When a Cat Mourns

Kitty in MourningSometimes in life, things are just hard. Today was one of those days. At one o’clock this afternoon, we buried my dad. As humans, we were devastated, but deep in our hearts, we knew this day was coming. No, that doesn’t lessen the pain, and every time I walk past his chair, I experience the sharp stab of grief as I realize he is no longer there, but even though death was an unwelcome visitor to our home, his presence was not unexpected. But to Dad’s dedicated and loving companion cat this death was an incredible blow. The Elderly Gent had walked into our home and given his whole heart away to my father, and in a moment, that big feline heart was crushed.

The night Dad passed away, Gent forced himself beneath the china cabinet and refused to come out, except for a brief moment to have an accident upon the article nearest to his cave of exile. We swiftly found that the exterior of my brother’s suitcase was not waterproof. (or urine proof for that matter) A disposable pad I placed in front of the cabinet became a makeshift litter box. Food and water were placed nearby, but Gent showed no interest.

That night, I slept in my mother’s room, and the big tomcat slept at her feet. Aside from two hours of endless washing, Gent seemed to be making progress, but the next day when we came home from making arrangements, we walked into my Mom and Dad’s room to find a cat owner’s nightmare. Loose bowel accidents covered Dad’s pillow, the bed on which he died, and Dad’s favorite chair. Messy footprints, trailed across the furniture, and blood-tinged urine soaked the pale yellow embroidered quilt that a friend  had made for me. And though I didn’t scold him when I discovered his crimes, Gent shot back under the china cabinet. When he isn’t in hiding, this loving, old cat who prefers to look at nature from the inside out, has also been trying his best to get out the door. He doesn’t want to be held, and runs at the slightest noise. The Elderly Gent appears to be in mourning.

This is a first for  me. My cat Grenny mourned when her brother Pudge died, but Gent stepped in and cared for her, and though Grenny has attempted to comfort Gent, her cuddling seems to have very little affect upon his mood. I purchased a calming collar and put it on him this evening. This seems to have helped somewhat, but I was wondering if any one else has experienced this with their cat, and what methods they have tried to help the animal through this.

Thanks for reading,



Tonight he’s sleeping in Dad’s wheel chair

(Note: because of his past health problems, blood will sometimes appear in Gent’s urine during times of stress. A dose of medicine and some cranberry juice usually straightens him out.)



Filed under Pets, Sue's Corner

6 responses to “When a Cat Mourns

  1. I am so sorry for your loss. I have never experience such profound grief in a cat (they usually hide it). Perhaps part of it is his age. I have a neurotic cat who gets really wonky when we get houseguests and I’ve used the plug-in Feliway to help. It only takes the edge off but it does help. You are doing all the right stuff — close litter box, food and water. Your vet may suggest something. We tried to use Valium for my cat and it had the opposite effect making the cat even more neurotic. There are over the counter treats but I’ve never had much success with those. First you have to get the cat to eat them.

    • A couple of days have past, and though Gent is still spending a lot of time under the china cabinet, the collar seems to have soothed him quite a bit. The accidents have stopped, and he’s spending a little time on laps getting petted. I think we’re through the worst of it. The only store I’ve managed to get to in the last couple of days was Walmart, and they didn’t carry the Feliway. I’ll pick it up at the pet store tomorrow. Perhaps using both it and the collar I can lure him out from under the china cabinet completely. Thanks!

    • We used a plug-in, too. If he’s accepting pets, that’s a big step. No matter what people say, some cats bond closely to their chosen person. It’s just going to take time.
      HUGS and pets to all.

  2. Wondering how Gent and your realm was doing.
    Hope the new year bring joy, peace, warmth, and laughter

    • Gent is doing much better, and I am pleased to say that his health seems to be improving as well. He is off his medication now and is showing quite a bit of spunk. He tears through the house like a maniac and bounces off the furniture. Every time I open a cupboard, he runs to stick his head inside. When I’m on the computer he is there to help, even if he must disobey and walk across the table to get to me. He has decided that the best place to sleep at night is on top of my head, and he will not be discouraged. Needless to say, I take great care in keeping his fleas in check! He still hasn’t learned the concept of grab the toy, not the hand, but he’s mastered the art of playing “Did-I-scare-you?” He may be an old cat, but he certainly is young at heart!

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