How Long After Your Cat Dies Should You Wait Before Getting a New Cat?

A gray cat curled up on a woman's lap.
A gray cat curled up on a woman's lap. Photography by vladans/Thinkstock.

Losing a cat is devastating for a household’s humans and other pets. While no cat can replace another beloved cat — each pet, like each person, is unique — hopefully, you will open your heart and home to a new cat at some point. But how long after your cat dies should you get a new cat, and what can you do to make a successful match? Experts in pet grief offer many pointers, though all emphasize that grieving a pet is an individual process full of gray areas and subjective feelings.

“There’s probably not necessarily a right or wrong answer,” says Eric Richman, a licensed independent clinical social worker with the Tufts University Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine hotline for people grieving a pet. Trained veterinary students staff the hotline, which offers free phone support.

“I don’t think there are any absolutes in this field,” he says. “I would encourage anybody to talk to somebody — their veterinarian or a professional in the field.”

Should your new cat look like the cat you lost?

Two Calico cats who look alike, possibly a mama cat and kitten.
Should your new cat look like the cat you lost? Photography by Mahlebashieva/Thinkstock.

If you lost, say, a white cat, you might fall in love with another white kitty, feeling like this lookalike feline is closely connected to your deceased kitty. Other people do what football teams do for legendary players: They retire the jersey, and never again want to get a cat that looks just like the one who passed on. Their Fluffy remains their one-and-only Siamese cat, for instance, and any future cat will be a different breed or color.

Sometimes, getting a cat that resembles your late cat works out well, Richman says. But he cautions people about the potential emotional pitfalls — this new cat is an individual with his own personality, and not a reincarnation of your old cat. Two cats may look almost identical, but one may be cuddly and the other more playful — and a new cat doesn’t have the same memories and history. It’s a whole new relationship.

“My general feeling on it is that you have to be very careful about ‘replacing a cat’ — or any pet for that matter — and particularly trying to mirror the same breed or the same color,” says Richman, who does pet-loss counseling and is starting a support group. “The expectation in doing that is that the cat that replaces the cat that dies is going to be the same… and that is almost never the case. People might be setting themselves up for a difficult new relationship.”

Ask yourself — have you grieved and are you truly ready for a new cat?

Again, grieving a pet is very individual. Some people may actively grieve for days or weeks after losing a cat, while others will grieve for months or longer

Richman recommends considering how raw you still feel, and whether you have the emotional strength and energy to put into a new human-animal bond. If you don’t, it wouldn’t be fair to a new cat.

“There will be memories that may make you sad at times, but they [should] not [be] overwhelming,” Richman says. “I’d pay attention to what you’re saying to yourself. Is it, ‘I want another cat like Fluffy around,’ as opposed to, ‘It would be wonderful to have another cat in my life I can love again?’”

Karen Litzinger, a Pittsburgh-based licensed professional counselor who has training from The Association for Pet Loss and Bereavement, says the decision to get a new cat is an intuitive one.

“It’s really trying to pay attention to your own feelings about it, and not be focused or worried about the people around you, and not get caught up in your own fears,” Litzinger says. She created and sells a CD called Heal from Pet Loss, for grieving pet parents. “I think it’s just an inner knowing — but also knowing there isn’t a clear-cut decision.”

Litzinger recommends allowing at least a month for grieving, in most cases. And if you have other cats, they, too, will be grieving. Both the humans and surviving animals can each support and nurture each other, Litzinger explains.

What if you don’t think you can go through the heartache again?

A cream colored tabby cat, looking up.
Have a feeling you’ll never be ready to adopt a new cat? That’s okay, too. Photography by CAHKT/Thinkstock.

Sometimes, people say absolutist things out of grief. For example, many say they will never have another cat at first. But be careful about declaring that, and thinking you must stick to it, Richman says. People may want to protect themselves from feeling this kind of pain again and experiencing the loss of another cat when the time comes. But Richland and Litzinger encourage people to keep an open mind and heart.

