Cats and Separation Anxiety

Most people are familiar with separation anxiety and dogs, but did you also know that cats and kittens can also suffer from separation anxiety?

Granted, it is not as common as with dogs but with businesses opening back up and people who cannot work from home going back to work our four-legged family have suddenly gone from 24/7 attention to being alone all day. If not properly prepared that can lead to a lot of problems.

Most people think of cats as solitary animals but that is not always the case. The newest protocol in adopting kittens is to adopt in pairs if they will not already have a playmate at home.  In fact, some rescues insist on it.

Common signs of separation anxiety in cats may be seen as excessive grooming, increased vocalization, possessiveness, and inappropriate peeing. In all cases the very first thing to do is rule out any medical issues. A trip to the vet may be in order. If you are seeing your cat peeing outside the litter box, have ruled out any medical issues and you keep the litter box clean then you probably are dealing with separation anxiety.

If you suspect your cat is starting to show signs of separation anxiety there are a few things you can do. Firstly, make sure you are leaving your cat in a safe, stimulating environment. A bored cat can quickly become a destructive cat.  Have you made sure they have enough toys around that will stimulate their hunting instinct? Why not invest in a toy or two that has automatic on/off features so your cat will be entertained while you are away. We love the Wicked Ball 100% Automatic Self Moving Toy and Petsafe Peek-a-Bird Automatic Cat Toy.  Or try hiding small treats around for your cat to hunt out during the day. Our favouite is the Doc and Phoebes Mini Indoor Hunting Kit.

If you are able, spend a little time playing with your cat before work, when you get home and again before bed. Try to incorporate different toys each time. Are you going back to work and leaving a cat and a dog at home? Again, you might want to consider giving your cat some safe spaces in your home. Cats love height and they love to scratch. Try putting a scratcher to two in your home to keep your cats mind off sharpening their claws on your couch. A few of our favourites are The Katt3 Evo family of perches and the Hauspanther Dual Surface Scratching Post.

Most experts will tell you if you have dog with separation anxiety not to make a big fuss when you leave the house. Just pick up your keys and go. That very same principal works well with cats. If your cat suffers from severe separation anxiety, then a few trial trips out the door may be the ticket before you start leaving for a full workday.  Short jaunts out and lavish attention when you come home.

We hope this article will offer some insight into the lesser known cat separation anxiety. Please always check with your Veterinarian before you diagnose your cat or kitten with separation anxiety.