Click Yes to help us continue to make these improvements. They are a source of entertainment, emotional support, and have individual personalities.In addition, cats often live into their late teens or early twenties so they are in our lives for a very long time. Asher, whom is our other cat, seems to be grieving. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy. I lost my beloved 17 year old cat to cancer on June 13th. The second stage is a more passive one where the cat becomes withdrawn and inactive. How to Recognize a Grieving Pet. It would be helpful to maintain the general routines of the household as much as possible; predictability is important at any time but particularly so now. Ties That Bind: Yes, Cats Do Grieve the Loss of Another Cat. Some cats will become more friendly and attentive towards their owners. This is another complex part of the grieving process and it is probably best to leave them to achieve stability again without your intervention. He was the leader of our two cats. She had a kitten to love, and that was all that mattered. Many people don't realize animals grieve the loss of companions and family members. Some cats hold it all in and don’t seem to be grieving at all. Pay attention and keep an eye-out for behavioral changes. Some felines will quickly get over a loss, while others may continue grieving for long periods of time. When animals are closely bonded they are more likely to be upset by the loss of their companion. Since cats are very intuitive and are known for their excellent senses, many owners wonder do cats know when another cat is dying. ... cannot process the fact she is gone. As every human reacts differently to grief, so every animal will react differently. Cats are individuals, and just like humans, their process for coping with loss will vary. I'm sorry for your loss. I found your website while ‘binging’ “do cats grieve when another cat dies”. Some cats will go through the process in a matter of days, others will skip the withdrawn, depressed phase and a few may show signs of disturbance for several weeks or even months. Yes, cats do experience grief at the loss of a another household pet, especially if they had a close-knit bond. When we think of a cat mourning for the loss of another cat, I think the typical scenario is the heartbreaking case where the surviving cat wanders around … It's an old assumption that cats and dogs don't get along, but if they're properly socialized together, they can. They want to know where their pride member went and begin to search. A few readers said that they successfully helped their cats get over their grief by adopting a new kitten or a cat about the same age. When another pack member dies, this may leave your dog feeling uncertain about his role and how he fits in. Like humans, your pets go through the grief process. Her story isn’t the only one. There are plenty of stories documenting such reactions and emotions in animals and they may sulk, mope, or even sit by a grave of a beloved human. Take care that your desire to provide comfort to the remaining cat is appreciated – if you focus on loving and consoling it may have stressful consequences if that level of attention is unusual or undesired. Pet grieving can be expressed both physically and psychologically. Cats grieve for other cats will require extra attention, compassion, and reassurance during this period. Yesterday, we lost our ‘lap cat’, Onyx. The outgoing cat. Even cats that constantly fight can grieve the loss of a feuding partner. Retrieved April 8, 2019. The only thing you can do is try to make things a little easier on your precious pet. I don’t think cats ‘grieve’ as such as that would require that they comprehend the reason for the absence. If your cat has died from a cause that doesn’t pose a risk of infection to other cats, and you feel comfortable doing so, you can show your cat the body of your deceased cat. Grieving the Loss of Your Cat Losing a cat can be a life-changing event, one that can be as difficult as the loss of a human companion. Individual dogs and cats react to loss in different ways. Cats may show signs that could be interpreted as grief, including loss of appetite, crying or searching. Helping Your Cat Cope. Know when to clean — or not to clean. I know how difficult it is to lose a cat, although, not one so young. Some cats do not seem deeply affected—others become seriously depressed. Sometimes we get so caught up in our own grief over the death of a pet, it’s easy to forget how deeply the other pets can be hurting, too. She was dead 5 months later. A: It hurts all members of the family, including other resident animals, when a beloved companion cat leaves us. Often the impact of the death of a cat is not only felt within the household. Unfortunatly cats and other animals act like people, some grieve longer then others, my cat Frodo (yes we named him from LOTR's back in the 80's) greived until his death for his sister who died 5 years before he did. And when they