Diploma in Pet Bereavement
The Blackford Centre
Coping with Pet loss
Coping With the Loss of Your Cat
In Western countries, death is hard to talk about. People avoid discussing their loss, and they think it is wrong to mention feelings of pain.
Similarly, people don’t know what to say to someone who is bereaved.
Yet not having an open expression of grief can leave people feeling lost and alone in their sorrow.
And how much more acute this problem is when the death is of your beloved cat?
Animals act as wonderful companions to humans, and their passing causes huge sadness to the owner.
But sadly many in our society don’t see the loss of a pet as a valid reason to grieve. And that makes it harder to those of us who lose a cat.
A change is taking place, however. Over the past few decades, more people are recognising the importance of expressing our loss. Pet bereavement counselling has also been on the rise.
As well as providing unconditional love to their owners, cats also support the human emotions and befriend their masters.
But cats have a limited life span, and cat owners have to deal with the loss of their pet eventually.
Grieving for a cat can come in stages. The stages of grief are usually denial, searching, anxiety, anger, guilt and lastly, acceptance of loss.
Denial is the immediate reaction most people have when they suffer such a loss. Blocking out reality is the first thing cat owners do.
As the reality of the loss sinks in, pet owners start asking themselves questions like “What if I had spent more time” or “What if I had done something differently”. These questions are all part of searching for answers, as well as seeking to understand one’s loss.
Anxiety and anger are normal human emotions that are triggered to help cope with the loss of a cat.
When faced with the loss of your cat, you may experience other feelings of loss with it, which are often not connected to the pet. This is natural and part of the healing process.
To help deal with the loss of a cat, pet bereavement support groups have opened up. They provide counselling and other ways to deal with such a loss.
Every one has a unique relationship with his or her pet, so we each handle grief differently.
The loss of a pet signifies losing companionship, support, a friend and a sense of self-worth so you have to allow for these feelings.
If the cat has lived with you for many years, and has been an integral part of your life, you will grieve more deeply.
But there are ways of coping with the bereavement process.
What you can do to cope with the death of your cat
Counsellors recommend that you should write their feelings down on paper to express your grief.
You might also build a monument in memory of their beloved cat.
Email groups are available, and joining them can help you connect with other people who have experienced a similar loss. This may help you deal with the anger that comes after a death.
Arranging photos of a deceased cat around the house can bring fond memories and diffuse negative feelings that you might be facing.
Even though we all have their own method of coping with loss, the truth is that any loss requires time and effort. If the grief does not subside within a few months and becomes overwhelming, you could seek help from a therapist.
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