The Pain of Losing Your Soul Cat: Changing Emotions, Lasting Love

Last Wednesday was Cumin’s transition anniversary. July 13, 2016 was the day she got her wings. I remember the day so vividly and what sticks out in my mind was having to go to work that day.


Cumin pencil drawing on bookshelf

I still feel pangs of guilt and regret around that because I should’ve just been home, with her, soaking up and memorizing our last physical moments together.

I remember getting ready, driving to the office and leading a meeting.

Everyone knew what was going on with Cumin, her squamous cell carcinoma, the feedings every 3 hours and subcutaneous fluids twice a day.

But no one knew today was the day and when I was asked, “How’s Cumin doing?” I felt the jabbing pains in my gut and the struggle between keeping the brave face, “She’s hanging in there!” and “I’m saying goodbye to her today.” I even had deep grooves in my inner lower lip from biting to keep the tears at bay.

Today was the day and it was the second time I had rescheduled the in-home transition assistance

I should’ve been home with her.

Cumin painting and plaque

Feelings Never Leave, They Just Change

It’s been 6 years and still all the feelings can well up.

I will say most days I feel her lightness and joy as her photos and artwork of her from friends are all over my office.

I also feel when she’s talking to me. I know when the messages are from her.

But the feelings!

All. The. Feelings.

To feel or not to feel, right?!

Always better to feel. I know that but I don’t always do it.

Trauma and Somatic Practices

Cumin alert

Through all the work healing my childhood trauma, I have learned through various somatic practices that when you stop and actually allow yourself to feel the emotion, to identify where it lives in your body, give it a color/shape/texture then breathe through it and stay with it….it dissipates and goes away.

The emotion goes away.

I have to admit that sometimes I don’t want it to go away.

The pain makes me know I’m alive, the pain is the evidence of how deep the love was/is, the pain promises I will always remember.

So I wrestle with this at times.

The Love Never Leaves You

But what I’m so grateful for, after all these years, is being struck by how much love I still feel for her, for us together, for our 19+ years.

Stephanie Rogers (Grief Counselor and Animal Companion Loss Support Specialist) says the love doesn’t go away.

It really doesn’t and in so many ways it’s more accessible because you can feel it everywhere: swirling around you, in a thought that pops in your head during the day, when the wind blows and kisses your cheek, in the warmth that fills your heart.

Cumin's face, calm

Love is Beyond Emotion

Love, unlike emotions, will never go away. And that’s because love is beyond emotion.

Karla McLaren, author of The Language of Emotions: What Your Feelings are Trying to Tell You, writes beautifully about love:

“Real love is a prayer and a deathless promise: an unwavering dedication to the soul of your loved one. Emotions and desires can come and go as they please, and circumstances can change in startling ways, but real love never wavers. Real love endures all emotions – and it survives trauma, betrayal, divorce, and even death.

The truth about love is this: Love is everywhere. Love is constant; it’s not an emotion.”

Cumin black and white photo next to lit candle

You Don’t Always Need To Be Brave

So put away your brave face.

Feel the heat rise from your heart all the way up to your face.

Let the warmth of your tears fill your eyes, let them overflow and spill down your cheeks.

It’s okay.

It really is because Love lives on….and You Are Loved.


Cumin, love ambassador eternal

* Cumin is the inspiration for Love and Above Cat Club; read more about that here.

* I formulated the HEART-HEAL flower essence and aromatherapy blends to support healing from loss, grief, and heartbreak; you can see HEART-HEAL here.


💌Love Note: We'd be honored if you would share the names of your Angel Animals in the comments. It will help others who read it know they're not alone.



  • Brittany Stevanus

    I lost my soul kitty, Penelope, yesterday. She was in kidney failure and we knew that it was her time. We decided on doing everything at home as our final gift to her. She was always so frightened by the vet.
    I feel like I am never going to recover from this loss. I have never experienced grief like this before. And for the I guess that I am lucky. I too went to work yesterday in the morning before making the decision. I wish we had more time.

    Does the pain ever go away? I look forward to the day when I can remember her and not feel the freight train of grief slamming into me. Everything around me is a reminder of her and our time together and it’s ripping me apart.

    Love and Above Cat Club replied:
    Brittany, I’m so sorry about Penelope. The 28th was barely 3 days ago. I’m really glad you found us because our community here gets it, they understand. We’re in the process of figuring out a way to come together for even further healing, but for now, I’m glad you’re here. First of all, I love that you gave her the gift of transitioning without the added fear of being taken to the vet. Cumin was also so terrified of going to the vet and I opted for someone to come to us. I, too, had not experienced grief like this until Cumin and even since then, I haven’t experienced this level, this depth of pain.