do, they're family. It is best at this time to make yourself available but allows your cat to initiate social contact. There does not appear to be a standard way to respond to the loss of a companion or even a set time over which to do so. The playful cat. Both cats and dogs can suffer loss of appetite, disturbed sleep or … They played together, groomed each other and could usually be found snuggling together under one of the quilts (or even on the stovetop, as pictured above). Some may stop eating or become clingy. However, there are always exceptions to this rule and many anecdotal reports suggest that certain individuals benefit from the stimulation of ‘young blood’ in the home. “Playing fort,” I called it. Keeping your surviving cat’s routine the same will help them to cope following the death of someone or another pet in the home. By tweaking his diet, we kept him going for a year and a half. But within weeks of Phoenix’s passing, she too developed kidney issues. It's difficult to say whether cats mourn exactly like humans do, but cats do appear to recognize when a loved one is missing and they do appear to grieve that absence. For some reason, she got a kick out of doing this whenever another cat came back from a checkup. In Of Cats and Kin, Helga Harrison recalls her cat Wellington’s behavior after her entire first litter was born dead: “She was haunched up miserably, her pupils large and black, with tears in her eyes.” Suddenly, another one of Harrison’s cats appeared with one of her newborn kittens in her mouth and put him gently down in front of the bereaved mom-cat, who began washing him. There is, however, no studies to suggest that this aids the grieving process in your cat. If your cat has stopped eating or is showing any signs of illness then, certainly, contact your veterinarian. They may become aloof or lethargic. Most people who live with cats recognize they have emotions. “I was so focused on desperately trying to avoid a second loss in as many days,” mourns Walker, “that I had not seen his true illness — a broken heart.” Now she knows which homeopathic remedies she would’ve used on Sam; but at the time, she was only familiar with conventional medicine, which deals with physical symptoms and not with the emotional or psychic causes of disease. I *DO* believe you cat misses his brother and that can be just as awful as human grief. Sometimes adopting a new animal brings new life not only into your home, but also into the heart of a bereft cat. When our neighbor found them, Thomas was so quiet she thought he was dead as well.”, The experience left Reynolds acutely aware of the need to watch for the “signs of grief” — despondency, weight loss, dull coat, sudden aggression or withdrawal — and to “take such grieving creatures right on through the resolution process.”. In it, Reynolds tells the story of Thomas, whose best buddy, Benjamin, was hit by a car. A kitty that has bonded with your dog will certainly miss him if he passes away. But cats do exhibit behavioral changes after the loss of another cat and sometimes these can be difficult to understand. When one cat dies, owners will often notice some changes in the pets that are left behind. Cats do, indeed, grieve. In other words, the cat gets “upset” because her schedule is off. Those cats that express grief in a demonstrative way can take anything from days to months to adjust to the change. The process could take days, weeks, months or perhaps even years. Here are some of the things you can do to help grieve the loss of your cat: ... How Long After Your Cat Dies Should You Wait Before Getting a New Cat? She didn't do a lot of grieving. Because cats are emotional and affectionate in a similar way to us humans, it’s normal to assume that they grieve for the loss of their fellow cat or owner. In anecdotal reports, positive and negative responses are seen in cats that lose a companion and an equally significant number of owners report no response whatsoever from the surviving cat. And I remember how Dawnie, my beloved red Abyssinian, seemed to ease her grief over her 5-week-old kitten, Aspen, by adopting a couple of kittens who came into the house shortly afterward. He and Onyx shared a … When the dead cat “was laid on our neighbor’s lawn by some thoughtful person,” she recalls, “Thomas lay down right next to Benjamin, his front paw draped across the cold body. Kaetheryn Walker, a veterinary homeopathy specialist, writes about Sam, her Norwegian forest cat, who went into a complete physical decline after his feline friend Smudge died; despite her efforts, he soon gave up the fight. This stage tends in most to decrease with time until the cat emerges into the third and final stage, that of acceptance. The flexibility of the cat’s social structure makes it difficult to generalise about the grieving process but from the information gleaned as part of surveys and in other anecdotal reporting, if the remaining cat shows a reaction, there appear to be three stages commonly described. All