Sympathy Gifts For Someone Whose Cat Died: Non-Traditional Memorials To Consider

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Losing a cat is hard and comforting someone who is grieving their cat is also difficult. You can’t really comfort them, but you still want to help them feel supported. One way many people show their support for a grieving cat parent is by getting a sympathy gift. What do you get someone that they will appreciate and won’t make them feel worse?

There are a few traditional items such as suncatchers, memorial plaques, and figurines that can make great cat sympathy gifts. These may not be a great choice for everyone so what are some unique things you can get someone to help them memorialize their cat? In honor of World Pet Memorial Day, which takes place on the second Tuesday of June, here are a few unusual or non-traditional options to consider.

The Gift Of Time

This first one isn’t really a gift, but it might be the most valuable thing you can get someone. When my sweet Zoloft passed, I suddenly found myself unable to do much except grieve for months after. Whenever I attempted to do anything else, I’d pay for it when I was unable to stay awake later. While not everyone is going to have as extreme of a reaction as I did, changes are your loved one is going to be at diminished capacity for a while.

Time can be gifted in a few ways. A few ideas to consider:

  • Help out with chores such as cleaning or cooking
  • Get a gift card for takeout or delivery. Dropping off food can also be comforting.
  • Listen to them talk about their cat. This is especially valuable as time passes and they may feel isolated once people stop checking on them
  • Ask them to share a favorite memory of their cat or just bring their cat up in conversation. Chances are they are thinking about their cat anyway and they want to talk about them. If they don’t, obviously be respectful of that.
  • Help them with tasks they are dreading such as deciding what to do with their cat’s things or picking up their cat’s remains

Whatever you do, simply being there and showing your friend you care will be meaningful for them.

A Portable Urn

Depending on what your loved one does with their cat’s body, they may have ashes. While some people will scatter their cat in a special place or might even have them turned into a diamond, others may want to keep their cat with them. Even if they scatter their ashes, they may want to keep some of them around as a physical connection to their cat.

A woman in a navy blue sweater with white stripes holds a brown tabby cat with green eyes in her lap.
Nothing will ever replace this, but keeping a piece of them nearby can help. Photo by Remy Gieling

A very thoughtful gift may be to get them a special piece of jewelry that allows them to carry a small amount of the ashes with them. There are some beautiful necklaces that feature cats as angels or cats sleeping. If your loved one doesn’t wear necklaces, bracelets or even keychains are great cat sympathy gifts that you can get with a tiny urn.

Something They Can Hug

One of the things I miss most about Zoloft is when he’d come snuggle up with me at night. While this isn’t what I chose for his ashes, you can get a stuffed bear with a small urn that can be stored inside. It usually won’t fit all of their cat’s ashes, but it’s a great way to give them something tangible to hug when they’re missing their cat. This would be a great gift for a child grieving their cat.

The urn is removable so, if needed, the ashes can be transferred to another bear or another vessel. The bear also comes with a fabric heart pouch to store other precious items or a note to their cat.

A Replica Of Their Cat

If you don’t want to get your loved one an urn, you can always get them a realistic recreation of their cat. Cuddle Clones will create a stuffed, individualized recreation of their cat. While that may seem odd, it really can be helpful to have something that looks like your beloved cat to squeeze while you’re acutely grieving. It won’t replace their cat, but it may help them feel like they can get through the worst parts of grief.

Whiskers and Fur Displays

If your friend or family member doesn’t have their cat cremated, they may still have whiskers or fur clippings that they chose to keep. While many of the items listed above can be used with ashes, they can also fit a small amount of fur. If they have a lot of fur clippings, a better option may be a beautiful glass jar to display them in.

Whiskers are a bit harder to store as they’re longer, but you can get a lovely wooden box for your friend to keep those precious whiskers safe.

A Non-Portable Option

Along the same lines but something your friend wouldn’t carry with them would be a place to keep a tiny amount of their kitty with them. One of the coolest ones I’ve found so far is a photo frame that allows them to store a tiny small amount of their remains (or fur) suspended in a heart shaped container. There are also figurines that have storage compartments built in.

