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Do cats have separation anxiety? This is a fairly common question among cat parents. Though separation anxiety in dogs is often discussed, the conversation does not always focus on our feline friends. Cats are typically viewed as independent, so people often assume that they won’t mind being left alone, but the truth is, it’s not unusual for cats to experience separation anxiety.
If you suspect that your cat has separation anxiety, it can be helpful to keep an eye out for certain behaviors. There can be many signs of separation anxiety in cats, including increased vocalization like meowing or crying, either when you leave or as you are getting ready to go. You may also notice your cat refusing to use their litter box. Other behaviors related to anxiety involve excessive grooming, destructive habits, extreme attachment, and attention-seeking behaviors whenever you are around.
Many cats will display these signs whenever you are not home. While it can be easy to tell when they are partaking in destructive behaviors (since you’ll find the remnants when you return), other signs such as increased vocality are obviously more difficult to pinpoint since you’re not home. To help with this, try setting up a camera (possibly one with audio) whenever you will be leaving your cat alone at home.
Another way to tell if your cat is experiencing separation anxiety is to watch their behavior as you prepare to leave—whether you are packing a suitcase or just grabbing your car keys. Take note if they begin acting differently whenever you go through the motions of departing the house. Our feline friends are incredibly smart and can pick up on our behaviors and habits. Just from grabbing your wallet or putting on your shoes, your cat can know that that means you will be gone for an extended time.
Cat separation anxiety symptoms can occasionally overlap with other health-related issues. For example, your cat refusing to use their litter box can indicate that they are experiencing separation anxiety, but this is also a common symptom of your cat having a urinary tract infection.
Keep a close watch on your pal’s symptoms, including their behaviors and mood. If possible, try taking a video when they display habits such as excessive meowing or pacing. This footage can be helpful for your veterinarian to understand how your best pal is feeling. Not only could this help rule out other underlying health issues, but it could assist in discovering the root of the problem.
With separation anxiety in felines, there can be many causes. For instance, if your cat is the only pet in the household. Our feline friends can benefit from having another animal companion around. They can help keep each other company and provide entertainment for one another while you are away.
That said, if your cat is already experiencing anxiety, adding another pet to the mix can accidentally make things worse, even though you have good intentions. Ideally, if you plan on having multiple pets in the home, it can be easier to adopt them close to one another, or you can inquire about any bonded pairs your local humane society may have.
Another major cause for anxiety, or something that can cause current anxiety to increase, is a change in routine. Examples can include,
For most cats, their daily routine is something they can count on—it’s predictable and provides a level of comfort.
There are many cats that will experience separation anxiety if they are left alone for too long in an unstimulating environment. For instance, though your pal may be okay for a few hours, being alone for an entire eight-hour workday could be too long. Plus, depending on your cat’s individual needs, they can get bored and lonely by not having any perching spots or a variety of toys available.
After learning that your feline friend has separation anxiety, one of your first questions as a concerned pet parent is most likely, “How do I treat my cat’s separation anxiety?”
Learning how to deal with separation anxiety in cats can be a process of trial and error. Here are five ways to help reduce your cat’s anxiety.
Your cat’s mental health is just as important as their physical health. So whether you think your cat is experiencing anxiety, depression, or compulsive behaviors, never hesitate to be your cat’s advocate and get them the help they need.
As a bonus tip, you can always hire a cat sitter or ask a close acquaintance to stop by and check on your best pal whenever you will be away from home for an extended time.
Though no cat parent wants their cat to experience separation anxiety, the good news is that many treatment options are available. In some instances, all it takes is a little bit of time and patience for your pal to become comfortable with their new situation.
The information presented in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute or substitute for the advice of your veterinarian.
title: Separation Anxiety in Cats
author: Emily W.