Do animals grieve?

Do you think animals grieve? Have you ever expirienced it?

So I've had my cat (Gary) and my dog (Lightning) for three years. They are BFF's! I think they worked out so well because we got Lightning when she was a baby, and had never seen a cat before.

I got Gary in New York, then we moved to Idaho for a year where we got Lightning. Then moved back to New York and then all the way out to Hawaii!

They were soo cute and would cuddle up and nap together. Watch TV together, all that stuff.

But Gary died suddenly on Friday. He has a blood clot get stuck where his main artery splits to go to each leg. If I remember right its called Saddle thrombus. It all happened within like 2hrs. We took him the emergency vet and were only there for about 40 min.

Now Lightning is whinning a lot, not the "I'm hurt/sick/thirsty/need a toilet" whine. But something totally different! Its not loud, just kinda soft attention getting whine. She also isnt eating her food the same way. She always gets a mix of dry/wet food and its a hot meal, and used to chow down. Now she nibbles, now and then... all night long...

Sooooo I think yes, shes grieving. But it is the strangest thing I've ever seen!

What do you think? Any suggestions to help her out? Poor girl Happy

Thanks
<3 Pamela

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12 replies since 22nd February 2011 • Last reply 22nd February 2011

I think they do. I got Gidget after my Nanny died and when that happened, Gidget acted really depressed. I took her in and she's been my dog ever since.

When I moved out my mom wouldn't let me take Gidget with me. Theyd call me and say "Gidget won't eat!" and that she'd go sleep in front of the door to my old bedroom. Now that I have her again she's a lot happier.

But my sister had two cats, Rhett and Ashebear and Ashe died a few years ago. Rhett and Ashe were brothers and they'd cuddle together too!

I don't have any advice on how to help your dog, but time really does heal. Rhett doesn't really randomly cry anymore.

Just try to be really comforting Happy I'm sorry for your loss by the way! I've got a huge heart for animals!

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I'm sorry to hear about the loss of your doggie. I very much believe that animals can grieve. I knew someone that passed away and their dog got soooo depressed and died a few weeks later. Years ago my cat had a litter of kittens that only lived a few days and the poor girl cried for days and days while roaming the house looking for her babies. The only thing I can think to do is the same as what Darling Chelsea said, be comforting and show your kitty lots of love.

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awww hon, I beieve they do. They know who we are, who their friends are. Give him plenty of suggles as he is missing his friend.

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Well, I have had a lot of pets but I've never seen any of them grieve over the loss of another one of my pets. When my mum's cat Topper died a few years ago both Linus (my cat) and Moses (my mum's dog) could have cared less. The same went when my pet wolf Shilo- passed- our dog Cody didn't really care one way or another. But when I went out of town for a week to Vegas with my boyfriend, my dog apparently waited by the door the whole week and everytime someone came in he'd get excited, see it wasn't me and then go back to waiting.

It does sound like your dog is wondering what happened to his friend. Both my dog and my mum's dog whine like crazy if the other is taken to the vet/groomer or for a walk while the other is left behind.

I am sorry for your loss by the way- its hard to lose pets sometime. Although I have never been very strongly attatched to any of the pets that have passed away; I'm sure it will be different if Linus or Buddy died though.

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I definitely think they do. When my grandparents would go on trips, we would watch their dog and he would be fine for the first part of the week, but by the end he would get really lazy and wouldn't eat a whole lot. I think he was getting depressed cause he missed them a lot.

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I'm sorry to hear that your cat has passed away Happy

We tend to attribute human feelings to animals as we consider them part of our family. I don't think it's grieving for a lost 'friend' in the truest human sense. It's more of a response to a sudden change in their environment. Pets do have a routine of sorts and if that is disturbed it causes stress for them. I've seen stressed cats that run from one end of the room to the other and jump up the wall.

If you think of pavlovs dogs, the ones that behaviourist pschycologists trained. The dogs responded to a bell by salivating, even if they were not fed because they had been taught to associate the bell with food.

I think we also invest emotionally in our pets and our own saddness and emotions are picked up by our other pets.

Give your furry friend a bit of extra attention but don't over do it as it could become a problem. Try giving your pet a new bowl so it doesn't associate it with the cat you have lost. Make little changes so your pet makes new associations. Most dogs have an IQ of a 2 year old toddler. Good luck x

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All animals have the mental capacity to grieve... except fish, I think. I know for sure that domesticated animals like dogs and cats grieve for sure--big cats, when they experience a stillbirth, will eat the stillborn cub as a way of mourning. Be glad your dog isn't a big cat, or something.

Your dog is probably really missing its best friend. A new cat might cheer him up, especially if it's a lot like Gary was.

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Thanks for all the ideas and warm wishes!!
<3 <3 <3 Its really comforting Happy I think we will get another pet, but probally wait a little while.
XoXo

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Recently my old (read 18 or roughtly 125 in dog years) dalmation passed away, her best friend the cocker spaniel hung out close to the bed where she fell asleep at and refused to move at all, crying and wimpering. When the vet finaly came and moved her he told us that she was grieving. He also told us that animals react badly to drastic changes, just like humans do. Her best friend died, so she was upset. After that she was clingy to nearly anyone for a while, but she's slowly gone back to normal. She has moved herself to the dalmations bed and refuses to use her own, so I think she's still mouring, just not as much as she used to.

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Absolutely, most definitely, without a doubt.

I've seen cows lose their calves, cats lose their buddies, dogs that literally go into a weird state to biide the time until their master comes back for them. Each one has its own personal way of coping, just like we do.

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I have seen a momma dog lose her only puppie and grieve so badly for it she was sick.I do belive animals have feelings, I saw a dog cry once and it broke my heart.The part about them getting use to things a certain way is just like humans,we do the same.
I have had a dog die and they rest not notice that I could tell, but then I have 7.But when they are ill the look in their eyes is just like that of a child.We humans get conditioned to a certain thing and when it changes we are upset or cry or dont like it.Dogs are the same.They have feelings.

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Anytime I take one of my wieners to the vet, the other whines and grunts at the back door until they return. Animals do feel grief. Look up KoKo the gorilla and her interpretation of what happened to her mother. It's very sad and moving at the same time

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