“Sometimes, eventually bringing another animal into your life honors your special animal’s memory,” Litzinger says. “It’s not dishonoring them; it’s not replacing them. It’s actually allowing all that love and bonding that you had to grace another animal.”

If you really feel like you are not ready to adopt a new cat, a good alternative is to volunteer as a foster parent for a shelter or rescue. That way, you’re still connecting with animals and helping them, Richland says. And when the time is right, you may come to a point where you are ready to give one of your foster kitties a forever home.

Sometimes, a homeless cat will show up on someone’s doorstep, or otherwise cross paths with a grieving person. And ready or not, consider that a blessing and a sign, Litzinger says.

“It might happen serendipitously. I love that,” she says. “What a beautiful tribute to your animal to help an animal that comes into your life unexpectedly.”

Thumbnail: Photography by vladans/Thinkstock.

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65 thoughts on “How Long After Your Cat Dies Should You Wait Before Getting a New Cat?”

  1. We have just lost our cat louies to cancer we cry all the time it’s so hard we miss him so much so we no how you fill. It will take time . Colson

  2. I had to do the same with my beautiful calico tabby Sasha. It hurts so bad but she was in so much pain. I had to help my girl. I cry for her everyday but I’m ok with the decision because she’s not hurting anymore.

  3. Its awful now, time heals all. The good will outweigh the bad soon. Your baby always will be in your heart. I’ve lost a beautiful girl recently, my heart goes out to you. The healing process is garbage. I could crawl under a rock and die. My husband and I 2 weeks later are still trying to figure out how to fill a void in our hearts, and keep our og kitties from sad. I wish u good karma, and clearly u are a wonderful person for any being that crosses you. You are a gift to the animal kingdom. Dont u forget it♥️

  4. My husband and I have to our 20 and half year black and white cat to sleep on Thursday .her name is porsh she had kidney problems and now won’t take her med s my heart ❤ ❤❤❤ is breaking

  5. I lost my beloved cat last week, he was only 1 year old. He had pus in his lungs, probably due to bite. I thought it is flu and I was giving him wrong medicine. Then I took him to different vet, but it was already too late, He was too weak :(. I had to let him go. I am devastated by that. Maybe I could give it a chance. Maybe. I feel so guilty. He didn’t deserve to suffer like that. He was too precious.
    He loved me so much, always cuddling with me, following me everywhere, sleeping on my face every night :)
    He was calm, but playful, not crazy.
    I am devastated and feel emptiness in my soul. I am crying every day and feeling guilty. I miss him too much.
    I keep looking at kitten of black fur just like he had. But then I feel like if I take new kitten I will betray him. His cat brother has nobody to play with, so I want to give him a new friend.
    I don’t know what to do.

    1. Hi, I hope you see this message. We are in a similar situation, we just lost our dear little one year old cat suddenly less than two weeks ago when she fell out of a tree. We are devastated.

      Like you, our cat has a brother and he is also grieving and so sad without sister to play, chase and cuddle with. I keep looking at rescue websites for cats but feel guilty and sad. I want him to have a companion but no one will replace her. x

      1. Geraldine Jones

        Im also the same its been two days im waiting for my kittys ashes to come home. Im devastated and our second cat is so sad im still crying.

  6. We lost our 8 year old boy cat Jack, he collasped one night in August, we rushed him to the Emerg Vet to learn he had an enlarged heart. He loved my husband and followed him around like a puppy dog but l loved him too taking him out in the backyard for hours and giving him his midnight snack. I feel so qulity that l didn’t take him to the vet, there were little signs but didn’t think much of them so l sob uncontrollably everyday, the house is so empty without him, it’s almost too much to bear!

    1. Hi Nina-

      Your post reminds me so much of what I just went through with my cat who was also named Jack. I missed all the signs too, I had no idea. On Dec 18th 2020, I woke up to him in distress, emergency visit to his vet showed enlarged blood vessels around his heart. He was in CHF and had some form of Cancer. I had to make the decision that same day and put my fur-child of 15.7yrs down. It was beyond painful and my heart literally broke. It’s been almost 7wks and I still feel like I’m in a bad dream..
      Sending you and your husband hugs and positive thoughts.

