May 25 2018

Helping A Cat Who Is Grieving

Cats grieving humans

Cats are your best friend, and love you very much. When they get used to a routine, it greatly upsets them, and no longer having a human they are close to a part of their life can rock their world. This may take a very long time for your cat to come back from, as they really do empathize with the people they live with. 

How can you help your grieving cat?

Cats do grieve the loss of their cat friends, their humans and sometimes the loss of their homes, too. You may see your cat hiding more, being more withdrawn or acting depressed. Sometimes, particularly with the loss of her human, your cat may decide to stick to you like glue, afraid that you may disappear as well. 

While cats don’t like change in general, losing a fellow cat, their favorite human or their home is a change they often don’t adapt to without some support. But we can help get them through the process by following these guidelines.

  1. Keep her routine the same as usual. Too many changes in the household, on top of the grief, can cause stress, fear and even illness to your already anxious cat.
  2. Watch her actions closely. If your cat is avoiding places that may smell like the kitty or person they are grieving for, clean those places, or remove any items that may keep her feeling the loss. On the other hand, if she seems to be seeking comfort in those places, there is no hurry to clean up those items.
  3. Spend quality time with her. Sit by her, talk in soothing tones, pet or brush her, and reassure her that you are not going anywhere and neither is she. Offer treats, toys and other distractions to help her come out of mourning quicker. 
  4. Try calming remedies. Adding herbal calming remedies to your cat’s diet may help ease her feelings of sorrow and loss.
  5. Check your emotions. Cats are very sensitive creatures, and they pick up on our emotions. If you are also grieving deeply, your cat is likely to grieve the loss harder.
  6. Seek veterinary help. If your cat seems to be stuck in grief for a long time, and/or is acting sick or refusing to eat, take her to your vet at once to prevent serious illness. Your vet can also prescribe medications to ease your cat’s feelings of sadness.  

Should you get another cat to accompany your grieving cat? 

If your cat is grieving the loss of a cat friend, you may be tempted to bring home a new buddy for her. Eventually, this may be a good idea, but in the short run it’s best to wait until your cat is back to herself before adding a new feline friend to the family. 

Is your cat grieving the loss of a human?  

If she is grieving the loss of a human, be consistent in the rest of the household and with your attention to her. If you are taking in a pet who is in grief over her human, give her a calm, stable environment and plenty of time to adjust to her new life. In either case, love, patience and time will help your cat get back to the business of being a happy cat.

parkgate | Behavior, Health, Knowledge

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