Cat passed away; will the other get lonely?
This is a question asked on social media which I'm going to answer here. I think the vast majority of cat owners would answer the question in the same way. When two cats live together and they are friendly with each other a bond is created (obviously). If one of those cat passes away the other cat will feel the effects of that. It depends of course on the depth of the bond and for how long they have been friends.
|Cat friends. The loss of one may well cause grief in the other. Image: MikeB.|
My strong indication, having researched the matter, is that domestic cats can grieve for the loss of their human caregiver or another cat. The subject of domestic cat emotions is work in progress but it's almost logical to presume that a cat will feel the effects of the loss of a friend.
Domestic cats do have emotions. The question is how complex are they? Grieving, or a form of grieving, can be experienced by a domestic cat I believe. We don't know for sure how cats feel in the grieving process.
I suspect that it is not the same as human grieving but similar. I sense that domestic cats get over the loss of a friend quicker than humans do. After all, domestic cats are much better at living in the present.
They live predominantly instinctively. They don't become nostalgic as humans do. They don't look to the future and question whether things will be better or worse. Those are my assessments. Living in the present is good for both humans and cats in terms of mental health.
Dr. Bruce Fogle, in his excellent book Complete Cat Care believes that domestic cats can feel grief. He says that he has no difficulty in describing the emotion that they domestic cat feels on the severing of an attachment as grief.
He says that "A cat's feeling of grief can be a combination of loss, frustration, worry, and bewilderment. Whatever the specific failings, a grieving cat can become withdrawn, or it may instead become over attached."
Like me, he says: "This may not be the same as grief in human terms, but it is still grief at a loss." Jackson Galaxy, the American cat behaviourist, would concur with this assessment, I am sure.