How Do You Accept the Death of Your Beloved Cat?

Your cat isn’t “just a cat.” The bond you shared with your beloved kitty cat is deep, and your heart and home will never be the same. Coping with the grief and accepting your cat’s death isn’t a quick or easy process; don’t let anyone make you feel foolish about the grief or loss you feel after your cat dies. Pay attention to your own feelings of guilt about your cat’s death or embarrassment about how bad you feel. You didn’t just lose a pet. You lost a beloved life companion, and your heart will be forever changed.

Here’s what a reader says about her cat’s recent death: “I lost my 22 year old beloved feline friend three months ago and I’m completely heartbroken,” says Shannon on Do You Miss Your Cat More Than You Thought Possible? “We spent almost every night and day together. My heart, soul and life feels dark: an eternal night. My girl was unwell for many years, but we always found a way though… I always thought our love would defy death, but it didn’t. My cat has helped me through my own difficulties, but more than that, she is the best friend I’ve ever had, and will ever have.”

Give yourself time to grieve your loss. Know that your cat’s death is a huge loss, and you need to give yourself time to recover. You lost a companion, a beautiful animal you shared your home and life with. Losing your cat changes your life in surprising ways, and you must allow yourself to grieve and say goodbye at your own pace.

It’s funny how different cats affect us in different ways, isn’t it? Some are just closer to us than others. Some are kindred spirits. They touch our hearts deeper and affect our homes more powerfully than other animals. Sometimes even more than family and friends! I’ve said good-bye to four cats, and I’ll never forget two of them. Fluffy and Zoey touched my heart deeply, and I expect I’ll see them when I pass. I don’t know what form they’ll be in, but we’ll recognize each other. We’ll be reunited with our beloved cats after we die because we are kindred spirits.

I know it’s not easy to lose your cat, and I’m sorry for your loss. Know that you aren’t alone, and that you will feel better some day. You won’t forget your beloved cat, but you will start to remember with peace and love. You never fully “get over death”…you just learn how to live with the wispy shadows of loss.

Accepting the Death of Your Beloved Cat

Your home isn’t the same. You may still have cat toys, food, and bedding all over the place. And even if all your cat’s stuff is put away, you still see and feel your cat around corners, on chairs, and in your room at night.

You have memories, both good and bad. You may even be dealing with feelings of guilt and regret over your cat’s death. If you live with other people, they too may be struggling to accept your cat’s death. If you live alone, you may feel lonelier and sadder than you’ve ever felt. You may also feel surprised or even shocked at how sad you are that your cat died…and how grieved you are when you think of the future.

Know that your grief is normal, and even healthy

How Do You Accept the Death of Your Beloved Cat
How Do You Accept the Death of Your Beloved Cat?

With great love comes great pain. The more you love anything, the worse it feels when you lose it. The closer you felt to your cat, the more sad you are after your cat dies. Grief is normal and healthy. Grief is your mind, body and heart’s way of processing the pain and healing your soul. The grieving process is painful, but it will help you heal. Your cat’s life deserves to be grieved because grief is a sign of love, respect, and connection.

How do you grieve your cat’s death? It depends on you. Your personality, lifestyle, age, health, and even your outside interests affect your grieving process. It’s important for you to learn about and explore different ways to cope with scary, overwhelming feelings of grief because unresolved grief builds up. If, for example, you have leftover or unprocessed pain from your childhood it will prolong and exacerbate the grieving process you experience as an adult. That’s why grieving your cat’s death is healthy and important: it clears the way for fresh emotions, new love, and a strong heart.

Grieve and say goodbye to your cat by remembering

How will you grieve and accept your cat’s death? By creating memories and sharing your cat’s life in different ways. Actively grieving allows the pain of your cat’s death to move through you. Loss and grief hurts, especially if you’re like me: You feel like you will literally die of a broken heart. The heartache and grief feels overwhelming, crushing, even terrorizing.

As hard as it is – as sad as you feel – it’s important to accept and feel the deep loss. Feeling is healing. Writing helps me feel the pain and remember my cats in ways talking doesn’t. I’ve never gotten over the two cats I loved most, that I said good-bye to before I was ready. I live with the shadows of pain, regret, and guilt but I know that my cats are resting in peace. They loved me when they were alive, and they love me still. I remember them with mostly joy and a little sorrow, mostly peace and a little twinge of longing. But I know my cats forgive me for the difficult choices and mistakes I made.

Your cat forgives you. Your cat loves you and wants you to be happy. Your cat is resting in peace.