    Here’s what I’ve come to learn since Cumin passed in 2016…grief is not meant to go away and we’re not meant to transmute this energy. Instead, overtime, I’ve become friends with grief. Grief shows me how much I’ve loved and still love. You cannot love without it. Does the pain go away? Well, I recently heard this analogy that I found helpful: grief is like a rock. You put it in your pocket, at first, it’s heavy and sharp around some of its edges. But as time goes on, the sharp edges become rounded and smooth, you get used to the weight and now it feels somewhat lighter…but the rock is still there and will always be there, in your pocket. My grief for Cumin is lighter but there are still days when I can tap into the intensity again.

    What really helped me in the weeks and months after her passing was focusing on memorial projects. I had stickers made, I had a memorial/celebration of life card made of her and I sent it to everyone that knew her, I put up pictures and made an altar and put her ashes on top with her favorite toys, I had mugs made and all of this was to have her image around me… in a sticker I added to something I was mailing, to the mug I drank my morning coffee from, to the altar and candle I gazed at during meditation. I made sure her image was EVERYWHERE. In some small way, this kept her alive.

    I hope some of this was helpful, Brittany. Don’t hesitate to reach out directly if you need more support. Sending you a ton of love!

  • Sara

    My soul cat, Clyde MacFluff died this past weekend, and I don’t understand why.
    I thought he had gone missing over the weekend
    I was under the impression I had let him outside to roam the property as usual, and something had happened, since there was no sign of him. He always lurked close to home and came running when I called. Not this time around. I spent all weekend sleeping in my living room, waiting for the sound of him meowing at the door. I posted a notification on Facebook after 24hrs, and created a missing poster which I was going to hang around town. Monday morning rolls in, and I discovered Clyde lying dead in my bedroom, stretched out on the floor, partially covered by a blanket. He wasn’t supposed to go like this. We should have had many more wonderful years together. Instead, he passed away alone, down the hall from where I was waiting for him, not realizing where he was.
    I feel like I failed my sweet boy somehow, and it’s tearing me apart.
    Love and Above Cat Club replied:
    Hi Sara, I’m so sorry to hear about Clyde MacFluff! It’s traumatic when we experience loss of any kind, but especially when it can’t be explained and you’re here without a way to find answers for closure and healing. And yes, you and Clyde should’ve had more years together, exploring, loving each other and just living life together. I’ve had one cat pass suddenly. But I was able to learn later through his vet that he might’ve had an enlarged heart. It was still so difficult and painful. I, too, felt like I failed him and didn’t get him the meds and care he needed for his condition. But what I’ve come to know, Sara, is that we didn’t fail them. You didn’t fail Clyde. You loved him in the biggest and best way possible. If you knew he was sick, you would’ve gotten him care. The part of your sharing that really stood out was how Clyde himself went back to your room and even put himself under a blanket to leave this earth plane. You didn’t have to wonder where he was, he didn’t pass somewhere outside underneath a bush or tree. He passed where he was most loved…in his home. This may not provide much comfort right now, but please know you’re not alone. Feel free to reach out directly if you’d like more support. I know how hard it is. Sending you so much love, Sara and love to Clyde too!

