Meezer Musings: March 2023
Support for Grieving Cats

Welcome to Meezer Musings! As we reach the end of March the weather has started to warm up here in the UK and there are increasing signs of Spring - snowdrops, crocuses, daffodils - as well as blossom in the trees. Spring has been been slow in coming this year and has been much anticipated, as the winter months have been cold, dark, and recently, very wet.

With apologies to those of you who are still under snow (and in the hope that things start to warm up for you too), as winter begins to lose its grip and with Easter just around the corner, what better way to start our March newsletter than with this lovely Spring image from artist AmyLyn Bihrle?

This Month We're Talking About ...

... supporting cats after the loss of a companion animal. This theme emerged after two messages I received, one through our Contacts page and the other on Facebook, concerning grieving cats.

The first, from Meezer Musings reader Carol, followed February's newsletter in which I reported the very deep sense of loss mentioned by owners on the death of their Siamese cats.

Carol wanted to make the point that it's not only owners who grieve - the loss is felt deeply by cats in the household who have lost a much-loved sibling or companion.

Carol wrote:

I just wanted to share a bit relating to ... the comment about “sense of loss.” My parents had Siamese cats before they had me. The M/F pair they had were tightly bonded. When the female got hit by a car, the male grieved her terribly. We had to get him a new mate. We as a family grieved, but the cats themselves also have strong emotions.

At the same time as Carol's message, a question posted on our Facebook page, asked for activity suggestions for a 12-year-old female cat who had been solitary and inactive since her older brother died eight months previously.

Siamese cats may certainly grieve alongside their humans when one of their companions dies. How can you tell if your cat is one of them?

Signs That Your Cat Is Grieving

There are a number of telltale signs that your cat might be deeply affected by a companion's death. These include:

  • Failing to eat or drink
  • Sleeping more than usual
  • Seeming depressed or listless
  • Being less active and/or slower when moving around
  • Hiding away in dark places

How Best to Support Your Cat

If it becomes obvious that your cat is grieving, how can you support them? Should you get another cat? If not, what else can you do?

Some people like to take time to mourn and adjust to the loss of their cat before even thinking getting another, while others find great comfort in the companionship of a new pet. Getting another cat is a decision that very much depends on your individual circumstances, and one probably best taken after serious consideration.

It's important to allow yourselves plenty of time and space to grieve. It's understandable to be concerned about your other cats' well-being and want to provide them with company, but it's equally important to understand that cats vary in their reactions to the loss of a companion.

Introducing a new cat immediately may not necessarily help your cat and could even cause further stress and anxiety. Your grieving cat may not be ready for a new companion and may need time to adjust to the loss.

So take your time. The signs above will give you the information about how your cat is feeling. Given time, the right decision is likely to emerge naturally.

What Else Can You Do?

Instead of getting another cat right away, there are some obvious things you can do immediately to help your cat cope with loss.

  • Watch to make sure they're eating and drinking normally
  • Spend time with them and talk to them
  • Provide them with plenty of extra love and attention
  • Provide cuddles (if they want them) and occasional treats
  • Provide toys and other forms of stimulation to make sure they're exercising and playing
  • Talk to your veterinarian about other ways to help your cat cope with grief, such as pheromone sprays or supplements.

Introducing a New Cat Into the Household

If you do decide to get another cat, it's important to introduce them slowly and carefully to ensure that they get along and that your current cat feels safe and comfortable.

Introducing a new cat into a household can be a delicate process, as cats can  be territorial and may not immediately get along with a new cat. Follow the steps below to help the introduction go smoothly.

  • Prepare a separate room for the new cat. It's best to give the new cat their own room for the first few days or even weeks. This will allow the cat to get used to their new environment and scent, and give your existing cat time to adjust to the idea of a new cat in the house.
  • Scent swap. Start swapping the scents of the two cats by exchanging their bedding or toys, or rubbing first one cat and then the other with a soft cloth, so that they become familiar with each other's scent.
  • Gradual introduction. Start by feeding the cats on opposite sides of the door to the new cat's room, so they can hear and smell each other while eating. After a few days of this, prop the door open just a crack so they can see each other but not interact. If they seem calm, you can gradually increase the amount of time they spend together.
  • Supervised interaction. Once the cats seem comfortable with each other's presence you can start supervised interactions. Keep the new cat in a carrier at first so that you can separate them quickly if necessary. Gradually increase the amount of time they spend together.
  • Be patient. Last but not least! Introducing cats can take time, and it's important to be patient and not rush the process. Some cats may take longer to adjust than others, so be prepared to take things slowly.

Looking Ahead

Coming up next week, April 6th is National Siamese Cat Day (I always think this should be International Siamese Cat Day - it is in my book, anyway!)

Created by newspaper columnist Jace Shoemaker-Galloway, National Siamese Cat Day was created with an important message in mind - Adopt, Don't Shop.

It always surprises me that so many Siamese-type cats end up in shelters. Jace's aim in creating National Siamese Cat Day was to encourage people to consider adoption and save these cats from being euthanized, as many hundreds of cats are each year.

This year, National Siamese Cat Day is immediately followed by the Easter weekend, so to celebrate both occasions, here's another of AmyLyn Bihrle's bright and beautiful paintings!

Tail End ...

That's all from me for this month - don't forget to give your cats extra cuddles and treats for National Siamese Cat Day next Thursday, and for those who celebrate it, have a very happy Easter. 

Meezer Musings will be back again at the end of May, as I'll be taking a short break in April. Until then, I hope you enjoy the Spring and the awakening world!


Missed a Meezer Musings? A list of previous newsletters can be found here.

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