our advice is freely accessible to everyone, wherever you are in the world. Major sympathies for you and your surviving kitty. Others may be more vocal – walking around meowing as though looking for their companion. Unless the other resident animal was sick, there is usually no … You may be keen to comfort your apparently inconsolable cat and a new kitten may seem like a good solution. Those cats that express grief in a demonstrative way can take anything from days to months to adjust to the change. to presume that cats will not grieve and it isn’t necessarily just reserved for old age. In Circe’s case, I did what I could, and she responded as best she could. Losing a pet can be very distressing but the way it impacts on your emotional state and behaviour may, in turn, affect your cat. Without him, her will to fight was gone. And the owners in the family may overlook behavior changes while dealing with their own sense of loss. She and Velvet were best friends but when Velvet got sick and it was her time to go, Tosca started hissing at her. Cats are integral parts of our families and companions like none other. Why 2? Sometimes we get so caught up in our own grief over the death of a pet, it’s easy to forget how deeply the other pets can be hurting, too. Cats may be observed looking out of windows or sniffing while going from room to room. As mentioned previously, some cats will show no response whatsoever. She and Phoenix, our ruddy Abyssinian male, were in love with each other from the moment she stepped into the house. Cats do not grieve. We often think of cats as being aloof and solitary, but cats absolutely can grieve for the loss of a person or another animal that they are strongly attached to. Because the kittens could play with each other and the older, grieving cat could watch and join in … By T.J. Banks Nov 18, 2013 May 15, 2020. One of the biggest ways you can help your cat is by managing your own grief properly. How cats grieve has actually been studied, and many of the signs mirror our own. Cat owners can attest that felines possess a wide range of emotions, including: the rusty-gate purr of happiness; a lashing tail showing annoyance; and the sudden grooming hiding embarrassment. Circe, our blue Abyssinian cat, was a relationships girl. For years, philosophers and scientists have debated whether animals feel grief and other emotions. In 1996 the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals conducted a study called the Companion Animal Mourning Project, which assessed the behavior patterns of cats after a companion cat died. 3) Another thing that is important to helping a grieving dog cope is increasing the activities it loves to do. Like with people, every cat handles the death of a friend differently. What To Do For A Grieving Cat. I usually replace a dead cat with a live replacement in a few days. Then Phoenix was diagnosed with kidney disease. Honor your cat’s way of showing her grief. The loss of a companion has a profound impact on a household ... • If you do consider acquiring another cat as a companion, do bear in mind that this will not necessarily be a positive thing for your cat. If the deceased cat was active in the territory outside then other neighbourhood cats may start to encroach into previously defended space. This may be unpalatable for grieving owners but it is probably a normal consequence for cats that live in the same place without forming any particular bond. Don’t be too hasty in removing the deceased cat’s favourite bedding and other personal effects. Circe, our blue Abyssinian cat, was a relationships girl. As hard as it can be not to be consumed with your own grieving process, your cat needs your help. Skeptics suggest that cats don’t really grieve and attribute their behavioral changes to the alterations in daily routine resulting from the absence of an integral figure in the cat’s life. Circe hurried over and began to head into it; then, suddenly, she paused and backed out, her adorable little face puzzled and forlorn. Some more sensitive breeds like the Siamese and Burmese may lose their appetite and appear quite unwell for several weeks during this part of the process, often needing veterinary intervention to stimulate a return to normal eating habits. However, as a charity, we need your support to enable us to keep delivering high quality and up to date information for everyone. The gradually fading scent will confirm that the individual is no longer around. He clearly regarded the younger Aby as his mate and even tried to prove it despite having been neutered at an early age. In other terms they seem to mourn or grieve for the loss of their friend. In the … We already know that cats feel emotion, but how do cats grieve? A cat that is mourning the loss of another cat may become ill. As far as we know, cats don’t comprehend the concept of dying, but they are able to feel when another cat is sick and dying. Thank you so much for this timely post. If there is no specific risk of