Have you ever lived with two cats and then suddenly one passes away, leaving one behind, moping around in a state of depression and crying out incessantly? If it wasn't hard enough to deal with the loss yourself, your cat is amplifying the situation with disorientation, neediness and late night sleep disruptions. Some say this is a cat's way of mourning the loss, while others may say your cat is looking to fill the emptiness with more affection, play sessions and acknowledgment from YOU.
What is your cat trying to tell you?
When is it the right time to add another cat to your home?
What should you do to fill the void?
It has been said that cat's get used to common smells in their homes and when another member of the household dies, even a human companion, the cats can sense the change and react accordingly. The process of grieving can vary among cats just like it does with humans. Some of them bounce back overnight while others may take months to recover.
The best thing you can do is keep things as routine as possible. Don't rock the boat any more than it already is.
Keep your feeding schedule, playtime and petting interactions very predictable. If your cat can predict your every move, they will adapt to the change faster than if things were inconsistent.
Reduce stress through exercise! It's truly amazing what a good exercise regiment can do to bring down stress levels. I know I feel better after I come home from the gym. Cats are no different! Wave that cat dancer around and get your cat chasing a favorite toy as much as possible!
If you notice that things are calming down at home, due to the increased attention that your cat is receiving , it may be ok to let them fly solo for a while. Perhaps it was YOU that they wanted all to themselves now that their feline friend is gone.
Think about the impact that you have on your cat. If you are lucky enough to be working these days, it's understandable that you may want to relax and take a load off when you get home. Don't forget that your arrival is a huge part of your cats day. While you're at work, school or the park, your cat is probably home sleeping. Make you time together count!
Then again....there's this scenario:
You've tried everything you can think of to make your cat happy and now you are concerned that kitty needs a playmate. Always take age and medical concerns into consideration before attempting to add a cat that is younger or close in age. Some older cats may be overwhelmed by the addition of a kitten or young adult. After all, they may be crying out for the company of their long lost friend, not some punky and energetic teenage kitten. Imagine a senior citizen is suddenly asked to be room mates with an 18 year old drum player. It's not a welcome surprise.
Try to pair your cat with another one that has similar characteristics. The gender of the cat is not always a factor, but many people will tell you many different things regarding this. In the shelter, we have the most luck pairing confident neutered males. Again, this is not a guideline to follow, just an anecdotal statement. It truly is the luck of the draw sometimes.
Having more than one kitty is definitely a bonus, not only for your cats well being and your own ,but also for shelters all across America. Pairing cats is strongly encouraged to eliminate over-population. If all the cards are falling in the right place and the time is right to add a cat, we will applaud your decision. Be sure to ask your local animal shleter or rescue about cat's that have been paired successfully in their care. This can be a predictive way to see if it will work in your own home.