Bereaved cats: what you need to know

When cats have a very close bond, it can cause distress and confusion to any surviving cats if one of them dies.

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How can I tell if my cat is dealing with bereavement?

Recently bereaved cats may be anxious, confused, act abnormally, be off their food, start to spray in the home or wander around the house calling loudly.

Some cats have a very noticeable change of character when they lose a member of the household. They may become far more outgoing, affectionate or completely withdrawn. Many other cats will not react at all to the bereavement. This is also completely normal, the cat may have lived quite happily with the other cat but never relied upon their companionship.

How can I help my cat cope with the bereavement?

The best remedy for a bereaved cat is to give them extra attention, affection and tempting food. If necessary, there are products which might help relax your cat like Feliway, which releases a synthetic facial pheromone that helps reassure them. If your cat can’t be tempted into eating, consult your vet for advice.

Should I introduce a new cat straight away?

It’s very important to leave a period of time before considering introducing a new cat to your house. Remember your cat is not missing the general company of any cat, but the specific deceased cat.

If you see your cat’s personality change in a positive way, then really consider whether you should introduce a new cat to the house. Cats are emotionally different to humans, you may find that your existing cat blossoms after the loss of another cat in the house.

I have decided my cat will benefit from a new cat in the house, what should I do?

If you introduce a new cat too early both could become depressed, aggressive or territorial. If the introduction is done at the right time, the cats can cope with the experience and learn to live together.

Once your cat seems over their bereavement, we would suggest another cat of a similar age and activity level is the best mix. Take a look at further information on introducing new cats to your existing ones or search for cats looking for homes.