Do Cats Guard Their Injured?
by Elisa Black-Taylor
Cassie, Furby and Garfield guarding 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...