Learning how to deal with the loss of your cat is a long, painful process, but it is an inevitable part of accepting a cat into your heart and family.
It’s important to accept your feelings of grief and hurt when your cat dies. Losing a pet can be just as painful as losing any other family member. Give yourself time to process your grief, and spend time around family and friends who can support you during this difficult time.
If you have recently lost a cat, or are preparing to say goodbye, then it can be difficult to handle all of your conflicting feelings of anger and sadness.
Keep reading to learn the best ways to handle your grief in the sad case of losing your cat.
4 Best Ways To Deal With The Loss Of Your Cat
The Maine Coon is an incredibly loving, gentle, and loyal cat, so how do you deal with the loss of a cat?
These large felines are known for developing close bonds with all of their owners, and their emotional sensitivity means they often comfort their owners when they feel anxious or sad.
As a result, losing a Maine Coon can be as devastating as losing one of your closest friends or family members.
While there is no way to make your grief disappear, there are some ways you can make this heavy feeling a little easier to manage.
Here are some steps you can take to process the grief from losing your cat, however, keep in mind that everyone’s journey is unique, and it is okay if none of these steps work for you.
1. Spend Time Around Loved Ones
While it is natural to isolate yourself during a period of grief, remember to spend time around loved ones for support, as well.
Some people like to distract themselves from the pain for a little while, but it can also be good just to sit and cry with someone you care about.
It is hard to learn how to deal with the loss of a pet cat all on your own!
2. Write A Letter
Writing a letter to your cat, especially if you have dealt with losing a cat suddenly, can help you get some sense of closure.
Maybe there were things you never got to do with your cat, or maybe you want to tell your cat how much you love them one more time.
Whatever you want to say, writing it in a letter can help you process and accept your feelings.
3. Make A Shrine
Even though your cat may be gone, part of them will still live on forever.
You might want to dedicate a shelf to your cat, which includes items such as:
- Their ashes
- Artwork or figurines
This shelf can become a special place for you to spend some quiet time alone with your cat.
You might also find comfort in a Maine Coon cat memorial, such as these.
4. Listen To Music
You might want to make a playlist of songs that remind you of your cat, or maybe some sad or soothing songs.
Music is powerful and can help you acknowledge difficult emotions that you may be repressing.
Grieving The Loss Of Your Cat
Many people are aware of the five stages of grief, but unfortunately, the healing process is a bit more complicated than that.
While learning how to cope with your cat dying, it can be more helpful to think about the different emotions you are feeling, rather than viewing them as stages.
It is generally accepted, however, that you will experience these 5 stages of grief (source 1):
Denial is generally thought to be the first stage of grief because it can be hard to imagine the rest of your life without your companion by your side.
You might not believe your cat is gone, but denial can show up in much more subtle ways, too.
For example, while you may know logically that your cat has passed, the emotions can be so powerful and painful that you instead feel numb.
You may try to distract yourself from your emotions instead of processing them.
Furthermore, you may be denying your emotions because you have been taught they are inappropriate.
If you find yourself asking questions like, why does losing a cat hurt so much? You may even think it is silly to be as sad as you are.
Unfortunately, not everyone is as sympathetic about the loss of a pet as they should be, but do not let their viewpoint influence yours.
There is no such thing as being too dramatic; whatever hurt you are feeling is natural and healthy!
Anger is a reaction we experience to protect ourselves or others that we love.
Feeling angry is often easier than feeling sad because we can shift blame onto someone else, or even ourselves.
As hard as it may be, try not to punish yourself or your loved ones. However, do not try to stifle your anger, either.
It is a good idea to give yourself time to be angry.
It is okay to say “It’s not fair!”
It’s okay to be mad that your cat did not get as much time on this earth with you as you both deserved.
Even though death is inevitable and natural, it can feel like a punishment for loving and experiencing joy with your pet.
Despite this anger, remind yourself that even though it hurts, every moment you spend with your cat is worth the pain you will experience once they pass.
For some, bargaining may include prayer or appealing to your religion or spirituality to bring your loved one back.
However, bargaining also includes reliving the same tragic moments over and over again and trying to find a way that does not end with your cat’s death.
You might tell yourself that, had you come home a little earlier, or gone to the vet a day or two sooner, things could have changed.
While these “what if” scenarios may be true, you will only torture yourself with guilt.
There are so many forces at play in the universe, and you are only able to control so much.
Depression is often the most difficult part of grief to deal with.
This is what many other emotions, such as anger and bargaining, try to avoid since sadness can be never-ending.
It might be hard to hear, but your grief will never go away.
Over time, it will become a little lighter, and a little easier to hold, but the first time you let yourself experience this grief, it will feel like an endless ocean.
Instead of fighting your sadness, embrace it!
Let yourself sob and scream and spend all week in bed if that is what you need.
If we did not feel the sadness and pain of losing someone we love, then we would never feel the joy of sharing our lives with them.
Acceptance is a tricky topic.
Many people think they can “solve” their grief by acknowledging their loved one has passed, but that is not what acceptance is truly about.
Acceptance means you can view all of your painful emotions, but continue despite them.
While experiencing depression, you may feel like sadness is the only emotion you will ever experience again.
During the acceptance phase, you will begin to let feelings of happiness, excitement, and wonder back into your life.
You do not have to be okay with what happened, you just need to acknowledge that there’s still good in the world that is worth living for.
How To Help Your Cat Deal With The Loss Of Another Cat
Learning how to cope after losing a cat is already hard enough for us humans, but it can be even more difficult for the other cats living in your home.
You will not be able to express that your cat’s companion is gone, or why they will not be coming back.
So, how do cats deal with loss in a healthy way?
Here are some ways you can help your cat deal with the grieving process (source 1):
Give Lots Of Attention
Make sure to spend lots of time with your cat.
Many cats become isolated and may stop eating or playing after losing a companion.
Try to spend more time than usual with your cat, especially cuddling together.
Provide A Parting Gift
If your cat passed at the vet or a separate location, consider bringing home a towel, blanket, or another object that your cat laid on while they passed.
Cats can tell a lot by smell, and may even begin to understand why their friend has not come back.
They may turn this into a comfort object, holding on to the last of their friend’s scent for as long as possible.
Keep Your Routine
If possible, try to keep your schedule as similar as possible.
Cats love routine and familiarity, and the shocking loss of a loved one can make them feel incredibly lost and unstable.
Try to engage with playtime at the same time every day, even if your cat does not seem in the mood, and make sure to keep feeding schedules consistent.
Introduce A New Companion
While owning three cats is not an option for everybody, it can be helpful for your cat to have another familiar companion to turn to if one of your cats dies.
If you have two cats, but one dies then the other cat in your household will find losing their play partner, and companion to snuggle up next to, devastating.
It may be a good idea to get another cat in the future, but give you and your cat plenty of time to adjust to losing a cat, first.
If you do choose to get another cat, make sure to introduce them very slowly, as your cat may not be ready to accept a new friend just yet.
Learning how to deal with the loss of your cat is, without a doubt, the most difficult part of having pets.
It is important to give yourself the time and space you need to process all the different emotions that come with the loss of a loved one.
Make sure to spend time around other friends and family, and take time to care of yourself as you grieve.
If the loss of your cat has left another cat lonely and grieving, make sure to spend lots of time with them and try to keep a consistent, stable schedule.