Share the pain of losing your cat

What helps me heal and accept death is writing. Talking helps, too, but I find writing about my cats more healing. Writing helps me find truths and insights I didn’t expect. I’m so glad Shannon shared her feelings about her cat’s death, because it helps other pet owners see that they’re not alone. “Watching the cat I love so dearly slowly demise and die was heart-breaking,” she said on my blog post about grieving after a cat dies. “I keep questioning everything about my cat’s death – could have done more? Did I let her suffer because I couldn’t bear to be apart from her? The vets told me several times they thought my cat’s quality of life was low, but I thought otherwise.”

Sometimes, you look back and know you would’ve made a different decision about your cat’s life and death. But you did the best you could at the time…and you have to be okay with that. If you don’t accept that you did your best, then you’ll continue to suffer. If you don’t forgive and accept yourself, you won’t grieve your cat’s death in healthy ways. If you don’t love yourself, you’ll find it impossible to truly love another animal or human.

Allow unanswered questions about your cat’s death

You’ll never know what would’ve happened if your cat didn’t die when she did. A longer life might have meant more pain and suffering. Try to accept that your cat’s death came at the right time.

“What if I was wrong about my cat’s life and death?” asked Shannon. “Why did she have to go blind in her last week? Why did the vets not manage her blood pressure and renal failure? I could have made my cat happier and she might still be here. Everything feels a blur and I’m trying to make sense of something which doesn’t make sense. I feel sick at the thought of time passing by.How can I last a lifetime without seeing my cat? What if we never meet again? I wish I could close my eyes and wake up somewhere with her. I don’t want this life without my cat. I love and miss her so much.”

Know that you are not alone in your grief

When You Feel Like You’ll Never Get Over Your Cat’s Death

I included a variety of stories about loving and losing cats in my ebook Kitty Comforts: Help and Hope for Coping With the Loss of Your Cat. If you feel like you’re alone in the grief you feel, you’ll find it helpful to read how others accepted and moved through sad feelings after a cat dies.

Try different ways to grieve your cat’s death. Know that pet loss can be as traumatic and sad as any other death in your life, even a beloved family member. A cat’s death is different because animals love us unconditionally and wordlessly. The loss of a pet uncovers a surprising amount of past grief and pain, which is why you feel like you’ll never get over your cat’s death.

A cat is never “just a cat.” Give yourself time, patience, and tender loving care as you grieve your loss.

How do you feel? Share your big and little cat stories and thoughts below. You might feel better if you write through your feelings. If you’d rather keep reading, you may find Comforting Prayers for the Loss of a Beloved Dog or Cat helpful.

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13 thoughts on “How Do You Accept the Death of Your Beloved Cat?”

  1. My lovely Tiberius is gone and I am heartbroken and can’t stop crying. The pain is unbearable. Ron and I were out on our boat this weekend and Richard called me about 1:00 on Sunday to give me the sad news. Terrible shock. So unexpected. He was fine the day before. And only 13 years old. I have written a memorial…I am sharing it because it helps me to do so and I am sharing it with you because you are good friends and understand the love between human parent and furry children.

