It is not known what causes separation anxiety in felines. It has been speculated that there may be both genetic and environmental factors involved. Genetic factors include emotional sensitivity and a predisposition towards anxiety. Certain oriental breeds, such as Siamese and Burmese cats, may be more susceptible to develop separation anxiety than cats with robust temperaments, like Maine Coons. Environmental factors often involve improper bonding experiences when cats are young.
5 Common Signs and Symptoms
Here are some signs of separation anxiety in cats:
- Over-attachment to the pet parent. Cats began following their owners from room to room around the house.
- Pre-departure anxiety. Cats shows signs of distress as the owner prepares to depart.
- Excessive vocalization. Crying, moaning, or meowing right after the owner has left.
- Inappropriate elimination. Often in the form of urine marking, though fecal marking may also occur.
- Destructive behavior. Some cats may claw and scratch door edges presumably in an attempt to escape from their solitary confinement.
If your furry feline is showing signs of separation anxiety, here are some things that you can do:Provide perches or climbing frames that are positioned strategically across or close to the window, so your cat has a good view of the outside world.
- Place food or kibble in an activity ball that will make your cat work to get the food out.Give your cat an assortment of mobile toys enhanced with catnip.
- Hide food throughout the house so your cat has to find it. Leave the radio or television on, tuned to your usual station.
- Spend at least 10 minutes daily playing with your cat.
- Use environmental pheromone therapy such as Feliway to help reduce anxiety.
If your furbaby still has problems after you have enriched the environment and incorporated playtime in their routines, please see your veterinarian for further advice.