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One of my cats has just died - should I get a companion for the remaining cat?

Article ID: 253
Last updated: 15 May, 2014
Revision: 6
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After the death of a pet, it is advisable to keep the normal daily routine of any remaining pets in the household as unchanged as possible. Maintaining normal meal times, for example, can provide some stability during this difficult time. The more consistent, predictable and familiar the home environment the easier it is for the remaining pet to adjust to changes in their family structure.

For anxious and stressed cats, some behaviouralists advocate the use of pheromones (available in sprays and atomizers from veterinary clinics) as a way of alleviating anxiety and stress. These pheromones mimic the cheek-marking pheromone which cats produce naturally and may have a calming effect on the cat.

Once your cat has been allowed a period of adjustment, you might consider getting another companion cat, if your remaining cat is used to having feline company. The way in which cats relate to each other is very much on an individual basis.

Some adult cats may be more likely to accept a kitten, possibly because the kitten is younger and smaller. Other adult cats may find kittens too active and playful which may be a bit overwhelming for an older cat. If you think this applies to your cat, you might consider getting another adult cat. There are many cases where two adult cats have become friendly companions. If you do decide to get another kitten or cat please consider adoption first (see the RSPCA Smart Kitten and Cat Buyer's Guide for information).

It's very important to keep a close eye on the remaining cat. Make sure they are eating and drinking as usual; urinating and defaecating normally and monitor their body weight and condition to check for any weight loss. Sometimes cats can have a concurrent medical problem which may be interpreted as a grief response only (behavioural). If there are any signs of illness please contact your vet who can rule out any underlying medical causes.

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Attached files
file Smart Kitten Cat Buyers Guide July 2013.pdf (1.14 mb) Download

Also read
folder How should I introduce a new cat or kitten to my existing cat?
folder Should I get another cat to provide company for my cat?

Also listed in
folder Companion animals -> Pet grief

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