Dealing with the loss of your FIP cat
"There is a sacredness in tears. They are not the mark of weakness but of power. They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues. They are messengers of overwhelming grief, of deep contrition, and of unspeakable love."
—Dr. Ivan G. Mattern
The Nature of Grief
Grief is neither an illness nor a pathological condition. It is a normal and expected process that allows you to maintain a connection to your beloved cat while you simultaneously assimilate, accommodate and find ways to go forward in life. Grief is a needed process which will help you make sense of the past (what had happened to your cat), create a lasting memory out of what can no longer be, and incorporate the memory into a new, hope-filled future. If you came to this page because just lost a cat to FIP recently, you might not see it now, but there is light and happiness after FIP.
The grief process is shaped by pain, inconsistency, and tension, things we all prefer to avoid. Trying to suppress, deny or ignore grief will not make it go away, sooner or later it will push its way through to the surface like a volcano’s molten lava. When people deny or ignore grief, they can experience physical effects such as headaches, backaches but also grief finds emotional outlets, especially anger which is a very common reaction for an FIP parent. We need to make sense of it all, and it is quite easy to blame the veterinarian and/or ourselves. There is a sense of frustration; we need to know why did it happened and to blame someone for taking our beloved cat away. In reality, there is no one to be blamed for FIP, except for the vile feline coronavirus (FCoV).
Acknowledge your grief. Please take time to grieve, surround yourself with caring people who will embrace what you are experiencing, you need to understand that unresolved grief can cripple you and rob you of living fully again. On the other hand, those who engage in the grieving process can emerge from the experience better, healthier and happier.
Steps for Healthy Grieving
When the cat that has died was a constant in your daily life, it can be very hard to get through your day without him/her. Learning to recognize and deal with the pain though is an important part of managing the loss of your kitty. The truth is this: Nothing can simply make your grief go away. You must acknowledge, face and resolve your grief. Thankfully there are some things you can do to help guide you through this very natural process.
This brief list of suggestions for healthy ways to cope with grieving your FIP cat may be helpful as you follow your own path to healing:
Expect to recover
Affirm that you will be fine, that you will be able to make it and know that there are many resources out there if you need them.
Do short-term things
Go to a movie, go for a walk, soak in a bath, light a candle, read a good book – whatever comforts you and brings some relief. If you have another pet(s), spend time with them (they are also grieving), it will help you both to spend time together.
Never go to sleep without
Breathing deeply, smiling at least once and being thankful for what you still have.
Keep in touch with your feelings
As you ride the roller coaster of emotions, remind yourself that time cannot be slowed down nor speeded up. All grief gets reworked, and it will get easier for you to cope with each passing day.
Remember the past fondly and a much as you need but don’t live in it. There is no future in that.
Find ways to express your emotions
Consider making a photo album, scrapbook or shadow box to remember your cat and remind you of happier times.
Write in a private journal, join a Pet loss support group, consider joining the movement to create awareness about FIP
Give the popular poem: “The Rainbow Bridge” a good read and cry if you need to. We all did.
Find a least one person you can talk to
Reach out to an empathetic friend who loves cats and share your grief honestly and from the heart.
If you can’t think of someone to call, try going online to a forum or support group for people who are experiencing the loss of a beloved pet. Talk about your cat and tell someone what you loved about your kitty, share what happened to him/her.
Decide you want to heal
Some people can’t let go of the pain, whether from a sense of misplaced loyalty, fear of living without it or unwillingness to build a new future. Decide to make each day as good as possible.
Decide to look for joy and whenever you are ready, consider getting a new cat. The fact you visited this website is proof you are a loving, caring person. Good hearted people able to provide loving and safe homes are hard to find, and there are so many beautiful animals in need. No one will replace your kitty, but you may help fill the emptiness in your heart with a new cat.
Make others smile, be a source of light and hope. Live in such a way that when you die and you are reunited with your beloved pet(s), the world will be a better place because you lived.
DISCLAIMER: The use of this website is at your own risk. This website is for information purposes ONLY, and it is NOT meant to replace a consultation with a fully qualified veterinary surgeon (veterinarian). It is NOT intended to be used to diagnose or treat any cat. The creators share their personal experiences, recommendations of treatments, foods, medications, supplements, and products for informative and educational purposes exclusively. The information in this site cannot and should not be used as a basis for diagnosis or choice of treatment. Creators and contributors exclude all liability whatsoever for any loss or damage arising out of use of this site or reliance upon its contents. Furthermore, creators and contributors strongly advise all users to always seek the advice of a qualified veterinarian and to obtain professional advice on the correct regimen for your cat and his or her particular situation. NO responsibility can be accepted.