When talking about separation anxiety, most pet owners automatically start to think about dogs, and for good reason. But have you ever stopped to think if your condescending feline friend can also get anxious from separation? How do you correct a cat’s separation anxiety if such a thing exists at all?
Contrary to popular belief, cats can be prone to separation anxiety, and there are clear symptoms they exhibit when they’re suffering from this disorder. However, separation anxiety in cats is easier to correct than in dogs, as they already have a natural tendency to be independent.
In this article, you’ll learn about some of the most common signs of separation anxiety in your cat. Then, you’ll learn how to help your cat cure this condition and how to determine if your cat is anxious in the first place.
Do Cats Get Sad when they’re Alone?
There are legitimate things you should worry about when leaving your cat alone for extended periods, and their emotional state is one of them. While cats are pretty good at hiding their separation anxiety from humans in the family, that doesn’t make it nonexistent.
It appears that your cat does get lonely when you leave for extended periods. They form strong bonds with humans, just like dogs, and they’ll hate to be left alone without any play or stimulation.
While social media may try to suggest otherwise, cats do miss your presence. Unlike dogs, however, they don’t go about trashing the entire house or chewing on stuff to show it. They’re much more reclusive, and it sounds way cooler than how dogs take their anxiety.
Most times, you only start to notice that your cat has separation anxiety when it starts to get severe. Even in severe cases, they don’t get nearly as destructive as dogs.
Cats also learn to get used to you being away. While they may experience anxiety and depression on your first few outings, they later recognize it as a routine, effectively curing any anxiety they might be having.
Are Cats Prone to Separation Anxiety?
When scrolling through social media, it’s not hard to see people referring to cats as extremely independent pets. While that is true to some extent, their independence doesn’t mean they don’t need any human interaction.
There isn’t a scale to effectively grade how much social interaction amounts to separation anxiety. However, it’s easy to determine what counts as an “excessive” want for attention because it isn’t a particular characteristic of cats.
If you want a straightforward answer, then yes, your cat is very prone to separation anxiety. The risks of your feline friend developing this condition depend on the level of interaction you have with it daily, but some cats will show symptoms of excessive attachment regardless.
Since cats are generally more reclusive than dogs, the symptoms they show for separation anxiety are usually more subtle. It’s important to note that excessive grooming also grooms separation anxiety.
If you’re wondering if your cat’s obsession with you counts as separation anxiety, the next section will list some of the most popular symptoms of separation anxiety in cats.
How Do I Know If My Cat Has Anxiety?
There are many symptoms of separation anxiety, but the documented ones don’t represent every possible scenario. Since cats are generally believed to be less prone to this anxiety disorder, very little about it is said concerning cats.
With that being said, however, here are some of the symptoms you should look out for in your cat to determine if they’re experiencing separation anxiety or some other regular disorders.
- Failure to use their litter boxes.
Cats are known to be very intelligent animals that don’t need to be taught to use their litter boxes. Whenever a cat ignores its litter box to discharge urine or feces around the house, it’s almost always complaining about something.
If your cat is spayed, it’s most likely because it misses your absence. This sign alone shouldn’t make you conclude, however, as there are many reasons why a cat might deliberately ignore its litter box.
- Increased vocalization.
If your cat starts to meow and yowl excessively when you’re leaving the home, it may signify that it’s dealing with separation anxiety. If your cat carries a toy in its mouth while it yowls uncontrollably, you should worry.
If this behavior is accompanied by a cat’s failure to use litter boxes when you’re not around, it makes the suspicion even clearer. If your cat is relatively young while showing all these symptoms, it’s most likely suffering from separation anxiety.
- Extraordinary excitement on seeing you.
It’s perfectly normal for your cat to meow loudly when they see you, but you should know when it’s getting too much. Cats should generally be reclusive, and most should act like they don’t know you exist until it’s feeding time, of course.
When a reclusive animal starts to meow, yowl, jump, and grab you, you should know something is going wrong. If all of these symptoms accompany some other symptoms like failure to use their litter boxes, it’s most probably a sign of separation anxiety.
Before jumping to any conclusions, it’s important to see a veterinarian confirm your suspicions. Your vet can recommend a correction program to give your cat the independence it deserves.
How Do I Stop Separation Anxiety in Cats?
Separation anxiety in cats is generally less destructive and shouldn’t be a cause for worry. However, you may not want your cat to feel too attached to you, as that will make it less of a cat. If your cat is as wanting attention as a dog, how will you relate to cat memes?
If your cat appears to be in constant need of attention and stimulation, you can combat the disorder by ignoring them. Your cat will gradually learn to stop being so demanding. Each time they stop meowing for attention, you can compensate them with a treat.
If you keep this cycle, your cat should get over its anxiety in no time. You can also help cats become less reliant on you by making provisions for activities to keep them busy while you’re away.
Puzzle feeders are an excellent way to get started. Also, you can install special cameras that let you talk and reward your cat for certain actions remotely. All of these will be instrumental in making your cat a more independent member pet again.