Help me help my roommate's cat
September 10, 2007 8:31 PM   Subscribe

How can I help a cat to ease the loss of her buddy cat?

My roommate and I have lived together for five years. When we first lived together I got a kitten, Greta. A year later, she got a kitten, Maud. Maud has never really known life without Greta as a companion. A month ago, Greta got out of the house and has not returned. In this time, Maud has become increasingly more neurotic. She has always needed a ton of attention, but now it has gotten to the point where she cries for about half an hour in the morning after we get up and for five minutes or so after we walk in the house after being gone. Obviously this has to do with the fact that she is lonely during the time we are unavailable to give her attention.
We've tried giving her extra love, and milk (which she loves but rarely gets because of all the negative press), and I even let her sleep in my bed (which I never did before, as I have always been allergic to her more so than my own cat-- I do take zyrtec daily, but this only makes it so I don't die when I'm around her).
What can we do to help her? Please don't suggest getting a new kitten, as I am not ready to accept that my cat is not coming home (and even if I do give up on her coming home, I won't be ready to move on for a while).
It breaks my heart that my cat is missing, but it breaks my heart extra hard to see my roommate's cat hurting so much because she doesn't understand. Any recommendations or resources are welcome.
posted by greta simone to Pets & Animals (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I'm so sorry. This reminds me so much of when one of my cats died after living with his brother for 15 years, and the cat who was left just kept going around my apartment looking for him and meowing. He did it for at least a week. It just broke my heart, which was already broken from losing my other cat.

Although they had both slept with me, the surviving cat had never been real cuddly. But after losing the other cat, the aloof one started snuggling up with me next to my pillow. It was good for both of us, since I was so sad too. It's too bad you're so allergic.

I'm afraid I don't have any good advice for you, except to continue to give her extra love and attention. Also, I know you've said you don't want to get a kitten, and I would agree that you shouldn't for awhile (if your cat doesn't come back). I think your kitty needs time to adjust and be close to you and get used to the status quo and get extra special TLC before another stressful event happens. This is all just heartbreaking. I hope your other cat comes home. Best wishes.
posted by la petite marie at 9:15 PM on September 10, 2007

Could you maybe get someone to come visit during the day and play with her? Maybe a school-aged child whom you trust, who lives nearby?

Also - some people recommend leaving a radio on in the house when going on vacation. Could this help make it seem less lonely?
posted by amtho at 9:51 PM on September 10, 2007

Why don't you take in a foster kitten until Greta comes home? And if it happens that Greta has passed away, Maud will have a companion.

I realize bringing a new kitten into the house is painful for you, but you need to consider what Maud is going through; she needs companionship and will continue to suffer until she has it. The sooner you accept this and get a new kitten, the sooner Maud will be happy.

My condolences for your loss.
posted by sebastienbailard at 10:21 PM on September 10, 2007

When I first got my dog I turned the tv on while I was away. He actually prefered staying in the room with the tv on, I think he liked the movement and the light and the sound.

Also- this may just make me feel better but I always tell my dog when I am going to get back when I leave the house. Then he knows when to expect me. He seems to understand and be happier when I explain than when I just walk out the door.
posted by thebrokenmuse at 11:14 PM on September 10, 2007

After thinking about this some more, your lonely cat may need more play, rather than more love + food. Mental stimulation. Did she and the other cat play together a lot (maybe when you weren't there)?
posted by amtho at 5:27 AM on September 11, 2007

I'm sorry that your cat went Walkabout. In the meantime, please:

Continue to shower room mate's cat with love. Talk to/at her while you go about your morning activities. Engage it. Include it. Sounds goofy, I know. Cats sleep most of their days away...during the waking hours that they seem needy, spend time with the monsters.

If she can see or is interested in laser pointers, wear her out with a laser pointer.

Give left-behind cat extra lovings.

P.S. My one-and-only cat-cat disappeared in the woods for over a week. She recovered. Many years later, I divorced after she had adapted to a large house with three other kitties. As eldest, alpha, supremo, she had to get used to the absence of three other cats who had made her life a freakout-hell-busride of alpha-cat routines. She has since developed new routines in her much-smaller environs and makes me a peasant in her kingdom....although, I'm one of those peasants with a spray bottle/gun.
posted by bonobo at 5:48 AM on September 11, 2007

If anyone's still checking back on this thread, she's been found.
posted by Phire at 11:08 PM on September 30, 2007 [1 favorite]

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