More than a few of my friends lost pets this year, and all were beloved family members. I told the parents how sorry I was for their loss, but I now realize I did not do enough.
With that in mind, I put together the following five ways to show you care when a friend’s cat crosses the Rainbow Bridge.
1. Send a card, but not just any card
Skip the card aisle at your grocery store and hit Etsy instead for a handmade expression of sympathy. I love this plantable card from the Recycled Ideas shop. It has forget-me-not flower seeds embedded into the paper shape of a cat on the front, with planting instructions provided on the back.
The shop — run by animal lovers Holly and Alasdair from Washington — will even personalize the card with the cat’s name or a special message at no additional charge. In the spring, your friend can peel off the cat shape and plant it in memory of the pet to enjoy pretty blue flowers for years to come.
2. Have a basket delivered
The right gift basket also can show your friend how much you care. Green Pet Gifts specializes in baskets filled with eco-friendly, healthy products sourced locally in Oregon.
The Cat Bereavement Basket features items meant to comfort a pet parent during a difficult emotional time. Among the items in the basket are the book For Every Cat an Angel, a soy-wax memorial candle, and paw-print tissues.
3. Give a small gift
A small token representing the cat who died makes a nice gesture. I adore this Cat Angel Pin from mixed-media artist Sarah Ogren. Made as a collage and then printed onto wood, it could become a favorite piece of jewelry for your friend because of the memories it sparks. Ogren makes a version with a brown cat, too.
4. Make a donation
Many animal organizations make it easy to donate money in memory of a beloved pet. For example, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals accepts donations online in the form of an eMemorial. You simply donate an amount via credit card, check, or PayPal, and the ASPCA will send a memorial card to your friend in recognition of the gift.
The Humane Society of the United States also accepts memorial donations online in the form of a Kindred Spirits gift. Your friend will receive a memorial card, and the cat’s name will be added to the HSUH Book of Kindred Spirits, located in the organization’s operations center in Maryland.
5. Plan a visit
You need not spend money to show how much you care about your friend’s loss. If the cat left behind a sibling, stop by for a visit, and plan to provide plenty of scratchies. Both your friend and the grieving sibling will appreciate the gesture.
How do you express sympathy when a friend’s beloved cat dies? Please share your experiences and advice in the comments!