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Saying Goodbye to a Beloved Cat or Dog

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Saying Goodbye to a Beloved Cat or Dog

“When one watches a loved one depart from the shore, another welcomes them on the opposite shore.” –Celeste Yarnall

The loss of a cat or dog can be an agonizing experience. To most animal lovers, our animal companions are every bit as important as members of our human family. People who have suffered the loss of their cats and dogs usually have other family members and/or pets who are also grieving the loss.

The question that most often arises is: Do we wait, or do we adopt a cat or kitten or dog or puppy to help fill this empty void? Certainly a kitten or puppy or an adult cat or dog can be there to help and comfort the grieving. But even more than that, when one is used to loving their pet, it’s very difficult to not have a recipient upon whom to lavish this flow of love because our love doesn’t die when our loved ones do. Adopting a kitten or puppy or adult cat or dog from an animal shelter may be the answer. With so many cats in shelters in desperate need of homes and people to love them, the ideal way to help the grieving process and to prevent their needless death is to bring home one of these babies. These adoptions are beneficial to both the adopter and adoptee.

Communicating With Your Sick or Aging Cat

The decisions that plague us at the end of our pets’ lives are heavy burdens to bear. For instance, is it too late to seek alternative healing therapies when the animal has been through so much? Should we choose euthanasia (a humane death by injection), or permit our animals to endure until the end? If you choose not to euthanize, you’ll want to provide hospice-type care to make sure your cat or dog remains as comfortable as possible.

Ultimately, you and your animal friend need to make these choices together. Now is the most important time for spiritual work: meditation, prayer, and nonverbal communication. You’ll receive guidance when your heart and mind are open. Do what you feel is best, but please make sure you are truly considering your cat’s best interests and not just your own needs or inability to let go. Animals have their own paths and their own spiritual journeys. When the end is near, the best thing you can do for them is to release them. Tell them out loud that it’s okay for them to pass on. This will help you accept it, and it will help them follow the path ahead. Flower essences can be extremely helpful to ease this transition. (See Flower Essences)

Some animal communicators and psychics feel that animals reincarnate in tandem with their human companions and with each other. The closer the interspecies bonding, the more likely and more frequent such reincarnation is to occur. Some even believe the species are interchangeable. Metaphysicians often recommend that you tell your animal companion you understand that they wish to leave this body, and that you will welcome them in their new one, so their spirit may continue its bond with you.

Planning Ahead

Consider making arrangements for your pets in your own will or with your loved ones in the event of your death. There have been many cases where pets have come to tragedy when their people died without leaving instructions for their care.

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Celeste Yarnall

Celeste Yarnall, PhD shares musings on myriad of topics at her Celestial Musings Blog. She is the author of The Complete Guide to Holistic Cat Care with Jean Hofve, DVM and Paleo Dog. Celeste is an actress/producer/activist/writer and keynote speaker. She and her husband Nazim Artist created the Art of Wellness Collection and are the producers of Femme: Women Healing the World. They live in Los Angeles, California with their beloved Tonkinese cats. Join Celeste at her website or on Facebook.


+ add your own
9:37AM PDT on Mar 21, 2014

noted with many thanks

12:03PM PDT on Mar 20, 2014

Thanks Sue G!

6:41AM PDT on Mar 20, 2014

"There have been many cases where pets have come to tragedy when their people died without leaving instructions for their care."
Losing a pet is horrible ... but to imagine he will outlive me and not be so respected and treated as well as I do, creates in me the same agony.

4:32AM PST on Feb 27, 2014

Saying 'goodbye' for me was the hardest thing ever in my life when it was time to put down my cat, Chad, who experienced a short encounter with cancer. I had him 11 beautiful years. He was my shadow. To be told your friend is going to die is one of the most surreal feelings ever! The day i drove him into the vet's office to have him relieved of life, i played for him a song on my ipod that best said what i couldn't. When we got their, i was told what was going to happen next. My face was the last face he saw before his small head fell gently in my hand. I let out a blood curdling scream of raw grief and cried for an additional 50 minutes as i sat with him and talked and let him know once more what a gift he was to my life. Chad was my first real love. Nope, it is never easy to say goodbye. It's effect is felt in the deepest crevices of our core.

9:21AM PST on Feb 20, 2014

My beloved dobie rescue died suddenly aged 6 and words can't describe how much you miss them, we had him for 2 short years but the best years of my life. 5 long weeks later we've just rescued a 8 week old rottie German shepherd cross, nothing will ever replace digger but we can honour his memory by giving another rescue a loving and happy home.

8:49PM PST on Dec 19, 2013


If it should be that I grow weak
And pain should keep me from my sleep;
Then you must do what must be done,
For this last battle can't be won.

You will be sad, I understand;
But don't let grief then stay your hand.
For this day more than all the rest,
Your love for me must stand the test.

We've had so many happy years;
What is to come can hold no fears.
You don't want me to suffer so
The time has come, please let me go.

Take me where my needs they'll tend,
But please stay with me 'til the end
To hold me close and speak to me
Until my eyes no longer see.

I know in time you will agree,
It was a kindness done for me.
Although my tail its last has waved,
From pain and suffering I'm saved.

Please do not grieve that it was you
Who had this painful thing to do.
We've been so close, we two, these years;
Don't let your heart hold any tears.

(--Author Unknown--)

10:33PM PST on Nov 17, 2013

Thank You, This is one of the hardest things to go through . I see I already commented but it is nothing close to how I feel daily. I can't get over the last 2 and one in particular. Well both .Just very different lives with them and longer with one. This time I can't get past it yet.

Thaks for the post!

10:14AM PDT on Oct 27, 2013

Doing rescue work of older and medically-challenged dogs means that I have to say goodbye to them often all too soon. They each have told me when they're ready to go, and I've had to learn to honor their wishes. Vets today are like traditional doctors -- they want to keep your pets going forever, because it generates more revenue. I've had to be insistent when it was time.

Dogs, particularly, will let you know when they know it's their time. They'll try to get as far away from the "pack" as possible, since they don't want to die near the pack and contaminate it with the body.

I try to tell myself that the reason our animal friends have shorter lives than ours is so we can learn to hold life gently, as they do, and we can learn to love again (over and over), so we come to know that love is flowing all around us.

7:37PM PDT on Oct 2, 2013

I lost my dog, he was my baby and it has been a little over a year now. The pain is still with me. He was 16 and I know that people will say he was old, but my baby was in his right mind, but I had to let him go because he was not able to walk so I had to do the "humane" thing and let him go. with tears in my eyes as I type this I miss him so much. I keep saying I should get another something but somehow I just haven't. I guess one day I will.

7:25PM PDT on Oct 2, 2013

My first cat ever when I was 18 still jumps on my bed behind my back where she slept. The bed moves. I could even pet her at times. My husband who didn't believe in that really, one night said wth? Was that so and so jumping on the bed? Yes it was.
Another one that I had to put to sleep a few months ago I see and feel everywhere in the corner of my eye and is his special places. I actually double look because I don't want to step on him. They are very spiritual.

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