Tutorial: Separation Anxiety in Cats

Tutorial: Separation Anxiety in CatsImage © yanikap – Fotolia.com

Bothered by the significant changes in the behavior of your cat due to sudden change of your schedule? If so, it could be that your pet has been suffering from a separation anxiety issue. Contrary to a common belief that only dogs and humans are susceptible to separation anxiety issues, cats may also be affected by this condition.

Research shows that many cats have special needs for companionship. In fact, this non-solitary animal usually creates a special and strong bond with their owners and other members of the household. When these people leave, some cats cannot seem to live and perform well. Prior to the occurrence of separation anxiety, the cat may have lived for years without any issues. Behavioral changes may only occur when the owner begins to be away for longer hours than usual.

Despite appearing to be “in their own world” a lot of the time, cats can actually be very attentive to details. In fact, they are able to recognize clues which indicate you will be leaving. For instance, if you put make-up on before leaving, then your cat might think that every time you put your make-up on, leaving will follow.

When the owner leaves, the cat may become upset and cry for long hours. Also, they might urinate or defecate on objects which carry the owner’s scent! Normally, these behaviors do not appear during departure. It only manifest when the pet is left all alone at home. [1]

Some cats even urinate in the pillow or howl non-stop which can really be annoying or disturbing. Meanwhile, some become more clingy and don’t allow their loved ones to get out of their sight. To some, depression may begin to occur, causing them to start hiding and to refuse to mingle with other people. Some felines eat more than what they normally consume, while others do not eat at all. [2]

There is no clear reason why separation anxiety occurs in cats. Researchers can only assume that environmental and genetic factors might have something to do with it. When you suspect that your cat has separation anxiety issues, it would be best to bring its condition to the attention of a veterinarian, and a behaviorist. By performing physical examinations, professional veterinarians are able to determine if the behavior is triggered by an underlying physical condition. As for treatment, research shows that counter-condition and desensitizing are effective in dealing with the condition.

Visit this website to discover detailed information about this behavioral issue, and what you can do to help your cat overcome it: http://www.catbehaviorassociates.com/separation-anxiety-in-cats

[1] http://cats.about.com/od/stressanxietyincats/a/separationanxietyincats.htm
[2] http://www.catster.com/lifestyle/cat-behavior-separation-anxiety
[3] http://www.peteducation.com/article.cfm?c=1+2174&aid=2372

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