Do Cats Guard Their Injured?

Do Cats Guard Their Injured?

by Elisa Black-Taylor
(USA)

Cassie, Furby and Garfield guarding Sealy

Cassie, Furby and Garfield guarding Sealy

Cassie, Furby and Garfield guarding Sealy Our injured cat Sealy

Do cats guard their injured? I've found myself asking this question as all of my cats appear to be guarding our injured boy Sealy. Here's his story for those of you who missed it: Treating a cat with a car fan blade injury.

I first noticed the strange (yet comforting) behavior exhibited by my cats about a week ago. Sealy has his healing cage on an old retro TV. He's quite comfortable there. He has a blanket in his cage and there are a few left on top of the cage to change out when he poops and pees. My cats are taking turns laying on the blankets on top of the cage.

I would say this is just a comfort thing with them. A nice soft blanket makes a great napping spot. Then I recalled how Furby would lay on the cat carrier while our deaf cat Annabelle was inside after being injured in a kitchen drawer accident. Her cage door was open, but she chose to stay inside the cage to recover. Furby remained near her on top of the carrier for two days. Her story can be found at: My deaf cat Annabelle had an accident. This would not have been a comfortable position for Furby to remain in and Furby is all about comfort.

Our cats appear to take Sealy guarding in two hour shifts. So far Furby, Cassie, Lucy and Garfield have pulled a mini-shift on top of Sealys cage.

I believe they know Sealy was seriously injured. In the beginning I wondered if they were just sizing him up or wanting him to come out of the cage and play with them. This has to be more than mere curiosity. There are several more comfortable sleeping spots than on top of a wire cage. So I've come to the conclusion they're guarding their new housemate. Either that or sending healing energy in a manner that's a mystery to me.

Sealy doesn't mind their behavior. Sealy really doesn't react to anything at all except the sound of pans being rattled in the kitchen as this means he'll be having a treat soon. He also doesn't enjoy Laura and I changing his blanket at night. The other cats don't seem to cut into his nap time. I do wonder if perhaps he feels safer with a cat on top of his cage.

What do the readers here think? Do cats guard their injured? Are they sending him healing energy? Or are they just sizing him up for future play dates? Does this behavior have nothing at all to do with an injured cat and they just enjoy laying on a soft blanket? I'd really love some feedback on this issue.

Have any of your cats kept watch over another injured or sick kitty in your home? Just curious...

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Do Cats Guard Their Injured?

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May 20, 2012
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Gratitude among cats !! NEW
by: Anonymous

As long, long time cat lovers/rescuers/helpers we also have noticed this, when our Russian Blue adopted us we also had a young blue calico, a great mother. She quickly adopted Keke & was his surrogate mother till adulthood, would eat, play & sleep together.
Unfortunately she was poisoned, couldn't find her for several hrs, Keke knew where Mommy was, took us to her & was very comforting how he was taking care of her, he stayed with her till we were able to carry her down to safety & medical care. Took her to vet that night (about 10 PM) sadly due to serious neurological damage decision was made to euthanized her, she went peacefully in my arms but was no longer suffering, this was back in 1980 but still miss her Manchita (spots) was her fitting name.
Keke knew his surrogate mom was very ill & stayed with her till his/her humans could help.
Yes, cats guard other cats when ill or in trouble.
keenpetite
Southeast Arizona (USA)


Mar 24, 2012
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Cats guard the injured, including their human(s)
by: Anonymous

Margaret Page & her cat Miya were rescued after close to 1 month of being stranded in rugged new Mexico mountains, Margaret suffers from PTSD (Post traumatic stress disorder, a type of mental illness).
Her cat Miya was with her, they huddle in a sleeping bag to endure 20F weather. When rescuers found them Margaret had lost close to 30 lbs, ran out of food but she drank water from a creek, Miya fared much better by hunting (perhaps we could learn from cats,lol)
Miya is such a devoted cat that she actually stayed with her human, inclusive as both were carried in a stretcher down mountain by several rescuers. Story online, search Margaret Page & cat Miya.
Cat deserves a medal for bravery, loyalty & care.
A long time cat lover,
Southeast Arizona


Mar 24, 2012
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I've also disproven
by: elisa

I've also disproven that cats automatically get into a fight with a new cat. Mine mostly get along from the beginning.


Mar 24, 2012
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Meerkats do this
by: Ruth (Monty's Mom)

There used to be this show called Meerkat Manor, which was all about these little animals in Australia, I think. One of the meerkats was bitten by a snake and while he recovered he stayed by the burrow, unable to keep up with the rest as they foraged for food. Another meerkat stayed back with him, just sitting by him. I thought she should go bring him back some food, but the way she stayed with him was touching. It was a great show, but their food consisted of big disgusting bugs dug up out of the ground, so you didn't want to be snacking in front of the tv when it was on. They were very social creatures. The stereotype is that cats are loners, but I think the behavior of Elisa's cats dispels that myth.


Mar 24, 2012
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Friendships
by: Michael

In a close knit group that your cats have formed you will get friendships. You'll get connections and with that it seems likely that you will also get concern for a "family member". The family being the group.

So I think it is possible that cats will "guard" injured cats.

I am not sure it is guarding. Perhaps more to do with being close to support the injured cat emotionally.

I think too that you have created a very cat friendly environment in which cats can freely express their emotions and have more concern for others than normal.

Interesting thought, Elisa. I don't think I have seen this behavior before.



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