All For Animals TV #73: Dealing with Separation Anxiety in Cats

While having to stay and work from home during the Covid-19 crisis has been very stressful for people, it’s been great for pets, most of whom love having their people around.  But as many of us go back to work and school in person, this can create problems for pets who’ve gotten used to the 24/7 routine of the last year. Whether the pet has been in the home for years or only recently joined the family, you may find your dog or cat won’t like it much — and will let you know with new, undesirable behaviors.

In fact, if you think cats don’t get separation anxiety, think again!

“Despite stereotypes that say otherwise, many cats form very close bonds with their humans and can become quite stressed when apart,” said Samantha Bell, cat behavior specialist, Best Friends Animal Society.

According to Bell, cats that suffer from separation anxiety can become excessively vocal, overgroom their fur, or even eliminate on their owner’s items in an attempt to mingle their scents together.

“Practicing confidence-building activities and having an enriching environment can help prevent this,” she said.

All For Animals TV got the scoop from Samantha so be sure to watch the video (dog tips in previous post).

Samantha’s top tips for cat owners returning to work include:

  • Engage your cat with a wand toy at least once a day. Allowing your cat the opportunity to hunt, catch and kill with an interactive toy will help build their confidence and strengthen their bond with you in the healthiest way possible.
  • Ensure that whatever adjustments you’ve made to their routine while you’re home are sustainable when you go back to work. If you’ve started feeding your cats 4 times a day while you’re home, start cutting it back to what is doable when you’re not working from home.
  • If you’re not already using them, introduce puzzle-feeders to your cat. Cats instinctively want to forage for their food and puzzle-feeders satisfy that instinct while providing fantastic enrichment during alone time.
  • Cats feed off from people’s emotions. So, when it is time to go back to work, making a big, sad, dramatic scene as you leave is only going to make them feel more stressed. A happy, light tone and a little treat as you leave will keep their spirits up.

For more information and pet behavior tips, visit www.bestfriends.org.