The loss of a pet can be one of the most difficult experiences you will ever face. Pets are our family members, and their passing can leave us feeling overwhelmed with grief. It really can be hard to cope with the emptiness that you are feeling, for real! It’s purrfectly normal and natural to feel deep sadness, grief and even loneliness when we lose a beloved pet.
It is important to acknowledge your feelings when you are grieving the loss of your pet. Allow yourself to feel whatever emotions come up, whether it’s sadness, anger, or guilt. Don’t try to push away your feelings or pretend they don’t exist. Grief is an emotional response to loss, and it can manifest itself in many different ways. It’s important to remember that everyone grieves differently, so there’s no “right” or “wrong” way to feel when you lose a pet. Some people may find themselves feeling angry or numb, while others may experience intense sadness or depression. It’s also common for people to feel guilty or regretful after their pet passes away. If you read my blog post about Eartha Kitten you'll know that I feel guilt about her passing to this day.
Also keep it in the back of your mind that you don't have to be alone in your grief if you don't want to be. There are many people who understand what you are going through and who are willing to offer support. Cat Folx SF is not the only string in my bow, I am a also certified life coach and consulting hypnotist - although these days I choose to only work with pet guardians.
I can tailor a care plan specifically for you to cope with your loss. The plan will include referrals to support groups dedicated specifically for those grieving the loss of a beloved pet as well as self care and memorial work. It can even include Hypnosis - which is a very powerful tool to help "let go".
Talking with family and friends can also be a very powerful healing tool too, especially when you can reminisce about the life of your beloved. Memories are such powerful anchors. A caring caveat here though.... you will probably be given platitudes and condescending advice from "well-meaning" friends and family. People will tell you all sorts of ridiculous things like: the "grief will pass" (it may not ever pass), that "it was only a pet", or "get another pet so you can move on" and so many other hurtful things. Just ignore them and feel whatever you are feeling. To be blunt I would go as far as to say Fuck that Shit - move on without their "support"
Finding ways to honor your pet is another way to cope with their passing. You could create a memorial in their honor or make a donation in their name to an animal rescue organization or shelter. You could also write down some of your favorite memories of them or create an album filled with photos and stories about them that you can look back on whenever you need some comfort.
When we lost the coolest cat in the world - Roxy (she really was so cool - traveling the world with us, taking it all in with no fuss)
I wrote a children's book entitled "The Coolest Cat in the World" and even tried to get it published. It never was - maybe I'm not such a great writer but Wow! it was a powerful tool in my healing arsenal.
Finally, it is important that you are taking care of YOU! Make sure that you are eating healthy meals, getting enough sleep, exercising regularly, and engaging in the activities that bring joy into your life. This can include giving yourself permission to take time off from work or other obligations if needed. I know, I know.... shocking! but really we wouldn't even think twice about taking time off to mourn a human family member, why should our purry/furry family members be any different?!
So one last time for the people up the back - No matter how you choose to cope with the loss of your pet, know that it is normal and natural to feel devastated by their passing—and that it is okay for you take all the time you need before moving forward without them by your side
And another thing.... don't be afraid to seek professional help from a therapist or counselor who specializes in grief counseling. Again, I am happy to make referrals.
Cats are known for their independent and mysterious nature. Because they often keep to themselves and can be quite unpredictable, it’s no surprise that many people think they don't need the same kind of care that dogs are routinely given.
This is a shame because to ensure your cat is the wonderful and loving companion you want to share your life with, you do need to give them a lot of attention and care - on a daily basis.
In this article, we’ll explore the potential issues that can arise when you don’t give your cat the interaction it needs and give you some easy-to-do tips on how to keep your cat's mental health in tip-top shape.
So What can Happen if You Don’t Spend Enough Time With Your Cat?
Cats are social animals and as such they do need human interaction to stay healthy and happy. Spending time with your cat is essential for building a strong bond between you. Without enough time spent together, cats can become bored, lonely, and/or just plain stressed out. This can lead to behavioral problems such as excessive meowing, scratching furniture, or worse. It can also cause physical health issues such as weight gain or digestive problems. Cats that don’t get enough attention may also become more aggressive or start urinating outside the litter box.
