Many people wonder if cats grieve like humans do – and the answer is yes and no. Cats definitely grieve loss, however, they don’t always express grief in the same ways we do.
Last week we very unexpectedly lost our cat, Mr. Bittles, when he went into cardiac arrest at the vet’s office. What we thought was going to be a simple checkup turned into a tragedy and he never came home. We were in immediate shock and it was like someone ripped out our hearts and ran over them with a truck. There wasn’t a chance to say goodbye and we were not with him when he passed.
As the tears continued to flow for the next few days, we noticed that one of our cats had sprayed in our closet – and he seemed to be constantly searching the house for Mr. Bittles. Another one of our kitties started clinging to us much more than usual. At first we thought it was because he was giving us comfort, but then we realized that it could be his way of grieving the loss of his brother – whom he had lived with and loved for the past 15 years.
Cat grieve in different ways. Cats with heartache can act out (like start spraying), some will become needy or standoffish, and some will even cry. Just like humans, we have to let our cats go through their grieving process. That being said, there are a few things we can do to help our grieving kitties through this process.
How to help your cats grieve
- Spend extra time with them. This doesn’t mean bombarding them with snuggles and treats (some cats need their space!), but we can grab their favorite toy and play with them a little more than usual. Cats, just like humans, can benefit from some distraction from time to time.
- Talk to them. When we are in pain, it’s common for us to close up and go inward. Sometimes we don’t let out that pain or talk about what we are feeling. The good news is that our cats are the purrfect sounding board, and talking to them can and will help both you and your kitty get through tough times. They understand more than we think they do.
- Play calming music. This is something that we encourage cat parents to do to help reduce cat stress, and in this situation it can be particularly helpful. Music is therapy for us and our cats. We play music in the house from the moment we wake up until the moment we go to bed. The day after Mr. Bittles passed we didn’t turn on the music and our kitties knew that this wasn’t normal. Playing music can really help them through the grieving process too.
- Consider natural calming formulas. Grief and stress are very much connected and our bodies release the same cortisol during sad times. We’ve found that adding a natural calming formula to their morning meals has really helped them seem less sad and more energetic.
Depending on the situation, the grieving process can take time. Be easy on yourself and your kitties. Stick together. Love on each other each day as if it’s the last… because we never know when that time may come.
Natural Calming Formula for Cats