Losing a cat is sad for any owner, but many are taken aback by how intense their grief can be. You’re not only grieving for a being but also a one-of-a-kind relationship. Furthermore, since cats frequently accompany humans throughout their lives, the death of the cat signals the turning point in the life of the human.
Some people will find this difficult to comprehend, particularly those who have never lost a pet. People with the best of intentions may say hurtful things. Look for people who can help you, whether in person or online.
Every part of the body is affected by grief. Even if you think you’re well prepared, you can experience brain fog and have trouble thinking or concentrating for a while. Some people experience insomnia, while others want to sleep constantly. Anger, despair, guilt, and numbness are all emotions that you might experience.
Getting Used to a New Routine
It takes time to adjust to a schedule without meds or trips to the vet after a cat dies, especially one who has been sick for a long period. Even if your cat passes away unexpectedly, you may find yourself waking up at 6 a.m. (or earlier). It’s easy to feel desolate when there’s no cat to feed, or when there’s one less cat to feed.
One of the most surprising grief triggers is silence, especially if you only had one or two cats at home. Silence can be overwhelming; it’s difficult to hear anything other than the absence of paws or nails on the floor.
Other cats in a multi-cat household may become needy or reclusive, or they may show no signs of recognizing the other cat’s absence. They may stop eating, finish the whole meal, or continue as if nothing has changed.
This can be either the most soothing or the most distressing aspect of losing a cat. You might hear your cat’s paws on the floor, or you might swear you saw something out of the corner of your eye. You might feel their paw on your arm or back, or you might feel them leap into the bed. Many folks who have lost a cat have reported similar incidents. It is up to us to figure out what they imply. Some people find these “visits” reassuring, while others find them distressing and a source of grief.
You might have dreams about your cat at night. Some people said they got nightmares in the first few months, particularly following a traumatic death of a cat. Many people describe having neutral or happy dreams in which their pet is once again healthy. These might be wonderful presents, but they can also be bittersweet when you wake up.
Picking Up the Ashes
Picking up a cat’s ashes, especially if you weren’t present for the cremation, can be a big source of pain. It indicates the cat’s corpse has vanished and will never reappear in that form, and holding the evidence in your hands can be excruciatingly painful. Guardians should not pick up their cat’s ashes alone, according to pet loss counselors (and compassionate vets). Enlist the help of a friend or family member. On the other hand, many individuals report feeling relieved when their cat “returns” to their house.
Feelings of Guilt
Guilt is a very universal element of grieving a cat in a way that it isn’t when we’re grieving a human. That’s because humans are frequently the ones who decide when a cat dies—and if we aren’t, we frequently wonder what we could have done better (and some of us experience guilt over both these things at once). These feelings are brutally uncomfortable, and they can greatly worsen grief.
Holding on to guilt can be seriously damaging to one’s emotional health and ability to recover from the loss. Grief isn’t about “getting over” a loss; rather, it’s about accepting it and moving on with our lives.
Waves of Bereavement
Grief does not follow a predictable pattern. It happens in waves for most people. It may feel like you’re in the heart of a hurricane at first, with the waves coming and going with no rest. As they integrate their loss into their ongoing life, most people discover that they can continue with daily duties. The waves are still there, but they are less frequent and less strong, with a few exceptions, such as anniversaries. Smiles replace tears as the most common emotion evoked by memories. Each person’s timeframe is different.
When Should You Seek Help?
It’s fine to seek professional support even if you’re going through “normal grieving.” However, there are two situations in which professional assistance is required.
Managing Bereavement Overload
All of the things earlier mentioned are written for folks who have lost a single cat. However, some people suffer two or more losses at the same moment or in a short period. Multiple simultaneous or sequential losses might result in “bereavement overload,” a condition in which a person is still experiencing one loss when the next one occurs. This can make processing any losses much more complicated. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by bereavement, it’s a good idea to get professional help.
When Grief Doesn’t Improve
Most people’s sadness fades over time, and they can go about their daily lives. They’ll still have sad days, but the good ones will outnumber the bad ones over time.
However, for a few unfortunate souls, the intensity of grief might last for months, if not years. The break in the waves never arrives, and they can’t stop thinking about their cat or what may have been. This is known as “complicated grief,” and it’s a major mental health problem. Complicated grief makes it difficult to complete daily duties such as showering or going to work. Childhood trauma, a history of severe depression and/or anxiety, and a lack of social support are all risk factors for complicated grief. Unlike “normal grief,” it is a significant issue that necessitates professional support.
Be Kind to Yourself
Grief is not about “getting over” a loss; it is about accepting the loss and going on with our lives. The loss will always be a part of your life, just as the animal (or person) was to you.
This is why if at all possible, it is beneficial to provide time for your emotions to catch up before a cat’s death, and why end-of-life rituals are beneficial. However, this is not always possible—sudden or unexpected loss makes grieving a cat all the more difficult.
Honoring your beloved cat will help you accept the loss more easily and move on with your life. If you’re looking for a cat memorial stone maker in Idaho, contact Rainbow Bridge Pet Memorials today at 208-253-4557. We will help you choose the best cat memorial stone in Idaho for your beloved friend.