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Separation Anxiety in Cats

separation anxiety in cats

Photo: Pam Johnson-Bennett

Other signs may include excessive self-grooming, eating too fast or not eating at all when the cat parent isn’t present.

Treating Separation Anxiety

Before labeling your cat as having separation anxiety, it’s important he be examined by the veterinarian. The behavior being displayed may have an underlying medical cause. For example, elimination outside of the litter box may be due to lower urinary tract disease or have some other medical cause. Excessive grooming may be the result of external parasites, skin allergies, irritation, etc. Eating too fast or a lack of appetite may also be caused by an underlying medical condition. Don’t skip this very important step of visiting your veterinarian.

Once your cat is diagnosed with separation anxiety, behavior modification techniques can be used to reduce his stress and increase stimulation in your absence.


Increase the environmental enrichment. If you want your cat to feel satisfied, entertained and secure when you aren’t around then the environment in which he lives has to inspire that. Read my article on environmental enrichment to learn how to spruce up his indoor surroundings. Incorporate puzzle feeders, playtime, elevated areas, hideaways and more to encourage him to find ways to trigger and satisfy his prey-drive. The more enriched and secure the environment is, the better your cat will feel when he’s by himself. If you know your cat is a real foodie and loves the puzzle feeders, then save them for when you won’t be home during the day. That way, they’ll become very special treats for your cat during your absence.

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