How To Cope with the Loss of a Cat

Learning how to deal with the loss of a cat is never easy, but I have some valuable tips that can help you overcome it.

Mar 1, 2024byRyan Brennan
How To Cope with the Loss of a Cat

I’ve had my cat for nine years, and I’m hoping to have him for another nine – but one day, I’ll have to face the inevitable. One day, our journey together will come to an end.

Like many of you, I dread that day.

I know – it’s a difficult subject to talk about. Unfortunately, it’s one that thousands of people face daily – most of whom have no idea how to cope with the loss of a cat.

If this sounds like you, I have some advice to help you find peace.

What You’re Feeling Is Completely Normal

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You’re going through a lot of emotions right now. Guilt, sadness, confusion, loneliness, devastation – it might feel like the world is working against you right now, but these feelings are normal. In fact, they’re necessary!

Have you ever heard of the five stages of grief?

Denial. Anger. Bargaining. Depression. Acceptance.

As much as we’d like to skip those first four stages and head straight for acceptance, that’s not how our brains are wired. If we don’t feel those feelings now, they’ll continue to weigh us down in the future.

That’s why it’s okay (encouraged, even) to feel guilty, angry, depressed, anxious – all of the above. It shows that you care, and shows just how much your feline friend meant to you. They might not be with you physically, but they’ll be with you spiritually – forever and always!

Think Happy Thoughts & Cherish the Good Memories

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It’s easy to get down on yourself after losing a pet – and when we’re down on ourselves, our minds often run rampant with negativity and pessimism. So, how can we distance ourselves from these thoughts?

By flipping the script.

Negative and pessimistic thoughts are normal when overcoming the loss of your cat (and as we explained above, they’re necessary), but don’t get caught up in those thoughts – don’t let them define you.

Instead, do your best to stay positive – and couple all those negative thoughts with positive ones. Sure, the loss of your cat is devastating, but think about the life they had – the life you gave them. Think about all the good times you shared, and the good memories you have – nothing can take those away from you!

There’s nothing wrong with reminiscing about the past, but don’t dwell on it – that’ll only make it worse.

Lean On Your Support System

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As with any death, it’s important to have a strong support system surrounding you at all times. Having people to lean on – people to talk to – goes a long way in learning how to deal with the loss of a cat.

So, who should your support system consist of?

Well, that’s up to you. Family members, friends, co-workers, teachers, counselors – whoever you feel most comfortable with. There are also a variety of online (and in-person) communities that connect you with fellow cat owners going through a similar experience.

If you find yourself needing more help – such as professional help – don’t hesitate to reach out to a therapist, psychologist, or even a primary care doctor. There’s no shame in this – in fact, it’s encouraged!

And remember – you’re not the only one experiencing pain right now. Other family members (and even pets) need support, too – so make sure you’re leaning on each other!

Find a New Hobby or Sense of Purpose

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Sitting around basking in your sorrow won’t do any good – in fact, it’ll only exacerbate the problem. Instead, try keeping yourself active – not just physically, but mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.

If you don’t already have a hobby (or if your current hobbies aren’t doing the trick), find a new one – try something new. Who knows, it might be just what you need to take your mind off your tragic loss.

Not that we’re trying to forget – because we’re not – but we have to move on. We have to move forward.

Some activities that can help snap you out of a funk include exercising, enjoying a night out with friends, learning a new skill, finding new music to listen to, cooking a new recipe, or participating in a yoga class.

Anything that’ll help provide a sense of meaning (or purpose) in your life – don’t hesitate, just do it!

Create a Memorial for Your Cat

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When someone we love passes away, we memorialize them. We decorate their grave, frame our favorite pictures of them on the wall, and even dedicate certain areas of the home (or outside the house) to them.

Do the same for your cat – after all, they deserve it!

If your cat touched the lives of many, invite those people over for a memorial service. Build them a grave in your backyard – but refrain from actually burying them there. Create a personalized and meaningful cat memorial to display in your garden, on your porch, or in your cat’s favorite room.

And for those moments when you’re not home and need a pick-me-up, save a folder in your phone with all your favorite photos of you and your cat – that way, they’re in one place, ready when you need them.

They might be gone, but their legacy will live on through you!

When Should You Consider Getting Another Cat?

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As much as I wish there were a universal answer to this question, there isn’t. Some people will benefit from getting a new one right away, while some people need time (and space) before adopting a new cat.

Others might find the thought of losing another cat too overwhelming to consider getting a new one.

Everyone is different.

What matters most is that you do what’s right for you and your family – and, perhaps most importantly, you do it at the right time. It’s a delicate decision and one that shouldn’t be made alone.

With that said, I wish you all the best as you navigate this difficult time in your life. It won’t be easy, but you have a lot of people ready to support you – we’ll get through this together!

Ryan Brennan
byRyan Brennan

Ryan is a content writer with 10+ years of experience in the field. He is the proud owner of a white domestic short-haired cat with black spots named Jaxx - he looks like a cow, but acts and sounds like a cat. They enjoy doing laps around the house with a laser pointer and snuggling when it’s time for bed. Ryan hopes to give Jaxx a puppy friend someday.