HomeCat Behaviorcat emotionsdepressionSuicidal Animals

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Suicidal Animals — 4 Comments

  1. I’d never heard about this bridge in Scotland, but I tend to agree with the canine behaviourist’s speculation as to why dogs are making the jump.

    Suicide is a deliberate act which requires awareness of one’s own mortality and perhaps concept of lifespan. I’ve read several accounts of captive Octopus deliberately ending their own lives in a variety of ways and we’re all familiar with dolphins and whales beaching themselves en masse when one of their members becomes seriously ill. These are highly intelligent speices, so perhaps their behaviour could be considered suicidal in human terms.

    Cats and many other animals can become so emotionally distressed or physically unwell, that they literally lose the will to live and stop eating. Sarah Hartwell gives an account of two such cats in her Messybeast article “When Cats Grieve”. Apparently the cats were grieving the loss of their owner and though one of them slowly recovered, the other starved itself to the point that euthanasia was the kindest option. A necropsy revealed no signs of disease or illness, other than that caused by the refusal to eat.

    There are unverified accounts of street-wise cats and dogs deliberately walking into oncoming traffic after the death of their owners. Was that suicide or just lack of attention due to their emotional state?

    This is a very interesting and thought provoking topic. It reminds us that we have so much more to learn about animals.

    • Agreed, Michele.
      Although I don’t believe that intentional suicide is in the minds of any dog or cat, I have experience in seeing some of my pets just “give up trying”.
      None have, intentionally, thrown themselves under a train or bus. Their potential demise is much more passive.

      • It’s so sad to see when they give up trying. Knowing how stoic cats are, just makes me realise how bad they must be feeling. I’m thankful we have euthanasia to relieve unnecessary suffering.

        I wish we humans had the same choice for ourselves.

  2. Intentional animal suicide? No.
    Especially, for cats that have an enormous survival instinct.
    Infanticide? Yes.

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