Note: All suggestions on this list are based on true stories
Even after our furbabies have already crossed the rainbow bridge, we can’t forget them. After death knocks on our doors to claim our beloved felines, we don’t want their memories to fade with time.
We don’t want to forget. We want them to stay. We want them back.
At the same time, we know that earning their angel wings is one of the best things that could happen to them.
While we move through our grief in hopes of getting over it, we can celebrate their memory the same way these cat parents did: with lots of love and creativity. Here are nine ways to remember cats who have left us too soon, based on the accounts of other purrents who have dealt with loss in different ways.
1.Turn their collars into your bracelets
It’s a great coincidence that cats’ collars can be repurposed into bracelets! Wearing something that reminds us of our beloved furbabies is a great way to remember the happy memories they once shared with us.
“I kept Yukino, Alder, and Santana’s collars. I wear them on my wrist,” shared Buwi Comia, a Wiccan who believed he would one day see his beloved furbabies again.
If your cats’ collars aren’t exactly bracelet material, you can use their pet tags as bracelet charms instead.
2.Build a place of tribute in your backyard
While some choose to spread their cats’ ashes or have them buried in a cemetery, others prefer keeping their babies close to home, right where they were their happiest.
Aireen Jellen Palao, who lost shy but sweet Claude, wanted to bury him where she lived. She wanted him close by—he was, after all, a certified Meowmy’s boy—but her home didn’t have a yard.
Unfazed, she asked a friend for help. “[Claude] was buried in my close friend’s yard since we didn’t have a yard in our house,” Aireen said.
If you don’t want to lay your cats to rest in your backyard, bury their favorite bowl or toy instead. Burying anything they cherished while they were alive gives you a chance to visit them in a convenient place any time of the day… especially when you’re missing them a little more than usual.
3.Display a statuette that looks like your furbaby
When cat-mom Jeng Paradero-Mamiit adopted a dog named Festus, she knew she didn’t have much time left with him because he was in his senior years.
After he passed away, she wanted a small memento to remember him by. “I got a figurine [that looked] just like him and took it with me wherever I went.”
4.Light a candle of the same color as your cat
“I light candles of their colors,” said Buwi. May it be a birthday, rescue-versary, or death anniversary that we want to celebrate, we can light a candle the same color as our cats’ coats.
It’s a simple but solemn way of remembering them.
5.Celebrate their birthdays—complete with cake!
“Naghahanda pa rin ako at may cake (I still prepare for a celebration and there’s cake),” said Joanna Daclison Virador, who continued to celebrate her furbabies’ birthdays even after their passing.
“I prefer to celebrate their birthday or rescue-versary [instead of their death anniversary],” she said. “For me, they will always be alive—they are just sleeping.”
6.Write a letter to the new cat
Adopting a new cat after your resident cat passes away may feel like a betrayal of sorts. However, helping another cat in need by opening your doors to him or her doesn’t deserve that kind of shade.
To help adjust to the death of a cat while welcoming a new one, Arrah Miranda chose to write a letter. “Don’t think you replaced me. Think that you are given what you deserve. Do the things that you want, not the things I did,” said the letter addressed to her new cat, Junpei, as if written by Toshi, who died way too soon.
7.Hang a cat dreamcatcher
You’ve probably heard of dreamcatchers—you may already have one hanging above your headboard—but have you ever owned a dreamcatcher that looked like your cat?
Think of a cat dreamcatcher as a feline’s way of making sure your dreams stay pleasant, even after he has crossed the rainbow bridge to the afterlife.
“They sometimes give me signs that they are okay on the other side of the world. I miss them so much,” said Buwi, who made and sold feline-inspired dreamcatchers to raise funds for a neutering campaign.
8.Personalize refrigerator magnets in their memory
Keep your cats’ memories—and, um, your receipts and recipes—right where they should be by using ref magnets inspired by them!
Moreen Guese paints small pieces of wooden magnets based on cat’s photos. Arrah Miranda uses clay to customize cat-inspired ref magnets—she paints a rainbow in the background if the cat has already earned his angel wings. Both are proud cat-moms.
9.Show kindness to all cats who cross your path
Perhaps the bravest way to remember a beloved cat after his death is to keep showing kindness and giving love to all other cats.
When a stray cat, rightfully named Bestfriend, made friends with Kare Perez Abundancia’s dog, it changed their lives forever. However, the joy that Bestfriend brought them was short-lived after he was run over by a black car.
“What we do now is continue taking care of any cat going to our place,” said Kare Perez Abundancia, choosing to give tribute to Bestfriend after his passing by caring for cats who were still alive.
10.Remember them with love
Anyone who cares about us while we’re grieving the loss of a furbaby will know better than to say, “Move on.” When someone we love leaves us, moving on is the last thing on our minds.
Even as we cope with losing them, we can continue to remember them with love and fondness. The purrents above have proven that there are many creative ways to celebrate cats’ lives even after death. May their stories inspire us and give us hope.
May they help us to move forward during times when it seems impossible to move on.
About the hooman:
Stef dela Cruz, M.D. is a columnist and blogger. She was conferred the 2013 Health Media Recognition award by the Department of Health. She is now the proud human of three cats and one dog. Connect with her on www.stefdelacruz.com or via Twitter, Facebook, & Instagram (@StefdelaCruzMD).
This appeared in Animal Scene’s October 2016 issue.