  7. I lost my sweet Luna yesterday, she was almost two.. I feel so much guilt for letting her out, and so much pain when I see her little white hairs everywhere. Sleeping without her last night felt so lonely. As I read through your comments, I hope to be able to adopt another kitty someday and to have the bond that I had with Luna.. we loved each other so much, but right now that feels impossible.. my heart aches…I missed her, so, so much.. I would love to hear from those that wrote last year.. did your pain lessen? Were you able to adopt another cat and loved just as much? Thank you for sharing your histories and for reading mine. Ana

    1. We lost our beloved 13 year old Ginger cat 2 years ago. It was the most difficult time of my mum and i lives. It hurt like mad, i was brought up with my cat since the age of 5 and growing up i was an only child so my furball was my only friend, one who could properly understand all emotions and i could talk to without judgement. My mum and i decided we would never get another cat again as it was for the best and we clearly weren’t ready to have another one. After two years, my friend from when i was 5 years old asked me recently if we would like to have a kitten due to her partners mum’s cat was pregnant and were due soon, my mum and i had a long talk about it and both agreed if there was a little girl who had black fur then we would happily welcome her into our home and make her part of our family. Her cat gave birth to a black furred baby girl and we knew it was a sign, we have so many amazing memories that we shared with our beautiful 13 year old cat who may not longer be with us anymore but we knew deep down she wouldn’t want us to feel pain or sadness due to her departure, even after 2 years we still feel a bundle of joy that we got to spend that time with our family cat and we no nothing will never replace her, do not feel guilt if you do decide in years to come to adopt another furball just know its okay to feel sadness and pain in your heart and do not feel guilty for letting your beloved baby go, keep memories with you and do not stop yourself from loving another, time heals your heart and you will eventually be ready to love another just as much. For me, i have grieved and i still do have a little cry now and then thinking about the memories that we had shared and you never feel ready to move on but you will know when you are ready to love another. Be strong ????

    2. sorry to hear your loss and the same was happened to me .
      I completely understand your guilty, your pain and the empty feeling which is hard to describe… only time can help and heal. you have shared wonderful memory and one day you would talk about about her peaceful and thankful~

    3. So sorry for your loss , I lost my boy 7 months ago …he was 15 y.o. & has many Medical problems. I didn’t want him to suffer, So I had to let him go.
      I vowed never to have another cat, never to go through this hard ache….But lately all I can think about is another cat. I gave everything away, I have absolutely nothing for a cat now and I feel like it’s just too hard to start over… I don’t know what I will do.
      But I know my heart aches every day. I feel for you.????????

  8. I want to thank each one of you for helping me through this life shattering time. I lost my baby girl Kiki two days ago and haven’t stopped crying since.We were blessed with her for 23 years…it just hurts so much to not see her sitting on me when I wake up to feed her. Thank you and God Bless you all for letting me know I’m not alone.

    1. Hi Laura, I’m so sorry for what you are going through these day.. I m going through the very same.. it is a rainy, grey day today where I live.. I have been crying non stop and looking thru her favorite windows…wondering how long it will be before I stop missing her so much .. Hugs to you.

  9. I lost my kitty oreo 1and half weeks ago, I had to have him put to sleep. He was only 8 months old. His heart was that of a old cat
    I spent 1000.00 to help him and I could not. Our heart is breaking. I seen a kitty that looks similar, she needs a home but I do not know what to do. I am lost with my emotions

  10. Yesterday I lost the first and only cat in my life. She was 15 and had her for 14 years. She appeared unexpectedly at my doorstep one night homeless, and never left. I. still can’t believe how deep my love. for her was and vice versa and how deeply it has affected me. I start sobbing the moment I think about her. When you have a loyal loving companion by your side, in your lap everyday, as well as sleeping by your head every night! The intensity of our love, bond, and relationship is easy to understand. While I grieve, I do know that I can’t imagine going through the rest of my life without another sweet kitty. It’s a matter of when for me. Right now will use 1 month before I start looking for a rescue from a shelter. It really is the best way to honor your cat, to reach out with your heart and bring that love and home to one of the many cats without and desperately need that chance. To everyone out there grieving, I wish I could hug all of you.

