By now many of us are aware that our pets can suffer from separation anxiety when we leave them alone. It can be heartbreaking for us to walk out the door and leave their sad little faces behind - and many times, it makes us feel guilty.
It's usually obvious when dogs are suffering from separation anxiety because they become destructive when they're alone. But cats are rarely as easy to interpret as dogs are. Their behaviors are a bit more complex which could cause them to suffer secretly...without you even knowing it.
Cats with separation anxiety don't usually have the same nervous habits that dogs do. They don't howl, bay or chew on doors and windowsills in frantic attempts to escape. Unfortunately, their misery tends to happen without any witnesses because the symptoms are far less obvious to the owner.
A cat with separation anxiety may show some not-so-obvious signs including over-attachment to their owner, anorexia, excessive self-grooming or one of the worst ones...inappropriate urination. These signs can often be mistaken for other issues, when in actuality, they are nervous habits. So it's very important to understand these common signs as well.
Now, it's possible to soothe separation anxiety by training dogs to become independent, but this is more tricky with cats. Your best bet is to try a combination of things to make them feel more relaxed and ultimately more independent:
*Position climbing frames throughout the house to give your cat good views of the world outside
*Leave an assortment of mobile toys they can play with while you are gone
*Play relaxing music
*Surround your cat with pheromones
Pheromones are all-natural compounds just like the ones that your cat's body makes. They can soothe and comfort anxious cats in times of stress which is why they are great for separation anxiety. If you are concerned that your cat is suffering from separation anxiety (whether it be through some obvious things you've seen, or even if you suspect a secret nervous habit), you can try a plug-in pheromone diffuser like Comfort Zone with Feliway. It releases pheromones into the air to help your cat feel calm and secure.
I understand that leaving your cat alone can be unavoidable. But take a moment and really pay attention to your cat. You might be able to spot the not-so-obvious separation anxiety symptoms that your cat may be suffering with secretly. You can help give him or her a happier, healthier time at home by trying some of these very simple things!