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Cats can quickly become very attached to you, which may lead to separation anxiety. Nancy Peterson, cat programs manager at The Humane Society of the United States, explains that cats that suffer from separation anxiety are distressed because their owners are not around. Your cat acts out not to spite you, but because you have changed its routine.
The first step to keeping your cat calm and free of anxiety is to familiarize yourself with the common causes of cat stress. Having identified the potential sources of your pet's anxious behavior, you can experiment with ways to eliminate those stressors from his life. The most frequent contributing factors to cat anxiety include the following:
Over 40 million people in the United States alone suffer from some form of anxiety (including myself) that can not only make a person’s lifestyle greatly change, but have one living in fear of the what if’s. While there has been many years spent on dogs with studies proving dogs can not only suffer from GAD, separation anxiety but also OCD and panic attacks, little has been done for cats. Many just assume because cats are not pack animals, they can’t suffer from separation anxiety. This is far from true. Do you have a cat whom you suspect to suffer from separation anxiety?This is not only a sign of separation anxiety, but also depression. If you kitty is fixed, it is important not to ignore this. This isn’t general marking, but scattered spraying over certain items like towels, blankets, shoes, ect. They aren’t looking to keep other cats away, but actually to attract you back. This is why peeing on your items is the most obvious target for them. You may also notice diarrhea, which is from your kitty tensing and getting worked up. All humans with anxiety have some form of digestive distress.While separation anxiety is not deadly, nor is general anxiety, it can be hard for your kitty to cope with day to day life. Things like using the litter box, eating, drinking, and playing become secondary when they are under anxiety. If you know someone who has some form of anxiety problem, take what you know about them and apply it to your cat for better understanding. Here are some signs your cat may have separation anxiety…Us cat owners joke about this, but when it comes to a cat with separation anxiety, this is no laughing matter. If your cat has to be by you 24/7 while you are home, this includes coming in the bathroom with you, then your kitty may be worried you will be leaving. You will notice they are most happy and content when you are sitting still as well. They will show signs of worry or depression when they can’t sit with you.Whether you live in an apartment building or a home that has the windows open, if your neighbor is complaining about hearing your cat cry when you are not home, it is almost guaranteed that your cat has separation anxiety. The crying will typically start low and peaceful, like they are just calling for you to come over. Over time, they will begin to panic and get louder and deeper. They will cry anywhere from 20 minutes to the whole time you are gone. Typically, they stop after an hour and sleep from exhaustion just like people do after a panic attack.Your cat’s personality can predispose it to stress if it exhibits a scared and anxious disposition. A cat that is taken away from its mother or weaned too early can have feelings of abandonment. Not being properly socialized at a young age can contribute to a cat’s separation anxiety. Simply being lonely or bored can make cats depressed and agitated when left alone.