Cat in mourning, not eating

spookzilla

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Hi everyone,

Yesterday we said goodbye to our beloved Madeline at age 15 (long sad story, she had kidney failure which progressed very quickly). She had a vet visit 3 days before we said goodbye, and ever since then her brother, 5 yo Malachi, has been off his food. Yesterday was a day of pure hell as in addition to losing Madeline we were running a series of tests ($$$) to ensure that nothing is physically wrong with Malachi. Everything came back normal so we’re assuming he is stressed/depressed. He hasn’t been behaving like himself, sleeping more, not engaging with me. They gave him a fast acting appetite stimulant at the vet yesterday (not mirtazapine, sorry I don’t remember what it was) and he did eat some, but has had very little since then. I have pulled out all the stops including tuna juice, Fortiflora, all the things that usually drive him crazy but he has no interest in food. I was sent home with Miritaz ointment which I gave him last night but it didn’t seem to help much. It’s worth noting that Malachi was very attached to Madeline.

Has anyone else experienced this? I am beyond stressed with losing my girl and now fearing for my boy. Do they come around on their own, or will I be at the vet again next week? I think I’m reaching the limit of my credit card ☹
 

Furballsmom

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I'm so sorry 😞

Malachi was very attached to Madeline.
He is grieving as hard as any cat I've read about. Give him as much love as possible. Even though he's not engaging use long, full-body strokes. Also, he needs a purr toy and a heartbeat toy. Cat Music with purrs and harp music for cats will also help him.

The time required for him to come back to himself will be an unknown, but of course he can't go too much longer without eating. You may need to consider handfeeding him until he's able to manage that on his own.

Again, my heart goes out to all of you :redheartpump::rbheart::redheartpump:
 
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catloverfromwayback

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I’m so sorry, what a doubly distressing situation. I lost my Madeleine at nearly fourteen two years ago. Phoebe cried and wandered around looking for her, obviously missing her (not that Maddie ever liked Phoebe much). I don’t remember if Phoebe went off her food; Malachi’s grief sounds much worse. I ended up adopting Daisy five days later, but given how attached Malachi is to Madeleine I don’t know if another cat would be an option for him, or you.
 

FeebysOwner

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I am so sorry for all that you and Malachi are going through. This TCS article (see link below) is mostly to tell you that Malachi is not alone when it comes to mourning. The best you can do is to pay extra attention to him - as mentioned above - as he will let you and otherwise let him grieve.

Try baby food meat (Gerber Stage 2 or Beechnut), it is amazing how many cats will eat this even when sick, so I am hoping the same is true for those mourning.

I will share another TCS article (link also below) that is for an entirely different purpose altogether but might give you some ideas on other things to try to turn Malachi around.
Do Cats Mourn? – TheCatSite Articles
14 Cat Experts Reveal: How To Get A Cat To Like Me – TheCatSite Articles
Please do keep us posted, we are hoping to hear that over time Malachi starts to accept. :grouphug::vibes::vibes:
 

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Condolences on losing Madeline. Poor Malachi - he sounds absolutely bereft. When I have had kitties in mourning, I stay close by and call for the decedent and then give my own wails, to demonstrate to the grieving survivors that I am acknowledging the loss. If the bereft cat is tame enough (my kitties are from my TNR efforts and obviously feral moms don't want my touch), I use comfort grooming about the head and shoulders and face, gently using "J" strokes that mimic a mama kitty's strokes. Some kitties like their "wrists" lightly massaged, similar to acupressure. You can try rubbing some Karo syrup or honey on his gums to keep his blood sugar up and also syringe unflavored pedialyte into his mouth (small but frequent doses). You can ask your vet about offering chamomile tea to Malachi.
For most of my experiences (and working with ferals, one encounters many losses due to disease, traffic, predators, unresolved medical issues :bawling2:) , it seems to help the rest of the colony if they are allowed to see and sniff the remains (sort of a wake) and I let them see me grieve over the departed as well. I give them as much time as they need (watching a mama kitty trying to revive her lost child is one of the most difficult heartbreaks) and eventually they do admit the loss. I know that isn't possible for Malachi now but if any visitors are reading this post, it may help them.
Please keep us updated!
 

