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Wellness

How to Help You and Your Cat Deal with Separation Anxiety

Being a cat parent comes along with a lot of responsibilities. You are in charge of making sure your pet is happy, healthy and living their best life. But how do you do this when you have class or work, leaving them by themselves for hours at a time? Animals don’t always understand “I’ll be back in an hour!” An hour could feel like days to them, especially if your cat suffers from an anxiety disorder when separated from their owner. Here’s a few tips on how to help the two of you deal with their anxiety!  

First Things First: Evaluate the Severity of Anxiety

If your cat is getting sick when you leave or becoming abnormally destructive, you might need to seek medical attention. Your animal’s health is number one, and talking with your vet can give you more options to help your pet feel at ease when you leave the house. A few examples include pheromone wall plug-ins, a change in diet or even sedatives. Every animal behaves differently, so pay attention to your pet and learn the warning signs that they might be in distress.

Eliminate the Cues

There are likely certain things that you do before leaving your kitty, such as grabbing your keys or starting your car. Doing these things many times through the day can help your pet realize that you won’t be gone forever. Move your keys around the room, carry them in your pocket and then put them back on the ring. These cues can cause your cat to build up a lot of anxiety before you even leave, so making these events less stressful for both of you will make your departure and absence less stressful.

Provide an Enriching Environment

Cat towers, treat dispensers, windows, oh my! Provide your cat with an enriched environment to insure that they have things to do when you aren’t home to play with them. A bored cat will be more likely to experience anxiety simply out of boredom, especially if they do not have anything to distract them from your absence. If you’re an owner on a budget, there are a ton of DIY cat toys that can keep your pet busy for hours until you get home to give them special attention!

Kitty-Sitter

Having your friend or roommate check on your kitty when you are gone can make a huge difference in your cat’s behavior when you’re out. Sometimes, all your kitty needs is a distraction from the loneliness and the best option for this can be hearing another person’s voice or being given a treat! This will also give you a piece of mind, knowing that your kitty is receiving interactive play time even when you are out.

There are many different things you can do to help eliminate the stress that both you and your cat feel whenever you have to leave your house. Finding the best combination of options, along with possibly talking with your vet, will help you help your pet live a healthy and happy life!

Image Credit: Cover, 1, 2, 3

Jillian Shank is a Senior at Virginia Commonwealth University and this is her second semester on the Editorial Team for Her Campus. She enjoys writing poetry and teaching her cat, Milo, tricks! 
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