General Cat Care and Tips

Feeling guilty after your cat died? How to move on.

Losing your beloved cat can be a very hard event to deal with. We love our cats like family, many people including myself think of our cats as our children, and when they pass it feels just as bad as losing a child or family member.

Sometimes you feel guilty when your cat dies. You may wonder what you could have done to prevent it, even if your cat just died from old age. This is how I felt when my 15-year-old cat died a few years ago. I didn’t have the money until payday to get her to the vet and I knew something was up, but at the same time, she was 15 years old.

Even three years later I find myself wondering if I should have just taken her to a vet and figured it out after. In the end, I know that she lived a good life, and I am thankful that I was the lucky one she chose to be with.

If you are now in a position where you feel guilty about your cat passing know you are not alone and there are ways to help you move on from your loss and guilt. It will take time, and it may not be easy but with these tips, you should be able to move on from your guilt and maybe even find a new cat to love.

Take the time to honor your cat

Taking a few moments to honor your cat is a great way to release the guilt. I had my cat cremated when she passed because I needed it. I didn’t want to really let her go and I hated it when my mother took our dog to be put down but didn’t bring her back. I decided that day that I would keep my cat somehow with me.

When I got her ashes back I sat down and just held the box. Letting myself just breathe and process that she was gone. I’m so happy I took that time as it still felt surreal to me. A few months later I bought a cute cat urn to hold her ashes and that is where she still is today.

If you want to do a bit more to honor your cat you can always donate to your local animal shelter. What better way to honor your cat’s life than to help other animals? There are many shelters you can donate to or you can find a national pet charity to donate to.

Maybe instead of donating money, you could volunteer at a shelter, who knows you may just find your next cat while you are there. You could also help with any food drives your local shelter may have.

If you have a yard you could buy a cute memorial stone and put it in your garden. That is what my friend did for her husband when his dog passed away. It was a wonderful tribute and helped him to honor his beloved dog. You can also do the same for your cat. Maybe your cat liked a spot in your yard or enjoyed watching the birds in a tree. Put your memorial stone in an area you think they would love.

Related Post: Memorial Cat Urn Review

Write a letter to your cat

This may seem strange to some, but I have done a bit of research and found that many people have benefitted from writing a letter to their cats. Many forums have shown this to be therapeutic and helpful in easing guilt associated with a cat’s death.

Tell your cat all of your guilty thoughts, just as you would have if they were still alive. Tell them your worries as well, you use to anyway and if you believe in an afterlife you know your cat can hear you. You can also tell them how much you miss them and love them.

You also want to be sure to talk about all the memories you have with them. It may be as simple as snuggling on the sofa or maybe playing with them. For my cat, it was snuggling that I remember the most. She also loved to lick me, in fact, that is why my sister named her Kisses.

Remembering the good things about the time you had with your cat is a wonderful way to ease your guilt and help the healing process.

Forgive yourself

Sometimes we feel that it’s our fault our pet has died. What we need to remember is that we would never hurt our cat on purpose, you may have caused an accident that caused your pet’s death, but you are not responsible for it. You didn’t mean to cause their death and your cat does not haunt you because of it.

If you are feeling guilty due to your pet’s death talk to a trusted friend who can help you see the situation and help you come to terms with what happened. Sometimes our guilt can keep us down for a long time. Being around people who understand that you are morning can really help you come through and out of your guilt.

Spend some time on yourself

When you lose a family member, you take the time to heal and the same is true of you losing a pet. Since pets are like family to most of us we should expect to have the same feelings as we do when a friend or family member dies.

Take time to invest in yourself. Do something you have always wanted to do, like skydive or travel somewhere. You could even book a cruise if you’re looking to get away for a bit. I know for me. I don’t travel much because I have my cats. If this is you and you don’t have other pets, traveling may be a great way to do something you decided not to do because you had a pet.

You may not have the money or time for something extravagant, but even a short day trip or a walk in the woods can help calm your guilt and allow you to start the healing process.

Remind yourself how well you loved your cat

Take the time to think about how much you really loved your cat. Think of the ways you spoiled them and spent time with them even when you should have been doing something else. Find their favorite toy and remember the fun times they had playing with it. The idea is to put a smile on your face and take away that guilty feeling.

Knowing that you loved your cat as much as anyone could, may just help relieve some of the guilt you have for the passing of your cat.

Know it was not your fault

Even if you did do something that caused the death of your cat you need to remind yourself that accidents do happen. You didn’t intentionally do something to harm your cat and you never would. However, things do happen that are out of our control.

This will take time. It will take daily reminders that you did not intend to harm your beloved pet. One way to do this is to put up a note on your bathroom mirror. It could say any of the following.

  • Accidents happen, my cat forgives me
  • I did not mean to harm my cat, I loved them.
  • I can overcome this guilt.

Every day you look at that note and repeat it to yourself 10 times. The mind is an amazing thing and it will respond to our thoughts. Doing this every day for as long as you need to will help ease your guilt.

Don’t expect to feel better quickly if it was an accident that caused your cat’s death. It takes time to heal and feeling guilt for something that may have unintentionally caused your cat’s death will take time.

Think back on the good times

You have many memories of your time with your cat. Think back on things they did that made you laugh. Maybe they helped you through a hard time. My cat, Kisses helped me through the loss of my father. I had started college that year and he passed just a couple of months after I started.

I ended up in my own apartment for my second term and was away from friends and family. My cat helped me by just being there snuggling and loving me. I don’t know what I would have done without her.

Another fun memory from Kisses was how we got her. My sister found her on our roof and rescued her. We found out she was a kitten from a neighbor and they told us to keep her if we wanted her.

Remembering simple things about your pet is just a wonderful way to increase your happiness and release the guilt you may have.

Don’t rush into a new cat

You may hear that you just need to go out and get a new cat. That may work for some, but not for others. I waited a few months before I got Pumpkin and Dixie and I’m very happy I did. Getting them was a reminder of my last cat but since I had dealt with losing her already I was able to really enjoy my two new kittens.

Give yourself time if you feel you need it. However, you do need to remember that showing love to another pet may just be what you need to keep the guilt of your cat dying at bay. Though there is nothing wrong with getting a new cat, you need to be sure you are ready to love and care for another animal.

I like to think Kisses sent me Pumpkin and Dixie because together they have her personality. She loved to snuggle and give kisses, however, sometimes she would also put me in my place and ignore me. Pumpkin is my snuggler and Dixie tolerates me.

Dealing with the loss of a cat or any pet can be hard. What you need to remember is that you should not feel guilty. As long as they were loved while you had them, you cared for them and did your best for them. Then you were a loving owner and you should be proud of yourself for the love you showed them while they were with you.