this was not my cat but was my aunt’s im am 10 yro and this cat has been by my side ever since I got separated from my parents and my parents broke up and i was depressed but Tiggy was always bye my side and was my emotional weird loving funny cat and was adorable🥰 and pawsome anddddd verrrryyyy clingy this is loveing memory of my wonderful sidekick Tiggy the fluff cat message to tiggy see you up the bud
How to Cope with the Loss of Your Cat
By Desiree Argentina, CCS foster and adopter
The death of your cat can be one of the most devastating losses you will ever face. It can be just as difficult or even more so than the loss of a human family member. The loss of your beloved cat can be extra hard to deal with because they are by your side every day and love you unconditionally. They bring you joy and keep you laughing with their silly antics.
The loss of your cat can be distressing and overwhelming. It’s completely normal to feel a range of emotions including sadness, anger, guilt, shock, disbelief and despair. You may even experience physical symptoms. Common physical symptoms associated with grief include stomachaches, headaches and fatigue.
It doesn’t matter if your cat was with you for 20 years or just a few months. The loss is still just as real and painful. Losing your cat is extremely difficult and can cause indescribable grief. You deserve the time and space to grieve the loss of your best friend.
Many times, we know the passing of our precious feline is in the near future. Whether you are watching your cat get older or they have a heart-wrenching diagnosis, losing your cat is just as painful if it was expected. This is called anticipatory grief. It’s the feeling of grief experienced before the impending loss.
Anticipatory grief is just as valid as the grief experienced after the loss. Even with anticipatory grief, many find themselves unprepared for the grief they feel before losing their beloved cat, and they may find it difficult to express their grief, especially when their beloved kitty is still with them. Anticipatory grief is a very valid and real part of the grieving journey. It is OK to grieve though your pet is still with you. Everything in this article also applies to anticipatory grief.
The first few days after your cat passed away may be the hardest. You may feel like you are in a daze, unable to think clearly or concentrate on anything else. You may find yourself crying randomly or feeling anxious or restless without your furry best friend by your side. You may even feel numb or detached from your surroundings. All of these reactions are completely normal and to be expected.
It’s important to give yourself time to grieve. This is a normal process and can be helpful in healing from the loss. The grieving journey is different for everyone, but there are ways to cope with the loss of your beloved cat. If you’re dealing with the grief of losing your cat, read on for some ways to help.
Expressing Your Feelings
Allow yourself to feel all of your emotions, even ones you may not expect.
Journal about your cat and your feelings. Writing about your cat and the loss can help you to process your emotions and put words to the difficult emotions you are experiencing.
Do something creative to express your feelings. You can draw, craft, make a collage, scrapbook, write a song or a poem. Using your creativity is a great way to process and express your grief in a healthy way.
Reach out for support. Continue reading to learn different ways you can gain support through this difficult time.
One of the best ways to express your grief is by honoring your best friend. Here are some ideas for different ways you can honor or memorialize your sweet kitty.
Ideas to Honor Your Pet
- Order a custom portrait
- Display your cat’s paw print (many vets will provide the paw print to you)
- Plant a tree or flowers in their memory
- Paint a rock
- Book a tattoo
- Paint or draw their portrait
- Put together a scrapbook or photo album
- Display your favorite photos in a frame
- Customizable art or jewelry (check out Etsy)
- Save their favorite toys
- Make a small altar in your home to memorialize your cat
- Dedicate a special spot in your yard
You may need a little extra support through this difficult time and there is no shame in that. Sharing your feelings about your pet’s death with others who understand can help you feel less alone in your grief journey and allow you to connect with others who share similar feelings. Ask for help from friends and family members who’ve gone through similar experiences. The more support you have from other people who understand what you’re going through, the more you will be able to express your grief.
Here are some ways that you can seek support through this devastating time:
- Attend a pet loss support group
- Join pet loss support Facebook groups or meetups
- Take time off of work (check if your employer offers a pet bereavement policy)
- Spend time with loved ones and other pets
If you find that your grief is so overwhelming that it interferes with daily life, consider talking with a mental health professional about how to cope.
Taking Care of Yourself
You must take care of yourself through this difficult time. Practicing self-care and being gentle with yourself while maintaining your physical and emotional health is so very important. Here are things you can do to take care of yourself through your grief journey:
- Stick to your normal diet and eat as you normally would
- Give yourself time and space to grieve
- Take care of your hygiene: Shower, brush your teeth and floss
- Go to sleep and wake up at your normal times
- Spend time with friends
- Get in physical activity each day, even if it’s a short walk
- Get dressed each morning
- Keep your home organized and tidy
Cats are family. Losing your furry best friend is a devastating loss and the grief can be debilitating. It’s important to express your feelings of grief and to seek support. Be gentle and patient with yourself. Losing your cat is devastating. Remember that you gave your cat the best life you could have and they knew how much you loved them.
When you are ready, consider adding another pet to your home.