Something That Lights Up

Life can feel very dark after a special cat dies and sometimes adding a bit of light can help. I’m a big fan of solar lights in general because they turn on automatically and don’t require much maintenance, but I especially love this mason jar cat lamp. It has a cat looking at a butterfly on it which I think is something we all hope our cats are somewhere they can play outside. The jar can sit on a deck, in a window, or be hung up to catch the maximum amount of sunshine to keep the light going through the night.

If you want a more traditional cat sympathy gift like a set of wind chimes with a twist, a solar powered set of wind chimes is a thoughtful gift. These create a pleasant sound as the wind blows through them and will light up at night.

If candles s are more your loved one’s style, a spinning candle holder is a fun idea. When a tea light is lit below the fan, the cat sitting on the moon charms will rotate around. It’s a nice decoration even when not lit, but the motion adds a little bit of life and light back into your loved ones’ lives.

Books And Journals

Not everyone will need or want a book about grief or pet loss, but some people may appreciate some extra guidance. A guided pet loss journal may be useful, especially if it allows them to write down their memories as part of the process. Try to find one developed by pet loss experts and mental health professionals and lines up with your loved one’s beliefs. They may find Good Grief by E.B. Bartels comforting if they are struggling with feeling weird about the amount of grief they’re experiencing as it helps normalize grief over a pet.

Make Your Own

An alternative to a guided journal would be getting your friend a journal with blank pages. This gives them the freedom to use it how they please. If you feel like making it extra special, you can print out a picture of their cat and add it to the inside of the cover. A note from you in the front page or inside cover may help them be reminded of not only their cat was, but how much you care. After all, part of the benefit of giving a cat sympathy gift is helping your loved one feel supported.

Let Them Make Their Own

If your friend is crafty, they may want a way to remember their cat and enjoy the process of making it. I made a scrapbook for Zoloft and the process of creating it was therapeutic. Getting them some of the supplies you’d need to make a scrapbook kit can help get them started even if they don’t start immediately. You can also include a gift card to get photos printed their scrapbook.

Need help deciding what to include? I have a guide on making a memorial scrapbook for your cat that has suggested supplies.

Something Living

While the decision to get another cat is ultimately up to your friend or family member, they may still appreciate having something living to care for. Plants can be a nice cat sympathy gift, but not everyone has a super green thumb and they may not have the energy to care for a plant so a small, a pet safe succulent might help. You can order a customized memorial planter with a few photos of their cat that fits a succulent in it to give them a nice reminder of their cat.

An alternative is a painted custom planter that is ideal for growing cat grass for any remaining cats. If they really aren’t great with plants or don’t have another cat, you can just put an artificial succulent in either planter.

Something Cat Related

While there are fantastic options of cat sympathy gifts that are more focused on memorializing a cat, maybe that doesn’t feel right for your friend. You can always get them something cat themed that will help them remember their cat (and how much you care for them) when they see it. A small cat statue can be kept in a pocket or displayed somewhere without taking up a ton of space. A necklace with cats sitting on a moon also gives them something to keep with them if they don’t want to go with one of the urn options listed above.

The Best Cat Sympathy Gifts

Ultimately, the best cat sympathy gifts for your friend or family member will depend on their personality, their connection with their cat, and what their beliefs are. Someone who believes in an afterlife may find the rainbow bridge comforting, while someone who doesn’t may not find it helpful at all. If you’re not sure, go with something neutral.

Regardless of what you get your loved one, having your support is going to mean the world to them. Focus on being there with them through their grief journey and you’ll help get them through the storm.

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Joey Lusvardi

Joey Lusvardi CCBC is an IAABC Certified Cat Behavior Consultant and professional cat trainer based out of Minneapolis, Minnesota. He runs a behavior consultation and cat training service, Class Act Cats, where he helps cat parents address a variety of unwanted behaviors. Joey is available for in home sessions locally or virtual sessions wherever you are located!