Intense grief over cat

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-16-2013
Intense grief over cat
Wed, 05-08-2013 - 9:21am

Hi everyone. Someone from another board suggested I come here to get some advice for a question I had about a friend and her loss. I will just copy it here if you don't mind.

Is it normal for someone to go through such grief over a cat that they have to miss work for a week or could something else be going on? I have a friend that lost her 13 year old cat last week and she is completely overwhelmed. She hasn't eaten much and hasn't been to work in a week. Is this normal? What can be done to help; should we get her another cat?

Thank you!

Avatar for elc11
Community Leader
Registered: 06-16-1998
Thu, 05-09-2013 - 1:55am

Pet owners can feel pretty intense grief when they lose a pet so its hard to say what would be "normal". After all, pets are often members of the family and we sometimes like them more than our human relatives! I could see someone whose pet was her "baby" and primary companion might be overwhelmed. I had to put down a cat I'd had for 17 years and I was a wreck. I had young children at the time so I had to pull it together, but without that other "reason for living" I might have let myself sink a lot deeper. OTOH your friend may have something else going on that is exacerbating the loss of the cat. I would suggest visiting her like you would if a human relative had died and ask how she is doing, if you can help, etc. 

As for getting her another cat, I would say no, that its too soon. She may need to finish grieving for this cat, or take a break to be ready to open her heart again. I'm of the opinion that cats choose us, so she would need to be involved in meeting the potential cat to see if the cat likes her and if she likes the cat. But go ahead and ask her, maybe having a new cat would right for her.

Community Leader
Registered: 04-19-2008
Wed, 05-15-2013 - 12:12pm

Dear Phyllisjs1, welcome to our little corner of the web.  What a sweet soul you are to be concerned for your dear friend.  {{{hugs}}} 

I am so, so very sorry to learn about your friend's beloved cat.  Her furlove must be a very special soul to have touched her heart so deeply.  And yes, (in my humble opinion) it's completely "normal" (whatever that is) to grieve so deeply.  Gosh, I couldn't even speak my furangel's name out loud for over 8 months without bursting into tears.  Try to remember, when you love with all your heart, you must grieve with all your heart. 

As far as how you can help ..... just be there, and listen.  She'll probably need an understanding friend like you to lean on.  One of the hardest things for me, was that there was no one in my life that understood.  My heart was ripped away from my body, and I felt so alone.  So please do lend a shoulder, letting her know that you'll try your best to help her through this very difficult time. 

It's so sweet that you'd like to give your friend a new furbaby, but I'd suggest waiting.  Her heart has been shattered into a million pieces, so she'll need a little more time to learn how to love again. 

Please do let us know if we can help.

With my heart,
Lin, Whisper's Mom


With my heart,