Gogglebox favourite Chris Steed has lent his support to a new telephone helpline to help grieving cat owners cope with the loss of a much-loved pet.
Chris, best known for his witty TV commentary on the Channel 4 show, said Cats Protection’s new Paws to Listen service would help fellow animal lovers cope with the devastating loss of a pet.
The new service gives bereaved owners the chance to use a free and confidential helpline to speak to trained volunteers offering emotional and practical support.
Chris, who experienced the loss of his own pet cat Ginge last year, said: “No one can prepare for losing a feline friend and I think this is a really important and much-needed service. Sometimes, having someone to talk to can make a massive difference and I fully support this.
“When I lost Ginge I was devastated, but fortunately I had a partner to support me through those hard times. I can’t imagine what it must be like not to have that support so having a service like this is a wonderful idea.”
Manager of the service, Nick de Bruxelles, said the helpline, which is supported by free online guides and leaflets, would help owners with sensitive issues including understanding euthanasia and helping children deal with the loss of a cat.
He said: “Grieving for a pet is not necessarily just about death – quite often, the process begins when a cat reaches advanced old age or when their health begins to decline and euthanasia needs to be considered.
“It can be incredibly difficult for owners to make that final decision to have their cat put to sleep, and we often hear from owners who feel guilty and distressed from having made that choice, despite it being based on veterinary advice.
“Grief can also extend to owners whose cats have gone missing or to those who have been forced to rehome their cat. However it occurs, saying goodbye to a much-loved pet can be incredibly difficult for people of all ages.
“Cats are generally long-lived and cherished pets and the loss of one can bring significant challenges. There are many emotional hurdles, but owners also have many practical questions – such as what to do with the body of their pet, and this can compound their grief.
“Our service is designed to help owners move forward and find the best way to remember their pet.”
As well as the support line and information guides, Cats Protection also 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 grieving cat owners.
To find out more, click here:
Or to speak to a volunteer on the Paws to Listen phone line, telephone 0800 024 94 94. The line is open from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday excluding bank holidays.
Cats Protection is the UK’s largest cat charity, helping around 200,000 cats every year through a network of over 250 volunteer-run branches and 32 centres.