Do cats grieve?

Cats feel emotion therefore in answer to the question, "Do cats grieve?", the answer is almost certainly a Yes.

How can we know that cat's feel emotion? Some scientists will deny they feel emotion. Perhaps these are the scientists who carry out experiments on cats for some of the large cat food manufacturers. These scientists views are not objective and like all humans their views are driven by self interest.

Many cat keepers exaggerate their cats abilities and turn their cats into children. This is understandable but it is not objective either.

But even at a practical and unscientific level, concerned and observant cat keepers will recognize clear signs of emotion being expressed in their cats.

I can only talk about my cat. She will express frustration in her voice. If I don't answer her call in the morning her voice will change to one which shows frustration and even irritation. This is a small indication of an emotional response. Cats are very similar physiologically to humans. It is for this reason that they are tested on sometimes.

Do cats grieve? If as I say cats feel emotion, it is a natural consequence of the death of a cat they have lived with that they will grieve the loss of that cat as it is a normal emotional response.

One factor that may come into play is memory. My view is that cats have short memories. But they are trainable, meaning they will, like all animals, including humans, be conditioned to respond in a certain way due to events that impact their lives. Take for example a stray cat I am caring for on occasion, who I have called Timmy. If you raise your arm at a certain angle and in a certain way, he will flinch. This is a conditioned reaction to someone hitting him, I suspect.

Breeders occasionally talk about a cat that becomes clingy (towards the human) and more nervous after the loss of a fellow companion cat. This will happen for a while until memory plays its part and the emotional impact fades.

Some of the emotional reaction from the cat may be dependent on the emotional impact of the human keeper. That I accept. However, it is my view that cats grieve the loss of companions.

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Do cats grieve? Do cats grieve? Reviewed by Michael Broad on June 26, 2008 Rating: 5

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Absolutely yes, they do grieve.

A couple I know had two cats, one of whom was about as attached to Dave as a cat can get. When he died suddenly of a heart attack, the cat moped around for the next 4 months. She didn't want to have anything to do with Addie or the other cat. She wandered around the apartment meowing and looking for him (when she wasn't hiding under the furniture) and even slept on his side of the bed and his closet.

She's finally started to come out of her shell and warm up to Addie, but she still hides a lot and is easily spooked, which she wasn't before. Even now she sometimes wanders around the apartment meowing and looking for Dave, as if she's still confused that she can't find him.

I'd say that cat is definitely grieving.

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