When Cats Mourn

How can I help my cat through the mourning process?

First, it's important for you to understand that animals mourn the loss of loved ones, just as we do. It's even harder on them because they don't understand where the loved one has gone. That's why they go around searching. And, because your cat is so in tune with you, she is picking up on your grief. The fact that you are sad, and maybe crying, has her confused. The best way to handle this is to offer lots of playtime opportunities. Although your instinct may be to hold and comfort her, if you do too much of that in a clinging way, she will really begin to believe that the end of the world is coming. She needs activity. Conduct regularly scheduled interactive play sessions and also extra ones whenever you notice her drifting off in search of her companion. Increased play activity can also help encourage a healthy appetite again. If you've never used catnip with her, now would be a great time. Throw a catnip party once or twice a week for her so she can let loose. Fill a sock with good-quality loose catnip and let your kitty unwind. Don't be in a rush to get another cat until your kitty has gone through the grieving process. Rushing this decision can cause her to become extremely hostile toward a newcomer. Too many owners rush their pets through the grieving process by forcing them to deal with a new pet on top of all the other confusing emotions they're feeling. With time, your love and attention will be what helps your cat through this difficult time.

Pam Johnson-Bennett

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