How to Cope With the Death of Your Cat

How to Cope With the Death of Your Cat
Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

 

Saying goodbye to a furry friend is never easy. They bring a lot of love and joy into our lives so it's natural that we feel like we have lost a loved one or a family member. Just like losing a person, losing your cat can be extremely painful and truly devastating.

Coping with the loss of a beloved cat is difficult and takes time. It’s not easy to prepare for grief, as every cat parents journey is different. With that being said, there are things that you can do to ease the pain and grief of losing your cat.

Leo's Paw how to cope with the loss of your cat picture of cat laying down black and white picture

What to Do When Your Cat Dies

The loss of a loved one, regardless of whether they are a human or animal, is painful. It's natural to feel sad and devastated and it can be very hard to get through your day without them. But, learning to accept and deal with the situation is part of the grieving process and is no different than that of a family member. Hopefully, these pointers will help you get through the process:

Grieving the Loss of Your Cat

Grieving is a healthy, natural response to loss. There is no normal timeline for grief, as they say, "it takes as long as it takes." Whether you are feeling sad, tired, guilty, anxious, or relieved, this is normal. While there is no “correct” way to grieve the loss of your cat, here are some tips that might help you process your grief:

  • Accept that your grief is valid.
  • Accept that grieving is a gradual process, unique to every individual.
  • Understand that feeling guilty is a natural response.
  • Surround yourself with people who understand you.
  • Keep in mind that your other pets may be grieving too.
Remembering and Honoring Your Cat

We memorialize our family and human loved ones when they pass away with memorial services, urns, and headstones, so why can’t we do something similar for our cats? There are many beautiful and creative ways to honor a cat that has crossed the rainbow bridge. Here are some suggestions:

  • Hold a funeral for your cat
  • Create memory pieces out of your cat's ashes
  • Organize your cat photos into a scrapbook or memory box
  • Plant a tree in memory of your cat
  • Donate to a local animal shelter or charity in your cat's name
Seek Help and Support

Seek people who understand and are respectful of your loss and the grief process, whether they love cats or not. A compassionate person or friend will give you the space and respect your need to grieve. Alternatively, here are healthy ways to cope and seek help or support:

  • Don’t let anyone tell you how to feel, (and don’t tell yourself how to feel either)
  • Reach out to others who have lost pets
  • Stay connected with family and friends
  • Find a support group
  • Seek professional help if you need it
Engage in Self Care

The loss of your cat can be stressful, sad, and emotionally draining. As a result, your energy may be depleted. Give yourself a break from grieving and find time to relax. As the popular saying goes, "time heals all wounds" and here’s some advice on how to take care of yourself and move forward:

  • Eat healthy food
  • Find time to exercise
  • Look after your physical and emotional needs
  • Take part in activities you enjoy doing
  • Maintain your daily routine for your other pets (if you have)
  • Consider getting another cat

Once a Furry Friend, Always a Furry Friend

As we celebrate Rainbow Bridge Remembrance Day today, let us honor the love of a pet that has crossed the rainbow bridge, waiting for us until we can meet them again on the other side.

Let's take the time to be thankful for the pets we have now. For giving us unconditional love and for bringing joy to our lives. They won’t be with us forever, and one day they will be waiting for us at the bridge. And while we still have them, let us celebrate and honor them in the best way we can.


8 comments


  • Ray Wright

    A very good article. I recently lost my sweet baby Ray to heart failure on Christmas eve 2022. He was the other half of my heartbeat, and I miss him dearly. I am so fortunate to of had him in my life, and will always be remembered for the sweet, caring, and loving friend he was. A truly brave and amazing cat. I miss you deatly my friend, and I know someday we’ll meet again.


  • Nadine Landesvatter

    This article was extremely timely as we just lost our furry friend of 16 years. Her vet and I discussed the possibility of her transition a year ago as she had a few serious health issues. However, when the vet finally told us it was time…well, one can never be ready, can one? Anyway, we had a little funeral/memorial for her and buried her in our backyard underneath our lovely grapefruit tree. We’ve recently adopted a new beautiful furry friend from an animal shelter. She’s been bringing us tremendous joy. Although our beloved Kashmir will always be with us and in our hearts; I know she’d love us to share the love we gave her with other furry friends and especially with our new furry friend who has entered our lives. Thank you for the article.


  • Patricia Culberson

    My cat, Prissy, was a feral cat brought to me by Milo, my outside cat at the time. She was tiny, her mother watched the house for a week to see if I was keeping her baby. It took months to earn her love; she bit my finger on Christmas night and I had to get antibiotics for that. She lived with me for 19 years and was the love of my life. She died February 5, 2020 and I still miss her.


  • Juliann Johnson

    When my big boy died, I had his name tatooted on my arm. “Jamie” with a little paw next to it.
    Not for everyone, but I was close to retirement. I have kept an open heart.


  • Karen Duncan

    My little Molly was only 10, and her death was fairly sudden (she developed lung issues). She died in May. We had a funeral and buried her in the back yard. I look at her photos every day. We got a new little baby cat in July, and he brings us much joy.


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