Should pets be shown that its partner pet is dead?

This already happened, but I’m still not sure if I made the right decision. I love my cats very much, and when one of them -Smokie – died of cancer, I didn’t want the second one to always wonder a) If the cat had abandoned us, or b) If the cat might come home one day, etc. That being said, I showed the other cat – Claws – Smokie’s body, and he became terrified, hunching and showing the whites of his eyes as he sniffed Smokie. It is a really painful memory, but I’m pretty sure it was the best choice. Any opinions?


7 Comments

happagirl2004 –
I don’t think that it was necessary. In my opinion, many people associate very human personality traits to their animals and begin to forget that they are in fact animals. Though I don’t doubt that your cats shared a very close bond, the loss of one shouldn’t create the same mourning and sense of loss or confusion in the surviving cat than it would in a human. But if you needed to do this for your own peace of mind than I think that was the most important thing since it didn’t cause any detriment to Claws.

Blackcat –
Not sure, but when my 15 year old cat was put to sleep I brought her body home and kept it out of the dogs way (they where best friends) but the dog cried for hours and paced. She seemed to sense something was up, and then she managed to find the body and saw it, I was shocked and worried how she would take it, but she just sniffed and nudged her as if she was trying to wake her up, but she then walked away and she seemed a lot calmer, there was no more whimpering and searching she seemed to accept that her friend was never coming home.

Ryan N –
Wow, I admire your nerve. My cat died a year ago. He was an outdoor cat and was lounging in the sun when a car back up and ran him over. It was the worst moment of my life driving him to the vet. He was in the seat next to me and died in my arms. I didn’t get a chance to show him to Oliver (our other cat) and I blame myself everyday for his death. I was so ignorant about the dangers that cats face outside. I wouldn’t have done what you did. I don’t think I would have the nerve, but I believe that was probably the best choice. I’m sorry for your lost.

Dances With Woofs! –
I always let my animals see the bodies if my pets die at home or if I bury them. Lately, I have been cremating my dogs and cats, so if they die at home, I allow the other animals to see the body, but I do not force them. If they are going to be euthanized and then cremated, I just let the other animals see them before they go and I think that they know, as they seem to sense when another animal is dying. I think that Claws will be OK.

queenjeanarlene  –
I think you made a good decision. Claws probably feels better knowing that his playmate is gone for good. I don’t know how long a cat’s memory is. I know when one sends it’s offspring to their new homes a cat or dog will search the house looking for the missing kittens.

Kirin Kat 
I hope this helps. I’m so sorry for you loss. Two days ago I lost my dear baby boy a Russian Blue, and his name was Smokey Joe (he was my only cat). I thought this article would be of help and I think what you did was a great choice. Helping survivor pets with cat loss is just as important as helping every other family member cope. Think about it, you spend every waking second of the day with someone and then they are gone, no where to be found. No one knows really how much animals understand but they do show emotions and they most definitely have feelings. Often times when you lose a cat, you will notice some sort of behavioral change in your other pets. At this time, it is very likely that your animal is mourning the loss of their companion. You might even find them searching for their friend around the house or outside. These actions are not at all uncommon that is why helping survivor pets with cat loss is important. If you notice changes in manners such as eating less, depression, acting withdrawn, sleeplessness, loss of interest in activities, clingyness or crying like behavior then it is a sure sign that your pet is experiencing some grief. Grief is defined as a form of anxiety felt at the abrupt severing of a relationship or the sudden absence of a familiar person or animal companion. There is no way to explain death to pets so helping survivor pets with cat loss can be achieved in other ways. If your cat passed away at home, then it may be a good idea to let your other pets see the cat before you take it away. This may help them come to terms with their absence. We don’t fully know how much animals understand about loss and death but anything that might help them better understand is worth trying.

Icecream
It would have been less traumatic for him if he was left to wonder where the other one went. Animals don’t need to see dead bodies.