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Cat depression?

September 12th, 2007, 12:58 AM
I inherited a dog and a cat from my dad. The dog, Emma (a Chesapeake retreiver), was without a doubt the greatest dog ever, great companion, watchdog, fishing buddy, etc. My dad also had a cat, who was pretty much raised by the dog (he got him from the pound when he was a kitten) and Emma became mom to the cat.

The cat loved the dog, would always lay down on her paws when she was sleeping, if the dog went out, the cat followed.

When I would brush the dog, the cat would eat its fur if I tossed the hair from the comb into the yard, yea he is a bit wierd.

Unfortunatley, Emma died about a month and a half ago (made it to 14 and no suffering).

Now the cat has issues. In the last three weeks he no longer wants to come in the house except to eat, doesnt like being petted much, tends to scratch at people trying to pet him, no longer hunts (and he is usually good at keeping he mole and mouse population down), generally is less social than he was before.

I am wondering if anyone has experienced similar behavior in cats/dogs when their "friend" died. It seems like the cat is hanging out outside and waiting for the dog to return and has lost a lot of interest in his usual activities.

Cat was checked by the vet about two weeks ago for wheezing, which turned out to be an irritated throat from puking up a particulary large hairball. No health problems were noted.

Anyone else experience similar situations with the loss of a pet having a psychological impact on a surviving pet?

Sorry for the long first post, just found these forums.

September 12th, 2007, 02:11 AM
I recently had a similar experience with two cats who were buddies - but not to the extent of your two - and then were (foolishly) split up. The one who stayed behind is just generally more anxious, overgrooming, etc.

This has been discussed occasionally on the board and I do believe it is a real phenomenon. Of course, it is impossible to know how they experience it.

Did you discuss his extreme personality change with the vet? Because in light of that, s/he may want to take another look. S/he might also offer you medication (as in mood-altering) but I would think long and hard before going that route.

If there is nothing physical, then it really is a question of time. I would take every opportunity to distract him, lots of treats, playtime (new toys please). Keep him inside for a few hours every day if he is not too much of a yowler. Just quietly get in his face, in a reassuring way.

Or :) you could go to a cat rescue and get him a friend. Rescues can usually find you a good match.

September 12th, 2007, 07:15 AM
I have experienced this too after one of my cats passed away. He was five years old when I got my Puddles at 12 weeks old.

Although they were not as close as your pets were, she did follow him everywhere. After he passed away she was not the same, like yours, she became withdrawn and not herself. We played with her, gave her extra attention, but she still missed her buddy.

Have you gotten any bloodwork done?

September 12th, 2007, 09:28 AM
Yes, definitely. We even lost a cat when our old, old dog died. The cat just left home. We have had less extreme attachments where the surviving animal seemed depressed for a week or so but then adjusted.

Some suggestions: lots of extra attention from you.
a new dog? May not work, especially with a cat.
a new home for the cat with someone else's dog?

Is the cat the same age as Emma? 14 can be old for a cat, maybe there are health issues that just haven't shown up yet?

I am so sorry to hear you lost Emma. It is particularly hard to lose an animal that is a last living link to a human you loved.

September 12th, 2007, 09:43 AM
No words of wisdom other than to suggest you look into Bach's Flowers ~ I've used them with my dogs and they have helped in times of stress.

I, too am sorry for you loss :candle: and hope your kitty recovers from his grief.