    1. I am so sorry for your loss. I just lost my little girl a month ago who was 15 also. I’m about to possibly get another kitty tomorrow and just sitting here crying not knowing what to do. Thank you so much for your words as you go through your own grief. I hope you have since gotten a new kitty or will soon! I’m at the point where I would just love to have another cat here again. I don’t feel like I’m replacing my little girl, it just still hurts to miss her. It still seems so unreal that she’s not here. It helps that I do pet sitting and have seen how still being around other cats affects me. It really has not been any harder than it already was feeling like I was making my own cat jealous! What you said has helped with my fear that I’m betraying her memory. Thank you for helping me realize it’s the exact opposite. I had my time with her, and she had a good home, because I met a beautiful kitten I wanted to take home with me. Now I’m saying I was happy I did so, for the time we were able to share, by allowing all this to happen again.

  11. I just lost my cat of 22 years this morning. She was the most amazing pet. There will definitely never be another one of her. Today was a hard day. I hope one day I will be ready to love another cat. At the moment I feel too much pain to even want to look at another kitty. But I love animals and hope one day I can feel the same way for another pet.

    1. On Aug 9, Whitey, my boy (cat) of 15 yrs left this world. I cannot imagine the pain of seeing him leave after another 7 yrs of bonding…. He loved me so much. It definitely is an attention getter losing pets like ours.

    2. My beloved Casper was put to sleep yesterday because of cancer of the liver. I feel so guilty that I hadn’t noticed how ill be was and that if I had realised earlier something could have been done and he would still be here. He was only 7 and we had had him for 5 years (he was a rescue cat). Can’t quite bring myself to put away his things as I am trying to convince myself he has only gone outside to greet the neighbours and I expect to see him pawing at the door to be let in. Just got up again to check! I will get another rescue cat sometime I just wish I could stop crying and the pain and guilt would go away.

  12. My 13 month old Abby had to be put down this week when her organs completely shut down over the course of a week. She insisted on being an outdoor cat and was very adventurous so our guess is she ingested some sort of poison that may have been in a neighbor’s garage.
    I would like to get another cat but I’m concerned about Abby’s scent being all over the house, the cat tower, carrier, etc. Should I try to ‘clean’ everything before bringing another cat or kitten into the home?

    1. I was ready a month later but my husband was not. He kept expecting the new cat to be and act just as our previous cat. I did not thing about replacing the items in my house when we adopted kitten Suki. She picked up on the old cats scent and winded up peeing on everyone’s bed and the couch. In retrospect I probably should have cleaned a little bit and replaced the litter robot. But if anyone has had one you know just how pricey they are! I did however clean it thoroughly. Think about were your departed kitty likes to rub like chair and tables legs etc and wipe those areas down.

  13. I lost my Charlie in March of 2017 to autoimmune disease. It is now two years on and I don’t think I will ever have another cat again. I still cry when I think of him and sometimes can’t stand even seeing other cats. I have gone through periods where I took down every cat picture in the house because I just couldn’t handle it. I am seeing a therapist but nothing seems to help.

    My therapist is pretty much convinced that getting another cat will help me heal. I don’t agree. I don’t think I am functional enough to care for a cat anymore, and I could never bond with another cat. I would either resent it for not being Charlie or I’d just be waiting for it to die. I have felt miserable about Charlie for almost half as long as I actually owned him. Why would I want to put myself through that again?

    Charlie was the best friend I ever had. No other cat could hope to compare to him. Fostering isn’t really an option either since, as mentioned, I am not capable of caring for an animal. I will have to learn to be content without a cat and my therapist is not interested in helping me with that, only pushing me into getting one I don’t want. Is she wrong to pressure me or am I being a jerk?

