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I feel like I can trust you, don't delete please. I need help by making the rest of my cats understand that she's gone and not coming back.

My old cat, Bee, died - and we have two more and I don't know how to deal with my old cat being gone. She's been there for me my whole life.

I need my cats to understand that she is gon and not coming back.

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    This may not be the best resource for a question like this, though that doesn't make it something not worth addressing. I'd suggest a more dedicated resource; petloss.com is where I turned a few years ago and they were a huge help to me. I'd strongly recommend them to you as well. – Allison C Sep 29 at 13:54
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    I don't have any advice for how to help your other cats, but this song helped me when my dog passed away: youtube.com/watch?v=Fhop5VuLDIQ – Ryan_L Sep 29 at 17:17
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    "I need help by making the rest of my cats understand that she's gone and not coming back." Have you let them see the body? I would think it must really confuse pets when an owner or another pet just disappears. – Acccumulation Sep 29 at 22:27
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    @Acccumulation In the only examples I've heard it did no good -- the other cat didn't even recognize the other cat once it died. I don't think the OP cheated the 2 survivors out of a cathartic cat wake. – Owen Reynolds Oct 1 at 16:32
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Loss of a pet, for some people can be no different than losing a family member. The effect may be more intensely felt by children and teenagers compared to adults. Therefore, grieving after a pet is no different than grieving after losing a family member. Anything you can find online about grieving your parents or your children is relevant.

As a disclaimer, I am not a psychologist so my suggestions are based on my experiences.

The biggest problem you might face will be other people belittling your loss. Try to isolate yourself from people saying "It was just a cat." It is impossible for someone who never had a similar connection with a cat to your connection with Bee to anticipate your grief.

Firstly, if you need a venue to express grief, you can organise a funeral. Carry out the funeral only with a small group of friends and family who knows you and your loss. A funeral can mark the closure of your life with your cat, Bee, and allow you to see grief of others touched by Bee's demise.

After that, give yourself some time. If you are at school, have your parents talk to your teachers about giving you some space. If you are working, talk to your supervisor about it. Most people will accept your loss. If you find it hard to attend work or school, you can always talk to a GP or a psychiatrist to have some time off.

Attend to your other cats. They are probably confused to why Bee is no longer around and if they have good relations with her, they will be grieving too. Not only you will be helping them, they will also help you.

Until you feel better, minimise your presence on social media, especially with friends who would not understand you. You will hear many people saying "But this cat looks like Bee, take her". Ignore them and if possible, shut them off temporarily. It is not their fault that they do not understand you, they just cannot because they do not know how close someone can get with a pet.

At the end, everyone processes grief differently so do not force yourself to do anything that you are not comfortable with. This includes all my suggestions here.

Eventually, you will start to focus on the quality memories you had with Bee rather than her demise.

I had hamsters for some time, and because of their limited lifespan, I witness the death of eight hamsters of mine. The bond you make with your hamster is not as strong the bond with a cat, however losing every single one of my hamsters hit me deeply. The loss of my 15 year old Maine Coon, Charlie, was even greater. I tried to take relish in how well he was looked after and how he outlived an average Maine Coon by three years. I took two days off work and prepared a folder with his photos and videos for my close friends who also loved Charlie. Then, I focused on my other cat, Sonny.

My condolences, and I hope this helps.

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    In fact it can be worse than losing a family member. The wife of one of my relatives died, after a marriage lasting more than 70 years, and the husband's age was 95. Everyone wondered how he was going to deal with this, but it apparently had no effect and he just got on with living on his own with no problems. But when his pet dog died four years later, he "lost the will to live" and died (from natural causes) within a few months, just before his 100th birthday. – alephzero Sep 29 at 18:42
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    "so do not force yourself to do anything that you are not comfortable with." While mostly true, I will call out: many people are uncomfortable with grieving. It may make sense to set aside some time to dedicate to grieving. I struggle with it, but found if I told myself I must grieve for a minimum of ten minutes right now, that ended up working well for me. Do not plan, do not problem solve. Just grieve. And then do it again at night, and the next day, for a while. Also remember that these are minimums, not maximums. Avoid setting a maximum time on grief. – Mooing Duck Sep 29 at 19:51
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    @alephzero Maybe it was not the difference between dog and wife, but the difference of "one is gone, but there is the other one there already" and "all my beloved are gone, I want to company them" – Allerleirauh Sep 30 at 5:07
  • @Allerleirauh - or the fact that dude was literally 100 years old and died of natural causes and this had nothing to do with grief. – Davor Sep 30 at 14:31
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    @Davor I think you might be right, but I believe Allerleirauh's comment wasn't really about what was the exact reason of his death, it rather generally relates to the fact that social isolation indeed has negative effects on humans like decreased activity of immune system, having someone or a beloved pet could help you and balance the negative emotions, but once he lost them all and was left isolated it quickly went worse. – lila Oct 1 at 0:25
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I acknowledge you are hurting.

