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How to Help Your Cat Cope with Grief

 by jaime on 31 Jul 2014 |
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Cats can form strong bonds with other humans and other furry members of the family. You may not even realize the depth of this attachment until that friend is gone. With the loss of a loved companion, cats can become more aloof, lethargic, and even stop eating and drinking. In some cases, the cat's personality may seem to change. A once-aloof cat may suddenly become very affectionate. An otherwise quiet cat may become vocal, crying nonstop looking for their lost friend. Here are some ways to help your cat cope with its grief.

 

Get a full vet exam

A cat that is acting depressed may be suffering from an illness. Lethargy, lack of play, and not eating or drinking are all also symptoms of many medical problems, such as bacterial and viral infections, and kidney and liver disease. It's important to first rule out a physical medical cause with a veterinarian's help before assuming that he or she is grieving. If the vet determines that your cat is healthy and it is grief, your vet may also be able to offer suggestions to help get through this tough time.

 

Spend more time with kitty

Even if your cat was never the most affectionate, spending more time with your grieving kitty will help it not feel alone. By petting or playing with your cat, you will help him or her take an active interest in life again outside of the grief. Even if you just sit next to your cat, this will provide the companionship he or she is missing.

  

Play music

Just as music can lift a human's spirits, it can have the same effect on a cat. Calming music can help relax the now over-anxious cat, whereas upbeat music may help the now lethargic cat. You may need to try different types of music to see what your cat responds to.

 

Get a new pet when you are ready

If the grief is the result of a lost pet, a new pet may be just what you both need. Whether you adopt another pet right away or wait to give yourself and your cat time to work through some of the grief first is a personal choice - you should do what feels best. Of course, no pet will replace the one you and your kitty just lost. However, a new friend for your cat will get it moving again. At first, your cat may not agree that a new pet was a good idea, but even if he or she acts aggressive or aloof with the new addition to the family, this will get your cat moving and thinking about something other than his or her lost companion.

 

Know that it is normal for cats to grieve, and just like in humans, they will do it in their own way. Support your cat as much as you can, but recognize that it's a process that will take time.

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