How to Deal With Feline Bereavement?

By July 05 | See Comments

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How to Deal With Feline Bereavement?

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The death of your feline companion can have a profound impact on your household – routines change, family members grieve and there is a big void in the social unit of the family. There are reports of both negative and positive responses in cats who lose a companion and there are an equal number of pet owners who report no significant changes in their surviving cat. This might not be palatable to grieving owners but it is just a normal consequence for the furry felines who share the same roof without forming a strong emotional bond.

What are the signs that you need to look out for?

Since cats have a flexible social structure, it is difficult to make generalizations about their grieving process. But if the cat does show a reaction, it usually progresses in three stages – the first of the three stages manifests itself in excessive pacing, vocalizing and searching. This is the active phase in which the cat searches for the missing individual. You might see your cat looking out of the window or sniffing about as he moves from room to room.The second stage is passive. It is during this stage that your cat will become inactive and withdrawn. Sensitive breeds like the Burmese and the Siamese cat might lose their appetite and give off the appearance of being unwell for many weeks during this stage. They might need the intervention of a vet to stimulate their return to a more normal routine. This stage attenuates into the third and final stage, which is one of acceptance.The third stage is the period of transition and there are observable, permanent changes to your cat's character around this time. Some cats tend to become more attentive and friendly towards their owners. Others tend to blossom when their companions die and become more active and vocal as a result.

Will getting a new kitten help your cat?

Cats that tend to express their grief in more demonstrative ways take anywhere from weeks to months to get over bereavement. You may want to console your grieving cat and might even consider getting a new kitten to keep him company. However, such introductions do not really go as planned – you cannot replace a predictable, long-term companion with a young and boisterous kitten. But, as is the case with anything else, there are anecdotal reports that suggest that introducing young blood into the home might do your cat a lot of good.

How can you help?

Losing pets can be distressful and if you let it affect you, it will most definitely affect your cat as well. Try and maintain the daily routines as much as you can. Predictability is a great source of solace and comfort for your cat in distressing times. Do not be too hasty and remove the favorite bedding of your deceased cat. The gradual fading of the scent will confirm that the individual is not around anymore.

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