One of the most revealing demonstrations of the feline-human bond of love is what happens when the cat or his owner is suddenly left alone, and the companionship on this earthly plane ends. We humans have found many ways of coping with our loss. One of the most comforting ones is the belief in The Rainbow Bridge, which tells of a magnificent garden in heaven, where our departed pets haveshed their earthly pain and ills, and romp together in a grassy bower filled with flowers, under the rainbow, each with an eye turned toward the bridge, just waiting for his beloved human to finally appear so they can cross over together. This lovely poem has brought untold comfort and peace to everyone who has read it following the loss of a beloved animal companion. Truthfully, most of us who believe in some form of life after death cannot imagine such a life without the joy of reuniting with all our loved ones, including our feline companions.
Comfort can also be derived by sharing our grief, along with reminescing about happier days in the past. One can talk with a close friend, one who understands and shares the kind of bond we're talking about. People with Internet access are fortunate in this respect. New friendships are forged every day by the common bond of mourning the loss of a feline companion in forums and newsgroups. Cat Memorials allow us to share our grief, while celebrating the life of a departed cat.
Do Cats Mourn?
We can never know, for sure. Certainly, cats who have lost a human companion, either temporarily, because of a trip or vacation, or permanently, because of the death of a caregiver, demonstrate those traits that in humans we would define as depression:
- Lack of appetite
- Loss of interest in normal activities
- "Clinginess" with remaining human companions
- Excessive vocalization or unusual quietness
Indeed, our cats exhibited many of these symptoms when Asa passed away, and Jaspurr in particular does when Lance leaves for a trip. In any case, it is probably safe to say that, for whatever reasons, cats do mourn the loss of a human companion, and demonstrate their loss much in the same way that we do.
From beginning to end, the bond between a cat and his human is a precious tie, one that can't really be duplicated in other relationships, one that continues past life on earth. There is an old saying that "love makes the world go 'round." While no one can dispute the power of love for one's country, love for a child, or romantic love, there is nothing quite comparable to the selfless love shared between cats and their humans.