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Cats are fiercely independent creatures but they can become easily bonded with their primary caregivers. Cats who intimately bond with their caretakers often become anxious and agitated in their absence. While they may still be able to adjust to shorter periods of absence – if their human parent happens to be away for longer than they had anticipated they may begin to “act out”. Cats can experience separation anxiety just as human children do. If you stay away from home for long periods, your cat can find it difficult to adjust and may indulge in unwanted behavior like increased vocalization, loss of appetite, soiling your belongings or excessive grooming.
How will you know your cat is getting stressed?
Your cat will express its stress by either withdrawing and hiding or clinging to you and vocalizing intensely. You should be able to notice these cues as soon as you begin getting ready to go out. Cats are intelligent and they pick up on these signs. Cats may not feel stressed the minute you have walked out the door, but over time when it realizes you are not returning anytime soon, it can begin to experience anxiety.
What can you do to calm your anxious cat?
Let’s face it, it’s not possible for you to always keep your cat company. You will have to go to work and attend to other outdoor chores, no matter how much separation from you causes your cat anxiety. But there are certain steps you can take to relieve your cat’s anxiety, if only a little. What are these steps? Let’s learn below –
- Consult your vet – Before your cat can be diagnosed with separation anxiety, you need to talk to your vet and verify whether the symptoms are indicative of any other physical problem that your cat might be experiencing.
- Practice time away from your cat – Go out now and then and leave your cat alone at home. Your cat should not get habituated to spending long uninterrupted hours with you. If it does, it’s only natural that they will find it difficult to adjust to your absence.
- Get them other avenues for stimulation – Maybe your cat finds it so difficult to be away from you because you are its only source of stimulation. Provide your cat with a couple of toys, so it can keep itself entertained and amused in your absence. When you provide your cat with other avenues for stimulating itself, in your absence, your absence will not be so difficult on them. In fact, they may not even notice that you’re gone.
- Leave on the TV – If your cat detests being alone, you could maybe, leave the television on or keep some soft music playing until you’re back. Your cat will feel less alone this way.
Separation anxiety is just as real in cats, as it is in humans. So don’t sweep it under the carpet, take proactive steps to make your anxious cat feel better.