The death of a cherished senior cat swamps owners with a flood of conflicting thoughts and emotions. It can take a long time to truly comes to terms with the loss — so don’t beat yourself up if the grieving process is ongoing. If you have lived with cats for a long time, the sight of that empty food dish is bound to set off a crying jag in those first, raw days.
Take that time to grieve the way you would for any family member who just died. Create a memorial, talk to friends, support groups or write down a few thoughts. If you have surviving cats, their behavior may change. It is important to be attentive and affectionate to them. They are mourning in their own way.
When you start to feel better the thought of welcoming another cat into your home will crop up. My advice: do not adopt right away. The new cat will have some big paws to fill and you may find yourself comparing the new cat to your lost friend. Wait until you feel better and are ready to accept a new cat for they will bring to your life — not as a replacement.
My friends Craig and Mark lost Miss Kitty after 18 years. The nights of turning over in bed without feeling a faceful of fur were sad but they knew it was too soon adopt. They missed Kitty fiercely but it took nearly a year before they brought home a 3-month-old cutie named Hoshi. When they held her at the shelter they didn’t see Miss Kitty — just Hoshi’s wide-eyed appeal for a home.
They fell in love, while acknowledging “There will never be another Miss Kitty.” That said, photos and a video of Hoshi have been making the rounds from two very proud parents.
Below is a roundup of resources for coping with the loss of a pet:
Vet.Cornell.edu (hot line info)