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Those with multiple pets, how do the others handle the loss of one?

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Those with multiple pets, how do the others handle the loss of one?

Old 05-12-21, 11:03 PM
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Those with multiple pets, how do the others handle the loss of one?

I've had two great kitties who are brother and sister for close to 14 years. The sister (Marcia) has been the dominant one and while she occasionally gets mad at her brother (Greg), most of the time they seem very happy together. Often she licks her brother clean as shown here:

While not a pleasant thought, I may be forced to deal with this soon- after an examination today I've been told Marcia might only have a few weeks left. I've been sad about this all day but will get through it- I'm wondering how this will affect Greg though? They do so much together, how will he feel when she's not there anymore? Granted both of them have had day-long vet visits and neither one seemed too concerned while the other was gone, but they always came back after a few hours.

I had a cat before but this is the first time I've had two, and life has certainly been better with them. I would like to eventually adopt two more sibling kittens- I was thinking the place would be less lonely if I did that a few weeks after Marcia's passing, but I don't know how Greg would feel about that. I've heard some older cats feel youthful when kittens are brought in, but others just hate them. Wondering what experience people here have had with that. I admit that selfishly it would make me feel better about never having zero cats in my home; it was sad when my older cat died but I waited about 3 weeks before adopting these guys and would probably wait about that long before making any similar decision. I've never seen any cats as replacements for past ones, each cat is unique in their own way, but having them around made the loss of the previous one easier. If I died first I would expect my cats would want another human also.
Old 05-12-21, 11:42 PM
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Re: Those with multiple pets, how do the others handle the loss of one?

My in-laws had an 18-year-old dog pass away today. They usually have their dogs in pairs, but when one starts getting older, they usually add a third, younger dog to the mix. This usually rejuvenates the older dog a bit, and gives the now middle dog a chance to bond with another dog so they’re not alone when the older dog eventually passes.

Unfortunately, they weren’t able to find a young dog before the older dog passed. They had fostered a few dogs, but none was the right fit for them. So sadly, they’ve got a lonely dog at their house today.

I don’t know if that answers your question at all.
Old 05-13-21, 12:35 AM
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Re: Those with multiple pets, how do the others handle the loss of one?

Yes, that's a good answer. Sorry that dog is lonely and hope they find a new companion for them. Adding a new kitten right now wouldn't be a good idea though. As the way cats get along with each other can be unpredictable, I want to stick to siblings when I can hence why I eventually want to get another pair of those but wonder if my remaining older cat would like or even tolerate them while he's still here, or if he'd prefer that to being alone. If I ever get to move to a bigger place I hope to have several cats but here two is ideal with three the absolute max (I had a rabbit here in addition to the two kitties for a couple years, the landlord made me re-home him just because he was a rabbit. Admittedly they are much harder to clean up after and I may never have another one of them, although it would be nice if I lived someplace with rabbits outside nearby who I could visit.) If there's one thing I've learned it's that I can't live without cats, even though losing them is the worst part of having them.
Old 05-13-21, 07:45 AM
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Re: Those with multiple pets, how do the others handle the loss of one?

I just went through this a few months ago. We had two dogs and I had to put the oldest one down. We used a euthanasia service that comes to the house and we were told that the other pet is usually able to handle the loss better if they’re in the room while they put the dog down. So we had both dogs there and let them sit together while our older dog was put to sleep. I think it helped out younger dog deal with the the acceptance of losing her companion rather than being confused by watching him leave for the vet and never coming back.

Animals grieve just like humans. After our oldest was put to sleep, our youngest didn’t eat much for a few weeks, moped around the house, seemed really clingy, etc. After a few weeks she started getting back to normal. It’s helped that I’ve been working from him this last year and she hasn’t been alone during the day.

We’ve typically always had two dogs so they’d have a companion. We put our oldest dog down a few months ago and the youngest has only had the asshole cat as a companion. So far she’s adjusted well to being and only dog. Maybe eventually we’ll get another dog but not yet.
Old 05-13-21, 08:19 AM
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Re: Those with multiple pets, how do the others handle the loss of one?

Alan, so sorry you're going through this. I had a scare with my elderly (about 19yo) cat a couple weeks back where I thought she was about to pass. Didn't eat or move much, found a dark small corner to hide in that she's never used before. The anxiety I felt every time I went up the stairs to check on her was hard to handle. Whatever it was, she seems better now.

Growing up there were times where we had 2-3 cats at a time. I remember one in particular appearing to have a tough time with a loss. She would walk around crying, trying to find the cat who just passed. If you end up in that situation, try to keep them busy and provide more than usual attention. Not much else you can do, sadly.
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Old 05-13-21, 08:40 AM
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Re: Those with multiple pets, how do the others handle the loss of one?

My ex wife has my first cat. She’s 15 (the cat named Mayhem, not the wife). With the aging, she wanted to bring in another cat as a younger companion. It didn’t work out so well. Mayhem did not get along with him. She didn’t attack him, it was just constant hissing and being territorial.
Sadly the new cat passed away after a few weeks due to an undiagnosed intestinal issue.
I have a lone senior cat who demands a lot of care and attention. There’s no way I could bring in another cat to this situation.
I’m sorry to hear about your cats Alan and about the other posters who recently lost their friends.
Old 05-13-21, 10:07 AM
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Re: Those with multiple pets, how do the others handle the loss of one?

