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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.


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9:15AM PDT on Aug 1, 2015

I just had to bury one of my rescue pups, who was apparently poisoned by a neighbor. It broke my heart, and I'm pursuing charges against him. I do so hope there IS a rainbow bridge, someone to let them play and run, and that I'll see all of my loves again someday.

9:55AM PDT on Jun 25, 2015

Thank you for such a very beautiful article. The writer was so gifted in how they understood the human--pet connection, because it is so beautiful. It brings so much more understanding about the whole process. I've said goodbye to enough pets to know the pain of losing them, all beloved pets. And, yes, they do stay in our memories with love, and gratefulness for being able to have had them as pets and friends for many years. This article covers all of that so very lovingly.

7:15AM PDT on May 27, 2015

Thank you for this article, I have two geriatic cats, and know I am not going to have them much longer. I hope I will have the strength to consider euthanasia if necessary. For now I'm just trying to love them more.

7:46PM PDT on Apr 27, 2015

Great article, I always have my deceased animals in my memories, they will be forever more in my thoughts, and are so dearly missed.

7:42PM PDT on Apr 27, 2015

Saying goodbye to any animal is always very sad, it is only natural as they are part of the family, when I have lost a pet I haven't been able to bury them, have had to get someone else to do it for me as it upset me too much, then I plant a happy plant with them, so they will be happy in pussy heaven.

1:57PM PDT on Mar 20, 2015

Saying goodbye to my little Deutsch was the most traumatizing experience for me. I guess it was because it was such a violent death. I cried for two weeks until my son drove 120 miles to purchase a puppy that he thought would take his place. Well, I am here to tell you, he did not take Deutsch's place. He has long hair and is a complete mess of a child. I still love him though. Frederick Otto (Fritz for short). You never do get over the death of a pet. It is comparable to a human death. It just gets easier to bear. HUGS TO ALL FROM TEXAS

9:23PM PDT on Mar 16, 2015

So hard.

9:47AM PDT on Mar 16, 2015

Saying goodbye is very hard indeed, and though many lovely furballs have once shared and enriched my life, the loss of each one was devastating, from mostly age related and then, my beloved Spike, from a cobra bite. The other furbabies seem to sense the loss and take it in their stride of living and giving. They lie quiet by my side as I grieve for a while and then they slowly and surely lift and comfort me, as if they were meant to, by just being close by. Anyone who has seen their furball smile will know exactly what I mean. I am so lucky to have my rescues grace my life.

6:50AM PDT on Mar 11, 2015

Thank you sharing.

5:46PM PDT on Mar 9, 2015

A beautiful, expressive and compassionate article. I wish I would have known about the eight steps when I lost my first dog, a beagle, Pip.

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