Your Anxious Cat

Separation anxiety can cause your cat to act out. Here's how to identify and treat this condition.

By Linda A. Odum | Posted: Tue Nov 30 00:00:00 PST 2004

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Observe when your cat becomes anxious. If picking up your keys makes your cat nervous, pick them up at different times of the day when you do not leave the house, or keep the keys in a different place, such as in your purse, pocket or the garage. If your cat associates your departure with a particular door, use a different one.

Enriching your cat's environment can also help your pet cope. Leave a radio or television on to provide a distraction while you are gone. Cat trees and a view of the outdoors can also keep your cat occupied, as can interesting toys, especially ones that periodically dispense a tasty treat when batted around. Bring out these toys only when you plan to leave and remove the toys when you arrive home.

In some cases, medication may be necessary to treat separation anxiety. "In general, daily medication is given for at least one month beyond the resolution of the problem," Bamberger says. "Then the cat is weaned gradually by decreasing the dosage by 25 percent a week."

Understand that your cat may not be the stoic animal you envisioned, particularly when it comes to being left alone. With observation and small modifications, you can ease your pet's anxiety so your time apart becomes less stressful, and your time together more enjoyable.

- More Behavior Tips -

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Reader Comments

S    3 Oaks, MI

11/19/2008 12:11:39 PM

Some suggestions are also just common sense, but some helped you think a little further about what your cat is reacting to.

Chrystal    Westminster, CO

11/18/2008 12:44:59 PM

Thanks for this information!

Donna    Austin, TX

11/18/2008 10:36:59 AM

Interesting article.

Dot    Friday Harbor, WA

11/18/2008 9:52:53 AM

Excellent article and the suggestions are very worthwhile.

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