  • Stephania

    I just lost my soul cat, Coco, last Thursday May 9th 2024. She also had squamous cell carcinoma. I cried when I read that. Your struggle was my same struggle. Coco was there for some of the greatest and worst moments of my life. As well as some major life milestones. She was an absolute joy to have with me these last 14 & 1/2 years. I feel angry and very very sad. I’m not married and never had children. I got her in my mid-twenties and she is/was my baby. I’ve been having nightmares, waking up crying in agony over the loss, still seeing her out of the corner of my eye, and thinking I am hearing her crying. I’ve never had to do palliative care with an animal. This experience was so excruciating that I don’t know if I can ever have another animal again. This was horrific. The pain was insurmountable for her and me. Coco was the sweetest baby cat who would lay and hug my arm on the couch, try to lick me to death, had a little blue toy I named patch the she would go get to play fetch when I would call for “Patch!”, steal food, beg for whatever I was eating, try to run out the front door with me to go to work, and purred so loud it was insane. She was my best friend all these years and I told her every day. I told her I didn’t own her, we belonged to each other. She would give me kisses and touch her little mouth to my lips anytime I would lean to her. Sweet little kitty kisses like you would with a toddler. I didn’t grow up with a good family, it wasn’t a kind or comforting place. So I got to create a home… an oasis with her. And now it is all gone and I miss her so much I feel physically ill, physical pain, and like my skin is crawling. I’ve cried harder over her than I have most humans. It feels like it will never get better. Looking at all of her stuff has brought so much trauma that I have been slowly putting some part of her stuff away every day. It is a struggle and I cry hard over it for that day. I am keeping it all, I just need it put away so I don’t see it. When it came time we did at home euthanasia. I held my sweet girl until the very end of her life. I kissed her head, nose, and paws. I told her she was a good girl, the best girl. She had been a wonderful companion and no one could have loved me better. That I loved her with my entire heart. And it was okay for her to let go now. Finally, that I will look for her forever. I had my hand on the side of her little chest and felt her heart beating. And I felt it the second it stopped and she was gone.
    Love and Above Cat Club replied:
    Oh, Stephania, when I read your comment, all the feelings I had when I had to say goodbye to Cumin came flooding back! I’m so sorry to hear about Coco’s recent passing. I remember when Cumin passed, like you, I couldn’t function. The pain, the anger, the tears, all of it oftentimes felt so unpredictable. The emotions and grief came in huge waves and other times it felt constant and like I would never feel anything but this, while there were also times I felt nothing, zero. I used to think “time heals.” But I don’t believe that anymore when it comes to our grief. Our grief isn’t meant to heal. Grief becomes a part of us almost like a badge of our love and something that we’ll wear everyday. Our grief will shift and change and although it sounds like the grief you’re feeling now is incredibly heavy, you’ll get to know a grief infused with ribbons of joy and lighter tears. The level of our grief often mirrors the level of our love and wow, what love you share with Coco! Please take care of yourself and don’t hesitate to reach out if you need more support.

    P.S. In case this is helpful, when Cumin passed, I poured myself into “Cumin Projects.” I found the pictures I loved most and had things made – 2 mugs, different stickers, and I even made a card honoring her and I sent it to everyone that knew her. This was very healing for me as these physical items were important to have around so I could see her “live on” in the physical. Yes, the process was painful but it also helped move the energy.

  • Maddie

    My soul kitty, Simba, crossed the rainbow bridge the beginning of this year. He was 16 years old and had been with me since I was born. Simba was very special to me. We had a very special bond. I tried so hard to try to keep him with us longer, but it was time for him to get his wings. I cry nearly everyday for the lack of being able to hold and see Simba physically, but I know he’s with me spiritually. I just ordered the grief recovery kit from you guys, and I hope it helps. Thank you for being there for others who go through this pain and for celebrating the bond between a human and their feline friend.
    Love and Above Cat Club replied:
    Hi Maddie💔I’m so sorry to hear about your sweet soul kitty, Simba. I love that you’ve experienced this incredible soul cat level bond! It surely makes it more difficult though when grieving. They say your level of grief will often mirror your level of love. My soulcat, Cumin passed in 2016 and this year will be 8 years since her passing. And although it gets better in ways, as we get used to having a different kind of relationship with them, it can still hurt just as much as the day they passed. But these tears and emotions show how deep our love continues to be! Thank you for trying our formulas! If you need any more support or have questions, feel free to email me. Take care and thanks for sharing your sweet Simba with us!

  • Ash

    I had Amber for almost 11 years, she was with me while I was still learning about my emotions, through the hardest times of my life. She was there ready to curl up in my lap everytime I was near her she would not be far from me. She would stay in my lap all day if she could. I loved her so much I can’t even describe it. I lost her a few days ago to kidney failure and I’m just so broken I can’t stop crying and my heart is breaking. I’m just worried my heart will break too much with the pain but I have two boys to look after, I’m not sure either of my boys will have such an immense connection with me but I know they need me. I have always thought of Amber as my soul cat and always dreaded the day I would lose her, I always thought that I would end up going with her from the heart break, I just want to remember her all the time, always looking at the bountiful videos and pictures I have of her. All I want is to hold her, I felt like I couldn’t take my hand away from her coat as I stood over her on that table the last time I would ever see her. This may not be approved as I understand my thinking is not rational with such grief, I have lost animals before but not like this, I lost my soul cat, my baby girl and i feel like I never want to stop grieving such a loss in my life.
    Love and Above Cat Club replied:
    Oh Ash. There are no words. But please know that I hear you. I understand what you’re saying. I wish I was there in person because I’d cry with you. When my soul cat, Cumin, passed I didn’t have other cats to care for at the time so it must be difficult with that too, still wanting to show up for your boys. I’ve been lucky to have two soul cats in my life and the love is just different. There’s a deeper Knowing of each other that doesn’t quite exist in many other relationships. Thank you so much for sharing your story with us and please know we’re thinking of you and sending love!

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