DreamerRose

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Some other people in the same situation have talked to the grieving cat, explaining what happened and that you miss the lost one too. Reassure Malachi that you still love him and you will always be there for him. For some reason, this seems to help, even if the cat can't understand you. The sympathy will validate his own feelings.
 
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spookzilla

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Thank you so much everyone for your condolences and suggestions, it means a lot 💕
Malachi licked a little juice from some chicken in broth overnight and I’ve got him to eat a few freeze dried kibbles. He has been sitting close to but not in the cat beds he and Madeline would sleep in. Yesterday he sat in the bottom cubby hole of their cat tower which I have never seen him do before, usually they competed for the top perch.
He seems to like chicken more than fish (rejected cooked shrimp and tuna) so I’m going to cook some chicken breast and try the baby food this morning. Please keep praying for him 🙏🏻
 

catsknowme

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Yes, I am continuing my prayers for Malachi and you. I am glad that he is trying to eat. It's interesting to note his reluctance to visit their mutual "hang out" spots. Perhaps there remains a scent from Madeleine's declining condition or it's a painful reminder of her absence. Thank you for keeping us updated!
 
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spookzilla

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Have you had a chance to try Cat Music?
I haven’t had a chance to try that but I have been soothing Malachi, telling him he’s my darling boy over and over while petting him. He and Madeline would groom each other especially on the face and behind the ears so I have been petting him there and try to imitate the motion of a cat licking his fur with my fingers. He puts his head down when I do that and I even got him to eat almost a full piece of cooked sliced chicken lunch meat. He also ate a few kibbles out of his bowl as I petted him. when I adopted Malachi as a kitten he had come in to the shelter with a sibling and he bonded quickly and strongly to Madeline, so he has never not had feline companion. I am torn about adopting another cat after all I’ve been through lately. I’ll see how he does in the next few weeks but I suspect he would probably like to have another buddy (besides the dog).
 

Furballsmom

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I suspect he would probably like to have another buddy
Be aware that this thought, and subsequent action, has frequently backfired because the cat isn't ready and is mourning the lost friend, not pining for a new buddy. Then many members are starting new threads trying to find out how to get the cats to at least live in some sort of peace.

When you can, try RelaxMyCat or Musicforcats. There is also cat music with purrs in it.

A heartbeat toy can be very helpful.

Instead of the lunch meat which can have a lot of sodium, do try the beechnut meat baby food again.
There are a number of great suggestions here;

Any Good Tips To Get Your Cats To Eat? Share Them Here!

Tanya's Comprehensive Guide to Feline Chronic Kidney Disease - Persuading Your Cat to Eat
 
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spookzilla

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Just wanted to give an update on Malachi. I wasn’t able to find any jars of meat baby food—I’m in Ontario and it seems all they sell now is pouches of veggies and fruits. I cooked plain chicken breast but he didn’t want it, fortunately he’s been eating canned food for several days and is also eating some dry food. I think it took a few days for the mirataz to kick in. The vet has recommended that we try weaning Malachi off it by going every other day. He’s also acting more like his usual self in that he’s using the scratching posts and interacting a little more with the dog. I’m hopeful that he’s turned a corner 🤞🏼
 
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spookzilla

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Malachi is now off the mirataz and getting back to a regular eating routine. His behavior has changed since losing his sister: he’s become a serious lap cat and extremely affectionate. He’s always been friendly but Madeline was the lap girl and Malachi was more independent. Which leads me to wonder about getting a second cat, but that’s a topic for another post 😸. He’s on the left and Madeline on the right. As you can see they were very close 💕
CF2A7CD9-ED7A-429A-9603-EE0D3E86ED8F.jpeg
 

Furballsmom

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Which leads me to wonder about getting a second cat,
I really wouldn't do this, at least not for a good long while yet, if ever since it's more challenging for an older cat to adjust to this. He is mourning his friend, not pining for a new buddy. There are a lot of people who have gotten a second cat shortly after, and then we see posts about how to deal with a household that's turned upside down by two cats who don't want each other.

Enjoy the closeness ❣:)
 
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