Helping a greiving cat

Ocean Planet

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I hope this is the right section to ask, but feel free to move if not...

Some might have seen my recent post that I had to let my 17 year old girl go last week. I have 2 surviving boys. One is 4.5 and doesn't seem to notice as much. The one I'm concerned with is my almost 16 year old boy who was with her for about 13 years. They slept next to each other and cleaned each other so they had a close relationship.

I'm still terribly sad about it, but know I will work through eventually but it's killing me seeing my older boy fall into depression now. He still eats and drinks OK so far. Mostly sleeps a whole lot. Then he does go into the 2 bedrooms she was frequenting lately to look around and lay in the middle of the floor. He did witness her getting sick and slowing down so I'm sure he probably knows what happened.

From what I've read I know I've got to keep the routine going, try not to be too upset in front of him and try to add more play time to 'distract' him. The two boys aren't super close (maybe due to age). One stays upstairs and one stays downstairs so that is kind of annoying that they don't confide in one another.

So, leading up to my question is..... I live alone and will be going back to work tomorrow, 8-5. As if the whole losing a cat situation isn't hurtful enough, it's really eating at me that I have to go back to work and leave the other two alone for 11 hours. However, I have no choice.... need to earn a living for us! Are there any tips when you have to leave a grieving/depressed cat home alone? At almost 16, he isn't much into the toys any more even though there are a lot lying around. Wondering if I should keep a TV or radio on? I just wanted to see if anyone has been in this situation and found something that was helpful? On the good side, I do have 2 cameras set up where he normally sleeps so I can keep an eye on him from the office.

I hope my boy can be resilient and eventually come around but I've read that could take a month to 3+ months. I'm just scared that he will decline from a broken heart and won't bounce back :( He has been battling IBD for 3 years so getting him to eat is already a chore.
 

gilmargl

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I feel very sorry for you and for your grieving cat. Don't let yourself get too worried about what may or may not happen in the future. Take each day as it comes. Think positive: he will need more than a few days to get over his loss but that doesn't mean it will take months.

I have lost many cats to old age and there were usually two cats left, who waited and waited for their sparring partner to turn up again, but they got over it much sooner than I did. I had a problem when one cat was left. She was the one who didn't seem to care for other cats, but was devastated when left on her own, crying and hiding herself away at night. We think that the other cats had protected her, for instance, by making a tour of the garden before finally coming indoors to sleep. We eventually took on an unwanted older cat. At first she wasn't very happy about that either, but it seemed to give her something else to think about. She outlived this cat as well.

Your boy will need you more than ever now. If you usually have the TV or radio on when you are at home, it may help if you can leave it on while at the office. It's a very good idea to have the 2 cameras focussed on his favourite spots, so that you can feel close to him while working. Your cats are used to you being away 11 hours a day, so don't worry too much about that.

Look after yourself!
 

sweetblackpaws

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:alright:I am so sorry for your loss. I do believe your sweet boy will be okay, even with you having to go back to work. Even though the other two boys aren't close, I still think it is good that he is not by himself. I really don't have much advice, I just wanted to express how sorry I am and to try to reassure you that your other boy will be okay. The fact that he is still eating and drinking is a great sign.
 
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Ocean Planet

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Thanks for the good words. I try not to overthink things, but what makes this difficult is this is my first go-around with the death of one of my own and with living alone, the change to the household is huge to me and the other two. And of all things, my older boy is not a huge cuddle and pet guy. His whole life he wants those things on his terms so I can't even comfort the guy too much before he walks away.

The only thing I know is if he stops eating for a whole day, see the vet. Then, I hope I can concentrate at work :( blah...

I'll update as the weeks go by, but hoping that I can say in a month or so that things are semi-normal again.
 

sweetblackpaws

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:hearthrob: Yes, it is indeed harder when you are by yourself. Like you said, you must get back to work, so it is harder in the sense that you will worry more since there is no one to check on him. I think the camera you have will help alleviate much of your worry. It is true that some kitties are cuddlers and some aren't. It is harder because you want and need that physical contact with him. But anyone owned by a cat knows that things things must be on their terms. :petcat:
 

fionasmom

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I am so sorry for your loss. I have a 14 year old indoor feral, Eve....big miscalculation on my part and by the time that I realized she was never going to be anything other than feral it was too late to put her outside. She bonded to another cat, Stella, who was about 3 months older than she was and stayed by Stella's side until Stella died at the end of January. Both were solid black and I often believed that Eve thought that Stella was the feral mother from whom she was separated...she walked into the trap with her natural mother and was never more than a couple feet away from her before that.

We figured that was it for Eve and that she would crawl to a corner and die of grief. The first few days were hard and disorienting for her, but now she moves freely around the house and while she has not transferred any real affection to the other cats, she sleeps near them and sort of hangs out with them during the day.

I have lost two other highly bonded animal sets of companions in my life, one other a cat male/female couple, the other two dogs. In all cases there was a grieving period but then everyone adjusted.
 
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Ocean Planet

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It's been about a week and a half. I've been slowly recovering but my older boy is still struggling.

The good things are that he still eats OK, cleans himself and uses the box normally.

The bad is he still stays in the bedroom a lot where she was towards the end and just sits in the middle of the floor in a loaf position with his eyes halfway or all the way closed. It's like he can't relax. I know he is depressed and still sad. He doesn't rome around the house as much as he used to.

The only thing that bothers me is at times, his breathing rate is up kind of high. I will watch him and he will be like ~55 breaths a minute, but other times or when he is sleeping it is back down to a normal ~25 breaths a minute or so. There seems to be no rhyme or reason or consistent patterns here. Makes me wonder if animals 'cry' or something similar when grieving and that is why his breathing shoots up sometimes? It doesn't seem to be labored or struggled breathing at all like I just saw with my late girl.

Anyway, I called and made an appointment with the vet for this Friday to get a wellness check in on him. Check his breathing/lung/heart rate to make sure all seems normal. After losing my girl, I'm worried about him a lot now and it's stressing me out.

I just wanted to see if anyone had any similar experience with the weird breathing rates only happening 'sometimes'?
 
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