Cats Protection is offering a free support service to help people cope with the loss of a cat.
Ahead of Grief Awareness Day (August 30), the charity has highlighted its Paws to Listen service and released tips.
With as many as 55% of employed people admitting they hid their grief at work for a pet for fear of being ridiculed, the service offers people the chance to speak openly about their loss via a free, confidential support line.
Cats Protection’s Paws to Listen team leader Catherine Joyce said: “Now more than ever, we’re aware of the need to talk about and process our feelings as a way to cope with distressing events in our lives. Yet grieving for a pet, especially a cat, is often not recognised in society as a significant loss. This means many people do not feel they can openly talk about how grief has affected them, which can cause them to feel very alone.
“For some people, their cat may have been with them through all sorts of life changes, such as having children, getting married or coping with illnesses. For other people, their cat may have been their main source of company. It’s perfectly understandable that their death can leave a huge hole and it can be a real struggle to cope, particularly if it’s not possible to talk it through with someone who truly understands.”
The service is operated by trained volunteers, who can offer emotional and practical help. The service also has a range of resources and information to help including understanding euthanasia and how to help children deal with the death of a much-loved pet.
As well as the support line and information guides, Cats Protection offers a memory wall on its website, where owners can pay tribute to their pets, and a page where people can offer support to other cat owners in similar situations.
The service is available between 9am-5pm, Monday to Friday, except bank holidays. Anyone wishing to use the service can call 0800 024 9494 and a call back service is available if lines are busy.