It's quite common for us to meet cat guardians that are convinced that kitty will be aggressive and/or hiding with us as sitters. Often times this just doesn't happen because cats are curious creatures and want to get to know new people. They may have adopted a more aloof or aggressive demeanor with their family members or family friends because they already tried to bond and were either ignored, left to their own devices or just plain not encouraged to be any different.
"Oh he's always been like that" can sometimes really mean "Oh I've always left him to it"
Enrichment Ideas - Tips for Spending More Time With Your Purry Friend
If you want to ensure that your cat is getting enough interaction, there are some simple steps you can take:
I'm Going Away - How do I Ensure Kitty will be OK?
The main thing is please don't leave kitty on their own for any more than 24 hours.
At Cat Folx SF we do not do Every Other Day visits or "pop- ins". We firmly believe that kitty should have interaction Every.Single.Day.
The other major consideration for making sure kitty is cared for in your absence is making sure their daily routine is not changed too much. For most cats this means staying in their own home with their own bed, all their things and familiar scents. Cats really do so much better with a stable routine, and unless they have been trained from a young age to leave their homes they get stressed when they have to leave it. You would all know the "drama" that a vet visit can entail. Imagine the stress of a boarding situation?!
It also means that all of the enrichment ideas from the list above should continue in your absence.
Consistency and Routine are so Important for Kitty
Cats have a daily routine which varies from cat to cat. A typical daily routine for cats includes sleeping, eating, grooming, playing, and exploring.
Sleeping: Cats spend about 16 hours of their day sleeping. This is because cats are crepuscular animals meaning they are most active at dawn and dusk when their prey is most active. During the day they sleep in order to conserve energy for when they need it most.
Eating: Cats typically eat two or three meals per day depending on their age and activity level. Kittens may need up to four meals per day while older cats may only need one or two meals per day.
Grooming: Grooming is an important part of a cat’s daily routine as it helps keep their fur clean and free of debris. Cats will typically groom themselves several times throughout the day using their tongue and paws to remove dirt, dead skin cells, and other debris from their fur coat.
Playing: Playing is an important part of a cat’s daily routine as it helps keep them mentally stimulated and physically active. Cats will typically play with toys or chase each other around the house for several minutes each day in order to stay sharp and alert. Make sure they have toys to play with in your absence.
Exploring: Exploring is another important part of a cat’s daily routine as it helps them stay curious about their environment while also providing them with mental stimulation. Cats love looking out windows - so that they can satisfy their curiosity about what lies beyond what they already know. Cat perches near windows are great for this. I like to think of it as Cat TV. So many cat guardians, worried that folx may be able to see in and realize no-one is home tend to cover windows when they go away. If the window at the front of the house shows too much of your inside consider moving kitty's perch to a back window or leaving on the actual TV with nature shows.
Choosing the Right Carer - Ensuring Consistent Interaction
When considering a carer for your purry family member always ask about what time they will come to visit. If kitty is used to eating at 7am, then someone coming to feed them at 7pm will cause undue stress. 10am on the other hand would usually be fine which is why we adhere to a 3 hour window.
Another important consideration is the length of the visit your carer will make. At Cat Folx SF we do visits that last at least 35 minutes. We believe that litter box cleaning, feeding and medications shouldn't take away from the interactive time we spend with your purry family member. We always allocate at least 15-20 minutes at every visit for socializing with kitty. Depending on kitty's purrsonality and what they ask us for we spend most of the visit playing with them, grooming them and giving them chin scratches and pets. For shy kitties that like to hide, we read them a story or sing to them so that they have company.
In conclusion, your purry family member needs consistent and loving interaction.
Playtime, Grooming, Stimulation and Love are just as important as Meals and a Clean Litterbox. And sleeping in their own bed surrounded by their scent and the scent of their hoomans can not be beat.
If you have any questions I'm happy to help. Contact me here