How to help a cat with separation anxiety
Most cats are happy when left to play and relax on their own, but some can experience separation anxiety when they are away from their owners for a long time.
Let’s take a look at some of the signs of separation anxiety in cats and how you can help them cope with being on their own.
What is cat separation anxiety?
Whilst separation anxiety is much more common in dogs than cats, it can still be an issue for some kitties. Cats are creatures of habit, so if something disrupts their routine and they see less of their owners than they are used to, they may start to suffer separation anxiety.
Separation anxiety may also be more common in orphaned cats or cats that were adopted during COVID-19 lockdowns who are now adjusting to not having their owners around all the time.
Signs your cat has separation anxiety
Some signs to look out for which may indicate your cat is experiencing separation anxiety are:
- Excessive meowing or crying
- Easily startled
- Refusing food and drink
- Hiding away more than usual
- Going to the toilet outside of their litter box
- Vomiting food or hairballs
- Destructive behaviour
How to deal with cat separation anxiety
As kitty owners, knowing your furry friend is suffering from separation anxiety can be upsetting, but there are steps you can take to help your cat feel calmer and more comfortable.
Introduce a regular routine
To reduce cat separation anxiety, introducing a routine can help. As we mentioned earlier, cats are creatures of habit and can find changes stressful. So, get them used to regular feeding schedules, playtimes, and rest time to add structure to their day. Try to get them comfortable with sleeping on their own, too – many cats like to snuggle up in bed with their owners, but this can lead to separation anxiety at night if you need to be away. Set up a nice, cosy cat bed for them in a separate room and make sure they have water and their favourite toys around them so they feel safe and comfortable.
Get them used to playing and being alone
Cats require plenty of mental and physical stimulation, so when they have their play times, get them used to playing by themselves even when you are around so that they will feel more comfortable with this when you are not there.
Try putting the tv or radio on a low volume in the room they sit in the most. The sound will become familiar to them after a while, which may help calm them when you’re not around.
It can also help to keep a cat tower in the room or clear a windowsill or a shelf they can jump onto, as cats often feel more secure when they’re high enough to observe their surroundings.
Tire them out before you leave
Before leaving them alone, have a play session with them and feed them a hearty meal. This will help them use up energy, so they’ll find it easier to settle (or sleep) when you leave.
When leaving your kitty, keep your departure as low-key as possible. We know it can be tempting to shower them with cuddles and kisses, but this can bring attention to the fact that you’re leaving, which may make them feel more distressed after you go. So, instead, try to leave quietly with minimal fuss.
Get a second cat
Sometimes, getting your cat another playmate can help them feel less alone when you leave them. However, this option may not be for everyone, as introducing a second cat may make your cat feel more stressed if they don’t cope well with change. Only consider this option if you think your kitty will respond well to having another cat to play with.
Help to keep your feline friend happy and healthy at all times with the pet insurance policies available here at Asda Money.