    My lovely Tiberius…

    I can still remember so clearly the day Lee and I went into the little boarding kennel on West Saanich Road and met you and your brother Claudius. You weren’t the prettiest but the lady said you were a really nice boy and you and your brother were the only pair. Lee noticed Claudius was shy and scared and said let’s get these two, and we did. I fell in love with you immediately. How could I ever have thought you weren’t pretty. You were the most beautiful and the most special cat ever. You were the best and greatest cat I ever had. You always were a really nice boy. You were the smartest, the most sensitive, the most loveable and affectionate, the sweetest, the most gentle, the most human. You never scratched or bit. You even let me brush your teeth. If you were human we would have married. We were soulmates. We belonged together. It didn’t matter that we were different species. There was such a special bond between you and me. I was your momma. You were my boy. I couldn’t have loved you more if I had given birth to you myself. And you were all mine. Cindy and Jezebel were Leanne’s. Spook and Xerxes and Rusty were family cats, but you were mine and mine alone. You wouldn’t snuggle with anyone else.
    I loved the way you rubbed your furry little check against mine and head butted me with your wet little nose. You would jump up on my lap while I was at the computer and stand on your hind legs and put your front paws on top of my left shoulder and lay against me and purr like mad and rub your furry little cheek against mine. You would keep throwing yourself sideways against me like you just couldn’t get close enough. Then you would climb higher and higher until you were curled up on top of my boobs nestled under my chin and your little paws would curl in ecstasy and you would be so happy and content and comfortable and safe and loved.
    You would nestle beside me in bed, in the crook of my arm and I would stroke your beautiful sleek soft fur and say your name and you would look lovingly at me over your shoulder and roll on your back and I could tickle your soft furry tummy.
    You would wake me up in the morning by walking up over my stomach and boobs and looking at me in the eye and butting me softly with your little wet nose.
    If I was down at your level, on the floor, you’d come over to me slowly and deliberately and rub your little fact against mine and then your body all down the length of mine, then turn around, and do it again.
    You’d sleep with me at night, curled up as close as you could get, literally on top of my face sometimes, and purr like crazy. I loved the feeling of your furry little backside pressed up against me. So soft, so beautiful, so warm.
    You always jumped up on the bed when I was making it. You liked to attack the sheets as they moved. You liked to help momma make the bed. Making the bed will never be the same.
    You loved playing with your little mousies. I’m sorry I didn’t play with you more often.
    You died alone. I wasn’t there. I worry that you were scared and suffering and lonely and wanting your momma and I wasn’t there. I hope it was quick and peaceful and you didn’t know what was happening. Richard found you under the dining room table and put you in a box. When I got home you were cold and stiff. And you were wet around your mouth and paws. What was that? Were you sick? Did you pee yourself? I should have been there. I wish so much I could have held you one last time, told you what a great cat you were, that I would never forget you and always love you, all the things I said above, and which I did tell you many, many times. You knew how much I loved you and I know how much you loved me. I would give anything, anything, to have you back. To face rub with you again, to hold you, to hear and feel you purr, you admire you, to tell you how much I love you. I wish I could have been there at your last to hold you and comfort you and say good-bye my darling boy.
    You are gone forever and I can’t bear it and yet I must. I still have to wake up each morning and get through each day.
    I hope you are in heaven and we will be reunited. I must believe it. I must. Otherwise I can’t get through.
    Your loving momma, Elizabeth

  2. My Ginger was only 4 years old. When I met him, I felt like I was meeting an old friend and reconnecting. I knew nothing about cats, he just came upstairs and started living in my potted plants. I wasn’t even a cat person, he clawed his way into my home, my life, my heart one paw print and head bunt at a time. 4 years, just starting on 5 – and it seemed like a lifetime. He was never sick as such, survived a really bad fall and starvation in kittenhood before I found him, so I thought nothing could hurt him, like it was asign we were going to be together a long long time. Though I know I’ve always done the best I could by him, I always feel like I didn’t do enough for him. A few months before he passed, I noticed him being lethargic a little
    and the vet told us that his creat count was high after running some tests. The treatment was a terrible time for us. He was tired, angry and in pain, stopped eating. I’d find him in corners in closets, or just staring into space. Or at me. I didn’t want to put him to sleep so we tried everything we could. We went to so many doctors. It progressed so quickly the docs believed there was some underlying disease like FIP/FIV.
    Within months I lost him his strength and steadiness. I was not ready to consider him not recovering. I thought we’d grow old together, we had a plan. We were supposed to be in it together. I had a to go visit my parents for a couple of days and in the span of those 2 days, he suffered a sort of paralytic attack. My husband who was with him was crushed. One side of his face and one eye was funny – I came back home to that. There would be seizures, the doctors told me. They had given up on him. He was in Pain they told me. He had stopped eating on his own completely. I had to decide to put him to sleep. I tried to be strong. They told me he was holding on through the pain. So I sang to him and told him it was okay to let go. That I would be fine, but I’m not fine. I broke down during the procedure and told him I was sorry. Coming home to.an empty home killed me. He was my baby. Nobody understands that he was my everything. My heart. We grew up together in 4 years. it was awful I feel awful I just want my best friend back. Months later we found a month old kitten on the streets.she had the same paralysis as Ginger. After caring for her for a week and visiting all the vets in the area, we were told to end her misery and put her to sleep. It’s crushed me. I feel like I lost my heart again. I cannot get over his absence. It’s so hard to not feel an open void. The feeling of being okay comes and goes. I get along, But nothing and nobody can take the place of his heart in mine.

