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Cat behavior towards sick owner

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
I've got two cats, Puffy (3 yrs) and Scruffy (5 months) both female who act strangely when I'm sick. I've got a severe heart condition that has gotten me on Social Security Disability (I'm 50) so I'm home all the time.

When I'm not feeling well, both cats stay extremely close to me. The worse I feel, the closer the cats stay to me. Anywhere I go in the house, the cats follow. If I go to the bathroom, the cats will scratch at the door until I open it up so they can come inside and sit with me.

The cats won't eat/drink, use the litter box, etc., until my wife gets home at night from work. Is this normal behavior for cats?

Background on cats:
We found Puffy when she was about 2 to 2-1/2 weeks old (she had been abandoned by her mother) and it took almost a year for her to "accept" people outside of my wife and I. We had to feed her by hand for a few weeks and teach her how to use a litter box.

Scruffy: we got her from a friend's daughter so she was already "used" to people and is a very friendly cat, especially with out 2 year old granddaughter who hauls her all over the house without fussing at all.

Both cats are "house cats" in that they are not allowed outside unless they are on a harness and lease. Puffy has been fixed, and Scruffy will be fixed once I get my Social Security Disability (just recently approved).

Is it considered to be "normal cat behavior" for them to stick so close to me when I'm not feeling well? I've had cats in the past (our last cat died when she was 17 years old) and have never seen this kind of behavior before.

Thank you
post #2 of 14
Well, cats are very intuitive. You've just discovered this for yourself

In fact, there is now scientific research into a cat's purr and its healing effects. You can Google it and see for yourself.

I think every time you lay down you should place one of your cats right over your heart and pet it until it purrs. But that's just me
post #3 of 14
Organikat's right and her idea is a very good one. Each cat is an individual with an individual personality, just like each of us; so though Puffy's and Scruffy's devotion may not be common, they obviously care very much for you and your wife! One word of caution: Please inform the child who "hauls around" your cat of how to properly (and gently!!!) pick up and support a cat under the hindquarters; cats may be strong and fairly resilient, but they do not benefit from rough or careless handling at all, and need to be treated gently and with respect.
post #4 of 14
Yes, I have heard tales of cats who stay right by when their "people" are feeling sick. We saw it a bit ourselves one night when my husband was suffering with a kidney stone....Zoe stayed right by him. I would've thought she would be scared, but she wasn't at all...she was there to help him throught it! Your cats are taking great care of you but I hope you don't suffer from too many bad days!
post #5 of 14
My cats do the exact same when I am sick or when I cry.

You are not alone. Enjoy it!
post #6 of 14
My cats do the same also! To me it is so comforting, it's like they are guarding me! That is one of the so many reasons why I love cats so much!
There are so many people in the world that will miss out on the special
ways of cats, they have no idea how truly sensitive and smart they are!!!
I hope you feel better!
post #7 of 14
My daughter's cat (the one in my sig) has been curling up with me alot more since I have been sick, and he lays on my back to keep me warm.
post #8 of 14
Oh, they definitely know. People think the love only flows one way with cats. Not true. My BF's cat would hang with hiim when he was sick.
post #9 of 14
When I take to my bed with the flu, Mr. Bond glues himself to my side. And it's different than when I'm lying on the bed with the same book or laptop; he is there to offer comfort.

Also, the cat purrs at a healing frequency.

Here's a fascinating article:

It can't hurt!
post #10 of 14
I saw a fascinating story on the news that has stuck with me for some time about a cat who lives in a nursing home. This cat is normally not very social, but he knows when one of the people there is going to pass. He'll crawl up on their bed and cuddle with them until they're gone. Here's the article about him:[/url]

Mine know when I'm upset or ill, and it sure does make me feel better when I come home from a rough day and they're purring by my side or on my lap all evening. They have some sort of amazing intuition or understanding we'll probably never understand!
post #11 of 14
Here is another article on the measured healing effects of the purr:

Cool stuff.
post #12 of 14

My kitten is a rescue kitten Ive had him since he was five weeks I have a chronic back disorder he knows when Im unwell his five months old now and sits  close to me when Im unwell he seems to sense it he puts his paw gently on me to check on me his now five months old and incredibly loyal

post #13 of 14

Your cats love you.  And of course they are are amazingly intuitive.  Our cats do the same thing, which is truely remarkable given their intense energy levels.  Kato curled up with my husband for a whole week, climbing inside his coat and staying with him...and Kato's intuition got him stressed that something was really wrong so he also peed on the bed (Kato is a stress pee-er, particularly if husband is this case sick!)  And Kato was right.  A diagnosis came through the next week - leukemia.


I figure the more love and purrs you get, the better your health will be!  Enjoy your cats fussing over you and supporting you - you'd do the same for them if they were sick or poorly (minus peeing on the bed lol!!)

post #14 of 14

My one cat is funny- when I am sick, he will come over every hour or so and give me a little tap on the forehead like 'you still there?'  It's honestly more annoying than anything but I know (hope) he means well...

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