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.

Guilt

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.

 


26 comments


  • 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. siena@loveandabovecatclub.com. 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!


  • Lacey Larkin

    It’s been nearly two years since I lost my soul cat, an anxious 6lb Siamese with a voice that could bring down the rafters. For six years, Solomon was my best friend and truly the king of my heart. I had had cats before but no cat was like Solomon. I think in many ways he was a Guardian Angel sent to me to help me through a difficult time. He was an anxious cat, he was so overbred and he had issues with eating, he was so picky about what he could eat. And in the end, that along with a broken heart is the reason I think he passed away. I went to college and lived in the dorms and he stayed at home with my parents. My mom tried her best but Solomon was really bonded to me. He was my cat through and through and it breaks my heart that maybe me being away in college broke his heart. I recently started writing a script for a class I am taking and I am writing about his passing. It just brought up all the feelings and memories again.
    My mom and I used to sing the theme to Mary Tyler Moore to him and wait for him to meow like the kitten did in the show and he always did. When he passed my mom and I were singing that to him. I absolutely believe animals go to heaven and I hope to meet him at the rainbow bridge when my time comes.
    I understand that a lot of people feel like they can’t have another pet because they’re afraid that they won’t be able to bond as closely with them. I would give anything to have a chance to feel that love and warmth and connection again and hopefully one day I’ll be able to. I will never forget Solomon as long as I live and our memories will stay with me forever.
    After his death I realized that death was easy, it’s the living that’s hard and painful and Solomon made my life just that much happier and better and easier.
    ———
    Love and Above Cat Club replied:
    Lacey, I teared up reading what you shared about your relationship with Solomon. Thank you so much for sharing with all of us. I’ve had many cats too and although each is special, there are some that rise above the rest in terms of the deep soul connection. I’m so glad you got to experience this with Solomon! Wow, I would love to read the script you’re writing for class. That Mary Tyler Moore song is sweet and what I hear is the part…“Love is all around no need to waste it. You can have the town why don’t you take it!” And this is so true of our cats’ love even after they pass…that love is still all around! Sending love, Lacey!


  • Leah Aubrecht

    My sweet Bengal Boy Radar got his wings last year on July 8th 2023 . He had suffered from lymphoma for the last few months and had IBS like symptoms .

    He was the sweetest most gentle cat I had ever owned and knew that his death would be a great loss to me emotionally

    I miss him terribly . The morning it was time for me to release him from his earthly body on the basis of compassion I woke up to such a peaceful morning
    It was so still and the birds were chirping
    I looked at him looking at me and knew it would be our last day together and my heart broke into a million pieces

    If you have ever had a pet where you feel your souls have met before in this lifetime , or perhaps many lifetimes ago you know the psychic pain of losing a soul pet
    I feel as though I lost someone critical to my growth path and to my life .

    I miss him everyday . There is not a day that goes by where I don’t wake up and think of him

    Wherever he is I hope it is filled with all of his favorite things

    I love you Radar Boy
    Thank you for blessing my life with your presence . I will miss you until the day I die
    💔💔💔💔

    Your heartbroken mama


    ———
    Love and Above Cat Club replied:
    Leah, thank you so much for sharing your sweet Radar Boy’s story with us. I’m so sorry for your loss. We were both so lucky to have found our Soulcats or perhaps even reconnected with them during this lifetime. I often look for Cumin hoping she’ll come back as another cat in my physical life. The pain is indeed unbearable at times. This year will make 8 years without Cumin physically with me. Like you, I still miss her every single day. The grief process is complex but I’m glad we can be on it together here. Thinking of you and Radar Boy and sending love!


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