What You Can Do To Help Kittens With Separation Anxiety
Ensure that you provide a safe environment, lots of love, and enough playtime for your new family member. Its always good to check with a vet and get some extra tips and tricks. The core of cat separation anxiety is low self-confidence and a high dependence on others. You need to let your kitty be a hunter and encourage them to do things on their own.
When you get a new kitten, you can set up a safe, quiet room where they cant hurt themselves. Put their food, water and litter boxes in the room and leave them alone there for short periods of time. As your little buddy gets comfortable, you can increase their alone time. Later on, build up to leaving them alone as you go to work.
Senior And Disabled Cats
Animals who became disabled or whose circumstances may have changed can also be affected including cats older than 8 years may be susceptible to detachment related problems. Likewise, cats with cognitive decline could also be less competent to deal with the absence of a caretaker and will suffer from SRP.
Common Cat Anxiety Signs And Symptoms
When cats form dysfunctional bonds with their humans, theyll develop behavioral problems. If your cat urinates on your clothes or your bed when youre away, dont assume theyre getting back at you for leaving them alone. They might be trying to self-soothe and help you find your way back to them.
Cats might not trash your entire home to the extent dogs can, but destructive behavior is not uncommon. Felines like to knock things over and scratch doors and furniture.
Other signs and symptoms of feline separation anxiety include:
- Excessive and loud meowing
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What Causes Cat Anxiety
Many different things can cause cat anxiety. They are often similar to the things that cause humans to feel anxious, such as big changes to routine or environment. Events such as moving home or introducing a new person to the family can prompt a feeling of anxiety in cats.
Similarly, many felines can become anxious when a historic trauma is triggered. If you adopted your cat from a shelter, try to learn as much about their background and previous care as possible. This will help you to avoid putting your pet in situations that could cause them to revisit a traumatic memory and trigger their anxiety. Cats that have been rehomed numerous times throughout their life are more prone to suffering from anxiety. There is also a link between kittens that havent been socialised at a young age and an increased likelihood in the development of anxiety.
Be aware that any changes in your pets routine or environment could cause cat anxiety: it doesnt always have to be something as dramatic as moving house with your cat! If you start a new job and are suddenly out of the house at different times, this could be enough to unsettle your cat, and cause cat separation anxiety.
What Are The Signs Of Separation Anxiety In Cats
A few possible signs that a cat is suffering from separation anxiety include:
Urinating outside the litter box: in one study, three-quarters of the cats that peed outside the litter box did so exclusively on the pet parents bed
Defecating outside the litter box
Excessive vocalization: some cats also carry a favorite toy in their mouths while yowling or crying
Destroying things: more common in male cats
Excessive grooming: more common in female cats
Hyper-attachment to their caregiver: seeking constant contact when they are together
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Helping Your Pet With Separation
At your pets wellness examination, your veterinarian will have some suggestions for treating separation anxiety, which may include medications. At home, there are also key changes you can make to help your cat when you are away.
Signs Of Anxiety In Cats
While the symptoms of separation anxiety may differ from cat to cat, there are often some common symptoms that are displayed.
Cats suffering from separation anxiety might start around the house, which is a common sign of stress. However be aware, a cat could be displaying this behaviour for a different reason. For example, something in the environment might have startled the cat or upset her.
You might notice that your cat constantly wants attention and meows if youre not giving her enough. This may be a sign of over-dependence and may mean that your cat is distressed when you are not at home. Stressed cats can also sometimes over groom, or under groom.
With any concerns about anxiety in a cat, you should first seek veterinary advice to rule out any underlying health problems in your pet. For example, if your cat suddenly starts urinating in the home, it could be because of a urinary infection . If your vet cannot find anything physically wrong with your cat, then theyre likely to refer you to a qualified pet behaviourist.
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How Can I Stop My Cat Feeling Stressed
Cats like predictability, and if they have expected you to go to work, or your kids to go to school, they might feel frustrated when this doesnt happen . To help them feel better, try and create a set routine for them. If you can, keep an area of the house free that is just for them and create them a safe space.Pheromone diffusers can often help your cat feel calm, so it may be useful to have one plugged in near to their safe space.
Make sure they also have lots of other hiding places and high places to escape to. It is also important to ensure your cat has plenty of resources available to meet their welfare needs. Read more about creating the ideal environment for your cat.
If your cat is very social and has enjoyed your company whilst you have been at home, when your routine changes and you go back to work your cat may become upset and stressed when left alone. Signs that cats are anxious when left alone are similar to the signs of stress above, but they may also hide away so it can be difficult to know how your cat is feeling while you’re out. If you can, try to record your cat while you’re out to help you understand what they do on their own. If you do notice any of these signs, it may also suggest that they have a medical problem, so it is important to call you vet in the first instance.
What Is Dog Separation Anxiety
is a stress response that a dog exhibits when the person that the dog is bonded to is away from home.
Tina Flores, KPA-CTP, CSAT, certified separation anxiety trainer explains, When a dog is experiencing separation anxiety, it is quite similar to a panic attack in a human. A human, for example, with a fear of heights who is placed on top of a tall building might exhibit sweaty palms, dry mouth and fast heart rate. In the same way, every time a dog who has separation anxiety is left alone, their bodies are flooded with the same stress hormones.