About the Author: Desiree Argentina is a mental health therapist, podcast host and crazy cat lady with an Etsy shop. Desiree fosters cats as well as does TNR (trap neuter release) in the community to help decrease the stray cat population. Desiree has three of her own cats (two of which she fostered and then adopted through Cat Care Society). She recently lost her elderly cat, LeeLee at the age of 17. Desiree is passionate about the human-animal bond and educating others on the benefits that animals can have on our mental health and overall well-being.
This post was authored and edited according to Cat Care Society’s editorial standards and style. Opinions expressed may not necessarily reflect that of CCS.
Sounds like Tiggy was such a great cat and support. Sorry for your loss. RIP Tiggy! <3
Thank you for this post. Out of all the ones I’ve read on grief by far this is the best one. We lost our beloved 20 year old kitty, Chloe, on Saturday. While we knew our days with her were a gift at her age, we had hoped for at least another year since she was in amazingly good health. Sadly, the dreaded feline renal kidney failure came calling swiftly. It took us all by surprise and dealt us this devastating blow. Thankfully she only had a few days of struggle before we were able to accept the inevitable and were able to release her comfortably, here at home. Oh tho how it aches… sigh. Deep, deep sigh. Sending healing vibes to all who might be going through a similar and treacherous journey. Thanks again, Desiree for “doing the lords work.” You are a gift.
Hi Brian, I am so incredibly sorry for your loss. I lost my 17 year old kitty back in April so I know just how you feel. We were losing her slowly, had hope as she was doing better (so we thought) and then we quickly needed to make the decision. I’m so glad this blog was helpful. I hope it gave you some comfort.
I just lost my 18 years old kitty Janka today. He was diagnosed with kidney disease 2 years and 4 months ago, after we returned from being evacuated from Lake Tahoe during the Caldor fire. Thanks to a wonderful vet, I was able to provide him with a quality of life after the diagnosis by providing him with fluids and medicines. I added CBD oil to his therapy regime last spring, and that gave him some additional comfort during his final months. But when I returned from work yesterday evening, he had taken a sudden downturn, and was having trouble breathing. I was up with him all night and thought that I might lose him during the night. I took him in his stroller (I’m 65 and don’t drive anymore due a cataract on one eye) to the same vet (who offices are nearby to where I live) this morning, and after checking him, the vet, who is a sweet and kind lady, informed me sadly that his lungs were filling with fluid either from congestive heart failure or cancer. Either way, we both agreed that the right thing to do would be to let him go. It was the hardest decision that I’ve ever had to make, but I did, and he passed peacefully. It broke my heart, but I know that I did the right thing.
correction: whose offices are nearby
Roger, I am so sorry for your loss. Definitely sounds like you made the right choice. Though difficult, you did such a kind and loving thing for Janka. Sounds like you gave him a wonderful life full of love and care.
Thank you, Desiree, for your kind words. He was my little kitty-buddy and letting him go tore a hole in my heart, but I am striving to fill it back in with the love that I have and will always have for him. I need to give myself time to grieve, and then when I’m ready, I will honor his memory by providing a loving home for another kitty, I think. I will never replace him, nor would I try. Our dear, sweet animal friends are not replaceable, nor are they disposable. I took this week off from work to adjust to not having him with me. I’m 65 and am now alone, after having Janka’s company for 18 years. It’s a big adjustment, but I’m doing my best to cope with his loss. Living here in the mountains is a blessing. When I find myself overwhelmed with grief, when the walls of my apartment are closing in, I put on my boots and go for a 2- or 3-mile walk. I know that nothing that I do will bring my kitty back, but I have the solace of knowing that I gave him a good life, during both the good times and the hard times after he was diagnosed with kidney disease and I was there for him at the end and did the right thing for him.
That is a huge adjustment! I am so glad you were able to take time off of work to give yourself that time to grieve. I love the idea of getting another furry best friend in the future to honor Janka and his memory. Sounds like you have so much love to give! Another kitty will be so lucky to have you! Janka’s memory will live on forever with you <3
I appreciated your words. I had to put my Annie (17) down due to kidney failure yesterday. She and I were bonded for almost 2 decades. She followed me everywhere slept by my head every night and was a sweet gentle soul who was joyful and precious to all who knew her . I feel completely lost and in deep despair without her. As she got sicker and sicker over the month the anticipatory grief was disabling as well and I ended up having biopsies of a strange skin rash ( which now they believe was caused by the stress’s and grief I was experiencing before she ever passed) It is a thousand times more painful now that her energy and love is gone. I am physically Ill over it and can barely function. I try to walk everyday and distract my thoughts … but it is always there. You just have to feel them and endure the agony.
There is nothing worse than grief such as this.
I’m so sorry for your loss. Grief certainly shows itself in physical ways. This really is such an excruciating pain. I hope that you are able to honor Annie’s life in some way and that you find healing and peace. Annie was so loved <3
Last week my 19+ year old cat’s health declined to where I made the choice to give her final rest. As I read the other posts, they reflect the relationship we build with our animals are often much closer than those of the humankind. Now that she is gone, the emotional pain is intense. Like many others, she and I spent night and day together from the time she was a kitten. It definitely helps to read how others are feeling. It makes me feel less alone.