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Old June 28th, 2002, 03:04 PM
Tylor
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Greiving Cat

I had 2 Siamese cats from the same litter for 3 years now, a male and a female and both of them neutered. They did nothing separately and loved to be outdoors checking everything in sight. Recently, the male died from an accident with a car and now I'm worried about the surviving female. She acts like she is missing him badly. How can I help her?

Thanx for any ideas.
Tylor
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Old June 28th, 2002, 11:59 PM
herman herman is offline
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Join Date: May 2001
Location: Saskatoon
Posts: 57
Sorry to hear a bout your loss....my condolences.

here is an article on a grieving cat that I found. It was written by karen Cummings. I hope it helps you.

Herman

When Maggie died from kidney failure, Metta, her most
constant companion appeared aloof and lethargic.Although she continued to eat, she kept to herself, not
seeking out the company of other cats in the household.Based on the outward signs of her behavior, Metta
appeared to be grieving over Maggie's death. Because our pets cannot speak, we don't really know
what is going through their minds or what they are thinking. We must
base our interpretations of their emotional state on their behavior —what they
do in certain situations and under specific circumstances. When a person experiences the death of a human loved
one, we may know he feels grief based on what he says. Very often, however, it is how he reacts, what he does
that tells us he is suffering. He loses his focus, becomes listless and disoriented, doesn't eat and becomes
disinterested in what is happening around him. The person may cry or go without sleep or sleep more.
An animal that is experiencing the loss of another animal companion may react similarly.
"Some animals can actually become depressed when they lose a loved one," says Monique
D. Chretien, MSc, AHT, Animal Behavior Consultant. "They show symptoms similar to
humans such as loss of interest in their favorite activities and sleeping more than usual.
However, sometimes cats hide and sleep more than usual when they are ill, so you should
consult with your veterinarian before seeing a behaviorist if your cat exhibits symptoms such
as these."
Your cat may lose her appetite, become disoriented, or become more clingy. If the deceased
cat was taken to a veterinarian to be euthanized, the grieving cat may sit at the window for
days watching for her return. Animal behaviorists commonly call this emotional state,
separation anxiety. On the surface, the pet's behavior is similar to
that of a person experiencing grief over the loss of a loved one.
The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals conducted a Companion
Animal Mourning Project in 1996. The study found that 46 percent of cats ate less than
usual after the death of another cat companion. In some extreme cases, the cat actually
starved to death. About 70 percent of cats meowed more than normal or meowed less.
Study respondents indicated that surviving cats changed the quantity and location of sleep.
More than half the surviving pets became more affectionate and clingy with their caregivers.
Overall, the study revealed that 65 percent of cats exhibited four or more behavioral
changes after losing a pet companion.
If your cat shows signs that she is grieving the loss of an animal or human family member,
provide her with more attention and affection. "Try to take her mind off it by engaging her in
a favorite activity," says Chretien. If she enjoys human company, invite friends that she likes
to visit and spend time with her. Use environmental enrichment techniques such as balls
filled with cat treats to help keep her busy. Hide catnip toys at her favorite spots for her to
find during the day.
If your cat is too depressed over the loss, she may not respond to extra activity right away.
The old saying, "Time heals all wounds," has meaning for your cat, too. "Time is one thing
that may help," says Chretien.
If your cat is meowing more or howling, distract her. Don't give her treats to distract her or
you might unintentionally reinforce the yowling. "Giving attention during any behavior will
help to reinforce it so be sure you are not reinforcing a behavior that you don't like," says
Chretien. "Give attention at a time when your cat is engaging in
behaviors that you do like, such as when she is resting quietly or watching the birds. As the
pain of the loss begins to subside, so should the vocalizing as long as it is related to the
grieving process."
You may also want to consult with your veterinarian regarding drug therapy to help decrease
your cat's anxiety, advises Chretien.
If you are thinking about adding another cat, wait until you and your surviving cat have
adjusted to the loss. Forcing your cat to get to know a newcomer will only add stress to her
already anxiety-ridden emotional state. And be patient. Your cat may miss her feline
companion as much as you do.
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