    1. What would Charlie want? Would he want his best friend to miss out on everything that those goofy cats have to offer? Would he want another cat to enjoy the love of an obviously wonderful cat parent?
      I lost one of my best friends yesterday, a black Siamese cat, and his brother is looking at me right now wondering when I’m going to feed him. You’re right, they don’t compare to each other at all. They have completely different personalities and I love both of them in completely different ways.
      I certainly don’t think you’re being a jerk, but I also agree with your therapist. You obviously have a deep love of animals, and that is wonderful. There are so many cats that NEED someone like you in their lives. Maybe don’t think of it in terms of what they can do for you, but instead what you can do for them. You WILL bond with them, but it will be nothing like your bond with Charlie. You wouldn’t want it to be! That bond was special and can never (should never) be recreated.
      I am sorry for your loss, and I hope you are able to take a chance on another pet. I think a kitten would be best for you. Animals have an amazing way of healing wounds…

    2. Robbie Metherell

      Its not about which cat would be the best cat you ever own. They arent in a competition to be the best for you. You have to see it in a different way than that.

    3. I’m probably much too late, you posted quite a while ago. I will never have my best friend again, either. The only thing that helps me move on was thinking of my life before her. It hurts me to think that something would have kept me from knowing her and having her in my life. I knew her lifespan would be shorter than mine, and I wanted to die when she died, but here I still am a long and devastating month later. I miss her so much it kills me over and over. But I do not regret the time I spent with her. I’m going to err on the side of validating the decision I made during the years she was allowed to be here. I think the only thing that would keep me from loving another animal is fearing that it would replace the love I have for Ally. That can’t happen. Hers and my bond was so strong that there is nothing that can touch it, not even a bond with another cat during a different time just as strong. She was once the new cat. I still love other cats I lost before her just as much. We each had very strong but different bonds. I miss them all terribly. They were each my best friend. They were each every cat in the world to me. It is what happens when we have longer life spans than our best friends.

  14. My cat max was killed a little over a month ago by a hawk. He was 5 years old and I had him since he was 6 weeks. He was my best friend, my emotional support, my baby boy. I love him more than I love a lot of people in my life and I just feel broken since he died. I think about him all the time and I feel so much guilt. He was an outdoor cat for 5 years but in the last 5 month before his death I had moved out of my parents and into an apartment where he became indoor. He wasn’t very happy, he started attacking me at night and getting all weird sometimes and meowing all the time and I would get so frustrated and yell at him and shut him out of my room when he would wake me up in the middle of the night. Redgrless of all that I still loved him more than anything and felt so terrible that he was so lonely and unhappy indoors so when I went to visit family over the holidays I decided that time was a good transition to give him back to my moms and let him be outdoors again. It sucked but I thought I was doing a good thing. I worried about him being outside again but everyone kept telling me he would be fine. I saw him twice while visiting my moms house in the week after I got home from vacation and then third time I got to my moms and she told me that morning the neighbor had called her and said that he had found max in his backyard being eaten by a hawk. There wasn’t even enough left of him to cremate.

    This whole situation is my nightmare and I still cry all the time. I don’t know what to do because I feel this guilt and sadness all the time. He was the best thing to ever come into my life and I let him down. If I had just taken him home after my trip he would still be here. I had been getting so frustrated with him when he was at my apartment and now I would give anything to have him doing all the things that were annoying me, ANYTHING. I feel awful.

    So here we are almost 2 months later. My moms friend found a kitten sick at her door, 6 weeks old no home. I agreed to rescue her and I’m supposed to pick her up tomorrow. Part of me wants her but part of me feels like I’m doing a disservice to max, I’m not a very religious person but if he’s somewhere out there I don’t want him to feel like I’m replacing him, I would choose him everyday if I could. I’m also worried about getting a new cat when I’m sitting here sobbing for an hour about losing Max. If you read through all this you’re a trooper and I’m sorry if I’m all over the place. I’m a mess right now. I need help I don’t know what to do

    1. That’s so sad. We’ve just lost our cat of 11 years and it’s so unfair. Would do anything same as you to have him back but you can’t turn the clock back. I think you need to come to terms with accepting that your cat is gone. You will never be able to replace what you have lost but you can give a new cat a loving home. They don’t get to choose who their owners are but it’s the best thing in the world to know you gave your cat a wonderful life no matter how long or short it is. If this kitten has already had a bad start to life or indeed any other cat then how good would it be to give them love and affection and happiness.