"Dealing" with Bee's death amounts to staring in the face the unavoidable (and unbearably cruel) fact of life that those we love die, and eventually we ourselves die. It is what is known as "the human condition", i.e. attachment to other people/animals, and the awareness of the potential for their not being there anymore, and then our own demise.

The previous poster has given you some very sound suggestions for avoiding pain and feeling better. This was a kind and supportive post. My post is not kind and supportive, but not because I want to harm you. I try to encourage humans to squint, even briefly, at the reality of life, as we cushion ourselves to such a degree that we really live in la-la-land, and it comes out sideways, effectively damaging our entire planet.

I'm guessing you had a lot of joy with Bee, and she with you. We think in terms of accumulation, and just and unjust. We think on some level that if we surround ourselves with happiness we can distance ourselves from unhappiness. They are two sides to the same coin. That you feel sorrow at losing Bee is unpleasant, but completely normal, and (I would argue) part of the joy you felt at having her in your life. Your heart is big and strong, and can not only take pain, but will grow from experiencing it. See if you can let a little of the pain be.

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    The other post was not just about feeling better. It was about dealing with the grief in a way that does not cause undue emotional pain. It seems in-line with most of the advice I've read about grieving. This answer makes good points, but perhaps is a victim of its own message: it's a little too harsh sounding, especially for someone who is grieving. It's not wrong, just maybe not packaged the best? When I first read it, it sounded snarky and upset me (I recently lost a beloved pet too). On the third reading, I see that it's intended to actually be kind. Maybe the wording goes overboard? – bob Sep 29 at 16:23
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Others have answered what to do, and what to avoid from others; and also what is happening, and that it has to happen. I can't offer anything over what they've said about that. But I would like to offer a view on a possible timeline.

My cat (we have others; but they are "our cats". I, and I alone, was her human) Isabella died a while back. We knew this was coming for a long time; she was almost 20, if we believe her previous family, and was with me for over 10 years; and she was given a "year or so" diagnosis two years before. I am also not very emotional myself.

All this to say that it took almost a month to not reflexively look for her or expect her to jump up when I sat down at the computer, or went to bed, and feel the pain; closer to three months before I didn't get reminded by something every day that she was gone; and almost a year before "Isabella will...oh", with its attendant twinge of hurt, stopped happening regularly. I still get flashes occasionally, when one of the other cats does something Isabella-like, or I see that same grey shape on a cat on the street. But it doesn't hurt any more.

Were it to be sudden, or were we not prepared, or were I more of an emotional person than I am, it could easily have been longer. It may be for you. That's not wrong. It may be shorter. That doesn't mean you didn't care. What happens, has to happen, and it takes what time it takes. It happens, and it hurts, and it takes time.

But it will get better, in time. It will be another part of your life, in time. If you're not as old as this grandparent, a year could sound like forever. It's not, but it isn't tomorrow, either.

For me, I have the urn "In memory of Isabella" on my desk where I can look at it while writing this, and a picture and paw print on the bookshelf; and some other pictures. But mostly I have 10 years of good memories, along with the one year of grieving: the grieving is over, the good memories remain. Even the grieving is a good memory, of a sort.

And that will be you and your memories of Bee. Hang on to that thought - and when it hurts, again, remember one of those good memories, and know that while she is remembered, she is never really gone. And take care of the other cats, and the other humans, too; and let them take care of you as well.

As a final note, one of our other cats came up to me and stayed for the first few days where Isabella always used to. She helped me feel better, and I hope I helped her as well. And that, too, is a good memory.

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  • Welcome to Pets, this is a good contribution, I hope you stay with Pets SE longer and continue contributing like this. – lila Oct 1 at 0:06
  • bee was 27 when she passed, and sometimes I can still hear that painful last good by in my head I new she would have died soon, when I ate popcorn she would always want some to she would come and curl up in my lap I always loved her in a special way, when I was starting kindergarten (she was a kitten then)she sat at the door and cries until I come home know one could love a cat more than I loved bee. thankyou Mycroft – LILY KURCZEWSKI Oct 1 at 3:41
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    @LILYKURCZEWSKI 27 years was a great long life for a cat, especially one who was loved as much. – htmlcoderexe Oct 1 at 6:54
  • you're welcome. be well. do well. – Mycroft Oct 1 at 15:26

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