Cats are a bit different than dogs in my experience. There seem's to be recommendations online to slowly introduce new cats into a household whereas dogs are typically going to either get along or not get along more or less right away. We typically have 2 dogs and when we lose one we eventually get a second but have not had 3 at one time. About 6 years ago one of my dogs who had lived with his brother all his life was hit by a car when he ran off-leash and his brother was heartbroken. We waited a good 6 months or more before getting a second dog.

We have 3 cats and when my oldest moved out they took 2 of them all 3 were related and had lived together all their lives but the one left behind seems to be doing fine living as the only cat in the house. Given that my youngest smothers her with love helps a lot in that regard.

I'm told it can be very stressful for a cat to have another introduced so proceed with caution. Sorry to hear your senior cat is not doing well, its always hard to lose a pet.
Old 05-14-21, 04:02 PM
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Re: Those with multiple pets, how do the others handle the loss of one?

Cats are definitely a very different ball of wax from dogs. In the wild, they are usually solitary, unless they find it advantageous to get food in a colony. While there's no real way to tell for sure, I'd guess that your remaining cat will cope okay with the loss. He'd probably cope less well with the sudden addition of new kittens.

I don't expect you to take any advice I give, but if I were in your shoes, I would wait until after your remaining cat lives out his natural life, and then get new kittens afterward.
Old 05-14-21, 04:11 PM
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Re: Those with multiple pets, how do the others handle the loss of one?

Good point, though neither of these cats have ever been the only cat at home. They also lived here with a rabbit for about 2 years- they never liked him, but just stayed out of his way and carried on like he wasn't there. They didn't miss him when I had to re-home him. It might be the same way if I brought in new kittens- what's funny though is that Marcia has sometimes seen neighbor cats climb into my back patio area and yowl and hiss at them through the window. She's never minded her brother though, other than sometimes get annoyed with him.
Old 05-14-21, 07:48 PM
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Re: Those with multiple pets, how do the others handle the loss of one?

I lost my first golden, Zoe, over eight years ago. We had gotten another dog, Bailey, when Zoe was seven. Zoe passed of cancer at the age of 15 and Bailey did not seem to care that much. I was so upset that Bailey was not grieving his sister. Then about two weeks later Bailey became very depressed and I realised that he then knew his sister was gone. It was so heartbreaking. I lost Bailey in January also at the age of 15, which is a long life span for Goldens. I miss them both very much.
Old 05-14-21, 08:06 PM
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Re: Those with multiple pets, how do the others handle the loss of one?

Sorry to hear that. It seems cancer is the big thing that takes out pets, more so than humans. It sucks because Marcia is not showing any other signs of old age. The vet told me what she got would have been hard to detect in advance- both cats get yearly checkups and she appeared fine then.
Old 05-14-21, 08:26 PM
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Re: Those with multiple pets, how do the others handle the loss of one?

I have 5 cats (all different ages 14, 12, 6, 3, 6months), volunteer for multiple cat rescues, and do Trap-Neuter-Return regularly so I would consider myself fairly knowledgeable on cats. In my experience cats are pretty adaptable and I would say only maybe 1% of cats actually need to be kept as a single pet. As long as you are introducing them the correct way by keeping them separated for at least a few weeks and slowly allowing them more and more contact I have never had any issues even with introducing a kitten to an older cat. Obviously some cats personality will bond easier with another cat then others but at the worst they should still be to coexist. In the last 10 years we've had 3 cats pass away/have to be euthanized and have had to introduce new cats to the family so I'm pretty used to it by now. I see lots of videos where people get a new cat and just set them next to the old cat and that is the worst way to introduce them. Like mentioned above cats are territorial and just setting another cat in its territory is just asking for problems.
Old 05-14-21, 08:32 PM
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Re: Those with multiple pets, how do the others handle the loss of one?

You’ve seen where I live, I wouldn’t be able to keep anyone separated very easily. Best I could do is straighten up the small bedroom and keep the new cats in there for a while with their own litterbox and stuff, but that would be pretty cramped and then Greg would wonder why the door was closed. He likes to go up on the bed. I would still want him to regard the whole place as his and any new cats just being lucky enough to share it with him, that’s sort of how it was with the rabbit. He was just let loose in here but had a fenced off area in the living room with his food and stuff. He still hung out in other places but the cats stayed away from him and swatted at him if he tried to join them.
Old 06-26-21, 05:28 PM
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Re: Those with multiple pets, how do the others handle the loss of one?

Greg is now the only cat as his sister Marcia checked out today with help from a visiting vet. He hid while the vet was here but came out afterwards, he doesn't seem to realize what's happened and is just acting as he usually does- I think he could already tell Marcia wasn't her normal self the past few weeks anyways.

Will give us a few weeks to adjust and hopefully straighten up some things around here, then see what Greg thinks about 2 new kitties. I want to always get them in sibling pairs and have a minimum of 2 but maximum of 3 while I'm still in this apartment, with the max going up to 5 when I'm finally in a place with room for that many.
Old 06-26-21, 07:27 PM
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Re: Those with multiple pets, how do the others handle the loss of one?

Sorry for the loss of your friend Alan.

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