Grieving cat.

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Catfan5
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Grieving cat.

Post by Catfan5 » Fri Dec 13, 2019 9:14 pm

Two weeks ago our lovely twelve year old cat Bailey, a ragdoll, died at the vets while they tried to save her. She had hcm, the start of kidney issues due to one of the heart meds causing dehydration, also chronic bronchitis. On that evening she suddenly started having breathing difficulties and we rushed her down to the emergency vet who gave her oxygen but she passed away soon after. We are still devastated but also I’m worried about her ‘brother’ who was very close to her. Same age and been together since they were kittens. He is bewildered and lost at the moment, looking for her to start with. He has always been a quiet cat, likes his own company, loves us but not our other cats. He is very subdued and has to be persuaded to eat, usually away from the other cats. What can we do to help him?

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Re: Grieving cat.

Post by Catfan5 » Sat Dec 14, 2019 4:45 pm

Have I posted this in the wrong section?

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Ruth B
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Re: Grieving cat.

Post by Ruth B » Sat Dec 14, 2019 5:57 pm

So sorry to hear of Bailey's passing. I don't think it being in this section is the problem, just that things are normally quieter on a weekend.

Cats do grieve, just as we humans do, and going off food can be part of grieving. If they were close he will be missing Bailey and looking for her, calling her etc, is all perfectly normal. As with people you have to let him work through the grief, be there when he wants attention, but don't smother him. I know you are feeling bad yourself right now, hopefully he will realise it too and come to you and you can comfort each other. He might eventually either bloom by himself, or become friends with one of your other cats.

Take care of yourself, and keep telling yourself that you did everything you could, Bailey had a good life with you and 12 years is a good age for a Ragdoll, her time had just come.

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Re: Grieving cat.

Post by Catfan5 » Sat Dec 14, 2019 7:00 pm

Thank you Ruth for your reply, I’m just being over sensitive at the moment etc. He (Beaker) has been more aggressive with the other cats than usual since losing Bailey and more withdrawn. But,as you say, he will hopefully start to come out of his shell in time. I’m giving him as much attention as he wants from me when he asks. It’s hard to watch him being sad.

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Re: Grieving cat.

Post by Mollycat » Sat Dec 14, 2019 8:14 pm

My very sensitive Henry wasn't himself for a good 8 months after we lost Sarah. It can take time and it's so awful being so helpless to help them. Lots of love and I would distract him not reprimand him when he's grumpy.

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Re: Grieving cat.

Post by lilynmitz » Sat Dec 14, 2019 11:40 pm

So sorry to hear of your loss, it’s just devastating when they have to leave us. I agree with Mollycat, cats definitely do grieve, and just like us, their personality does change in the following months, both as they work through it and readjust, and as their place in the hierarchy changes. Our Elsie is, I think, only now coming out of her grief at losing sweet little Ziggy very suddenly 2 years ago, and years ago one of my cats, Mo, was really depressed for months after Daisy died (RTA), until a new kitten moved in nearby and they became best buddies. Give Beaker love and attention, let him help you through it too. You will both always miss her, but you will learn to live around the gap in your lives.

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Re: Grieving cat.

Post by Catfan5 » Sun Dec 15, 2019 12:54 am

Hi Mollycat and lilynmitz, thank you for replying. One of our other cats, Harry, lost his brother last year and he still calls for him. He has become much more vocal and feistier since but he does miss him. Beaker is staying closer to me now when he’s not hiding away, and I give him plenty of fusses. I have read that you mustn’t overdo the attention with a grieving cat, not sure why?

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Re: Grieving cat.

Post by Mollycat » Sun Dec 15, 2019 8:18 am

My guess would be to avoid them becoming overdependent and clingy? I would have thought giving less than the cat needs would create that insecure dependent clingy cat, personally. Maybe what they mean is not to give more than the cat is asking for, ie not to force affection and reassurance on them when in fact they might just need to sit quietly by your side. Which reminds me Henry used to sit quietly on Sarah's grave sometimes, heartbreaking for us but it seemed important for him. He would sit there quietly in the loaf position for a while then chase the breeze round the garden like a lunatic.

Also, it's wise to keep your household as normal as possible. Keep to your routines, this isn't the best time to move furniture around. With Christmas it's unavoidable of course. If Beaker has any special possessions be especially careful of those. And if he has taken possession of Bailey's toys, beds or anything else, be really careful to keep those. My Raggy Bobby died in August, the dog immediately took over his blanket and Molly cat took a clump of Bobby's brushings and held them in her bed for 3 months. She doesn't want them any more now but she would grab the clump out of my hand if I picked it up before she was ready to let go. And yet they weren't even close, to the human eye.

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Re: Grieving cat.

Post by Catfan5 » Sun Dec 15, 2019 11:38 am

Good advice Mollycat, and sorry to hear about Bobby. I’ve left the blanket on the bed that he and Bailey both slept on overnight, he spends most of the day on it. Christmas is going to be a quiet one this year, just the two of us and the furries, no turbocharged toddlers til later in the week. Then he will spend his time tucked away up in the bedroom away from the noise like he usually does, on his blanket. He’s also taken Baileys place in the cat tree when he comes downstairs. It’s hard not give him that bit of extra attention when he looks so subdued and he purrs in appreciation.

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Re: Grieving cat.

Post by Mollycat » Sun Dec 15, 2019 12:03 pm

I also found it a great excuse not to vacuum for a few weeks - Oh I'm letting Bobby's scent fade naturally so as not to upset Molly and the dog.

Not sure you have to hold back, you know him best. The way I look at it is as long as he appreciates it, and you're not forcing cuddles on a grieving cat for your own emotional needs, and he can walk away if he doesn't appreciate what you're doing, then all well and good.

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Re: Grieving cat.

Post by Ruth B » Sun Dec 15, 2019 1:07 pm

I think if he is enjoying the fuss and purring you don't need to worry about holding back, as long as you aren't picking him up and forcing cuddles that he doesn't want on him you are fine to fuss him. I know from experience there is a temptation to pick up my remaining cat and hug them until the ears are back and the tail is lashing, which really doesn't help either of us get through it. Like humans every cat reacts differently to grief and you just have to try and balance things for the good of everyone.

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Re: Grieving cat.

Post by Catfan5 » Mon Dec 16, 2019 11:32 am

Thank you for all your replies and advice, it’s appreciated.

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Re: Grieving cat.

Post by lilynmitz » Mon Dec 16, 2019 8:16 pm

Cats often find intense emotion of any type directed towards them difficult to handle, so may shy away if you’re overdoing it.

Although strangely I’ve seen my cats respond with great compassion towards my own grief at times. These are creatures of great wisdom, whatever their outward appearance may suggest. Elsie, for example, seems a bit dim and fluffy headed, until she knows I’m upset and she’s there in a jiffy. Another time I brought two cats home who had been in a grim rescue centre for nearly two years. Their arrival rekindled my grief at losing their predecessor, but these two traumatised little cats came and sat on my feet till I stopped crying. Never underestimate a cat. When the first of this pair passed away, the other looked for him for days, clawing his blanket on his favourite chair, until she finally accepted that he had gone, and then this crotchety but sweet little cat settled down to comforting me.

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Re: Grieving cat.

Post by Catfan5 » Tue Dec 17, 2019 12:18 am

“Cats often find intense emotion of any type directed towards them difficult to handle, so may shy away if you’re overdoing it.”
Yes, I’ve seen this with Beaker. He is a very quiet almost unsociable cat who prefers his own company, although if I have a nap he will come and nap too next to me. I’ve noticed that he’s not always comfortable with the extra attention he’s been getting since Bailey died so I back off when I sense this.

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