How to help a cat survive a loss? Little is said about the grief that a cat experiences, and mainly because cats are considered independent animals that have preserved most of their wild nature. But the behavior of a cat does change after the death of another cat, although sometimes it is difficult to understand.
If the animals are closely related, they are likely to be upset by the loss of a companion. Even those pets who are constantly fighting may be saddened by the loss of a cat with whom they were at enmity. No one will ever know if the cat understands what death is, but she certainly knows that her roommate has disappeared and something has changed in the house. The owner’s feelings from the loss of a pet can also be transmitted to the cat, which further increases the confusion that she is experiencing.
Signs of longing
In fact, it is impossible to predict how a cat will behave after the death of a companion. Some are not affected in any way, and some may even seem pleased when their neighbor disappears. Others stop eating and lose interest in everything around them — they just sit and stare at one point, their condition seems very depressed. In some animals, after the death of a friend, personality traits or behavioral habits change — the cat is sad.
Despite the fact that no serious research has been conducted on the behavior of cats in bereavement, a survey by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals found that after such a misfortune, cats eat less, sleep more and become louder. Fortunately, according to the results of observations of 160 families, all the pets who lost a friend fully recovered within about six months.
How can we help?
There are several actions that can help the cat accept the loss. Minimizing changes gives the pet time to come to terms with the loss of a companion cat. Keep the same daily routine. Changing the feeding time or simply rearranging the furniture can cause her additional stress. A yearning cat may refuse to eat. But an animal that does not eat for several days is at risk of a deadly disease — liver lipidosis. Create an incentive for the cat to eat by slightly heating the feed or adding water or meat juice to it. Sit down next to your pet while she eats, so that she feels calmer. Do not give in to the desire to change her diet to induce an appetite, as this can cause digestive upset. If the animal does not eat for three days, seek advice from a veterinary specialist.
Spend more time with the cat, comb it, stroke it, and also play with it. This will give the pet positive emotions with any changes in the house that she feels. Don’t try to get a new pet right away. Although your cat will miss a companion with whom she has lived together for a long time, she is unlikely to be happy with a stranger if she is still worried about the loss. At such a time, a new cat will only become an additional source of stress. Like many other animals, a cat needs time to sniff the dead body of a friend. This can become a necessary part of the experience of loss. So, it may be useful to bring the body of the slaughtered cat home, and not cremate it at the veterinarian. Whenever there are sudden changes in behavior, the veterinarian should examine the cat for any underlying somatic problem. A zoopsychologist can help with unresolved behavioral problems.