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Experts HELP - Grieving kitties

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 
Good Afternoon all,

I took in two cats yesterday whose owner died recently. They were originally brought to a local shelter, but the owner's family pulled them and brought them to me so that they wouldn't be in danger of euthanasia. They arrived yesterday afternoon and had to be put into a large dog kennel until I can get them to the vet.

It is obvious to me that these kitties are really, really missing their dad. They are both EXTREMLY thin and have feces on their coats (they are long haired kitties). I layed on the floor next to their kennel last night for a few hours and watched them. One of them ate and drank but the other did not.

Has anyone ever worked with a grieving kitty before and; if so, how do you make them feel better? How do you get them to eat? How do you know how far to go before you should leave them alone??

If anyone has any advise at all, please let me know.

Thanks,

Karen
post #2 of 24
Oh bless your heart for taking them!

I've never been in that situation so i'm sorry i can't help, but i really hope they come round to all the love and attention that i'm sure they'll get from you!
post #3 of 24
Thread Starter 
Thanks Susan,

I sure hope they are okay too. I'm so anxious for this day to be over so I can go home and check on them. I have a volunteer that helps me with my fosters and she is at my house now, so I'm just waiting for a report from her.....I hope they have eaten!!

Karen
post #4 of 24
Thread Starter 
Unfortunatly, after visiting the vet today, we decided to euthanize one of these kitties. I cannot even list the amount of things that were wrong with him. He was 10 years old and I gave him the name of "Pumpkin". He was a beautiful orange tabby boy. Somehow, someway, I think that it was meant to be for this cat to be with his daddy in heaven.

Spade, the little girl, is back home with me and needs minor anitbiotics to recover from her "issues". She, hopefully, will adjust to a life without her brother. I will watch her closely and hug her often.

Karen
post #5 of 24
I've witnessed my cats grieve when they have lost their pals - Stumpy grieved for years after we lost his favorite dog Jethro (Stumpy prefers dogs over cats), and Pinky is just coming out of his grief after losing his playpals to FeLV about 18 months ago.

We've struggled with both situations. Stumpy finally got over his grief when we got a new dog he could relate to. Pinky has finally fully bonded with other cats in the house. We gave them all the attention they could stand, extra treats, special privileges that the others didn't have. It helped a little, but they were never totally back to themselves until they regained what they were missing. Stumpy prefers dogs and Pinky prefers other cats over anything else.

It is truly odd how some cats grieve so much stronger than others. I hope Spade can find what she has lost. Is she eating OK now? My guess is that she needs a new, quiet human fast.
post #6 of 24
Awww poor Pumpkin but if he had major health issues you did the right thing i'm sure

Let us know how Spade settles in with you
post #7 of 24
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Momofmany
It is truly odd how some cats grieve so much stronger than others. I hope Spade can find what she has lost. Is she eating OK now? My guess is that she needs a new, quiet human fast.
Spade is eating well and she only needs an antibiotic and one other simple med to get her well. I think she'll do well. Like you said, I'll just deluge her with love for as long as she needs it (I may even keep her myself, so she doesn't have to miss me later). She is at least 10 years old, so I'm not sure we'd find a home for her anyways.

This little girl is a trooper and I think she'll recover from her depression much quicker than Pumpkin would have. Although, when I was holding Pumpkin last night, just before the shots were administered, he was sure hugging me tight. Maybe he knew what was going on. Anyways, I am 100% confident that I did the right thing.

Karen
post #8 of 24
Awww poor Pumpkin, it's still upsetting though isn't it!

In a way i hope you do decide to keep Spade. After losing her owner, then possibly you because she's bound to get attached to you bless her!

Any pictures of her yet?!.
post #9 of 24
Thread Starter 
No pictures. I've searched high and low, but I can't find my digital camera. She is a stunning, DLH with a long (maine coon like) nose. Poor thing is absolutly filthy too. I've got my work cut out for me, cleaning her up.

Karen

P.S. Yes, it's still VERY hard. I start crying again every few hours (and all last night, of course). I'm going to make a quilt for the three kitties that I've had to help to the bridge since I started fostering a few years ago. I'd also like to make one for all of the kitties that have gotton new homes, but there are over 100 of them!!!
post #10 of 24
Karen where would these lucky kitts be without people like you and the others here on this site

She sounds so sweet though. It would be great if you were able to take a before and after shot of her
post #11 of 24
It's quite possible that their caregiver wasn't taking really good care of them, and their immune system in punky right now. I would feed Spade some kitten glop. You can find the recipe at www.kitten-rescue.com Also talk to Spade honestly. Put her on your lap and tell her that her owner died, and her feline friend did too. It really does help, I believe they understand and it will help her grief.
post #12 of 24
Thread Starter 
Hey Hissy,

I know for a fact that the gentleman was not able to take good care of them in the end of his life. I did not know him, but I'd like to believe that he did take good care of them earlier in his life.

Now, do you think Spade needs glop even though she IS eating regular cat food? I thought that was only for force feeding. She will eat.

I didn't even think about talking to Spade about what happened. I did talk to Pumpkin quite a bit last night. I told him that he was going to be with his dad and that he would feel well up there. I told him to chase all the mice he wants and to give his daddy kisses and tell him that I would take care of Spade.

