Grieving cat needs comforting

#Middlebury #PawsCorner

DEAR PAW’S CORNER: My 3-year-old cat, Rascal, is having a terrible time adjusting since my other cat, Fresca, died just a few weeks ago. He roams the house at night, meowing for hours, and doesn’t always eat his food. What can I do to help him? – John C., El Paso, Texas

DEAR JOHN: I’m sorry to hear about the loss of Fresca. It can be surprising to learn that many animals go through a grieving process after losing a companion – whether human or animal. And, just as with humans, grieving can take time.

The best thing to do is to be supportive of Rascal. Recognize that you’re both missing Fresca, and give Rascal plenty of attention and cuddles.

However, don’t change his routine. Mealtimes should stay the same, playing and socialization times should stay the same (though you can extend the length of that play time).

If Rascal starts eating less or stops eating altogether, try encouraging him to eat by adding a little bit of warm (not hot) broth to his food. Stay in the room while he eats – many cats don’t like being petted while they eat, but they often don’t mind owners sitting nearby.

It may take as long as six months for Rascal to recover from the loss of his friend. Be as supportive as possible without changing his routine, or feeding him too many treats. If he stops eating for more than three days, still won’t sleep or doesn’t seem to be improving after a couple of months, contact the veterinarian.

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