    2. Take the kitten and make a new friend and memories. I have just lost my beloved little boy. Attacked by a dog in our garden. His age place. However, I know I can love another cat. Not replace my cat. Not possible. Each cat is different and they are intuitive I. Helping you heal. My husband and I lost our parents over the past two years. X2 sets of mums and x2 sets of dads. Parker (our cat) helped us through that grieving period. When you bond and love a cat the love back is immense. Take in the kitten and love it for what it is a new beginning. Not one person can take your memories away and another cat could never replace another cat. They are unique and touch our hearts and lives in ways we can’t describe or imagine.

    3. Fellow cat mourner

      Don’t beat yourself up about Max falling prey to a hawk. It’s a small price to pay to live a fulfilling outdoor life like Max surely lived. If it makes you feel any better, my Paxton was a sheltered indoors cat who died suddenly at just 7 years old from an enlarged heart. I think the quality of the lives these cats live is more important than the number of years they live, and my biggest regret about Paxton is that I didn’t let him outside to explore nature.

  15. I lost my Meeka on the 15/12/18, she had a sudden decline in health and was suffering. I have an emptiness in my chest and I feel her loss daily. I vowed to never get another cat, saying I couldn’t deal with the pain of saying goodbye to another cat, but my life feels empty without a cat. I’ve always had a cat in my life, I’m currently 24 and have grown up with cats, but Meeka was my cat, the bond I shared with her was unlike any other. I don’t want to betray her by getting another cat, but the hole in my life is sometimes consuming.

    Meeka wasn’t just a cat, she was my best friend, a part of myself. She kept me going when all I wanted to do was give up. I’m lost without her. I know another cat will not replace her, no cat could, she was unique. I guess I’m conflicted on what I should do, I know I’m not done grieving her loss, but in the future do you think it would be possible to have another kitty in my life? Would it be a betrayal?

    1. I’m so sorry for your loss </3
      I just lost my precious girl named Brittany on Saturday morning (1/26/19) due to a rapid decline in health as well.
      I am also hoping to find this answer, and someday open my heart to another kitty as I couldn’t have expressed how I am feeling better than how you just said it, but I just wanted to tell you just how sorry I really am.

    2. Oh my god this is like I wrote it. It’s how I’m feeling to a T. It hurts so bad I can’t breath sometimes. Nothing will replace my Bella but something has to fill this gaping hole. Good luck!

      1. Daniel Jackson

        I just lost my own Bella this week. I’m so lost and heartbroken I don’t know what to do. I just want him back

  16. I lost my Rajah yesterday (11/26) and I’m still grieving. I don’t know how long I will grieve, but reading our article has inspired my to adopt again. Thank you

  17. I lost my Binx a couple days ago, and I’ll always cherish him for the 6 out of 8 years I had him. However, I feel an emptiness in my heart without a cat by my side. One that I can call my own.
    I know it’s soon, but I also know that no cat can be a Binx, I’ve been thinking of adopting a cat from a family friend. He’s different from Binx, so I feel like I won’t be reminded of my orange fur ball. I know I feel like I have the right mindset going in to having another cat, but I also still feel like grieving. I’m stuck between a rock and a hard place at the moment, and I just need some advice.
    Again, I know I’ll never have a cat like Binx. So this is going to be a different cat and a different experience with him.

    1. I lost my beloved Josie a week ago and I am heartbroken
      She ruled our home for 16 years and we loved her to bits. I see here every where and the emptiness is dreadful. My thoughts have started to turn to giving another cat a safe and loving home. In a way I feel that it is a bit disloyal to Josie but need to fill the awful void. I will always love her

      1. Trisha, we are exactly where you were. We lost our girl a little over a week ago. The emptiness in our home is almost overwhelming. The absence of all the rituals we shared sadden us everyday. Nothing will ever make us stop missing her, but we know we need/want another cat in our lives. We are struggling with feelings of disloyalty even considering it and worrying about being unfair to a new cat when we are still so broken.

