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Bereavement

Category: general | Submitted: 4 May 2007 08:11PM | viewed 5722 times
Q Anne asks:

Until two weeks ago I had two beautiful cats, but one was taken ill in January and has been slowly declining in health until I had to ask our vet to come to the house to help him to die. My cats had been together for just over eleven years and the surviving cat was present when his friend died. Since then he, like me, has been grieving. He is hardly eating, neglecting his grooming and spending long periods under bushes where they both would bask in the sun. When he is in the house he sleeps in the bed of his dead friend where he makes an odd almost howling noise before sleeping. Friends have said I should remove the bed to help him recover, but I think it is helping him grieve. What is your opinion? I know I'll grieve for a long time and I am expecting that he will take perhaps even longer. I can look at photos. All he has is his sense of smell. Any advice to help him will be most gratefully received.

Q Our vet says: Grieving is natural when a friend is sadly lost. Animals, just like humans miss companions and will show signs of grief. Obviously the length of the grieving period and the severity of the problem will vary from individual to individual. I think that the removal of the bed where your other cat slept should be left to a time when both you and your cat seem ready and this is a matter which only you can judge. I know this time is hard but things will get better. I am a little bit concerned that your other cat is neglecting himself and not eating much. Cats can quickly become ill if they lose their appetites so it would be wise to check with your local vet to ensure your cat does not have any medical problem which may be making things worse (sometimes illnesses can appear at times of stress such as this). Best wishes to both of you and keep in touch if you feel you need to.

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