  3. I’m having a hard time letting go of guilt I have from having my cat euthanized last April. I was an emotional mess afterwards, but then seemed to recover. There were a couple things that happened recently that made me think of her and I haven’t been able to stop crying today thinking of her. She was nearly 14, but had developed diabetes. I was giving her the prescribed insulin shots, but wasn’t paying attention to the fact that she wasn’t eating as well and seemed lethargic. Instead of taking her to the vet right away, I put it off because I was going through some things relationship-wise. My engagement had just ended, so I was depressed and not thinking clearly. This shouldn’t be an excuse though. I had decided in my mind already that if she needed further intervention, besides insulin, I was going to think about euthanasia, because I had already spent over $1000 the previous time she needed to be stabilized. And being a single mom, on a budget, I have to think about those things. Well, one day I came home from picking up my daughter from school and my cat was not moving, she was still alive, however. I scooped her up in a blanket and took her to the nearest vet. I held her and tried to comfort her, but I was a mess. My daughter had to witness this, too. I told the vet that I was ready to let her go. He didn’t recommend treatment, but got things ready to make her more comfortable. I just wish I would have tried to save her instead of making the abrupt decision to let her go, or paid more attention to her before it got to that point. I feel like a failure, I have both blame and guilt. I wish I could go back in time and fix this, but I know it’s not possible. I found this website and hope my confession helps me release some of the pain and guilt I’m feeling.

  4. Heartbroken Forever

    I lost my baby Mackenzie January 15 of 2018. Six months to the day of losing my dad. He was only 9 years old. Mackenzie was my rock. Got me through two years of my dad suffering with dementia. I miss him so much. Am just as heartbroken as I was when I lost him. He had cancer in his intestines, liver and pancreas. I feel so guilty I didn’t know he was so sick. He stuck by me through everything and I let him down. I’ll never get past the pain. He was and remains my true love babydoll.

  5. I am a white cat, most loving, trusting, and loyal to my human, an old woman. She took me in when I was standing on her doorstep, left behind by my Mom and sibling who could run away while I was too weak to do so. She took me in and bottle fed me, and I became the most important part of her life. She and I lived in an area where no advanced skills were available in treating illnesses in cats. I had a nasal infection, which developed into polyps in my nose canal, then tumor in my throat. I ended up unable to swallow water and food, barely able to breath. I put up a brave front to make my human happy, tried my best to play and cuddle up to her. When I was 6, I had bleeding nose, and horrible discharge from my ear and eyes. The vets all said I’m fine, and suggested my human to give me antibiotics 2 times a day. It took 3 years for my human to watch me suffer, and an out-of -town
    vet’s diagnoses to reveal that the mass of tumor in my throat that caused me to throw up large amount of blood and tissue. My owner ended my suffering. I still love my human and want to be with her. She is looking at all my pictures and crying. What can I do for her? My name is Baby Bezine, and my home was a yellow 2-story house in Bark River, Michigan.

  6. I lost my catfriend of 15 years last Friday. It’s Sunday now and the feeling that time makes the distance between me and him bigger every day, makes me sick in the stomach. I feel heartbroken and have cried for three days now.
    My catfriend was the childhood companion of my son, they grew up together. He was our little furry family member.

    I am dealing – not the only one in the world obviously – with feelings of guilt concerning the whole process he was ill and his health deteriorated rapidly. Terribly disturbing thoughts seem to occupy my head and block all healing. I searched the internet for some guidance and found your website. I downloaded your e-book today, started writing for 2 hours to empty my heart. I am able now to honour the time my catfriend and me shared.

    Thanks so much for your compassion and effort to write about the processes we go through. It helps me to take the next step on the path of healing. Warm regards,
    Lisa (The Netherlands)

  7. I just had to put my cat down 3 days ago. 5 days prior to that I realised he wasn’t well but never thought he was that unwell to have to make that decision. Anyway, I have had pets in the past but for some reason this one has really affected me. He was only 3 and half years old and although the doctor said he had heart disease, I struggled to comprehend that he was that sick as to how he looked.
    I’m now suffering severe guilt because of my decision to put him to sleep. I hadn’t cried for any reason for over 10 years… Then I cried before he was put down, the next day and today.
    He has a sibling who is now by herself and I feel terrible sadness for her because she seems to be looking for him.
    I also feel terrible for having to watching his last breathe and having to bury him.
    Anyway, I thought I’d share my thoughts as others had too.

  8. I had my girl Mimi for 14 years .. She had cancer and was very weakened. I didn’t want her to suffer and an operation would have been too traumatic on her weak little body, so I had her put down. That was a week ago. I’m so depressed and heartbroken. I feel so guilty .. it feels like I had my best friend killed. I see her everywhere, hear her calling me ..

  9. I found Lucky when she was less than 2 weeks old, alone, scared,cold and lonely. The vet said she probably wouldn’t have lasted another day. I gave her a warm bath, cleaned the crust from her eyes and gently popped them open for her. Love at first sight. We were inseparable for 12+ years. It’s been a month since I had her put down and I’m a complete wreck. Life seems so cold since she’s been gone and I’m afraid I’ll never be right again.