Anyone who embraces a cat will suffer loss. The fact is that we outlive our cats. We know it and we still rescue them, bring them into our homes and our hearts, and love them with everything we have. When it comes time for that cat to go across the rainbow bridge we hurt something fierce. It’s an awful ache. We feel the loss with every fiber of our being. We cry, we my throw a tantrum or two, we might even experience visits from the cat, feel her jump up onto the bed at night, glimpse her walk into the room, feel her rub gently against your leg. You talk about her, commiserate with others who understand your pain, create visual remembrances, light candles… I still display pictures of Lily, who died a year ago yesterday. Heck, I still display pictures and things that remind me of Katy—who died in 2004, and Max and… Oh yes, we don’t let go easily. That hole we felt upon losing the precious cat is filled with remnants of her or him.
To help myself and those of you reading this, I did a little research to find out how others cope with this sort of loss. Here are some suggestions:
- Talk about her with people who understand the loss of a pet.
- Allow the feelings—honor them.
- Write about her.
- Choose one symbol of remembrance to display.
- Plant a tree or a garden in her memory.
- Create a ritual around her beautiful life.
- Read self-help books and articles on the process of grief.
- Realize it may take time to heal, and know you will never forget.
- Donate to an organization meaningful to you in her name.
- Consider loving another cat—when it is time.
- Don’t forget the other pets in your household. They could be hurting too.