Anyone fortunate enough to own a cat knows they are mysterious creatures. And while we can never completely know what emotions kitties feel, there’s plenty of evidence that their reputation as being cold and aloof is undeserved and they show their affection for us in a variety of ways. It’s even been demonstrated that cats feel sad whenever a feline friend dies.
One incident, in particular, which appears to show one cat grieving over a fallen friend, is taking the social media by storm.
Cat Stays By Its Dead Friend’s Side
Earlier this month, someone filmed one kitty refusing to leave its dead friend. The video, filmed on July 2 in the Songbei district, Heilongjiang Province, in China, shows the cat gently biting its dead companion by the scruff of the neck and carefully carrying it over the pavement.
Pausing now and then and waving its tail nervously, the cat attracts attention from onlookers along the way. Someone can be heard saying:
“Its friend’s dead, look at the cat.”
Can A Cat Feel Grief?
Because cats are viewed as rather independent creatures who have maintained much of their wild nature, little attention has been paid to this particular subject. It’s been demonstrated that kitties undergo behavior changes when a feline companion dies. These changes can be difficult to understand, however.
Cats who lose a closely bonded friend or sibling are the likeliest to feel sadness. Believe it or not, that’s even true for cats who customarily fight with each other, meaning a cat may very well miss its feuding opponent. (Seems there’s a few things humans could learn from that.)
We may likely never know what a cat understands about death, but some things are clear: Cats definitely know when a companion is missing and there’s been a change in the home. And if you’re grieving over the loss of a kitty, your other cats may pick up on that.
Grief can vary from one cat to another
One cat might not seem bothered by the loss, while another may quit eating altogether and lose interest in his surroundings. He may seem lost and depressed. A survey conducted by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) found that cats who lost a companion usually ate less, slept long hours, and vocalized more frequently. Fortunately, in the 160 houses that were surveyed, this usually tapered off after six months, with cats who lost a friend returning to their normal routines.
Helping Your Cat Cope
If you and your kitty are depressed after losing a beloved companion, give your feline friend plenty of companionships. TheNest reports that keeping him on the same routine, coupled with liberal doses of playtime will help you and your cat deal with the grieving process. And giving him a treat when he’s playful can’t hurt either. However, don’t give him treats if he’s acting depressed because it might accidentally reinforce negative behavior.
Another thing that may help is to remove litter boxes or beds that carry the scent of the kitty who has died because it may remind your cat that he’s still grieving.
If Your Cat Is Seriously Depressed
In some cases, kitties may form tight bonds, especially if they are siblings, and if your cat becomes depressed, he may stop eating and become lethargic. If that happens, it’s time to consult your veterinarian for recommendations on how to help your kitty through this. Sometimes heating your cat’s food a little bit is enough to get him to eat, but if he really has a tough time your vet may want to prescribe psychological medications to get him through his depression, TheNest reports. Fortunately usually only has to be done for a short while.
All of this pretty much belies the notion that cats are cold and aloof, now doesn’t it?
You can watch the video below of the kitty seeming to grieve for his dead friend but keep in mind that it’s heartbreaking.
Featured image by Daily Mail via YouTube video