How long will it take for my cat to stop grieving?

by Melodye
(Los Angeles, Ca)

On May 28, 2012, my 18 year old cat, Charlie died and his companion of 14 years has not stopped howling and screaming and sleeps all day.....she is eating...but it is killing me....I know this is probably crazy, but she has tears running down her face and is constantly on top of me.....she follows me everywhere screaming....I don't know what to do.....on the one hand, the constant day and night howling is driving me crazy and on the other hand, it is breaking my heart.....There is a ferile cat I feed on the steps of my house and she waits for him and when he comes she "talks" to him...I cannot bring him in because he is wild.....bottom line...should I get another cat to keep her company?

Thanks so much for your help.



The ASPCA did a survey and found that the time for a grieving cat to return to normal can be anywhere from 1 to 6 months. Please read my page on Grieving Cat for some additional info. However, in your case I would guess that since your cat is “talking” to the feral cat, she has a deep need for a companion. Getting another cat will help but I’d suggest saving a cat from a shelter that is older and not a kitten. I have found that rescued cats are grateful to get a home again and attempt to fit into the household. Of course once they feel secure in their new home they can get a little finicky with food etc. but for the most part they are thankful.

Are you sure that cat outside that you are feeding is feral? Could it be a discarded cat that once had a home (like our cat Max)? Could it be a neglected cat thrown outside to fend for itself most of the time (like our cat Giorgio)? With Giorgio we found out who owned him and talked to the people (who then informed us they didn’t want him). If it is discarded or neglected you can perhaps catch it and place it in a carrier and take it to the vet to be checked out. Barring any medical issues you can then try to integrate it into your home as an “instant companion” to your cat since she already knows the cat and talks to it. If it is truly feral then your best option is to go to a local shelter and save a cat. PAWS is another good option if there is a local one available.

It goes without saying that right now your cat needs lots of hugs and affection. She has lost a dear buddy and it is a difficult time for her. And yes, they can get extremely vocal. Try to distract her with a few new toys until you can get her a new feline friend. Best of luck to you both in finding that new companion.

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