. And, I believe talking about death is an important way to work through your grief. Your post today is such a comforting piece of information to help folks know that they are not alone with their grief and loss. Thank you.

    We’ve lost many beloved pets over the years of our lives. Talking about the memories shared, the love shared, the horrible feeling of emptiness without that special pet is all part of the process in our family. Having pictures and stories to share and remember are truly beneficial in working through our grief and, of course, the passing of time makes it easier to talk about that loss and pain.

    Oh, and I lurve your memorial to your beloved Rags!

    Big hugs!

    Patti & Miss Pink Sugarbelle 🙂 <3

  4. ABarletta says:

    Jenny, this is so on point. Great guide to coping. It is never, ever easy. Hope you and your family are healing over Napa’s passing. Takes a very long time.

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