Karen
post #13 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by fostermom28
Like you said, I'll just deluge her with love for as long as she needs it (I may even keep her myself, so she doesn't have to miss me later). She is at least 10 years old, so I'm not sure we'd find a home for her anyways.
I know a pair of rescue women in my area that do nothing but older cats - the ones that are the hardest to place. They will not admit how many cats they care for, but did admit they have 6 cats over 20 years old. It is a specialty that they never expected in life, simply fell into it and find great reward in doing this. There aren't too many people out there that will do that and bless you if you keep this poor girl!

There are people out there - we were able to adopt a 9 year old girl last year from the Humane Society (and we are small). The foster mom had her for 18 months before adoption.

*hugs* Karen!
post #14 of 24
Thread Starter 
First of all, she is so pretty, so I renamed her Sissy Spade (Sissy for short). I just love her to death. I spent several hours with her last night and she did really, really well. First, I layed on the floor by her kennel and pet her, she eventually came near the entrance (to get better petts); I then started brushing her. She loved the brushing and kept doing the elevator butt. She let me cut a matt out of her tail and clean her ears and eyes a bit. I bet I brushed/pet her for an hour straight. She then started to wander out of the cage. She walked all the way around the garage, smelling everything and eventually settled herself in the dog kennel on their fluffy blanket. I let her sleep in there for a couple hours as I cleaned out the large cat kennel and her kennel.

Before I went in for the night, I had my husband come out to help me give her her medicine. Well, that didn't go well and she was afraid of us again. So, tonite I'm going to hide it in her wet food.

Overall Sweet Sissy girl is doing fantastic!!! She's getting healthy, hopefully will put on weight soon and most of all, be happy.

Cross your fingers for her.

Karen
post #15 of 24
Just for the record, kitten glop is not about forcefeeding.It is about giving a health compromised cat or kitten a chance in life by providing nutritional food.
post #16 of 24
Thread Starter 
Hissy,

The vet gave me a prescription vitamin suppliment in a tube. Do you think this is good enough or should I do the glop too?

Karen
post #17 of 24
Awwww Karen she sounds like she's doing great!

Can't wait until we can eventually see her
post #18 of 24
A few thoughts on getting Spade to adjust:
Play some music for her in the garage. I'm assuming you have her isolated until she's better and warms up to you a bit. The music will help keep her company a bit since her dad and friend are gone.
Talk or sing to her while you visit. She'll get used to your voice and with you giving her affection, will associate your voice with good things.
Make sure she has lots of nice warm bedding and keep her food, water and litter super clean.
Give her treats and rewards for letting you brush and clean her up. Catnip is a good appetite stimulant.
Warm her food up a little if it's canned before you feed her. Don't nuke it. Place the can in a dish of hot water to warm it in a way that won't kill the flavor. Warm canned food is stinkier, and will stimulate her appetite a bit.
When you are hanging out with her, reassure her by smiling and half closing/closing your eyes. This makes you appear more relaxed, and she'll feel more relaxed too.
Look for happy buttons while you pet her. Her former owner had special ways to pet her that she loved and you should try to find them too.

Hope some of these ideas help! Oh! and give her lots of kisses and hugs and headbumps from me and my crew.

Dev
post #19 of 24
Thread Starter 
Sissy is still with me; although we have a potential adoptor. She is such a sweet girl. Everytime I bring new foster cats into my house, she welcomes them with open paws. She loves all cats, all humans and all kids.....she doesn't even mind the dogs (not bad for a 10 year old cat).

Enjoy.




Karen
post #20 of 24
Karen - what a beautiful girl and how wonderful that she may have a forever home!!

If the adoption falls through, it sounds like you have the perfect house ambassador for all of your newly arrived foster cats. My OTB Bogart played that role - coming up to groom any new cat that came into the house. It was a great way for a new cat to relax immediately upon arrival. It could be a blessing in disguise for you!
post #21 of 24
When Abigail died I sat down with Annabelle and told her what happened, which seemed kinda silly when I was doing it, but like someone else said earlier, I think she got it. I also had Abigail cremated and let Annabelle sniff her ashes and explore them. She calmed down after that and sometimes goes over to the jar where we keep Abby's ashes. We tried to give her lots of extra attention and got her a "pet" kitten when her leukemia incubation period was over.
post #22 of 24
Thread Starter 
Well, we have decided to keep little miss Sissy Spade. we tried bring her to petSmart to get her adopted out, but after a day or two she starts to get depressed. Then, she started to withdraw from the other cats in my cat kennel. So, we brought her in from the garage and there she will stay.

The rescue I work for is going to start a sponsor-a-pet program which will raise money to help pay for her care; as we really cannot afford to take on another cat.

she's been in the house with the others for about a week now and things are getting better by the day. Scott occasionally gives her a growl, but he is actually "talking" to me again. For a while, he would only snuggle with my husband; he was just plain peeved with me.

Anyways, just wanted to share my joy about Sissy
post #23 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by fostermom28
Sissy is still with me; although we have a potential adoptor. She is such a sweet girl. Everytime I bring new foster cats into my house, she welcomes them with open paws. She loves all cats, all humans and all kids.....she doesn't even mind the dogs (not bad for a 10 year old cat).

Enjoy.




Karen
OM gads it broke my heart when I saw her, she looks just like my garby that I lost about 10 yrs ago, I Loved him so much he died 3 mos after my first hubby, he died from Liver failure and so did my garby, it was the hardest thing I ever lived through those months.
Bless you for taking the time to care and Love this baby, Best wishes that she does very well..
post #24 of 24
She is a beautiful kitty and it sounds like she has finally found a loving place after her owner left her- Thank you for caring-
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