Do Cats Get Sad When You Give Away Their Kittens?
We may think that the mother will be sad if we separate their baby, but cats think a different way. They are used to the nature of letting their kitties away after five or six weeks. They will try to teach their kid to be independent such as catching and hunting. In fact, it’s not uncommon for the mother cat to become uncomfortable with the presence of her kittens after they are weaned and growl at them if they remain for too long.
A cat that loses a species of its own can be quite upset. That can happen even if they couldn’t air or see each other. There are also known stories of cats languishing when their owner dies. Can cats mourn and if so, how do you deal with that?
Does grief occur in all cats?
Hardly any research has been done on grieving cats and we can only rely on the cat’s behavior.
There are cats that don’t grieve at all. Especially if the relationship between the animals was bad, the straggler can be relieved that he or she has his or her own place and is no longer bothered. Less obvious is that even in a bad relationship, the straggler can search for the deceased cat and be upset for a few days. This points more towards stress from a change in the home than real grief.
Cats that do mourn do so – just like people – to varying degrees. Some animals are very upset and stay that way for a longer period of time, others pick up after a shorter time.
A survey by the US Animal Protection Service found that 65% of cats showed behavioral changes after a roommate died. This means that no visible changes occur in one in 3 cats.
Incidentally, your grief can also affect your cat. Cats pick up your stress or small behavioral changes flawlessly!
How do you recognize grief in cats?
The most common behavioral changes are:
- meow more
- sleep more
- eat less
- more affectionate towards the owner
- Search for the ‘disappeared’ cat and sometimes also
- spraying staring ahead
- no longer want to play
How long does the grief last?
Behavior cannot be quantified in concrete figures. Just like humans, animals deal differently with loss. The period of mourning can, therefore, range from ‘not’ (the relieved cat) over a few days to several months.
The US animal welfare study found that after six months, behavioral changes were no longer visible even in the most severely grieving animals.
Help a grieving cat
By continuing with the normal routines as much as possible, you give your cat a reassuring signal.
Ask your cat for attention, give it to him. He or she is not feeling well and needs support and comfort. You don’t refuse a child a hug if it doesn’t feel well?
Be careful not to go too far with that attention. Suddenly much more attention can evoke suspicion and stress.
If you don’t have regular play moments with your cat, now is a great time to start. Even if the cat does not feel like it, go out with a fishing rod, string or ball at the same time every day. There is no better way to dispel sadness and listlessness.
Saying goodbye or not?
If you have to put your cat to sleep, that’s an intensely sad moment. The trend right now is to have the leftover cat say goodbye to facilitate the grieving process. The truth is, we can’t say anything sensible about that: there has simply been no research.
Some cats do not respond, others say goodbye, but there are also cats who panic about a dead species.
By the way, don’t feel guilty if for some reason you can’t get your cat to say goodbye. Sometimes it just is not possible and that is really not a drama.
Another cat there?
Again: there is no standard answer to this. Above all, do not rush, your cat (and you) should have the opportunity to get used to a new situation. Your cat may turn out to be thriving now that she is alone. Then a cat is really not a good option!
When a cat threatens to languish, you can sometimes be forced to take a new cat faster, purely to ensure the well-being of your own cat.
Can cats get separation anxiety? For a long time, it was thought not, now the views change. But not every deviant behavior means your cat has separation anxiety!
What is separation anxiety?
Of course, a cat that is happy to see you does not immediately have separation anxiety. Not even when she’s waiting for you at the window or giving you lavish cups when you come home after the holidays.
A real problem
There is a real problem if a cat shows clear signs of anxiety or stress (physiological and / or behavioral) in the absence of a loved person or when the animal cannot physically reach that person, think of a door that is closed. Furthermore, the cat must always show the same behavior and only in the absence of that person.
Incidentally, cats that live with another cat can also exhibit this behavior.
Signs of separation anxiety
In the only research that has ever been done on this ( Schwartz, 2002 ), uncleanness, excessive meowing and vandalism at home are mentioned as characteristic behavior. Other – deviating – behavior is of course also possible.
The correct diagnosis
The above behaviors can also indicate completely different problems. For example, an overactive thyroid gland can trigger similar behavior. Uncleaning and destroying things can also have another cause.
Urinating or defecating at home
Especially when cats pee on the bed or on the doormat, it is seen as anger or fear because the owner leaves. The reality is much simpler, namely bladder problems, which must first be excluded or the litter box. In many cases, urinating at home during holidays has to do with the litter box.
Almost all cats that hang on the sofa or in the curtains or have peed in the house have been punished more or less severely in their lives. That cat will wait until you are gone. So this has nothing to do with separation anxiety, but everything with a wrong approach.
Affectionate and human-oriented cats often meow at their humans. Schwartz’s research pays little attention to meowing, but the new techniques have made it much easier to film cats when you’re away from home. I saw a movie of a cat with separation anxiety. During the owner’s absence, she walked restlessly through the house, meowing continuously. Heartbreaking to see.
How do you help a cat with separation anxiety?
First, check whether this problem really exists and not something else like boredom or cystitis. Sometimes relocation or babysitting can be an option.
Using extra toys or food puzzles will usually not be a solution, because cats who are really upset don’t eat and play.
Therefore, seek the help of a behavioral expert, because these cats really suffer from their fear.