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Do pets mourn the loss of their owners?

Sunday, September 11, 2011
posted by Jim Murphy

On this tenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, I’m watching the very touching memorial to all of those who lost their lives that day. Many lives were torn apart, husbands lost their wives, wives lost their husbands, children lost their mothers or fathers, partners lost their partners, parents lost their sons and daughters  and pets lost their beloved owners. The list could go on. It makes me wonder, do our pets mourn our loss?

The answer is yes. Both cats and dogs feel the loss of their loved ones. Cats do feel a lot of grief after an owners passing. They may seek out shared objects or experiences that remind them of the lost individual, they show signs of unhappiness after a loss and may display distress when the owners name is mentioned.  They may also display this type of behavior to mourn the loss of another cat or dog in the same house hold.

There is a  story about a mother who’s daughter passed away. She took in the daughters cat. The cat seemed very depressed, would not eat and spent all of her time around the boxes of her daughters belongings. The mother put out one of her daughters favorite dresses and the cat quickly claimed in and spent all day lying on top of the dress.

Dogs also mourn the loss of a loved one. Pets may show signs of mourning in ways that a family does not recognize. Many pets have a different degree of attachment to their owner that leads to distress and stress when the owner passes. Here are some signs of mourning.

  • Barking, whining or howling
  • Destructive behavior
  • House soiling
  • Loss of appetite
  • Depression and inactivity
  • Lack of energy
  • Absence of play
  • Listlessness and moping
  • Becoming anti-social
  • Increased daytime sleeping
  • Nighttime restlessness
  • Weight Loss
So as you can see, our pets love us as we love them. They grieve and mourn our loss very much.  Many pets lost their owners and loved ones on 9/11. They grieved along with their family and friends.
Remember, your pets count! Today we remember the losses and tragedy which changed our lives forever on 9/11.

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