Understanding Separation Anxiety in House Cats

April 20, 2009 :: Posted by - kittyluver :: Category - Behavior

Separation anxiety is a problem of children, we all know. The same can affect the cats too. This psychological problem of cat bothers the pet owners most. The separation anxiety in cats is expressed differently, unlike dogs. The cats don’t bay and howl like dogs. They don’t dash and bite the door or even the window sills of the house. They don’t make any attempt to escape from the new environment. They suffer in silence and only the pet owner could understand the uneasiness of the cat.

Separation anxiety, we all know stems from the animal’s low confidence level and the dependency on others like pet owners, fellow kitten or mother cat. Though the expression of separation anxiety is due to environmental factors the susceptibility increases due to genetic factor. e.g.  Breeds like mainecoons are less susceptible whereas the breeds like Burmese and Siamese are highly prone for separation anxiety.    

Separation Anxiety -Signs

There are few signs which can be observed to understand the cat’s separation anxiety. Here they are.   The cat will follow the owner, where ever he moves about in the house.

The cat may express signs of depression when the owner prepares to move out either for work or any other purpose. The cat will start mewing, hiding, slinking away, sulking etc. the cat will start crying, and meowing or moaning once the owner left the scene. This can be observed by the household of the owner.

The cat will not eat in the absence of owner. In some cases the cat will urinate or defecate on the owner’s cloth or property or on the door through which the owner left. At times the cat may indulge in excessive self grooming or destructive behavior or may vomit. 

Treatment- Behavioral

The separation anxiety in dogs can be corrected to some extend by proper training, but in cat the training is tricky and bit difficult too. Teaching "home alone environment "and by training the cat to sleep in the cat bed while the owners is not in the house will help to great extend. We can also make the cat to have a full view of the surrounding by taking her to up-stars. Positioning the windowpane bird feeders strategically   and providing mobile toys helps to some extend to overcome the separation anxiety. The radio can be put on even when the owner is away.

Treatment -medical

Incase the behavioral treatment is not providing the necessary result one can opt for medical therapy. There are many anti anxiety medications available in the market which can be used after the consultation with vet. Medication like clomipramine [primarily dog use], fluoxetine, and buspirone serves the purpose.

Conclusion

The separation anxiety in cat is not major problem as it is in cats, hence same can be ignored. Those who are having the genetically susceptible breeds like Burmese can take extra precaution. The behavioral therapy is best recommended as it has no side effects like the medications.

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