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Does you cat have separation anxiety? This quiz aims to find out and how you can help your cat overcome the anxiety. Answer a few simple questions to get an indication of whether or not your cat might have a problem. With this knowledge, you can take the necessary steps to help your beloved feline companion.
Quiz questions to check for separation anxiety in cats
This "does my cat have separation anxiety quiz can help you accurately diagnose if your cat actually have this problem or not. If you answer yes to three or more questions, it is a high probability that your cat has separation anxiety.
Question 1: When you leave the house, does your cat follow you around, cling to you, or vocalize excessively?
Question 2: Does your cat urinate outside the litter box when you’re gone?
Question 3: Does your cat defecate outside the litter box when you’re gone?
Question 4: Does your cat eat or chew their hair when you’re gone?
Question 5: Does your cat scratch excessively, particularly around doors and windows?
Question 6: Does your cat act afraid when you’re home but not nearby?
Question 7: Does your cat have a change in grooming habits, including excessive licking?
Question 8: Does your cat become more anxious when you’re in certain rooms or when certain people are home?
Question 9: Does your cat seem hyperactive or panicky when you come home?
Question 10: Does your cat have a medical condition that requires treatment?
Definition of separation anxiety in cats
Separation anxiety occurs when a pet is highly distressed or even panicked by the absence of its owner. It is most often associated with dogs, but cats can also suffer from this condition.
Separation anxiety can lead to destructive and/or aggressive behavior when you leave your pet alone. Some cats will urinate or defecate outside of the litter box, eat their hair, or even self-mutilate. Cats with severe separation anxiety may have more health issues than cats without the condition, including digestive issues, skin problems, and even decreased life expectancy.
Cats with separation anxiety may:
- Urinate outside of the litter box while you’re gone
- Defecate outside the litter box while you’re gone
- Eat or chew hair excessively, including their own or out of the carpet
- Scratch excessively, particularly around doors and windows
- Be overly affectionate, clingy, or vocal when you’re home
- Be excessively vocal when you’re away, particularly at certain times of the day
- Be destructive, including chewing on furniture, doors, or walls
- Have a change in grooming habits, including excessive licking
- Become more anxious when you’re in certain rooms or when certain people are home
- Act afraid when you’re home but not nearby
- Appear panicky or hyperactive when you come home
There is not a single cause of separation anxiety in cats, nor is it a disorder associated with a particular age, sex, or breed.
Cats with separation anxiety may simply not enjoy being alone, or they may have a history of abuse, neglect, or abandonment that has caused them to become fearful and/or anxious in general.
Therefore, cats with separation anxiety can sometimes benefit from anxiety medication, particularly if the condition began following a traumatic event.
How to treat separation anxiety in cats
There are several different ways you can handle separation anxiety in cats. The first step is to ensure that your cat is not suffering from a medical condition.
After that, you can try any of the following approaches:
If your cat is simply scared when you leave, you can try to soothe them by leaving an item of clothing behind with your scent. If your cat’s anxiety is more related to being left alone, you can try leaving the radio or TV on to provide background noise.
If your cat’s separation anxiety is so severe that it’s causing health problems, your vet may be able to prescribe medication. This will not cure the anxiety, but it may help to reduce the more severe symptoms.
If your cat’s anxiety is caused by the layout of your home, you can rearrange things to make them less anxious. Avoiding placing litter boxes, food bowls, and scratching posts near windows or doors can help reduce your cat’s anxiety.
Tools and tips to help manage separation anxiety in cats
Here are some tips to help manage separation anxiety in cats:
Crate Training - If your cat enjoys being in a crate, you can use that as a tool to help manage separation anxiety. Simply put their litter box, food, and water bowl inside the crate, then shut the door when you leave the house. This will help your cat feel safe, secure, and less anxious.
Stay Calm - If you’re feeling stressed or anxious because of your cat, it can make their anxiety worse. Try to remain calm and relaxed, and you may be able to help your cat feel more secure.
Get Help - If you’re struggling to help your cat feel comfortable while you’re gone, consider hiring a pet sitter to come over and keep an eye on things.
When to see a vet for separation anxiety in cats
If you’ve tried all of the above tips and tricks, but you’re still struggling to manage your cat’s separation anxiety, you may want to see a vet. Your vet can perform a physical exam to ensure that your cat isn’t suffering from a medical condition that may be causing or worsening their anxiety.
If all else fails, your vet may recommend medication to help your cat feel more relaxed and less anxious when you’re gone.