Helping the Pet Left Behind

Updated on November 24, 2011
M.P. asks from Asheville, NC
11 answers

My beloved cat of 14 years had to be put to sleep last week. I am so heartbroken over losing him, but he put up a courageous fight with his illness and I know I did the right thing by letting him go. My other cat, however, is completely miserable without him. She sits and cries for him, won't get out of his old bed, and has been eating very little. I love on her as much as she will let me, but she just seems so depressed. I don't know what to do for her. She is an older cat too, so getting another cat is probably not the answer. I just wish I could help her with her grief somehow. Any advice? There has to be something I can do. It breaks my heart over and over....

What can I do next?

  • Add yourAnswer own comment
  • Ask your own question Add Question
  • Join the Mamapedia community Mamapedia
  • as inappropriate
  • this with your friends

So What Happened?

Thank you all so much for your kind words and stories. I'll really have to consider getting another cat carefully- she does not get along well with other animals. In the 10 years I have had her, she has only gotten along with the cat we lost and that was because she was brought up as a kitten with him. She fights with other cats and dogs. :(
I wish I could have let her see or smell our other cat before we took him away. But ironically, she wouldn't come around him too much during the worst parts of his illness right at the end. I think she knew what was happening. I'll just give her love and time. Who knows- maybe she will end up bonding with the dog- although I don't think that's likely.
Thanks again.

More Answers



answers from Boston on

Last Feb, we had to put our 12 year old beloved dog down, leaving behind my 12 year old cat...we got them within weeks of each other as babies. They were truly best friends. Sunny (the cat) meowed and cried for about a week after the dog was was very sad. We just tried to be patient and give him lots of attention and it did stop after about a week. So sorry for your loss.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Iowa City on

Awww. If I were in that situation, I would go to the shelter and pick out a cat, not a kitten, or a small dog. They will let you introduce your cat and see if they mesh well. They might even let you do a trial run with the adoptable pet. Otherwise, it will take time for your cat to move past her loss.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

Sometimes it's just time. Like you, she's missing her friend and just feels sad. Does she like toys? Maybe some new toys would help. A new perch to see outside? Some catnip?

We did end up getting a new cat for our 10 yr old cat when he lost his friend. We did not go for a kitten, but got a cat that was a little older and more mellow. We had a long talk with the rescue so we didn't even look at bad matches.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

I am so sorry for your loss....I wish I had some advice, but I don't. I hope DVM mom is on soon as I am sure she can help. She always has great pet advice.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Shreveport on

What you are doing now is the best you can do.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Beaumont on

I am so sorry for your loss. I'm a pet lover as well and our heart breaks with theirs. Would you consider (in a week or so) getting an new older companion for her?? That way she'd have some companionship and you'd help out an older cat. I'm sure the people at the shelter could help you find a suitable companion. As hard as it is though, everyone, including pets, must grieve....I am sorry.


answers from Jacksonville on

When our cat died, our dog was the same way. Honestly, the only thing that worked was getting another cat. We waited a month and after no change from the dog, we found another kitty to rescue. We did want another one, it was just an easier decision to make because kali(dog) was miserable. I'm so sorry for your loss.



answers from Portland on

Sorry for your loss. Animals do, clearly, experience grief.

We had two goats, siblings, for many years. (Charming pets, by the way – sort of a cross between a loyal dog and a pony in temperament.) The brother died at age 14 and the sister went into deep grief, refusing to eat. We "borrowed" a young, rowdy goat from a neighbor for a few weeks. The older goat at first became seriously engaged in keeping him out of the shelter. After a couple of weeks, he became seriously engaged in chasing her around and butting her belly.

The distraction seemed to help her forget her grief, and she showed only happy relief when we gave the kid back to the neighbor. I wonder if you could find a distracting "visitor" to help your cat refocus? Getting a younger cat might not be a bad idea, if you expect to get one anyway.


answers from Sacramento on

We had two cats from the same litter. They were 8 when we had to put one to sleep bc his had FIV and leukemia. Our other guy was heartbroken and cried and cried for his brother. After a few weeks, he seemed ok with the loss, and we got kitten. Don't think of a new cat as a replacement pet. If you get a new kitty, think of it as a new family member, and a new friend for your remaining cat.

So sorry for your loss :-(



answers from Wilmington on

The cat does have to grieve for the other. It would have actually been a good thing to have had the living kitty be with the cat that died when it was put down. Once they realize they are gone, they move on just like we do. It won't be easy for them, as it isn't for humans, but they do. My neighbor had to put her dog down this summer and she took the other dog with her. The animal is a member of the family. Maybe if you have something that the other cat either slept on or you brought home after the passing of the cat with its smell on it, you could let the other cat smell it. The left behind kitty is wondering what happened and in her kitty way, she will figure it out when she smells the item that was there. You may have already disposed or washed those items by now. They understand death and can smell it so that would resolve the question in her mind as to where her pal is. I am sorry for your loss. It isn't easy to have to go through what you did as it is a member of your family.


answers from Biloxi on

I have had many cats over the years, and have seen them grieve when their companion cat passes on. For Thor, who had been with his cat for years, when she passed he grieved - his way was to cling to us humans and try to love on the poor dog who was terrified of him. Though my son and I said we would not - a short month later we got Thor another cat. They were inseparable until he passed away this May. And though Zoe loved the, now 4 dogs, and got along with the other cat she has mourned and missed Thor.

For Zoe the solution has been to give her much, much, more attention than she previously required. We would literally pick her up and just carry her around the house. We made sure to pet her whenever we walked by her, etc. She honestly got just downright weird for awhile - she would walk the house and cry, climb to new and precarious places, hide, all without a pattern.

It has been 6 months now and she has finally calmed down and settled back in. She hangs out with the dogs more than the other cats, and is usually with either my son or I more than she used to be. But, she is back to her "normal' self.

It takes time for pets, just like us humans, to adjust to the loss of a loved one. For your kitty, there is no straight forward method to help her. Keep doing what you are doing, try and encourage her to eat and drink - even if you have to bribe her with treats to peak her appetite. In worse case scenarios, you could check with your vet and try kitty anti-depressants (yes, they make those). Keep giving her love - and like Thor, she may adjust well to another cat. Sometimes they just are lonely even though we humans love them so much.

Go kiss her little nose from me.

For Updates and Special Promotions
Follow Us

Related Questions