Katina Solomon of the website Online Psychology Degree explains some ways to get through that difficult time after the death of your cat. She writes about companion animals in general but of course the same principles apply. I know what it feels like to lose a loved cat. Actually for me the process of getting over my cat’s loss started before her death. That sounds odd but I knew at least six months before my lady cat died that she was dying. The very difficult time during which I had to decide when to ask the vet to euthanise her (she was very ill) gave me time to adjust to her loss, painful though it was. It does not always happen that way of course.
I believe that if you really love a cat when you lose her or him, you lose a bit of yourself on her death. You never recover this loss. Your life is just a little bit less good.
After I lost my cat companion of 18+ years, I did do something as Katina suggests (see below). I built a page about when to decide to euthanise your cat. That helped me. I feel it was something positive. And just now while writing this I have made a very basic video in memory of Binnie. It is rather basic because emotionally I find it hard to work with video material of her. I don’t have any video material of my first cat. I filmed Binnie about 4 months before she died.
This is what Katrina says:
Allow Yourself To Grieve
This seems like common sense but it makes sense to restate it. Some people will hurry on in their lives and try and bury their loss. The advice is don’t do this. It seems you have to feel the pain and cry through it. The time frame is very variable. I still grieve the loss of my first cat about 18 years ago. I don’t think I will ever stop to be honest. She was the daughter I never had.
Express Your Grief Openly
This seems to be a part of the process of allowing yourself to grieve. Well, I have to admit that I did this alright. I cried my eyes out at the veterinary clinic in the reception area. I couldn’t stop it coming.
Spend Time With Your Surviving Companion Animal..
….if you have a surviving companion animal that is. This is about providing comfort for your surviving companion as well as repairing yourself. A symbiotic process. I think this is a very good point indeed. In multi-cat or multi-animal households there will be friendships between animals, some of them will be close. They have to work their way through the loss of a friend too. It is nice idea to share during this time.
Do Something In Your Cat’s Memory
Katrina writes of doing things such as volunteering at an animal rescue center or making a donation to an animal charity. This helps turn pain into something more positive.
Keep A Journal
I don’t keep a journal but I guess this website is a good substitute.
Create a Memorial To Your Former Companion
I don’t know how many people do this. It seems natural to me. But some people take their cat to a cat shelter for free euthanasia and that’s it. They say goodbye there. This sounds heartless to me. I have an urn in the living room with her ashes in it next to the ashes of my former cat. Both were cremated individually. I touch the urn frequently when I walk by it.
Get Some Support
My support comes from the regulars at PoC. Great people. Apparently there are counselling services. There are also forums and so on where a person can talk about their loss. I guess it is about writing and talking about it.