The good news first: cats have a long life expectancy of 12 to 14 years, sometimes even 15 to 20 years. So the velvet paws accompany you a long time of your life.
However, as for all earthly life, the time comes for cats to die. Healthy old cats instinctively sense this, seek more rest, withdraw into their basket and eat less food. But also illnesses, an accidental death or dangers to which an outdoor cat is exposed, can put an abrupt end to the cat’s life. It becomes difficult when the cat must be euthanized due to a serious illness at the vet to spare the cat suffering. The grief over the death of the cat can then immediately or delayed when you come to rest after the death of the cat.
Cat died – various circumstances
If the cat dies of natural causes, it becomes milder weeks before and sleeps a lot. She may also retreat to a place where she does not want to be found. Other cats say goodbye to their caregiver by increased contact search, which can become very emotional.
Seriously ill cats are put to sleep in the veterinary practice. They are given a sedative so that they gently fall asleep. Here you can prepare for the death of the cat, because you experience before how it suffers and how badly the sick cat is.
The hardest is the accidental death of cats that just run fast across the street or die from poisoned food. Such a death can not be predicted. It therefore hits cat owners the hardest and is associated with deep grief.
If you are present during the dying process, it is possible to place the animal’s body in a dignified position that makes it easier for other family members to see the dead cat. Should children be allowed to pet the recently deceased cat one more time? That’s fine. However, it will feel different than before. Longer deceased animals should not be touched again. Depending on the weight and size, rigor mortis can set in after only fifteen minutes. The carcass then becomes cold and stiff. This can cause discomfort in adults and children.
If the cat is euthanized and you do not want to bury the cat because you do not have the possibility to do so, the veterinary practice will hand over the cat to the rendering service. It is illegal to bury animals in public spaces. Doing so can result in a six-figure fine. Another option for burial is pet cemeteries. There, you can rent a grave site for annual or monthly fees. Another opportunity for cat burial is to cremate the cat. You will receive the cat’s ashes in an urn that you can place at home. If you have your own garden, you may bury the cat there if the garden is not in a water conservation area or nature reserve. The grave site should be dug about half a meter deep and one meter away from public paths. The animal carcass should be encased in rotting material, not plastic bags or similar.
Mourning for the cat
If a cat dies, it is always painful and you do not have to be ashamed of your grief. If you had a close contact with the velvet paw, its death leaves a void. Allow the grief consciously to say goodbye to the four-legged friend. Rituals can help! Put up a picture of the beloved cat or plant the grave site. Especially children can cope better with the loss if there is a grave. You can help younger children understand the loss with a cat paradise where the cat went. If the house cat was socialized with another cat, this also mourns. Therefore, you should let some time pass if you want to get a cat again.
Should I get a new cat?
Many cat owners do not want to get a new cat because of the pain of parting. If the emptiness caused by the death of the cat becomes very depressing for you and other family members, you should still think about getting a new cat. However, this cat can never replace the old cat, because it has its own character, which shapes the coexistence. Living together will be different than with the old cat. But certainly not worse. Some cat owners grieve longer, others create a new cat after a few weeks, because a new cat can also help in coping with grief.