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mourning in cats

Not much attention has been paid to the issue of grieving behavior in cats, and this is largely because they are seen as independent animals who retain much of their 'wild' nature. However, cats show behavioral changes after the loss of another cat, and sometimes these changes can be difficult to understand.

When cats become very attached, they are more likely to be upset by the loss of their companions. Even cats that constantly fight may mourn the loss of their fighting buddies. Although no one will ever know whether a cat understands death, they certainly know that they have lost a roommate and that things have changed in the house. The sadness felt by the owner in the event of the loss of a pet can also be reflected in the cat, adding to the confusion it may feel.

symptoms of grief

In fact, there is no way to predict how a cat will behave when it loses its friend. Some cats seem completely unaffected, and a small number of cats may even seem positively happy when their housemate is gone. Other cats may stop eating and lose interest in their environment, sitting motionless alone; This shows that they are depressed. A very small number of cats show personality or behavior changes when they lose a companion.

Although no significant research has been done on the age of cats at loss, a survey conducted by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals found that cats ate less, slept more, and made more noise after the death of a companion. However, according to the information provided by 160 family members who participated in the survey, all pets who lost a friend happily returned to normal within six months.

How can we help?

There are several things you can do to help a grieving cat cope with his loss. Keeping changes to a minimum gives the cat time to come to terms with the loss of a cat companion. Keep the cat's routine practices the same. Changes in feeding times or even just moving furniture around can cause more stress. A grieving cat may stop eating its food. A cat that goes without food for several days is at risk of a potentially fatal liver disease called hepatic lipidosis. Encourage the baby to eat the food by warming it slightly or adding water or broth to it. Sit with your cat for reassurance at mealtimes. Do not attempt to change the food to increase his appetite as this may only cause digestive problems. If the cat does not eat for three days, seek veterinary advice.

quality time

Spend more time with the grieving cat by grooming, stroking and playing. This will develop a positive mindset in the cat for any changes it perceives in the home. Do not try to replace the lost cat immediately. Although your left-behind cat may miss his long-time companion cat, he is unlikely to welcome a stranger while he is still upset about the loss. Meanwhile, the arrival of a new cat only creates an additional source of stress. As with many species, spending time sniffing and nuzzling the lifeless body of one's companion may be a necessary part of the grieving process. For this reason, it may be beneficial to bring the euthanized cat's body home instead of cremation at the veterinary clinic. In any case where striking behavioral changes occur, the cat should always be checked by a veterinarian for an underlying physical problem. For unresolved behavioral problems, referral may be made to animal behavior specialists.

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