It’s always hard when someone in our household passes away. We have our own grief as humans, but our cats feel the pain and grief just as much as we do. Whether it’s another dog or a cat that has passed away, cats know and acknowledge their friends are no longer there.
The problem is that cats can’t talk like we can as humans, and they can’t tell us how they feel. But they feel the loss just as deeply as we do, especially if the cat has been a part of the household for a long time and has grown up with the other pet.
That’s why we are going to help you to understand the signs that your cat is grieving and give you some tips on how you can help your cat through this very sad time in their life.
How Do You Know Your Cat is Mourning?
Below are some of the signs that your cat’s mourning:
She is listless and depressed
She doesn’t want to play
She doesn’t want to eat
She is sleeping more
She is moving slower and sulking
She’s hiding in closets or beneath the bed
She wants to be alone when she used to be very social
If another pet in your household has passed away and you notice that your cat is exhibiting one or more of the behaviors above, there’s a very good chance that she is grieving. Although you can’t take her grief away completely, there are things that you can do to help her feel loved.
Helping Your Pet Deal with Grief
Just like with humans, it’s important to help your cat get through this difficult time. Below are some tips that you can use to help your cat deal with their grief and let them know that you are there for them.
Spend More Time with Her– Try diverting her attention by spending extra time with her and playing with her. Sit down on the couch and have quiet time with her. Play her favorite game. Buy the food she likes the best.
Show Her More Affection– Petting your cat more frequently is a good idea. Talk to your cat and look her in the eyes. Include her in the things you are doing around the house.
Invite Others Over– If you have a very social cat, invite people over and encourage them to interact with your cat. Having a variety of humans over might just pique her interest. If she becomes bored or agitated, she’ll go to another room.
Give Her Entertainment When You’re Gone – Hide some treats around the house in the places she loves to go. You can also fill one of her foraging toys with some treats. This will help her stay busy until you’re back home.
Ignore Her Inappropriate Behavior – Sometimes, when a cat is mourning, she’ll meow or vocalize for seemingly no reason at all. Even though this may be hard to ignore, do your best to ignore it. You may be tempted to give her treats so she’ll quiet down. However, this is going to reinforce this behavior since she’ll know anytime she does it she’ll get treats. Tell your cat firmly to hush. If she quiets down, give her a reward.
Use Distraction – You don’t always have to use treats for rewards. Pick her up and give her a hug. You also may try breaking this cycle with distraction. Rather than approaching her, since she could interpret this as you positively reinforcing her behavior, try calling your cat to come to you. If this command is heeded, give her praise, and play with her.
Consider Medicine – If you find that your cat’s grief is lasting a long time after a death, talk to your vet and see if they would recommend medication. There are a few options that can help your cat. This will help rule out any problems with your cat’s system that also can affect their behavior such as diabetes, electrolyte imbalance, or thyroid issues.
Don’t Be in a Rush to Replace Your Pet – If your cat’s mourning because they lost a feline or canine companion, you don’t want to rush out and get a replacement. You need time to grieve your loss, and so does your cat. Introducing a new dog or cat may stress them out even more and make things worse.
Cats may not have the ability to talk like we do as humans, but they feel the loss just as deeply as you do. If your pet has been with their animal or human companion for years, they will miss them and notice their absence. Fortunately, many times giving them lots of treats and lots of love and attention, along with the time they need to grieve, will heal their hearts.
An American expat living in Metro Manila, Philippines for over a decade, Christian is a lifelong cat lover and the proud papa of two rescue cats, Trixie and Chloe. Both girls were formerly among the droves of strays that roam the cities and countryside. Three-year-old Trixie was pulled from a litter found under the porch of a neighbor’s house, while two-year-old Chloe was brought home by Christian’s young son, Henry, who found the kitten crying in the parking lot. As Editor in Chief of ExcitedCats.com, Christian is thrilled to be a part of the pro-feline movement.