Dealing with Cat Separation Anxiety

During COVID-19, all types of pets have become used to having their owners around, which makes leaving them at home much more difficult for everyone. Separation anxiety in cats is becoming more common as people return to work and start leaving the house on a daily basis. We want to help you and your cat avoid separation anxiety or treat it if you are already struggling, so here are some common causes, signs, and ways to help separation anxiety in cats.


Causes

  • Over-attachment to the owner

  • Being used to having attention all the time

  • Negative experiences with being left alone

  • Not enough practice being left alone

  • Discomfort with the home environment


signs

  • Spraying around the house

  • Constantly asking for attention and meowing

  • Grooming excessively or not enough

  • Loss of litter training -- this could also be sign of an illness, so check for anything physically wrong with your cat

  • Over-excitement when owner returns home

  • Unusual destructive behaviour


prevention & Treatment

  • Lots of entertainment when leaving cats alone;

  • Interactive cat toys (examples)

  • Allow your cat to have access to a safe and enclosed outdoor space

  • Calming pheromone and smell diffusers

  • Let other household members connect with your cat to promote healthy attachment

  • Practice leaving and returning when they are young

  • Make gradual changes to routine to get them acclimated slowly;

  • Leave them alone at home at increasing intervals while giving treats

  • Adjust feeding schedules to fit your work schedule

  • Cats love routine, so try to leave and arrive around the same time

  • Attached does not mean lonely, so another cat may NOT help

  • As a last resort, a vet can prescribe your cat medication for anxiety