Is your cat grieving the loss of another pet? Although cats are typically portrayed as being independent, it’s not unusual for one cat to mourn the loss of another pet. Do you know what signs to look for?
It’s not uncommon for a cat to demonstrate signs of grief - just as a human experiences the loss of a feline. When two cats are attached to each other and one dies, the other may experience a period that can often be described as mourning. The cat's behavior patterns change and can exhibit a type of separation anxiety or the feeling that something has changed or is missing. Your cat may be responding to the anxiety grief and distress you are feeling. There is no way to predict how a cat will grieve the loss of their feline companion. However, there are signs to watch for in a grieving cat such as loss of appetite, loss of interest in routines, excessive sleeping, excessive meowing, hiding, lethargy, may appear to be more clingy, change of litter box habits and overall appearing depressed.
Helping your cat overcome grief by giving your cat more attention and affection. Spend more time playing, grooming and it is especially important not to alter their routines. For example, if you brushed your cats together after dinner time before the loss, keep that routine. It is imperative that you keep their routines. Cats thrive on routines and do not respond well when household routines are broken. At this time it is especially important not to make too many household changes such as moving furniture, remodeling projects, etc.
A grieving cat may show signs of loss of appetite, but when does decreased appetite prompt the need for medical attention? One thing to remember is a cat can become dehydrated much quicker than a human. When a cat becomes dehydrated, there is no longer enough fluid in the body to carry enough blood to vital organs. Shock can occur, shock is a life-threatening condition that can develop quickly. If you notice that a cat is not drinking water, it should be treated as a critical condition and seek out the assistance of your veterinarian.
In an extreme case of grieving you may want to consult your veterinarian, perhaps a drug therapy may help decrease your cat’s anxiety. Some symptoms of grieving, especially hiding and sleeping more than normal can also be the signs of a developing medical problem, it is very important to consult a veterinarian.
When is it time to get another cat? An old saying comes to mind when answering this question, time heals all wounds. Don't attempt to replace a lost cat immediately. Allow both you and your cat time to adjust before bringing a new cat into the family. Only you and your cat can determine how long you need to grieve. Allow yourself and your cat time to grieve, it is a natural healing process.