Dear VetBabble: How Can I Help My Cat with Separation Anxiety?
As a concerned pet parent, I am looking for ways to alleviate my cat Bonnie’s separation anxiety when I leave her at home. What can I do to create a more comfortable environment for her and reduce her anxiety?
Enriching Your Cat’s Environment
An important step in reducing your cat’s separation anxiety is to make her environment more engaging and interesting. Providing your cat with a rich and stimulating environment can help reduce her stress and anxiety when you are away. Here are some suggestions:
- Introduce a puzzle feeder that requires her to solve a puzzle in order to access a treat. This encourages mental stimulation and keeps her occupied.
- Invest in a multi-level cat tree and place it next to a window. This provides her with a variety of places to nap, play, climb, and scratch while also giving her a view of the outside world.
- Play cat entertainment DVDs or videos while you are gone. This can help keep her distracted and entertained in your absence.
- Leave some background music on, such as a classical music station, to provide calming sounds and reduce feelings of loneliness.
If you’d like more information on creating a comfortable environment for your cat, check out this informative article on Bringing Home a New Cat: Tips to be Prepared.
Using Pheromone Diffusers and Medications
If your cat’s anxiety is severe, you may want to consider using a pheromone diffuser, such as Feliway. These diffusers release synthetic pheromones into the air that can help calm and comfort your cat. Feliway has been proven to be an effective tool for managing stress and anxiety in cats. You can learn more about Feliway from our Pet Parent’s Guide to Feliway for Cats.
In cases of extreme separation anxiety, it may be necessary to discuss anti-anxiety medications with your veterinarian. They can help determine the best course of action to alleviate your cat’s anxiety and prescribe medication if necessary.
Moving House and Additional Causes of Anxiety
If you have recently moved house or there have been significant changes in your cat’s environment or routine, this could be contributing to her separation anxiety. It is essential to help your cat adjust to the new surroundings to further reduce feelings of anxiety. For tips on moving house with your cat, take a look at our article on Moving House With Cats.
It is also important to recognize that separation anxiety could be a symptom of a larger issue, such as overall anxiety or depression. Make sure you are aware of the signs and symptoms of Cat Anxiety so you can help your cat in the best possible way.
By taking these steps to enrich your cat’s environment, utilizing pheromone diffusers or medications, and being attentive to any larger issues, you can help Bonnie feel more comfortable and less anxious when you’re away from home.