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Need advice w/grieving older cat

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
On March 6th, I lost my German Shorthair to old age. My cat and she had been companions for the last six years.

In the last couple months, I have watched Scratch get progressively more depressed, to the point where he eats only a little every day now, and only if I insist. So, I insist, several times a day. He does drink daily (I can tell from his cat box, same humongo pee clumps as always) but it's the not eating right that's my concern. I have tried making the food more appetizing, and it seems that sometimes he eats just to please me. Which is fine, as long as he eats SOMETHING.

In the last week, he even stopped grooming himself. So, I started brushing him more, which finally (after a few days of brushing) encouraged him to start grooming himself again.

I've noticed when reading through this forum, that there are antidepressants for cats? Any of you with experience with them, and whether or not they actually work for them?

What's weird is when I first got the dog six years ago, he couldn't STAND her. So while I knew he attached to her, I had NO idea he attached this much to her.

Aside from what I've already been doing (and yes he has been to the vet, but that was about a month ago, he has gotten worse), and his upcoming vet visit, what else should I do for him? I need to find a way to snap him out of his grief, before he dies from it.
post #2 of 16
How about getting another animal for him to be firends with? It sounds like you did eveything you can otherwise. Not necessarily another dog, maybe another cat? Or dog I don't know. Something to keep him company.
post #3 of 16
He needs lots of attention from you right now. Another animal may help, but if you're not ready, don't go down that path. Spend lots of time with Scratch, giving him love, playing with toys, etc. When my parents' dog died, their cat (Hannah) insisted on attention from my mom. She also became incredibly frightened of my dad. After a while, she learned to warm up to him again. My mom focused on giving Hannah lots of attention (not that she had much choice, since Hannah was demanding it every second). Eventually, when my parents were ready, they brought home a new puppy. It took Hannah a while, but she has bonded with the new pup (she even helps "train" him). It's good that you are aware of how little Scratch is eating--keep on top of that, as kitties can get sick very quickly when they stop eating. You said he has been to the vet. Do you know if they did blood work? It isn't uncommon for older kitties to start showing signs of a very real illness after experiencing some sort of stress (such as the loss of a friend). If they haven't already done bloodwork on Scratch, I would insist on it when you see the vet.
post #4 of 16
Your cat needs to eat, so keep insisting.

Please read this article, it gives you tips on how to get a cat that doesn't want to eat- how to give it food

post #5 of 16
Thread Starter 
I got him another companion, a cat, which helped for about a week. Then he started sinking back. The kitten DOES do things to try and get his attention, which sometimes works, or sometimes he just hides and ignores the kitten.

I have switched him to a softer food, which previously he was given once in awhile, because it seems to be more appealing to him right now. He's actually eating out of my hand, which is not his normal behavior for eating.
post #6 of 16
I am praying for you and for Scratch. Please let us know how things are going.
post #7 of 16
My kitty Festus was very sad after the foster kitten that she helped tame was adopted out. She layed in a chair, as if waiting for Blue to come out of my bedroom. That is where Blue stayed when recuperating from her spay. Festie alternated between hopeful watching...

...and just looking sad.

I took her into my bedroom to show her Blue was gone, and apologized for giving up "her" baby.

I would suggest that in addition to all the great interventions you are doing, that you sit Scratch down for a long heart to heart talk. It sounds a little goofy, but let him know that you really miss the dog too. Share some one-on-one time letting your feelings out. Let him know that the dog is gone for good...not to keep waiting for her to come home.

What a sad situation. I hope you and Scratch begin to heal from this devastating loss. And I think an antidepressant is a great idea. I gave them to my old dog for a while when he was depressed and not eating, and it made quite a difference. I think there are appetite stimulant drugs for pets as well.
post #8 of 16
Awww...that picture made me weepy!!!

I agree...you need to have a heart-to-heart with your cat, as wierd as that may seem. He may not understand the content of your words, but he will appreciate the intimacy and communication that you share from talking to him.

And maybe it is time for a food switch...try mixing a palettable wet food in a little bit at a time with his old food...this should always be done gradually.

And time will heal things...cats sometimes struggle with change. They are also highly adaptable, and at the same time sensitive to environmental changes. Give him a lot of attention and love in the meantime...he'll learn to accept the absence of his canine friend.
post #9 of 16
Oh, and I was going to mention looking into some type of flower essence for his depression...I would try this before resorting to anti-depressants.
post #10 of 16
Thread Starter 
You mean like catnip? Catnip I have. I've also learned it's an appetite stimulator. I spend alot of time with my boy, always have.

I think maybe the hardest thing for him was when we removed Hana from the house after she died. He didn't want us to do that.
post #11 of 16
I don't know if this was just my imagination, but I really think Annabelle was comforted by Abby's ashes and some of her toys. When Abby died Annabelle started acting out, meowing a lot, tearing things up, searching the house. I paid extra attention to her, offered her some of Abby's toys, and some of Abby's ashes, which she sniffed and laid down next to for quite a while.
post #12 of 16
Originally Posted by Sea Witch
You mean like catnip? Catnip I have. I've also learned it's an appetite stimulator. I spend alot of time with my boy, always have.

I think maybe the hardest thing for him was when we removed Hana from the house after she died. He didn't want us to do that.
Try talking about it with him, let him know that Hana was already gone, and you just removed her body. Give him the same reassurances that you would give a child. Tell him about the Rainbow Bridge, and that he will see her again.

Keep us posted on how he is doing...not eating can really harm a kitty, so keep pushing the food on him. Did you ever try that spray cheese in a can...I think all cats and dogs love a little squirt of that! LOL! And KFC is real popular too. Canned baby meat might be healthier, just make sure there are no onions or garlic.
post #13 of 16
Thread Starter 
Well, I had been in contact with my vet Saturday as well (office was already closed), explained what was going on and what I was doing. He said to keep doing what I was doing, and also had me do some other stuff (temp etc) while he was on the phone with me. He also gave me specific symptoms to look for should my boy decide to become critical before I could get him in to the office this morning.

All during the day, I kept up feeding him little meals, making sure he had enough water, making sure he went to the box. He actually started eating ON HIS OWN yesterday afternoon, and showed interest in what was going on as well.

Well, about 10:30 last night, he went into acute distress, showed all the signs my vet had me watching for (jaundice particularly), and I placed a call to the vet. My boy was gone before the emergency call was returned.
post #14 of 16
I'm so sorry for your loss. Scratch sounds like he was a beautiful kitty, and you were a wonderful mommie.
post #15 of 16
Thread Starter 
I can't even begin to tell you how much I miss my boy. I've had him since he was born. Sunday was his 8th birthday

when he was a newborn I used to have to put him back with his mother so he'd eat, he went EVERYWHERE with me. By the time he was 3 weeks old, he'd figured out how to climb onto the bed.

At the end there, before he went into what I assume must have been a coma, he did his breathy purr and chirp for me. What he always did for me to comfort me. I actually FELT him go when I was at work. I knew it was over, and that he was at peace. Couldn't get out of work either, we're short staffed. My hubby was with him to the very end.
post #16 of 16
I am very sorry for your loss. I had no idea that he was so ill. Poor dear, I have heard of people doing that, too...

There is another forum called the Rainbow Bridge forum where you can post of his passing.

Rest in peace, Scratch. You are reunited with Hana now.
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