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grief due to loss of a part of the family 


often thought that cats don’t grieve and seen as too independent to be affected by the loss of another cat

 do exhibit behavioural changes when animals were

  closely bonded, even by the loss of a feuding partner.

There is no way of knowing that a cat understands death. However, they do know when a housemate is missing and that the household has changed. The owner’s distress can add to the ambience within the house that something is different.
Cats do not respond in similar ways when a fellow housemate dies. Some cats will appear unaffected, others may stop eating and become distant and others will behave more positively and happier than when the companion was around. Certain cats may undergo personality or behavioural changes some times lasting up to 6 months, which in some cases may be extreme.


To help the grieving cat overcome the loss

  1. Minimise change – keep feeding times and furniture position constant to minimise environmental upset.
  2. Encourage eating by warming food, possibly applying gravy but try to avoid a change in diet as this may cause digestive upset. Sometimes sitting with your cat while he eats can provide reassurance. If your cat does not eat for 3 days, veterinary advice should be sought due to the danger of hepatic lipidosis.
  3. Encourage play and spend more time grooming and stroking your cat.
  4. Don’t replace a lost cat immediately – your resident cat is already in a state of flux and will not be able to cope with an extra source of stress while he is unsettled – this can create further behavioural problems.
  5.  Time spent sniffing the body of your cat’s dead companion can be a necessary part of the grieving process  and you should allow your cat to do this.

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