A home is never so empty as when one has lost a beloved cat. Even if there are other pets still present, chances are they feel the loss as well. If kitty went peacefully, there will be empty beds, forsaken toys, and an overwhelming absence in all the places he liked to be. If his last days required medical assistance, there are probably a different sort of remembrance in the form of leftover medications purchased in hopes of recovery, maybe a half-used fluid bag, a geriatric litter box, or cans of special foods. All these things are reminders that he is absent and things will never be the same.
No one gets through life without grief. Breathe deeply and let it happen, because denying it will only cause more pain. But what else can we do besides lie on the couch and hurt? Here are a few ideas that have worked for me.
1. Forgive yourself. Chances are, no matter what happened, you are taking blame upon yourself, but, you must accept it was not your fault.
2. Attend a Pet Loss Support Group. Help heal in a supportive environment with others going through the same thing.
3. Create a project in kitty’s memory. Whether a drawing, collage, or afghan crocheted in kitty’s colors, the act of doing can bring a sense of peace.
4. Put together a photo album. Don’t be afraid to show it to your friends. They understand.
5. Write a journal. It can be just for you or to share with others. If you have a blog, share it there. If not, this may be a good time to start one.
6. Share on social media. Whether a simple statement about kitty’s passing or an elaborate eulogy with photos and video, you may be surprised how far-reaching your post will be.
7. Go to PetLoss.com, “a gentle and compassionate website for pet lovers who are grieving over the death of a pet or an ill pet.” Note: be prepared to cry, but that’s a good thing.
Have faith that the grief will lessen and the wonderful memories of your time with kitty will float to the surface. And when the time is right, another cat – a different cat – will call for you to bring joy into each other’s lives again.