You may think of cats as being cool, composed and stoic creatures, and while that often is true, that doesn't mean these divine creatures aren't vulnerable to feelings of grief or loss. When a kitty's beloved cat companion passes away, emotions such as anxiety, stress and depression are not uncommon.
Cats are well-known for their love of routine and consistency, whether it be a time of play or pure relaxation. When a loving companion passes on, all of that changes. A cat may no longer have anyone to snuggle up to when all of the human household members are away from home. She may no longer have a fluffy friend around for rough playing purposes. If a cat is bonded to another, the connection often runs deep. Many felines are particularly bonded to those they have known for a long time, especially if they were litter mates.
Signs of Depression
Our fluffy friends can't exactly communicate verbally to us. A cat will never turn to you and say, "Look, pal. I'm feeling depressed." Because of this barrier, it's up to us to look out for signs that things are really amiss. If a kitty is feeling anxious or depressed, she may stop grooming herself, become excessively vocal, lose interest in her meals and previous favorite activities, hide in corners, stare into space and sleep more than usual. You also may notice the heartbreaking sight of your cat looking around obsessively and frantically for her lost pal. These signs are not dissimilar to how cats may behave upon losing a human caretaker or companion -- grief is grief, and dramatic change is hard whether it's due to the loss of another feline or a person.
Some cats may show absolutely no indication of depression once a companion is lost. They may go on about their daily business the same as before. You may even question if said cats are even aware of the loss. However, if a cat is truly troubled and in grief, the signs will be there for you to identify, so be attentive.
Patience is important when it comes to the feline grieving process. Time is key, although that doesn't mean you can't try to help things along and make things easier for the melancholy fluffball. Try to spend more time with the kitty as she's grieving. After all, she may feel lonelier than ever. Cuddle with her. Play games with her. Let her chase after a laser pointer or feather wand. Give her company as she enjoys mealtime -- and be sure to add a tasty treat as an incentive. A little bit of attention can go a long way in helping a hurting cat feel less lost and confused.
If your cat's sleeping and eating habits remain unhealthy even after some time has passed since the loss, seek help through a veterinarian. Some of kitty's unusual behaviors may be a sign of another medical condition, so be careful and waste no time. Also, for temporary use, enquire about anti-anxiety medicines for getting the crestfallen little one back on track.
When it comes to getting your cat back to happiness and health, bringing a new pet into the home likely won't do the trick. It's not possible to just "replace" a longtime furry companion. If your little one is feeling depressed about a specific companion, adding the unfamiliarity of a new pet into the mix may just stress her out more instead of making her feel less alone. This new confusion may actually be a setback on her journey to healing -- the last thing she needs during this critical time. While your cat is healing, take things slowly.
Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.