Losing a cat is a sad and difficult experience. It’s a challenge for the humans in the house, of course, but it’s also difficult for the other pets who may live with you. Many people wonder: “Do cats know when another cat dies?” or “Do cats feel sad when another cat dies?”
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Do Cats Ever Feel Sad?
This is what they do! According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), cats mourn the loss of humans or other pets in their lives. We don’t know if they understand the concept of death, but they certainly notice when a human or pet has not been there for a while.
As their behaviour points out, a cat’s social circle is considerably smaller than ours. For indoor cats, this is limited to the world inside your house or apartment. Most of the time, they probably only interact with you and the other pets in the house. So when a family member – feline, human, or otherwise – dies, it leaves a huge hole in the cat’s social structure.
Do Cats Know When Another Cat is Dying?
As is the case with so many feline behaviors, the jury is still out on whether cats understand the disease in other cats. In some cases, cats seem to understand that the other cat is experiencing pain, acting on their behalf, or becoming depressed. However, other cats seem indifferent to other cats who are sick. In either case, we currently have no evidence that cats can understand if another cat is terminally ill.
5 Signs That a Cat Is Mourning The Death of Another Cat
After the death of another cat, you may notice that your cat exhibits some of the following behaviors:
- Apathy – they may appear depressed, tired, or unmotivated to move.
- Vocals – cats don’t cry like humans, but they can vocalize or “howl” more.
- Decreased appetite – like humans, cats may not be motivated to eat when they are grieving.
- Loneliness – your cat may be hiding more than usual.
- Changes in litter habits – you may notice different litter habits. (This may be due in part to changes in bereavement-induced eating habits).
Grief manifests itself differently in all cats, so yours may or may not have these symptoms.
How To Help a Grieving Cat? (With Steps)
Helping your grieving cat is a bit like helping grieving humans. Here are a few things you can do for your cat during this process:
- Monitor your cat’s routine and call the veterinarian if their food or health habits are still radically different after 1 to 2 days of mourning.
- Give him more love and affection.
- Talk to him more, if only by telling things while you are doing them; the extra attention can be comforting.
- Give her access to more toys to encourage mental stimulation. (However, don’t be surprised if she doesn’t have the energy to play yet).
- Do not rush to buy another cat. Give yourself and your cat enough time to recover from the loss.
- Remember that everyone cries at their own pace, including cats. Don’t get impatient if it takes time for your cat to look normal.
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What to Do When a Cat’s Siblings Die?
When a cat’s brother or sister dies, your plan of action should be similar to helping any grieving cat. Just keep in mind that our cat may experience the loss of a brother or sister – or a cat with which it has lived since birth – more harshly than the loss of a cat with which it has lived for a shorter period of time. So be very kind and attentive to her, and give her lots of time to grieve.
Do Cats Really Know When Another Cat Dies?
In a way, we do not know if they really understand death itself. Some cats get louder and wander around meowing for their fallen friend (which is heartbreaking). This behavior suggests that the cat believes that his companion is still somewhere in this earthly kingdom.
Some people wonder if they should show the body of their dead cat to their live cat, to help the live cat understand. The question of whether this works is a matter of debate. Anecdotally, some people have reported that their cat stopped looking for the dead cat after they were shown the body.
Since cats are predators, they can understand that something dead cannot come back to life, but we are not sure. Some experts believe that the concept of death simply does not apply to cats and that the act would, therefore, be useless.
Whether cats understand death itself needs to be debated. However, we do know that they experience a sense of loss when a cat or other companion has been away for a long period of time.
We don’t know if cats understand the concept of death, but they definitely feel lost when another cat disappears from their home. Like humans, cats experience grief that can manifest itself in a variety of ways. If your cat is grieving, keep an eye on it, give it a little more love, and most importantly, be patient with it.
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