Grieving for Cats

CAT FANCY readers share their stories of grieving for cats while honoring their memories to help others overcome the pain of losing a cat.

By CatChannel Editors

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Losing a Cat
Remember fond memories of your cat to help grieve for your loss.
We asked CAT FANCY readers and CatChannel visitors how they dealt with the difficulty of a cat's passing. Here is what helped them work through the loss of their cat. Tell us if these ideas have helped you or if other things have worked for you in the comments below. 

Let Yourself Cry
Crying and relying on my other cat to help me get through it. My husband handled it differently; it was his cat, and the cat passed away from a blocked urethra in my husband’s arms. If only the vet let do payments our cat would still be alive, we even got a $6,000 refund four days after he died last March. I’ve decided the only way my husband will be able to move on is with another kitty, so for Father’s day I’m bringing home a new kitten just for him. – Dyanna Engle-Bayer

Create a Memorial

It’s pretty much the same when your dog dies; you still feel totally destroyed on the inside. Personally, the best thing I did (and I don't regret it at all - or any of my other tattoos, for that matter) is getting my dog's paw print, adoption date, and the date she had to be put down tattooed. In some ways, the pain from the tattoo (it honestly didn't hurt that much) or at least hurt less than losing my dog, but it helped me to heal. But On the bright side, I will always have a piece of my sweet Pepper with my forever. – Brodi Jean Patricia Tallman-Sellsted

Remember and Move On
I went out and adopted another one. Even though I love my new cat, it's been a difficult road because he could sense that I was still grieving. I'm ashamed to admit that perhaps even though I tried giving him love, perhaps he didn't feel accepted for a long time. – Judy Camblor

I have lost many loving cats over the past 35 years. It is one of the most difficult things I have ever had to deal with. They are my children and I live for them! I have always had cats, so there has never been a need to replace them, but I can honestly say that no two cats are alike – each one has its own very loving personality. And, yes: The others do know that I am grieving and do their best to comfort me and each other. I miss every single one that I have lost. I loved them all so dearly. – Jennifer Newman

Help Rescue Another Cat
Katie had been my beautiful companion for 12 years. She had congestive heart failure and pancreatitis the last couple of years. The vet told me that Katie would tell me when it was time to let her go. She did. I could see it in her eyes. I loved her so much I knew I could never be without a cat again. I went right from the vets office when she was put down to the shelter and adopted a new kitty in less than an hour. This may not be for everybody, but it helped me heal. The week I had to wait to actually get the new kitten was the longest week in my life. Simcha can never replace Katie. One cat is not meant to replace another. But she fills that empty spot in my heart. It is so great to come home and have a cat staring out the door waiting anxiously for me to open it so she can shower me with kitty kisses. And I feel good knowing that as one kitty life ended, the life of another kitty was saved. – Elizabeth Williams

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Reader Comments

Galadriel    Lothlorien, ME

11/26/2013 11:49:13 PM

Great advice for one of the most difficult times in our lives.

Georgia    Coldwater, OH

9/5/2013 9:27:22 AM

Writing this helped me through what I knew would be a difficult time to come:
The last day of 2012 began with an early morning trip to the vet’s office. Dawn had not yet broken and night hung on into the cold winter’s day. Making a visit to see my cat Pepper before going to work, I made a conscious mental memory. Something told me this was the beginning of the end. She had an emergency hospitalization over the weekend, the result of a blood clot in her spinal cord which left her hind legs paralyzed. Her prognosis was guarded. At fifteen years of age, it would be difficult for her to recover, if at all.
The first of February found me asleep on the sofa, Pepper sleeping on the floor at my side. Today will be her last day on earth. We have tried various treatments with a bit of success. But there comes a time when the final decisions are not really ours. A higher authority has deemed that our time together has come to an end. This last month has been a struggle for her. I do not believe she has been in pain, as I would not have made her suffer. But her life has not been what it should. Although she is a cat and does sleep the best part of a day, not being able to move from one spot to another, get a drink of water or even continue with her fastidious cleanliness is not the life she deserves.
I look at the clock—two o’clock---four hours left until I will take her to be assisted to her final peace. One cannot imagine how difficult this is. I know many, many pet owners have had to make this choice, but until you have walked this path, it’s impossible to understand the feelings. Words cannot express the pain in my heart. I know this is what’s best for her and cannot be selfish and make her continue to exist for my benefit. I know this is the end for my dear sweet Pepper. I will no longer find her sleeping in a sunbeam shining through a door or sitting on the back of a chair, watching the world outside a window. I will not be able to feel her warmth on my lap, pet her soft fur or hear her purring contentedly. She will no longer greet me in the morning while waiting patiently for me to refresh the water in her bowl. She always likes it with a little ice.
Pepper was a surprise addition to our family, but easily worked her way into our hearts. The love she expressed when jumping on my lap while tears fell from my eyes during times of distress will be remembered. I am losing an old friend and it’s hard to say goodbye. But I wouldn’t have missed it for the world; the joys far outweigh the pain. While Pepper crosses and waits for me to join her at the Rainbow Bridge, I will borrow a line from St. Paul, but changing his last word which was servant. I will tell her, “Well done good and faithful friend.”

Pattie    Grand Junction, CO

7/23/2013 4:02:55 AM

I don't know what to say on grieving for a cat that has passed. My best friend of over 15 years passed away on the 4th of July this year. I have 2 other cats, one of whom is grieving as badly as I am, but it's just not the same. I had my baby since she was 6 weeks old and the only thing I can think of doing is adopting another cat that I found at a shelter that is over 15 years old, like she was, that had been in the same family since he was a kitten. The owners of this cat decided to become missionaries overseas and took their cat in to a shelter. He is diabetic but that's no biggie. A shot every day like a human and he should be fine. Something drew me to this cat and I think I am most definitely going to adopt him as soon as my husband gets back into town from work. (By the end of this week) This cat also looks like my Liddle Kiddle but he is a boy in need a family. I already know this cat has a health issue so if he does pass, I'm all ready for it instead of it being my baby who had no health problems. She just had a seizure on the first of July, came out of it and no sooner had she recovered, then she had another one, this time she did not come out of it. I thanked her for being my best friend and told her that we love her and she died in my arms as we parked our car in the parking lot of the animal hospital. I think this new cat would make me feel useful again.

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