Separation Anxiety In Your Cat | The Cat Life

11/16/2019


I've now owned three cats in my lifetime. Two of which have had some weird separation bond with me.. great, cool. Do I just magnate weirdo little felines, or are cats just weird AF? Those are questions that need an entire dedicated blog post. (Not really.. *cue that blonde woman GIF of going 'wait, no, well, maybe' with her face*) Though I'm honoured with how much my pets care for me, it can set one up for the ultimate betrayal when you inevitably have to leave them for a trip home/vacation. I'm blessed in the way of both cats live with me and other members of my family. One with my mum, one with my husband. So not having to board them or leave them with someone unfamiliar is great, and not a problem we've had to face. Though in their eyes the entire notion of me leaving is a problem. I'm now semi knowledgeable with softening the blow to their precious little hearts, so here's a post of my tips and tricks to make the separation a little easier on them. I have yet to discover the secret to not being miserable ourselves, but ya know, one step at a time. #MomGuilt

As a cat owner you probably already know that they're huge scent fiends. You put any item of worn clothing on the floor and they're instantly claiming it as a new bed. They'll nuzzle into your hair as you sleep, knead you like a pin cushion in a bid to claim your blood as their own (too far?), and will get your pillow covered in fur by curling up on it the moment you get out of bed. A huge help for my older cat, Bruno, is having articles of lightly worn clothing when I'm not there. According to the very reliable source that is Google, my scent being around him and not wavering proves to him that I will return. True? No idea, but it's definitely proven to calm him down when I'm away for long periods of time. Sadly it does mean that all my cardigan's are now 70% fur.



This one is entirely up to your cat to figure out if they like it, but face-timing has proven to be a good source of comfort for my younger cat, Dresden. On my first trip away from them, my husband said that the little guy seemed to relax a little after a Skype session and/or hearing me through a phone. Whereas Lea, my other little one, and Bruno can't seem to grasp the concept of a phone and will immediately begin to search for me with a plan that rivals the Dad's from Taken. So, maybe try this tip when you can immediately return home to them. Just at the off chance that it makes them crazy.

If you think your cats are going to struggle when you're gone, be sure to stock up on their favourite food. Bruno took on a starvation tactic when I first left him for two nights, but maybe he'd of been swayed if he had his favourite Hilife freeze-dried chicken pieces. Whereas Lea eats her feelings when I'm not there, so.. this isn't really a problem she has. But it's best to be prepared, especially in a bid to help whoever has sole custody when you aren't there.

Speaking of those first two nights, Bruno did  not handle that well in the slightest. He continuously vomited, refused water or food for the entire three days, and worked himself up into a state of severe anxiety. You can purchase natural plug-in diffusers to help calm your pets down during traumatic events such as firework night, big changes, parties, new houses, or hell.. taking them on a trip. However I think this would be a great thing to have if your cat gets themselves into a bad state when separated from you. They're completely harmless and quite effective (our dog, Jess, used to need one on constantly during firework season. Which, by the way, can we ban home fireworks? So unnecessary). Not cheap, but worth it if you think it'll help them. Amazon or your local chain pet store have a good selection.



One of the biggest mistakes I made when I adopted kittens was not preparing them for life without me. Dramatic, yes, but also true. I'm housewife and spend 95% of my time indoors with the cats running circles around me. So when I finally got my green card and could travel home, they weren't prepared in the slightest. If you don't have a full-time job, try getting out of the house more often especially during the lead up to your trip. Which leads me onto..

Show them that you always come back. When you're reunited with your kitty, it can seem impossible to leave them again, even for an supermarket trip. They may follow you around everywhere while simultaneously giving you the stink eye and refusing to be touched, but you have to get them back into the mental realisation that you'll always return. I try and go outside for at least an hour the day after I return, which though makes them a little angsty, helps in the long run. They quickly stop being so clingy whenever I put on shoes, and thus take me for granted again. Lovely.

In a similar fashion, be sure to have their favourite treat to gift them when you come home. It can help sway their hatred of you and it gives them a little spark of joy. They don't know why you left, if you were coming back, and were likely broken-hearted. You have a lot of sucking up to do, my friend. Best to start straight away.

Most importantly, this is just going to take time. For both you and your fur baby. They may slowly grasp the concept of you leaving with time, armed with the knowledge that you'll come back. Or you may have to implement all of these tips and tricks for each trip. It's a trail and error process, but you'll both get there. If Bruno can chill out, any cat can.


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