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.



  • Harold Anderson

    My first cat as an adult was Mischief 1993-2013 I found her on the side of the road on a rainy afternoon, she was a tiny, skinny, soaking wet kitten with an infected eye. and being that it was 1993 before smartphones, internet or instant information, and not really knowing how to care for cats (Although I had cats as a child this was my first one as an adult) I took her home and fed her warm milk by an eye dropper, and did my best to clean her eye off.
    The first night I fixed a box in the bedroom for her to sleep in and the next thing I knew she was climbing up the side of the bed to sleep next to me, and for the next twenty years with the exception of my being away from home, she curled up next to me every night to sleep.
    she became blind in one eye from the infection, but lived a long life, as she got older I built multiple steps to the bed, couches, recliner, etc so she could move about to cuddle with me.
    When the time came to send her to Heaven on July 30th 2013 it was a very surreal event, almost like a dream or out of body experience.
    luckily I had other cats at the house by then to help comfort me.
    and today she sits proudly on the entertainment center at my current house as a reminder of how lucky I was to find her, and how much joy, happiness, and laughter she brought into my life.
    Love and Above Cat Club replied:
    Harold, your story about Mischief made me well up. It’s those routines we have that sometimes are the hardest to live without: the curling up next to you every night in bed. Cumin used to rub her face on the edge of my eyeglasses. I’d put my face up to her and she’d rub on them. Sometimes I still catch myself putting my face up to Bear, my current love bug, and he gives love-sniffs but no eyeglass rubs. It’s those little things that are the big things.Thank you for sharing your story about Mischief and thank you for all the great good you do for so many cats!

  • Chery Rasmussen

    Beloved Riley🌈💔🐈‍⬛
    is our Angel cat
    He made his transition June 4

    Riley wandered into our garden seven years ago as a kitten and filled our home with LOVE and LAUGHTER.
    He was taken from us so quickly so unexpectedly that I think Paul and I are still in shock😔
    Riley was a gentle funny cat always ready to groom his best pal Shelby and play with his new brother Duncan
    Riley was a foodie🍗🧈🧀 he stole everything from a turkey leg on Thanksgiving to a stick of butter and occasionally snatched an unattended donut he also found his way into the treat container more times than I can count🤣
    Riley loved the Catio and would jump on his exercise wheel moving so fast and then abruptly stop and wait for his Churu treat.
    Riley could be found most days snuggled up in Paul‘s lap or cuddled in his arms in bed at night.
    Riley left a big hole in our hearts but we are so grateful for the experience of his love🐾🐾🐾
    And we believe that when one door closes another opens…
    The night Riley passed a feral cat we’ve been feeding for over a year, but could never touch, came to me and started weaving in and out of my ankles and purring so loudly!!!!
    It felt like Riley saying
    I’m Here!
    I’m Here!
    My Love is all around you🐾

    Love and Above Cat Club replied:
    Hello Dear Chery! Thank you for honoring Riley here! And thank you for trusting me with his story! I can’t wait to tell it next week! Always sending so much love to you, Paul, Shelby, Duncan and Rocky!

  • Angel

    I am so sorry about the loss of Cumin. I feel the heartbreak so much. I lost my sweet soulcat Phoebe last year and not a day goes by that I dont miss her terribly. She was my best friend, she loved me so unconditionally and gave me so much comfort and joy. She was my comfort, she was funny and silly, she always wanted to be with me and would let me hold her and dance together and i would sing to her. She was so special. I have guilt in my heart that I should have brought her sooner for her kidneys or spent even more time with her, or anything, it felt so fast, she was doing better with her kidneys and then got a random tumor and was gone the next week. I just wish I had more time with her and hope to be with her again some day. I wish i got messages from her, I can’t feel her and it hurts so much. Hopefully someday I will. Sending angels out to everyone who needs to feel the wings of comfort for their soul cats passing. xoxo
    Love and Above Cat Club replied:
    Thank you so much for all the healing energy and for sharing your story about Phoebe. I wish this comments app allowed photos! In reading the comments I want to meet and see these Beloveds. I learned from a healer once that sometimes we can’t feel our angel soul cats because our grief is so big and taking up the space, all the while, they’re sitting right next to us. I was shocked when after Cumin passed I didnt feel her…at all, which made the emptiness and grief feel even worse. Even though I still carry a lot of pain, I can feel her now and I feel so strongly that you will too! If you remember your dreams, you can also ask Phoebe to visit you there! Thanks again for sharing, Angel!

  • Anita J Trainer

    Many Heart Angels have filled my life with their Love since 1978 when a Kitty named Khalua entered my world. Followed by Heart Healers: Fonda-Fonda, Ms Cagney, Missy Clover, Felix & Fiona (siblings taken from me at only 2 years of age), Little Miss Sunshine my current Heart Companion. ♥️ 🥰🌻
    I am a woman with PCOS as my lot in my reproductive life. No children (from a loveless marriage) actually had the net consequence of opening my heart to my Fur-babies. Miss Fonda actually moved locations with me NINETEEN (19!!!) TIMES. Plus she was 22 years old ( AND I too was forced to be at work, first day at a new job) on September 30, 2004, when she passed in Ms Cagney’s company. I’ ve had a life of TOOOO MUCH of a Restless Heart for risking ‘humanoid’ permanent attachments. My faithful Fur Babies and the Sweet Heart- Attachments I’ve experienced have never been understood by my siblings who had (human) children of their own. Unfortunately I’ve lost the actual photographic records of my Angels. However, thru all the storms of life, medical as well as historical, their Paw Imprints and Sandpaper Kisses are forever imprinted on my heart. 😇🐈🐱🥰
    Love and Above Cat Club replied:
    Paw Imprints and Sandpaper Kisses…YES! Thank you so much for sharing, Anita! I’ve learned that many of us who come from trauma will find trust and comfort in animals. I certainly have and I wouldn’t change a thing about that! It truly is a level of love that we’re so blessed to know and experience. Many don’t understand. I hope you’re taking a ton of pictures of Little Miss Sunshine!! Please take care of yourself and thank you again for sharing!

  • Denise

    Thank you for sharing your story and giving space for others to share and support. I have two angel kitties. Toi was my very first cat. A siamese that my parents gave me when I was young. He passed shortly after my son was born. Then there is Whiskers. He was actually my son’s cat but became my soul kitty. He sat with me for every meditation and he was with me whenever I was alone. His last weekend with us, his meds had him feeling better. My parents and son were at the house to celebrate our son’s birthday so everyone was able to see him feeling a little better. He sat with us and walked around outside, a treat for him as an indoor cat. One night that week he even came on the couch and slept with me for a few hours. His typical behavior was to lay on the floor or chair next to us. I am pretty sure that was his goodbye to me. I spent the next few nights lying with him on the laundry room floor. That was where he felt safe at that time.
    Love and Above Cat Club replied:
    Toi and Whiskers! 😇Thank you for sharing Whisker’s story. I’m so moved by the way he chose to say goodbye to you. It makes my heart just well up. Goodbyes are so bittersweet. I remember the day after Cumin passed, I saw in her litterbox pee that I hadn’t scooped up from the day before. It wasn’t covered, it was just there…in the distinct shape of a heart!!! I actually left it there for a week. Thank you so much for sharing with me!

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published