Helpline for grieving cat owners

Helpline for grieving cat owners

Pets are a huge part of our lives and often become important members of our families, so when one dies it can be heartbreaking.

In an effort to ease the pain of losing a pet, the charity Cats Protection have launched a confidential line where bereft owners can speak to trained volunteers offering emotional and practical help in coping with the loss of a cat.

The free service called, Paws to Listen was launched as a survey revealed that 75 per cent of cat owners believed that the public underestimated the effect the death of a cat has on its owner. 

The survey of 1,011 cat owners are found that:

  • A quarter of cat owners would expect their grieving process to take up to a year after losing a cat
  •  Over a third of owners believed there was not enough support for owners to deal with the death of their cat
  •  Over 40 per cent of cat owners said that, during the grieving process, they would find it supportive speaking to someone who is not a close friend or family member
  • Over half of all owners believed that making the decision to have their cat put to sleep would intensify their feelings of grief
  •  Nearly 60 per cent of cat owners would describe themselves as being ‘very’ or ‘extremely’ upset by the death of their cat

Manager of the service, Nick de Bruxelles, said: “Grieving for a pet is not necessarily just about death – quite often, the process begins when a cat reaches advanced old age or when their health begins to decline and euthanasia needs to be considered.

“It can be incredibly difficult for owners to make that final decision to have their cat put to sleep, and we often hear from owners who feel guilty and distressed from having made that choice, despite it being based on veterinary advice.

 “Grief can also extend to owners whose cats have gone missing or to those who have been forced to re-home their cat. However it occurs, saying goodbye to a much-loved pet can be incredibly difficult for people of all ages.

“Cats are generally long-lived and cherished pets and the loss of one can bring significant challenges. There are many emotional hurdles, but owners also have many practical questions – such as what to do with the body of their pet, and this can compound their grief.

 “Our service is designed to help owners move forward and find the best way to remember their pet.”

  •  You can call the Paws to Listen phone line on 0800 024 94 94. The line is open from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday excluding bank holidays.