The dogs reactions can range from mild distress, like pacing and whining, to extreme anxiety, resulting in dogs that injure themselves when attempting to escape confinement.
While there is no single reason why some dogs develop this challenging response to being left alone, for many dogs, its related to a traumatic event or an environmental change that they found upsetting. Examples include:
Changes in the family dynamic
Changes in lifestyle
Changes in routine
Dont Leave Your Dog Home Alone During These Training Stages
One of the primary challenges in dealing with separation anxiety is that once the training process begins, your dog should never be left alone. Flores notes that even if you cant be home with your dog, you can enlist a neighbor, friend, family member, dog walker or daycare to help during the training process.
Managing absences is extremely important to protect the progress we are making during training. If for example, we get the dog to a point where he is comfortable for 30 mins, but the next day hes left alone for two hours, weve potentially undone all the work weve put in. Hes no longer able to trust that his guardian will return before he starts to panic, explains Flores.
What Is Cat Separation Anxiety
When compared with dogs, separation anxiety in cats is rareat least in terms of diagnosing it. If a change in schedule is sudden or youre unable to ease your kitty into the new routine, pay attention to the possible signs of cat separation anxiety, including:
- Excessive vocalization
- Eliminating in inappropriate places
- Not eating or drinking while you are away
- Excessive self-grooming
- Eating too fast
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Provide Interactive Toys For Your Dog To Play With While Youre Gone
Dogs with mild separation intolerance can also learn to enjoy the ritual of getting a treat-stuffed goody when their person leaves the house for the day. However, Flores cautions against leaving interactive food toys with dogs that are suffering from full-blown separation anxiety.
Sometimes, because the food toy has been given so often before departure, the food becomes a cue that something bad is about to happen, she explains. Once the food has been consumed, the dog will realize their person is still gone and panic.
Cat Anxiety Is Real Here’s What The Experts Say You Can Do To Help Your Kitty Cope
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Some kitties are notoriously stoic about how they feel physically, so imagine how challenging it is to determine the state of their mental and emotional health. For instance, is biting an indication of cat anxiety, or simply a message to cease whatever you’re doing that they don’t like?
And if your cat does have anxiety, is it due to a change in environment, problems with you being gone all day at work , a trip to the vet, or what? We turned to the experts for help understanding this complicated emotion.
How To Treat Separation Anxiety In Kittens
In the case that your kitten is already experiencing separation anxiety, there are some things you can do to reverse the behavior. Its important to act as quickly as possible as soon as you detect the behavior. Unfortunately, treating separation anxiety can be difficult to cure, especially once the cat has reached adulthood.
- Create a routine if you have not already. Cats are much more predictable creatures than dogs and thrive in routines.
- Buy more toys that offer physical and mental stimulation for your cat.
- Keep the TV or radio on when you leave.
- Do not make a big deal whenever you leave the home or come back to it.
- Create your kitten a safe space that it can go to whenever you leave. Most kittens with separation anxiety prefer high points because it gives them better visual access. You can put a cat bed on a cat tree or on some high shelf that they can get to.
- For severe cases of separation anxiety, you can use some sort of calming supplement. This is a short-term method, but it can keep your kitten calm while you are trying to reverse the behavior. Talk to your vet before selecting any calming supplement to ensure it is healthy for your cat.
If none of the above mentioned tips work, contact a professional feline behaviorist. The behaviorist will be able to assess your home to see if there are any things you can do differently.
How To Help Your Pet Cope With Being Alone
When the kids go back to school and youre off to work, your pet is left all alone, something that they may not be completely comfortable with. This can cause some anxiety, which often manifests as destructive behavior. Tearing up furniture, shoes, and pillows, making escape attempts by clawing at doors or windows, and howling/barking excessively are all signs of pet separation anxiety. To help your pet better deal with their alone time, use the following tips:
- Leave the radio or TV on so your pet has something interesting to listen to or watch.
- Give your pet a special toy or treat in a food puzzle for them to enjoy only when theyre alone. Give it to them when youre about to leave and be sure to take it away when you come back home so they only associate it with being alone.
- Dont make a big deal out of goodbyes and hellos. When you leave, do so with little to no goodbye and when you come home, ignore them until they have fully calmed down. Trust us, you wont hurt their feelings!
- Make sure to exercise your pet before you leave for the day. A tired pet is much less likely to have the energy to be upset and would likely rather eat and take a nap!
- Likewise, give your pet some exercise and special attention in the evenings. Having your kids play with them can give them something look forward to at the end of the day!
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Preparing Your Cat For Separation Or Your Return To The Office
If your kitty is quite used to being around you most of the time and that changes, your cat may experience separation anxiety. In general, cats arent big fans of change at all, and a change such as you being gone for hours at a time when theyre used to being around you can be distressing.
If you adopted a new cat or kitten during the 2020-2021 global pandemic, the only life theyve known may no longer be the norm after society opens back up. You may start working in an office again, traveling, or taking a vacation, which will take you away from kitty for hours or days at a time.
Change can be tough for humans and felines alike. Here are some tips for how to know if your cat is experiencing separation anxiety from being away from you after youve returned to the office or changed your routine to be away from them more often.