      2. Can’t stop crying

        I understand completely, I just lost my Gizmo on 5/23/19, and I had him for 16 years and I’m going through these crazy emotions, he was my rock , he’s always been by my side through four miscarriages, 2 children and a divorce, and 6 moves he’s been here a lifetime. I can’t seem to cope. I don’t want to get another cat because I don’t want to feel like I’m necessarily replacing him because no cat could, but I feel like I should be putting my emotions towards the same way I got him through the pound, Manet I should try there, but it’s a difficult decision I’m fighting with my emotions on it hard

        1. I lost my cat foxy today at 6pm she was 18 years old it hurts so much I feel so sad and empty but I know she had a great life it just hurts .

  18. I lost my beloved Sandy to rena!l and cancer almost 3yrs ago and miss him so much, I have a ragdoll who misses him also and howls the house down in the early he’s looking for him. I don’t know how to help her because I’m all still grieving, I did foster a moggy but they didn’t get on so he had to be returned. I would love to get another older cat because we are in our 70’s and a kitten would be wrong for us at our age. My Leelee is 16 so I don’t know how much longer I have with her and I couldn’t live in our flat without the patter of velvet paws. I know it will be difficult to adopt a cat because of living in a high rise from cats protection or similarbut Sandy and Leelee have lived here very happily for 16yrs. Do you think having another cat would help Leelee with her grieving?

  19. I’m looking into cats up for adoption at the moment. I was just about to make the call but then felt overwhelmed with emotion. The idea of having someone that isn’t my old girl breaks my heart. Sitting here crying I thought I would look this up. I feel like I am never going to truly heal from this as she was my soul mate and I loved her with everything in my heart, and it devastates me because I want to help and home an unloved cat. I know a few people who never adopted another cat because they were so heartbroken, and I so badly don’t want to be that, but the pain seers and feels like it will never not feel raw.

    1. Jude –

      You put my feelings into words. It’s been over a year since I lost mine, and my husband surprised me with a new cat for my birthday today. I know it’s the first day with this sweet new cat, but I can’t explain these mixed feelings I have… There is an intensity added to my grief, and I can’t help but cry and miss my old lady even more. I’m going to give it time to sink in and see if I can work through this. For the sake of giving this new cat a good and loving life.

    2. I just lost my sweet girl to congestive heart failure. We lost our other cat earlier this year to kidney disease. Our dog is so old that we know she will not be with us much longer either (she is 14 and a lab). I hate the thought of an empty house. My heart is broken into pieces over our most recent loss. She was more mine and had bonded almost exclusively with me. My husband is very much in favor of adopting a kitten sooner rather than later because he thinks it will help me heal to have a new sweet kitty to love. I found a kitten on facebook and the owner is holding her for me for a few weeks or until I feel like I am ready. Part of me wants to get her now so that I have a new kitty to love but the other part of me feels it would be disrespectful to the close bond I had with my girl. I don’t think I will ever love another cat they way I loved the one I lost but that doesn’t mean that I can’t love another cat in a different way. I just don’t know and I can’t stop crying.

  20. My cat died yesterday from being hit by a car. He was 2 days away from turning 2 years old. My family are still considering getting another cat or maybe a dog.

    1. my cat died 2 weeks ago from being hit by a car, we had her for 12 years and my mum has just bought a new one without asking about how i feel, after spending the day with her it just doesn’t feel right and it makes me feels more upset about our past cat. But apparently she is here to stay and thats it so is there anything i can do to enjoy the experience more and stop feeling upset about my other cat.

    2. My beautiful boy Charlie was killed by a car yesterday. He was only 12 months old. He was such a gentle, loving soul. His sister is lost without him, they were together since birth. She’s not as sociable with people as he was. I miss him so much.

      1. We had to put down my sweet girl Lucy yesterday- who was 14 months – because she got into the trash and ate some string. There was no saving her, and her brother is the same way. They have never been separated and he seems so lonely – I am so heartbroken. I know exactly how you feel.

