For many of us, pets are more than just companion animals. They truly become like members of our family. And when they die, we mourn them in much the same way we would any other family member. We experience a tremendous sense of grief and loss, and struggle to find ways to process our emotions. It can feel isolating because not everyone realizes how deep the death of a pet can cut.
However, we can find comfort in the same rituals we perform after the death of a human family member. Holding a memorial service or funeral is an excellent way of coping with an unexpected pet loss.
You can gather friends and family members to share stories about a beloved pet. You can give a eulogy or even share funeral poems. Here, we share some short poems about the death of a cat that would be appropriate for a pet funeral.
1. "On the Death of a Cat" by Christina Georgina Rossetti
Christina Georgina Rossetti was a prolific 19th century English poet. She was primarily known for romantic, devotional, and children’s poetry. In this excerpt:
“Who shall tell the lady's grief
When her Cat was past relief?
Who shall number the hot tears
Shed o'er her, beloved for years?
Who shall say the dark dismay
Which her dying caused that day?”
Rossetti captures the depth of grief that comes from losing a beloved cat.
2. "Four Feet in Heaven" by Alice E. Chase
Any cat lover knows that cats aren’t shy about letting you know when it’s time for dinner. This verse is especially poignant:
“No coaxing rubs, no plaintive cry
Will say it’s time for feeding.
I’ve put away your bowl, and all
The things you won’t be needing”
In this verse, Chase paints a picture of how lonely and quiet it can be to lose a pet.
3. "Cat Poem" by Linda Barnes
Poet Dylan Thomas penned the famous line “Do not go gentle into that good night.” Barnes echoes it in her opening lines:
“They will not go quietly,
the cats who’ve shared our lives.
In subtle ways they let us know
their spirit still survives.”
The closing verse also contains a powerful message:
“And although time may bring new friends
and a new food dish to fill,
That one place in our hearts
belongs to them. . . and always will.”
Though we may end up owning other pets, they do not replace the ones we have lost
4. "Her Journey’s Just Begun" by Ellen Brenneman
This funeral poem isn’t necessarily specifically about the death of a cat. But the closing verse, in particular, provides a lovely reminder:
“And think of her as living
In the hearts of those she touched
For nothing loved is ever lost –
And she was loved so much.”
5. "May I Go Now" by Susan A. Jackson
Sometimes we have to make the difficult decision to euthanize our pets when they are elderly or ill. It’s a heartbreaking choice, but also a compassionate one. This poem provides comfort to someone who had to make that decision in lines like this:
“So hold me now just one more time
and let me hear you say,
because you care so much for me,
you’ll let me go today.”
6. "The Loss of a Pet Cat" by Constance Jenkins
Like “May I Go Now”, this poem seeks to reassure a cat owner that their pet’s suffering is over. It expresses sentiments like these:
“For with your love I was so blessed for all those many years.
There is no pain; I suffer not, the fear now all is gone.”
7. "Rainbow Bridge" by Unknown
This is probably the most iconic poem about the loss of a pet. It refers to a place called the Rainbow Bridge, where all pets go when they die. It’s a beautiful land with meadows and hills. The weather is always beautiful, and there is plenty of food and water. There, they wait for their owners and greet them when they die:
“And when you and your special friend meet,
you take him in your arms and embrace.
Your face is kissed again and again and again,
and you look once more into the eyes of your trusting pet.
Then you cross the Rainbow Bridge together...
Never again to be separated.”
8. "Beyond the Rainbow" by Cate Guyan
This is another poem that plays on the Rainbow Bridge concept. This one is told from the perspective of a pet that has recently passed on:
“As much as I loved the life we had and all the times we played,
I was so very tired and knew my time on earth would fade.
I saw a wondrous image then of a place that's trouble-free
Where all of us can meet again to spend eternity.”
9. "Do They Know?" by John Galsworthy
It can be difficult to get closure when a cat dies. Unlike humans, we can’t verbally communicate with our pets about mortality. This poem posits that our pets know when it’s their time to go. It also says that we don’t necessarily need human rituals to honor them:
“No stone stands over where he lies.
It is on our hearts that his life is engraved.”
10. "You Were Here" by Jenine Stanley
This is a poem about the immediate aftermath of the death of a pet. In it, the narrator almost takes solace in the pain they feel. They prefer that to the possibility that they may forget about their beloved pet:
“I dread that day,
One year from now,
That first marking of the time,
That your body was no longer with us;
Though we will never forget you,
Your tangible memory fades,
The feel of your fur, your head, your back, your weight against us,
The smell and sounds of you when,
You were here.”
11. "I’m Still Here" by Chelsea Hanson
When a loved one dies, whether it’s a person or a pet, we are often reminded of them everywhere we look. This poem pays tribute to that feeling in lines like these:
“I’m the first bright blossom you’ll see in the spring,
The first warm raindrop that April will bring.
I’m the first ray of light when the sun starts to shine,
And you’ll see that the face in the moon is mine.”
12. "Heavenly Nap" by Rob Trammer
Sometimes it can be comforting to know you’ll be reunited with your cat in the afterlife. In this poem, Trammer talks of a cat that has lived their nine lives on Earth and now lives their tenth eternal life in heaven. The final verse contains a message of hope:
“I’ll miss you for a little while,
but our friendship will not end.
Time will pass, and then at last
you’ll be on my lap again.”
Poems to Help Comfort You After the Death of a Pet
If your friend or a family member has lost a pet, there is a lot you can do to help comfort them. You can pick out thoughtful pet sympathy gifts. You can send a sympathy card with pet loss quotes written in.
Or you could share poems about the death of a pet. Pet lovers will appreciate you making an effort to connect with them during their time of grief.
If you're looking for more poems, read our guide on the best deepest sympathy and condolence poems.