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Cats and Separation Anxiety


cat_seperation_anxiety.pngSeparation anxiety tends to be something we associate with young children or dogs, never cats. We are all brought up with the idea that cats are self-sufficient and completely independent; they don’t need humans they simply tolerate us. Cats can, however, suffer from separation anxiety as well. A good number of cat breeds simply do not do well without constant companionship, either the companionship of another cat or their human. No one knows why cats suffer from separation anxiety, it could be a combination of environmental and psychological factors. Some cats that have been completely normal may suddenly develop separation anxiety with a change in their owners work schedule, the introduction of a new baby, or after being boarded while the family is on vacation. Many of the signs of separation anxiety mimic the signs of serious medical conditions, so if your cat displays these be sure you get them to the Vet for an exam before assuming that separation anxiety is the problem.

The first step in dealing with the problem, however is identifying it; the second step is treating it. So, how can you tell if your cat is suffering from separation anxiety?

1.) When I'm home my cat follows me from room to room and becomes panicked if I shut a door between us.

- This is common in cats with separation anxiety. They are anxious for you to get home and don’t want to be separated from your for even a second. Check out our tips for how to help your cat with separation anxiety for ways to alleviate the symptoms.

2.) When I'm at work my cat has accidents, but when I'm home he uses the litter box without any problems.

- If your cat is having accidents, it is important that you take them to the vet before making the assumption that they have separation anxiety. Accidents outside the litter box can be a sign of a more serious problem such as a urinary tract infection.

3.) My cat is vomiting when I'm at work, but I never see any signs of stomach trouble when I'm at home.

Get your cat checked out, vomiting can be a sign of both separation anxiety and a number of other medical problems. Have your pet examined to make sure there is a not a serious medical condition as the underlying problem.

4.) I've noticed that my cat is getting bald spots in places where she normally grooms herself. Could this be from separation anxiety?

- Yes. Obsessive grooming is often a sign of separation anxiety. It can, however, also be a sign of other more serious problems. Be sure you check with your vet if your cat looks like it’s going bald in random patches.

5.) I'm gone for 8 hours and feed my cat every morning before work. When I come home he hasn't eaten anything, but when I walk through the door he is happy to eat once I've given him attention.

- The anxiety your cat experiences when you are gone may prevent it from eating while you are away. This can lead to problems with vomiting if they wait till you get home and then eat too quickly as eating too fast will cause their stomach to fill up and then become too full.

6.) I've never had trouble with my cat scratching the furniture, but since I started working more hours I've come home to find my furniture absolutely shredded.

- Furniture scratching and other damage caused by crazy kitties is one of the most frustrating things a pet owner can experience. There are a number of solutions for this, including finding other ways for your pet to amuse themselves.


7.) My cat is normally warm and loving, but now that I’ve started working more I’m getting the “cold shoulder”. This was never a problem before. 
- While some cats become clingy, others will turn away from you. It's not so much a form of punishment as much as it is a way of dealing with the stress of you being gone all day. Treating separation anxiety will help to bring both extremes under control.



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