Category Archives: Cat Behaviour

How to cope with a grieving cat

In my experience of owning generations and generations of cats, i came to the conclusion that cats have their own way of showing grief if any at all.  Some cats will mourn the loss of their companion who is either a cat, dog or a family member.  Once there was a close bond between the deceased and the cat, the cat will feel the pain and may show it in many ways.  Cats may also grieve for other reasons like being away from their human for a long period of time, maybe they have to be put up for adoption for some reason or moving to a shelter.

How to tell if your cat is grieving

Cats grieve in many ways and you have to pay full attention to their behavior in order to pin point whether or not they are grieving.

  • Not eating
    Your cat may be in so much distress that he may not even want to eat or drink anything.  This can be very harmful for your cat if he stays without food for more than three (3) days.  No food can cause damage to the liver and they can die, so be sure to see your vet if your cat doesn’t eat for 24 hours .
  • Sluggishness and not being as active
    If your cat shows this sign then he may be grieving.  A cat that has lost his companion may not have the urge to want to play or show any kind of interest in any type of physical activity.
  • Changes in their sleep pattern
    You may notice a change in their sleep pattern, they may sleep for longer periods of time or not at all.
  • Stomach upsets
    Your cat may experience vomiting and diarrhea due to depression.

How to help your cat cope

The best way to help your cat is to give them lots and lots of love and attention, even more than what you will usually give.   Losing a loved one is very hard, it’s hard for us to lose someone we love and care for and who is very close and dear to us.  It’s the same for cats, they all have a grieving process to go through which may vary in time from two weeks to six months.  Allow them to go through this process.  If the cat is grieving, then more than likely you will be grieving too so the reaction you give off will have a great impact on your cat as well.  Try not to show too many emotions when you are around your cat.

Cats are animals of habit, they don’t like change.  If it’s possible, it will be best to keep their normal routine in feeding, play time and sleep time.  Once you keep this continuous, your cat will feel less disturbed and disoriented.   If it is not possible because of the situation then try to slowly introduce new changes.

Changes depend on your cat’s behavior, if your cat continuously goes to the room or space where the deceased used to be then leave things as they are.  Don’t try cleaning up the area, the scents of the person or animal that died will eventually fade and the cat will be able to gradually accept the loss.  If on the other hand your cat refuses to step foot in or next to where the person or animal used to be then go right ahead and clean the area.

Adopting a grieving cat

In some cases where cats have lost their human companions and have to be adopted by a new person or family member the cat will take longer to adapt to the changes around him.  If you are in this predicament then the only thing that you can do is be very patient with your new feline friend and give him all the time he needs to accept you as his new owner.  To make this transition a little easier for him, spend a certain amount of time every day with him showing your love and affection by patting him and stroking him.  If the cat refuses to come close to you then just leave him and allow him to get used to you in his own time.  If you can’t touch him then talk to him everyday and reassure him that he is in a place where you will take care of him and love him.

If you have tried all the above and you think the time frame has been very long and your cat is still showing all the signs of grieving, seek medical attention.  Visit your veterinarian to rule out any other problems and maybe they will prescribe medication for your cat to cope with stress and anxiety.



Why does your cat meow continuously while playing with their toys.

Cats, even though domesticated, still have their wild traits embodied in them and because of this they will show certain behaviours that we may find a bit strange or odd.  Some of us or maybe all of us must have had a cat that carried their favourite toy around in their mouth and meowed continuously.  You would notice that the “meow” sound is a very different sound from her normal “meows” when she is either hungry or wants to play.  This specific type of call is most likely an “attention seeker” call.  Yes, she wants your attention for her prized catch of the day.  In the wild, when cats catch their prey it is normal for them to take it back to their territorial spot to either eat it or hide it for a later time.  This would usually mean hiding the dead prey under dry leaves or soil so that it will become depleted instead of rotting.  Another trait would be to carry kittens around in their mouth from one place to another.

Cats Play to Develop Learning Skills

As part of the inner wildness of your cat, playing also teaches a cat all the different skills of hunting and catching prey.  It provides both mental and physical stimulation in chasing, pouncing, stalking and searching for its prey (in this case, their toys).  It is very important for the well-being of your cat to be able to go through the whole process of the hunting phase and to be able to end with the prize, so toys which can be physically touched are much better than lazer pointers which can never be caught.

Why all the Attention?

When your cat starts to make a big fuss about her toy “prey” this means that she is seeking your attention.  She wants you to see what she has caught and may even want your approval for it.  Showing your approval by rewarding her with a treat or some “petting” will make her feel like she has achieved something.  Mother cats would carry back their catch of the day to their kittens for them to learn how to hunt and practise on. Another way of showing your approval would be to play with your cat and her toy.


Finding Cat Toys in the weirdest of places

Your cat may put their toy in all sorts of places such as on their bed, cat perch, on the couch, or even in their food bowls.  This is done because your cat needs a safe place for her toy (her prize).  She will hide it in these places, that she considers her territory for later use, as for the wild, cats would hide their prizes from potential predators.  For cat moms they will usually carry their kittens from one place back to their safe spot.


These distinguishable behaviours are all part of what cats are made of, we may never fully understand them but they do have their reasons for what they do.  All we need to do as a cat parent is watch, learn and make them feel safe and as comfortable as we can.

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