After the passing of your kitty, you may notice that his feline companion seems depressed and listless. In his own way, your other kitty is experiencing grief over the loss of his friend. Spend time with him to give him comfort as the two of you recover from your loss.
The Grieving Process
After the loss of a feline companion, you may notice some behavioral changes in your remaining furbaby. Your kitty may have a reduced appetite, be less active than usual, sleep a lot or meow and cry frequently. The little one may also sit at the window, looking forlorn and waiting for his friend to come home. These grieving behaviors can last anywhere from two weeks to six months, according to PetPlace.com. A previously aloof kitty may sometimes become very clingy, looking to you for attention and comfort. These changes in behavior are normal and simply mean your little one is missing his friend and doesn't understand what has happened to him. Unfortunately, you can't explain the situation to the little guy like you would a human.
While we can't ask our feline friends how they are feeling, we can rely on their behavior to give us an indication of their moods. Depression can occur in kitties who have lost a fellow feline friend. In fact, a 1996 survey of pet owners conducted by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals showed that 65 percent of their kitties experienced at least four behavioral changes after the death of a feline companion, according to the Manhattan Cat Specialists. These changes indicate some form of sadness or upset in the kitties over the loss of their companions and the alterations in their environment and routines because of this losses.
Don't be afraid to give your furry buddy some comfort in his and your time of need. Keep in mind that your feline friend can sense changes in your mood and will pick up on your sadness at the loss of your other kitty, according to the Cat Behavior Associates. While you'll be grieving along with him, it's important to keep your kitty's routine the same and provide him with some quality time with you, including recreational play. These activities will help you as well as your kitty, keeping you active and helping you both heal after this devastating loss. He can distract you from your grief and you can do the same for him. Time will help to heal both of you.
To comfort your kitty, give him plenty of attention and some tasty treats when he exhibits positive behaviors like playing. Don't give him treats if he's acting in a depressed manner, as this could inadvertently reinforce this negative behavior. In some cases, if possible, showing your kitty the body of his deceased friend may help him realize his friend is gone, recommends the Feline Advisory Bureau. You may want to replace his litter boxes or kitty beds that have the scent of your cat that has passed away, which can serve as painful reminders of the kitty he's grieving, according to Cat Channel.
Some kitties may be very closely bonded, especially littermates raised together from birth. If, after the loss of your kitty, you notice that your furry friend isn't eating and is very lethargic, visit your vet to get some recommendations to deal with his grief. Heating the kitty's food for a few seconds in the microwave can make it smell more appetizing to him, tempting him to eat. If nothing improves your kitty's condition, including attempts at play, you may need to discuss using psychological medications to get your little one out of his depression, usually for a limited period of time.
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.
- Catster: Nine Signs of Grief in Cats
- Feline Advisory Bureau: Do Cats Grieve?
- Manhattan Cat Specialists: Do Cats Grieve for Other Cats
- Pet Loss Support Page: Ten Tips on Coping with Pet Loss
- PetPlace.com: Your Cat's Grief
- Cat Behavior Associates: Do Cats Grieve?
- PetPlace.com: Do Cats Mourn the Loss of Another Cat?
Based in Las Vegas, Susan Paretts has been writing since 1998. She writes about many subjects including pets, finances, crafts, food, home improvement, shopping and going green. Her articles, short stories and reviews have appeared on City National Bank's website and on The Noseprint. Paretts holds a Master of Professional Writing from the University of Southern California.