Coping with the loss of your cat

Sadly, if you’re a cat owner, losing your beloved companion is something you will face at some point. Compared to smaller pets, cats lead relatively long lives and naturally become important members of the family. They share many of your important milestones, entertaining you with their playfulness and always being there to comfort you when you’re feeling down.

When the time comes to say goodbye, you are likely to experience a profound sense of grief including tearfulness, a loss of appetite and sleeplessness. Talking to someone, perhaps a family member or close friend can help, and there are also charities and groups which can support you through this difficult time.

Although you will never forget your cat, the raw feelings will ease as time goes on and you will start to remember the happy times you shared together. In some cases, however, your loss may result in a more serious depression so it is important to seek medical advice if you are struggling to cope.

But there are also some practical considerations, including choosing a final resting place, and you may find that planning a funeral or memorial helps with the healing process.

Some people choose to bury their cat at home, perhaps in a peaceful spot in the garden. This means you can hold a funeral with your family and say goodbye properly. However, it is always worth contacting your local council’s environmental department to see if there are any restrictions on how and where an animal can be buried.

If you want to take away the stress of looking after your pet once they have gone, you may wish to choose a private burial at a pet cemetery or cremation. However, it is important to use a reputable pet funeral company, preferably one accredited by the Association of Private Pet Cemeteries and Crematoria (APPCC). Your vet will be able to tell you which local companies offer burial and cremation services, and may even be able to arrange it for you.

When it comes to cremation there are two options available – an individual and communal cremation. Although it is more expensive, an individual cremation means you will be able to take your cat’s ashes home with you either to keep or scatter in a special place.

If you need to talk to someone following a recent bereavement contact Blue Cross for Pets on 0800 096 6606.  Alternatively visit www.bluecross.org.uk/pet-bereavement-support. For information on end-of-life services, speak to your vet. 

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