The Hotel 4 Cats: Cat Boarding That Is Truly A Home Away From Home!
Do Cats Experience Grief?
YES. Grief is a response to an absence of another animal or person who provided a sense of happiness, satisfaction, comfort or reassurance. For cats, such an absence can cause physical pain, mental pain, sadness and depression which can lead to stress. Even if kittens are taken away from a mother cat she will search and cry for them for several days.
Similar to humans, grief can range from minimal to becoming deeply devastating. The healing process tends to last between two weeks and six months.
Symptoms of Grief: (Death And Other Separation Situations)
• Hours or even days of searching for the person or animal that is absent. The search can include pacing and crying out.
• Mental disturbance.
• Refusal to eat.
• Showing no interest in life (no interest in eating, playing, being pet, being around others, etc.).
• Waiting at the window for the absent person or animal to return.
• Outdoor cats may sit on the doorstep waiting for companion to return.
• Indoor cats may approach door whenever someone enters the house.
How Can You Help Your Cat Heal During a Grieving/Separation Period?
Note that your vet should be consulted to help with creating an individualized healing plan. Extra pet care and attention is important. Consider the following:
• Cats are creatures of routine so minimize any change of routine to prevent additional stress. However, absence of a companion may drive the need for some new routines so try to establish and stick to a new routine that is not too dissimilar to the old one.
• Give reassurance and attention. Specifically set time to make your cat a priority - actively engage in a regular time each day (Example, 20 minutes AM and PM). Never force yourself on a cat, however, when you are giving your cat attention, make it meaningful to reinforce comfort and encouragement with significant, yet little things such as play time, offering food treats (without reinforcing a new dependency), brushing, new toys to help reduce sadness or even clingy cat's over-attachment.
• If eating decreases, ask your vet about appetite stimulants.
• If your cat has no interest in life, your vet can assess whether a prescription for antianxiety medication is necessary. Note that human medications should not be given to cats – they are toxic!
• Determine if there is an acceptable homeopathic remedy available.
Cat boarding at The Hotel 4 Cats is very personalized. We ask that you inform us of any separation concerns so that we can assess grieving signs and give extra special cat care and attention.
Blog adapted from WHEN CATS GRIEVE 2004, Sarah Hartwell
The Hotel 4 Cats: Cat Boarding Serving the Lake Norman Area.