February 18, 2011

Separation Anxiety in Cats

Filed under: separation anxiety — Dr. Amber Reed @ 5:18 pm

stressed catSeparation anxiety is relatively common in cats and even if your cat has never shown any of the symptoms of separation anxiety this doesn’t mean the condition won’t develop.  In fact, adult cats are as likely to suffer separation anxiety as younger cats when you are away from long periods of time.  Separation anxiety can actually manifest in a number of different ways.  Some of the most common signs of separation anxiety in cats include destructive behaviors like chewing and scratching, following their owner at all times, inappropriate urination or defecation, or even excessive grooming.

feline stressAs you can guess, it may be difficult to determine whether or not your cat is actually suffering from separation anxiety.  Still, if your veterinarian has ruled out other medical problems and you’re fairly certain that separation anxiety is the problem, there are things you can do.  Separation anxiety may be triggered by a stressful event (such as your cat being alone during a longer vacation) and there are even some genetic or early environmental influences at play.  As such, it is very difficult to prevent separation anxiety.  Instead, behavioral modification techniques and natural anxiety treatments can help you solve your cat’s separation anxiety.

Firstly, try to desensitize your cat to your absence.  Cats are very tuned into our behavior and they may be able to tell you’re planning to leave just by your regular routine.  To desensitize your cat, engage in the behaviors that normally coincide with leaving for an extended absence from your house but stay home.  Also, providing your cat with interactive toys or activities to occupy her while you are away may also prevent inappropriate behavior.  Some cat owners have even noticed an improvement if they leave the TV on the nature channel or if they play the radio while they are gone.  Regardless of the approach you choose, you can effectively solve separation anxiety in cats with consistent, patient behavior modification.

About Dr. Amber Reed

has written 281 posts in this blog.

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