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Back history:

  • Joey and Pheobe are two and a half year old Bengal/Domestic crosses (1/2 Bengal) and both are/were reasonably vocal but not to any level of excess.
  • Joey was (we assume) hit by a car in late Summer 2013 and had to be kept caged for two months whilst his back leg healed. During this time his sister (Pheobe) could get quite freaked out by him, presumably because he smelled "ill".
  • Pheobe, his sister, was last seen October 5th. This was two months since Joey had been allowed out of his cage, under house arrest for a month and allowed outside for the second month. They were socialising normally and playing as they'd previously been seen to.

Question:

Since Pheobe disappeared, Joey has become a lot more vocal. When he comes in during the day/evening he'll meow loudly (verging on yowling) to "announce" his arrival. When he comes in at night, if we're in bed (asleep or otherwise) he'll meow very, very loudly as he comes up the stairs to the bedroom. Previously he meowed a little when coming upstairs at night, but not a lot at other times (other than if he was picked up and not in the mood to be!).

  1. Should I be concerned at this change in his behaviour?
  2. Is he "acting out" as he's lost his sister/playmate and is missing companionship?
  3. Is there anything I could do, or should do, to manage this behaviour in a way that's beneficial to him?

(Note: He's recently had his boosters / a check-up and the Vet had no concerns regarding his health)

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I've seen similar issues with a cat after losing a companion. Essentially, your cat is grieving and missing his companion, so he wants/needs more companionship from you. He may also be calling for his missing sister, and upset that she isn't responding.

My experience here is that a cat who's accustomed to having another cat around does miss the companionship and will cry/call for them. For many years my 18-yo cat was accustomed to being left with my parents and their cat when I had to be away from home for a while. The first time she was there after my parents cat died, she spent a long time calling for him and was quite clingy for weeks after that.

Later on, after I married, she and my husband's cat tolerated each other, but when my husband's cat died, she was clearly distressed and became very vocal and wanted a lot of attention. This persisted for long enough that we went to the local rescue and adopted a 6 month old kitten. After the initial introduction she settled down and returned to her normal behavior.

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  • Not exactly for the same reasons, but behaviour is the same when a mother cat is calling and searching for her kittens after the last one of kittens has been relocated to a new home. – Esa Paulasto Jan 20 '14 at 13:43
  • I can second this - my cat used to live with me, another human, and another cat, and now it is just me and him. He was a lot more vocal for the first few months after he was an only cat. – Ash Jan 20 '14 at 18:42
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    Cats also meow when they get bored. The house is probably a lot less interesting without a playmate, so Joey is probably bored in addition to being lonely. He'll probably get used to it, but if he's accustomed to having a playmate around, you might want to consider introducing another cat into the household. – hairboat Jan 21 '14 at 20:36

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