Dealing with Loss: When Your Cat Loses a Companion
When I moved out of my old apartment, I knew that emotions may run high — especially with the cats. As humans it was easy to understand the situation, but I worried how it would impact CG and my roommates’ cat, Racine.
I’m happy to say that by and large, CG took it like a pro; as I’ve mentioned before, he’s quite the baby and for a while enjoyed being the only cat. CG clearly knew that he was living a new adventure. That said, Racine took it a bit worse. To him it wasn’t an adventure, it was a big mystery.
It broke my heart to hear how he’d mope around, asking the girls for more attention than he had before. One former roommate even said he was exhibiting antisocial cat behavior after CG left (something I just learned): He was dipping his paw in his water bowl to drink.
The mystery is even worse when a cat truly loses a companion – when he crosses Rainbow Bridge, as some call it. It can be a very stressful time for everyone involved, especially if your cat notices your emotional distress too.
If that’s the case, here are a few tips to help with the pain:
- This is an emotional time for your cat, and consequently he may begin to behave differently. Be patient, especially if he begins to keep to himself or act out. If your cat begins to lose weight, appear depressed or nervous (over-cleaning), you may want to consider a vet visit.
- Even if you only have one cat left, the power balance will change. Alpha cats may now no longer have any authority, or another cat may take that role if the alpha is grieving. Be mindful of these changes and how they impact all of your cats.
- Continue to play with your cat. It’ll help develop your bond and will serve as a distraction. During the day leave out toys and keep the radio on so your cat doesn’t get lonely.
- If you decide to adopt another cat, consider one that would be a good match for yours. This may mean an older cat, or a young cat with a gentle personality. Sometimes kittens can add stress to the situation because of their high energy and constant needs. If and when you do adopt, make sure you’re both ready for it. Introduce the cats slowly, and be especially considerate of how your cat adjusts.
Have you lost a cat? How have you dealt with the pain? How did you help your cat?