Signs of cat mourning:
When a cat loses a companion, whether animal or human, it grieves and reacts to the changes in their life. Cats alter their behavior when they mourn:
They may become depressed and listless.
They may have a decreased appetite and decline to play.
They may sleep more than usual and move more slowly, sulking around.
They may hide under the bed, choosing to be alone even more than usual for cats.
1996 research on the subject:
The study, which assessed many different behavior patterns, concluded that 65% of cats experienced four or more behavioral changes after the loss of a family pet which indicated grief.
46% of cats experienced a decreased appetite following the loss of a feline companion.
Many cats slept more than usual while some suffered insomnia.
Some cats changed the area of the house where they slept.
About 70% of cats exhibited changes in vocal patterns; some meowed more while others were quieter than they were prior to their loss of a companion.
Surviving cats were often more affectionate with their owners and became clingy.
7 Ways to help cat cope with grief:
Spend extra time with your cat. Divert your cat’s attention by engaging in their favorite pastimes. Play a game. Spend some quiet time on a couch together. Give them favorite treats or food.
Be more affectionate. Pet your cat more often. Make eye contact and talk to them by dialoguing routine household activities, “OK, Missy let’s do laundry.”
If your cat is more social, invite friends over who will play with her. Some human variety can increase your cat’s interest. If they get agitated or bored, they will go to their safe space.
Provide entertainment while you are gone. Hide treats at different locations for them to find during the day or fill a treats toy with food to keep them busy while you are gone. Spray their toys with catnip. Play animals, birds, or fish videos on TV or computer.
Reinforce good behavior and ignore bad behavior. Some mourning cats meow for no reason. Ignore this behavior. Don't give treat to quiet them, it will support this behavior. Hush them and reward if they comply. You can stop the howling by distracting your cat with toys and catnip.
Consider medical therapy. If your cat has prolonged grieving, ask your vet about medicated approach. There are a few medications that can help resolve behavior issues associated with mourning. Ask your vet about electrolytes imbalance blood test. Decreased food intake can cause electrolytes imbalance and slowing down can be mistaken as sadness.
Think carefully before replacing a lost pet. If your cat’s grief is due to the loss of a canine or feline friend, don’t rush to replace it. Give your cat time to grieve and adjust to the loss. Introduction of a new pet will add more stress to stressful situation.