disease transmission (and the death occurred under circumstances that make it practical) then there is certainly no harm in doing so but some cats can respond negatively to any foreign or challenging smells on the body. Please consider making a contribution, big or small, to keep our content free, accurate and relevant. These are the ties that bind — and cut — all of us, felines and humans alike. If the surviving cat had access to the outdoors, this should be restricted, as the cat may stray off into unfamiliar territory and get into dangerous situations as it searches for the lost companion. This often heralds a period of transition as it is commonly reported that permanent “character changes” become evident at this time. I had to put my 15 year old cat, Velvet, to sleep last spring. She even hung out with some of the younger cats. The death of a cat companion has a profound impact on a household – grieving humans, changes of routine and the absence of a familiar part of the social unit. This Pain is almost physical. This tactic frequently works with mother cats who have lost their kittens. Dogs tend to see the family, including other pets, as a unit and come to understand their position and role in relation to the rest of the pack. Get 2 kittens. If the depression doesn’t lift and lasts too long, your veterinarian may be able to prescribe an antidepressant drug. I teared up a bit reading it. Now my other cats greive for him, he did last year and his best buddy still searches the bed and his couch for him. You may be keen to comfort your apparently inconsolable cat and a new kitten may seem like a good solution. With my years of experience with cats, I learned many things about living them. They cannot tell us how they feel. Then, one awful December afternoon, Phoenix and I went to the vet, and I returned with an empty carrier. Your cat may become reluctant to go outdoors so it would be helpful to provide indoor litter facilities for safe toileting if you haven’t already done so. We use cookies to improve our website to make sure you have a better browsing experience. This appears to be an active phase as the cat attempts to find the missing individual. Support International Cat Care from as little £3, Sign up to our monthly newsletter and free e-magazine Intelligent Cat Care, Reg Charity 1117342 (England and Wales) Place Farm, Chilmark Road, Tisbury, Wiltshire, SP3 6LW. It would be wrong to assume that any signs are purely due to emotional causes. If you have a number of cats remaining then there can be quite an evident upheaval as the relationship between them shifts depending on the role played by the deceased. But let’s find out more about how they do that. Sometimes I think we get so caught up in our own grief, it’s easy to forget how deeply our companion animals can be hurting. No set time frame exists for determining when a cat is going to just "bounce back" after such a big loss. There's confusion about where the other cat has gone. Because of this, when they pass away it is natural to feel as though there is a void within you. Or, as someone said to me later, Phoenix called her, and she heard him. In another similar case, a father cat brought his grieving mate a baby bunny to nurse. Read our advice. These introductions, however, do not always go to plan as replacing a familiar long-term and predictable companion with a young, boisterous kitten is hardly an appropriate substitute. Tosca was 14 months old at the time. Often cats grieve when a favorite friend they bonded with passes on. Cats, dogs and even birds can grieve for a close buddy. The first is relatively short-term and manifests itself in excessive vocalising, pacing and searching. One reader's vet told her to get 2 kittens for her grieving cat. Bereaved pets may show symptoms similar to those of grieving adults or children. Every time he came back from the veterinarian, Circe would indulge in one of her favorite rituals: climbing into the vacated carrier and just hanging out there. Others may benefit if they are prone to forming dependent relationships with other cats although they too can reject a newcomer, craving instead the company of the familiar. If your cat is grieving, you almost certainly are, too. Author Rita Reynolds devotes a chapter to the subject in her incredible book Blessing the Bridge: What Animals Teach Us About Death, Dying, and Beyond. And she never played fort again. Every time I think of her I burst in tears. Others will appear to ‘blossom’ on the demise of their companions and become more vocal and generally more active. The pain associated with such a loss can be devastating, whether the loss is sudden or has long been expected. Cats do grieve, and Circe was a lost soul without her Phoenix. This may have serious repercussions for any remaining cats if they had historically relied on their companion to deal with territorial matters, so be vigilant if you feel that this scenario may apply to you. 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