There are many reasons we fall in love with cats. They’re adorable, and, contrast to popular belief, have a loving, affectionate, and intuitive nature. Some cats literally choose their human, while we humans rescue, adopt and foster a cat, that we feel an instant connection to. For all the reasons and ways in which we come to become cat parents, there is one unavoidable commonality. We will love them deeply, and we will face the heart-break of having them cross the rainbow bridge. Because I’m still in the middle of grieving my most difficult loss, I wanted to write an article that could offer comfort, and ideas for memorializing a precious cat you may be grieving.
Between the constant loss of stray cats and family cats spanning 35 years, I’m no stranger to grieving the loss of beloved cats. The one that I’m having an especially difficult time coping with, is the loss of the second cat I adopted in adulthood, my Miss Mitsey girl. In the year and a half she’s gone, I still call her name out loud, have had some very emotional dreams about her, and cry when I think of how much I miss her. Mitsey was with me from the middle of an abusive relationship, until, my current healthy relationship, that blessed me with two beautiful children. She was my only source of mental stability during the worst time of my life. She is my soul mate, as your cat may very well be yours.
The first way in which you can both memorialize a deceased cat, and feel a bit of comfort, is to have a ceremony. My family has a tradition of burying family cats we’ve lost in our parent’s yard. With beautiful angel statues, and butterfly bushes, our beloved cats have a shaded place, where we visit them, pray for them, and where they watch our children frolicking, as they so loved to do themselves. We initially have a ceremony in which everyone tells their favorite memory, offers a prayer, and leaves a flower. This is how I decided to honor Miss Mitsey.
The second option is cremating your cat, and keeping his/her remains in an engraved urn. Having a special place, (such as their favorite room, or shelf they favored sleeping on), to keep the urn. Maybe a place that feels especially quiet, peaceful, and calming to you, so that when you wish to visit, you feel connected and comforted. You may want to consider a place more front and center, if your cat was the center of attention. Perhaps a fireplace mantel, or prominent shelving in the living room.
A third option is an engraved plaque or headstone. A stone, marble, granite, or wood engraving of your cat’s name, (even nicknames), dates, a quote that touches you, and even an image of your cat. You can join your love for your cat, along with a little artistic flair, for this lovely indoor, or outdoor memorial option.
The third option is also creative, and can serve as a beautiful decorative memorial piece. A painting is a beautiful way to commemorate your kitty. It can be a portrait with exact likeness to your precious cat, or something more abstract, that you feel captures the feelings you have for your cat, or that captures the personality of your cat, (playful, bright, warm, eccentric). A combination of a portrait with an abstract back round can help you capture the perfect balance of what you want to feel when you look at it.
The fourth way to honor your cat may seem a bit odd, and honestly, I’m not sure how I feel about it. By heating your cat’s ashes to a blazing temperature, companies create jewelry and decorative pieces, that are unique, colorful and interesting. A Google search of of colorful glass memorials from pet ashes turned up a variety of stunningly beautiful options. If like myself you’re in awe of, but not quite sure if this method captures the feeling your after when thinking of your cat, there are also jewelry pieces, which hold the ashes, and can be engraved.
A popular hobby, (just walk into your local Michael’s, Joanne’s, or Hobby Lobby), is scrapbooking. A great fifth option to memorialize your cat, is to create a scrapbook. This really allows you to personalize, reflect, get hands on with your cat’s memorial. Photos that help you relive happy moments are very powerful. It can tell the love story of you and your cat in such a special way, and incorporate both your cat and your personalities. I’d add to this category a shadow box. It’s any box you can fit your cat’s favorite things, that are too big for a scrap-book. It’s actually an idea that compliments the scrapbooking perfectly. Toys, an unfinished package of favorite kitty treats, random fur that you still find around the house, food and water bowls, favorite blanket, collars ect.
If you want to go the more extreme route, and you literally need to have your cat, in as close to original form as possible with you, taxidermy may be a suitable sixth option for you. If nothing short of having your sweet baby on your lap will bring you peace, you can find a talented taxidermist to bring your cat as back to life as possible.
When you look over these six suggestions for grieving and honoring your cat, some will resonate with you, and other suggestions may make you feel unsettled. The important things to consider are which one(s) make you feel warm and comforted, and which allow you to capture the spirit and love that existed when your cat was here. That’s truly what you want to feel, when you stand in the memories of your sweet baby. Additional comfort can also be found online. There are support groups on Facebook so that you can become part of a community of those who love and are grieving the loss of their cat.
This article is written with particular love and empathy, for all who have had their dear cat cross the Rainbow Bridge. XOXO – Lisa