Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Do Cats Grieve?

Ever wonder if cats grieve after losing a loved one?
Although the scientific evidence is slim, people often notice changes in their cats' behavior following the loss of a human or animal companion.

It's not surprising when you consider the close attachments many cats form with both the people and the other pets in their lives. When these bonds are cut, cats are definitely aware of the loss, and they may grieve. In addition, because cats are so sensitive to change, moving, re-homing, or being kenneled during vacations can produce an emotional response similar to grieving.

Signs Your Cat May Be Grieving
Changes in these daily behaviors may signal your cat is reacting to the loss of a person, place, or pet:

Activity -- Paces restlessly in search of lost companion or hides and is lethargic.
Talking -- Cries for the lost loved one.
Attention -- Shuns affection or is super clingy.
Sleep -- Rests more or less than usual.
Appetite -- Is less interested in food. If your cat stops eating for more than a day, take him to the vet right away to avoid this potentially fatal disease.
Ways to Respond
If your cat is showing any of the above signs, here's how you can support him through the process:

Make an appointment. Have your vet examine your pet to rule out any underlying medical conditions.
Stick to your cat's normal routine. If possible, put off taking a vacation, remodeling, or hosting house guests.
Be attentive. Offer your kitty additional love, affection, and cuddle time.
Resist the temptation to quickly replace a lost pet. It won't alleviate your cat's grief. Wait until his behavior is back to normal.

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