8 Effective Ways To Manage Separation Anxiety In Cats
Separation in cats goes far further than just being clingy and possessive. A common sign of separation anxiety is also vomiting vocalization and excess grooming. Read on to discover why your cat may be anxious and how to help your feline.
Separation anxiety is a common behavior in dogs. We have all heard about it. After all, dogs are so pack-needy that they have problems staying at home alone for just 30-minutes. However, what we don’t hear often is that cats can do through this state as well.
Truth is, separation anxiety is not only common behavioral disorder in dogs. Indoor-felines can become anxious when left for long periods of time. They can be sensitive to their surroundings, or they can be very attached to their owners.
Felines, that are extremely attached to their people, can become stressed, especially if they are left for a long period of time. Before we tell you how to deal with feline’s anxiety, let’s see what are the common signs of stress in cats.
Signs Of Stress
Cats can stress. People often take them for independent creatures that live by their own rules. Although that may be the truth, felines are still gentle and extremely kingly creatures. If your job requires long and often flights, your cat may start stressing as soon as you start putting your shoes on.
On the other hand, some felines will choose to hide and refuse to eat or come out from their hiding until you are back. Moreover, some are ready to remain hidden even once you are back home.
Still, be careful not to mix separation anxiety stress with the lack of stimulation and interaction, such as play and frequent petting. This is extremely important in kittens.
Often, a lack of activity and lack of interaction with people can lead to anxious and bored cats. Moreover, lack of physical activity can lead to obesity.
Signs Of Separation Anxiety In Cats
There is the list of most common separation anxiety signs in cats:
- Excessive vocalization/Whining
- Not eating while the owner is away
- Not drinking water while the owner is away
- Often urination outside the litter box
- Often defecating outside the litter box
- Excessive drooling
- Extreme grooming
- Energetic greetings when the owner comes home
- Destructive behavior
Naturally, if you notice any unusual behavior in your cats such as excessive scratching, check your feline for fleas. For any other unusual behavior, talk with your veterinarian. Now, let’s see how you can help your cat calm down.
What Causes Separation Anxiety?
Separation anxiety is a dislike of solitude. In cats, signs of separation anxiety are easy to spot, especially since cats are so vocal creaturs when they need something.
Separation anxiety may occur in cats when the cat is separated from her owner or another companion.
Furthermore, separation anxiety may occur when a strong change is made, such as moving from fone apartment to another one. It’s still a big mystery that awakens separation anxiety in cats.
Some claim that separation anxiety in cats is both environmental and genetic. But… Can it be prevented?
The very best prevention is to ensure your kitten is well-socialized. Proper socialization, just like in dogs, can prevent numerous behavior problems.
10 Ways To Manage Cat’s Separation Anxiety
The very first thing that you should do is to seek veterinary advice to make sure that your cat’s behavior is not, in reality, an underlying medical problem.
A fast visit to the veterinarian’s house will determine if your dog may suffer from any type of physical problem. So, what are the 10 safe ways to keep your cat calm?
1. Talk To Your Vet
As mentioned earlier, this should be your first step. Make sure that you involve your veterinarian from day one. If your cat shows worrisome signs such as vomiting, appetite loss, or excessive grooming, make sure that you contact your veterinarian immediately.
In some cases, cats may benefit from certain medication and behavior management strategies. Remember, medications can be prescribed only by a veterinarian.
2. Remove Departure Signs
Cats are intelligent creatures. You may think that they don’t know your habits, but that’s far from the truth. They watch and know your every move. Some are so clingy, that they can foreshadow a departure. That being said, make sure to rethink your departure habits.
If you tend to grab keys just before you walk out, you will need to think about different strategy and to create another routine. And you will need to practice your departure.
Grab your keys and then put them right back. Do the same with shoes and jacket. Walk out the door and come back in. If you use a suitcase, leave it between trips in a living room or near to the cat’s usual spot.
This way you will make your feline more relaxed, and she will never know actually if you are leaving for a minute or a day.
3. Always Prepare Your Cat
Playing with your cat is so important. It enables you to share mutual moments, to share memories, and moreover, it can be very useful when you need to teach your cat something. That being said, practice mini absences.
We talked about the similar approach above. Avoid the all-or-nothing approach. Separations can be short, such as going to the store or walking to the mailbox.
4. Keep Arrivals And Departures Low-Key
Don’t complicate the situation, keep it simple. When you are ready to leave, don’t make awkward situations, or long. Avoid hugs, extremely low petting and so on.
Keep it simple, and only make a non-emotional acknowledgment of your departure. When you return, greet your cat only once she stops searching for your attention.
5. Leave Your Feline With A Challenge
This is quite similar to dogs. Even cats love to play, especially if you leave them a toy with snacks in it. So, when you go, give your cat a challenging food puzzle.
This can help to link your departure with something that she enjoys and loves. Use a variety of food puzzles, other toys, and always fill them with cats’ traits.
If your feline has an adventurous spirit, hide small pieces of food around the house. Your cat will see this is a real hunt. Moreover, ask your caretaker to rotate puzzles and hide streets at least once to twice a day.
6. Provide Right Toys
Have a variety of toys. Keep your feline busy with mice or ball-on-track toys, or even test robotic, nad more interactive toys. Whenever it’s possible fill toys with catnip, to help your cat relax.
7. Incorporate Perching Areas
Cats love exploring. They also prefer vertical spaces and having a high vantage point from which they can view the outside world. So, cat trees, window perches, and cat-friendly shelves can do wonders.
However, if your feline prefers hiding, then you should think about tunnels and boxes.
8. Build A Calm Atmosphere
With so many all-natural products on the market, it’s easy to find the right room diffuser to release a pheromone that can have a profound relaxation effect on your feline. Also, playing music or leaving the TV can help keep your cat calm.
Always leave a light on. Last but bot least, always leave a piece of your wardrobe around. Cats have a strong smell, so your feline will pick up on your smell.
Always think about what you can do to make your cat feel entertained. you can do something small, as leaving the TV on. Cats love to watch something moving, so maybe you should think about leaving the Animal Planet on?
If you don’t want to overthink and to plan ahead, then just find a trusted cat sitter. Having a human around while you are not at home, should work. Moreover, you could have a cat sitter over offer a short period, or coming only to feed your cat with wet food.
Regardless of your final option, one is sure – you need to test and test, and test different options and see what works to your cat the most.
The Bottom Line
Cats are sensitive beings. People usually believe that cats are independent on that level that they don’t need any interaction with humans. However, cats are just unique, and they do need love, support, and playtime.
Little is known, but cats can develop intense separation anxiety.
This condition might be even more substantial if your feline went through a trauma, physical or emotional. So, it’s essential to think about this condition and prevent it if possible.
Think about the eight steps listed above and try each one until you find the one that fits your feline the most. Once you discover what works for your feline, you will notice an improvement in your cat in no time.
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