While media generally portrays our feline friends as cold, spiteful companions who only stick around for food, cat lovers know that this portrayal couldn’t be further from the truth.
Here’s a fun fact; cats chose to domesticate themselves thousands of years ago, and to this day, some feral cats will seek out human companionship on their own. The bond humans share with their feline friends is undoubtedly one of the most unique in the entire world — and it runs deep.
Unfortunately, that means grieving the loss of a cat can be a wildly painful experience.
If you have a friend or loved one who recently lost their feline friend and you aren’t sure what you can do to be there for them, we’re here to help. Here are five ways you can support a friend who recently lost a cat.
- Understand the Everyone Grieves Differently
Contrary to popular belief, there aren’t five stages of grief. Grief is not a neat, organized, or uniform experience; it affects everyone differently, and everyone expresses grief in different ways.
So, if your friend is smiling and laughing, don’t assume they’re ok or “over it.” No matter how your friend or loved one is projecting, there’s a good chance they’re hurting or just still trying to process their loss.
While you shouldn’t ignore or avoid talking about the situation, you should not try to get your friend to “open up” or “let out” their emotions. As a member of your friend’s support system, it’s your job to be there in any capacity in case they need someone to lean on.
Unless your friend seems to be struggling in a way that may require outside assistance, let them process and cope in their own time and in their unique way.
- Let Them Know You’re There for Them
As we said before, grief is a strange and powerful force; even if the person dealing with the loss is one of your nearest and dearest friends, don’t assume they know they can lean on you.
Whether it’s through a card or even just a text, let your friend know that you’re sorry for their loss and that you’re thinking about them. While they may not feel like talking, the gesture will open up the door for them to reach out if they need to.
Don’t just leave the conversation at one message either. Consistently check up on your friend or loved one until you’re sure they’re back in a place where they can handle their grief. You may also want to consider reaching out on any important dates, like their cat’s birthday, just to let them know you’re thinking about them.
- Offer to Help Out
While saying, “let me know if you need anything!” may seem thoughtful, nine times out of ten, the person in need of help isn’t going to reach out. Rather than putting the burden of asking on your grieving friend, offer to take on a specific job for them.
Offer to bring over dinner on a specific night, or ask them if you could take over an errand for them. Sometimes, grief can force a person to put their entire lives, even the menial aspects like laundry or grocery shopping, on hold for a while. By offering to take over a specific task, you can help keep your friend or loved one’s life rolling, even while they’re temporarily stalling out.
- Donate to a Charity in the Cat’s Name
If your friend rescued their cat from a shelter, what better way to celebrate the life of their beloved feline companion than by giving back to that shelter?
Commemorating your friend’s cat yourself is an excellent way to help share their memory and show your friend how much they, and their cat, are loved. And, one of the best ways to do that is by donating to a cat-related cause in the name of your friend’s pet.
Whether it’s a specific pet rescue, a nonprofit animal hospital, or the ASPCA, there are thousands of organizations that would greatly appreciate a donation in the name of a well-loved feline friend.
To make it even more meaningful, try to collect a little cash from all of your friends, family, random fellow cat lovers, or anyone able and willing to support your grieving friend to create one giant donation.
Collecting a large donation from many people will show your friend how much they’re loved and how many people miss their beloved cat too.
- Give Them Something to Remember Them By
Finally, one of the best things you can do for a grieving friend is to get them something to help them remember their beloved pet.
No matter what your friend chooses to do with their companion’s remains, having a small memorial token or object they can hold onto will give them a way to connect with their beloved pet every day and keep their memory alive.
There is no shortage of beautiful and thoughtful cat memorial gift ideas. So, whether it’s a piece of jewelry they can wear daily or a blanket they can snuggle up with when things get hard, your friend will appreciate a small but meaningful memorial gift.
How to Help a Friend Who’s Grieving the Loss of a Cat
Grieving the loss of a cat can be painful, and there’s a good chance your friend or loved one will never fully get over the death of their furry friend. But, by following a few of these tips, you’ll be able to comfort them and help them start the healing process.
Are you looking for more advice on how you can help a friend or loved one who’s facing a challenging situation? We’ve got you covered.
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