Dulci (In Loving Memory - you

Do cats avoid other members of the house who are sick?

A friend who's adopted kitten is sick, was wondering why the two adults are now avoiding him when they used to sleep with him and cuddle him. From any of your experiences, have you found that your cats in the same household (but who are not actually related) often avoid ill cats, and does that indicate anything about the nature of the illness?

Asked by Dulci (In Loving Memory - you on Jan 17th 2008 in Health & Wellness
Report this question Get this question's RSS feed Send this question to a friend


  • This question is closed.


Mozza (forever loved)

I've seen & heard of this from others before & from my own experiences. But sometimes, the opposite will happen, especially if the ill cat was VERY close to another. There are times shortly before an ill or old cat dies that the other(s) will stay with it, cuddling close & protectively as they seem to sense what's coming.

But since the kitten hasn't been around the 2 adult cats for a long time, its illness may seem frightening or confusing to them. In nature, a mother cat will often abandon her critically ill kitten to care for the healthy ones. I wouldn't say this kitten is critically ill but the adults may sense something wrong & are withdrawing. It may need years for a deeply close relationship to develop where the other stays by the side of the ill one.

Saying all that, cats are so individual that it's almost impossible for us to judge why they're acting like this. Hopefully, others can add more. I hope the kitten is being cared for by a vet too.

Mozza (forever loved) answered on 1/17/08. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer

Izadore (Izzie)

When my daughter's cat was dying from FIP, her other cats avoided her and they were littermates and very close. In the wild, sick animals will often go off on their own, as will elderly ones. I was told once that there is a certain "odor" of sickness, whether it's an actual skin odor or medicinal odor, and I've always believe that cats are psychic or at least super-sensitive. Your friend's kitten may also smell of the vet's office which would put the other ones off. I hope your friend is giving her sick baby lots of human attention and love to make up for his loss of feline attention.

Izadore (Izzie) answered on 1/18/08. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer


My parents cats started fighting all the time when one of them got sick with diabetes (my parents chose to put her down when she was diagnosed). Kitties can definitely tell, for some of them it is a chance to re arrange the hierarchy, but I'm not sure why they do this exactly. Hopefully the kitten will feel better soon!

Hunter answered on 1/18/08. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer