What Are The Signs Of Separation Anxiety In Cats?

August 16, 2017
feline behaviour
separation anxiety

What an interesting question!

Cats are solitary survivors who generally manage being alone much better than dogs or people do.

Nevertheless, because they have evolved to avoid being noticed by predators, we probably miss their signs of anxiety just like we can overlook their subtle signs of sickness.

Is It An Environment Thing?

Around their favourite person, kitty will be more confident to explore, whereas around strangers, kitty is more likely to be vigilant and may hide. And when alone, kitty spends more time sleeping.

We don’t know how much of this is affected by how well their environment meets their needs, though. Are they as confident when they don’t have a lookout or know that they can “disappear” should they wish to?

The Signs

When a suitcase, or coffee mug and keys appear, or when kitty is left alone, signs that he/she is experiencing separation anxiety include:

  • Excessive meowing
  • Urinating
  • Defecating outside of the litterbox (often on the bed!)
  • Spraying
  • Scratching things you don’t want them to scratch
  • Eating less
  • Overgrooming
  • Clingy/neediness
  • Hiding

Quite a wide range of responses, isn’t it?

How Can You Help?

Providing your cat with predictable one-on-one time can help. But remember, these could also be signs of physical sickness, so it’s good to look for these clues for your own peace of mind and, above all, your cat!

What You Should Know

Anything that causes stress can result in illness:

Stress can cause idiopathic cystitis > cystitis causes pain > pain causes stress

What a vicious cycle! So, look for these signs and, if you see any of them, talk with your veterinarian. We are always happy to help!

Click here for another resource on Managing Cat Separation Anxiety that you might find helpful.

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