  21. Gabrielle Andrews

    I lost my lovely Marny to mouth and throat cancer only two weeks ago and the vet has said she was definitely suffering so my partner and I decided together not to prolong her agony.
    Now, two weeks later, I am looking for another cat which may be considered disrespectful to Marny, but I don’t intend to get the same kind of cat. I have seen one I like but worry it’s too soon.?

    1. Sorry for your loss. You will always remember Marny. A wise woman once told me that upon the loss of our pet who blessed our life, it is now our time to rescue and bless another life. There are many cats, young and old who would benefit from your love and care. Perhaps even adopt a pair!

  22. I lost my Roxie in August of 2017 at 18 years old. She had advanced kidney disease. I have thought that over the last few weeks that I am ready. However when I go to adopt or get on a list to adopt, I immediately start feeling guilty. Is this normal or am I just not ready yet? Any advice is much appreciated. Thank you.

    1. Hi Terri, I know this post was from May so you might have decided already, but there is no set time frame. If you don’t think you’re ready, perhaps try fostering a cat?

    2. I think your not ready Yet. Because even if it’s just guilt you need to wait until you would not feel guilty, because guilt can become a major problem in the relationship after you bring in the new Cat.

      I don’t feel the time to get a new cat will present itself as perfect, but better to start as goodly as can be possible. Also, when the time is right it will present itself, then it will also be absent of guilt because your heart is truly ready to give another Cat a home it is looking for and I’m sure your deceased cat will say: “Well done Mommy, providing love and home for one of my distant siblings”.

  23. I lost my kitty Trixie that I raised from a kitten to the age of 21. It took me 6 weeks to work up the nerve to go to the shelter. I check all of the kittens but couldn’t find another Trixie. So I adopted Phoebe who 15 months old.

  24. We lost our Miney, a stray Maine Coon, a few months ago, from pneumonia. Now a smaller Maine Coon has shown up. Looks exactly like Miney, only smaller. Problem is Miney left two brothers and I’m not sure they will accept him. These are ferals and won’t live inside. Their home is in our nice warm basement with cat door. They are well taken care of physically and medically. Any advice…..B

  25. Everyone is different, so the right time is different for all.
    For me, I believe in reincarnation, so my grieving period is much quicker than most, because I eagerly await the return of my beloveds in their new life form.
    With my Willow, I was ready in 5 months and my new baby was born a few weeks later.
    After my boy Navar died, I was planning for his return as soon as possible and he was reborn within 5 months.
    My spiritual beliefs make it easier to deal with loss and I appreciate that. I miss those that go, very much, but I know they are always with me and that brings me peace. I thank my mother for that! :)

  26. What a beautiful, thoughtful article. And you are so right…there is no one, “right” time. A dear friend lost her furry soulmate last year and, despite her deep grief, ended up with another kitten who very closely resembled that cat only three weeks later. The kitten was very different in personality than her beloved Kitten, but I think she help save my friend’s sanity. For others, that would seem way, WAY too soon.

    I sometimes think that loving an animal is a lesson in losing, grieving, and finding the strength to love again, even knowing that we will lose again. It opens our hearts and enlarges our souls in ways that nothing else can.

  27. Thank you, Ms. Gormly, for a straightforward, well written article about a topic no one wants to speak about, but we all suffer from at least once.

    The author hit the nail on the head. We can NEVER, EVER replace our lost kitty…he or she was a unique, special personality that we will carry in our hearts forever. That can never be replaced and I wouldn’t want it to.

    However, I feel that after an appropriate grieving period (which is very personal…I’ve found that it’s about a month for me…YMMV) the best way we can honor the memory of our fallen is to open our hearts and homes to another kitty…not as a replacement, but to give the gift of our love to another cat who is scared, alone, desperately hoping for someone to take them back to their new forever home, and open their hearts to.

    They will never replace our lost pets, but we can give them an opportunity for a new life and an opportunity to build the same kind of bond that we have with the souls we lost.

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