Vetstreet. All rights reserved. Powered by Brightspot.
Vetstreet does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. See Additional Information ›
Are you frustrated when you come home to find that your cat has peed on your bed and shredded your favorite chair? Do the neighbors complain that he yowls all day? While there can be underlying medical conditions behind many of these behaviors, you might be surprised to learn there’s a chance your cat has developed a fear-related condition called separation anxiety.
Most people don’t associate cats and separation anxiety. After all, cats are supposed to be loners, the perfect pets to stay home alone all day or over the weekend when you take a quick trip away — even for weeks at a time while you’re on vacation, with only a daily visit from a pet sitter to leave out food and scoop the litterbox.
That’s a serious misconception about cats. They can actually be quite sociable. In fact, a recent study by researchers at Oregon State University and Monmouth University found that when cats were offered a choice between food, human companionship, scent and toys, half of them chose human social interaction and only 37 percent chose food.
Kittens who were orphaned or weaned at an early age may be prone to separation anxiety. A divorce, death of an owner or some other change in the household may also trigger separation anxiety, especially in the case of a senior cat.
Cats with separation anxiety may express their apprehension over an owner’s absence in destructive or annoying ways. They often scratch furniture, pace, cry, fight with other cats, refuse to eat or groom themselves compulsively, licking or chewing at their fur until they have big bald patches. Others sulk or become depressed. Worse, some cats start to pee or poop outside the litterbox or spray urine on their owner’s bed or clothing.
What the heck is that all about? Oddly enough, spreading his scent around that way may help the cat feel more secure. Mixing his own odor with that of his beloved — and missing — owner is a way for him to feel closer to that person. Before you blow your top about it, try to remember that your cat is paying you a compliment — an unwelcome one but still a compliment.
Like this article? Have a point of view to share? Let us know!
Take our breed quiz to find your next pet.
Bartonella is a type bacteria that can be transmitted to cats, dogs and humans from exposure to infected fleas and…
Want to give your pup yummy, low-calorie treats? We’ve got the skinny on which foods are OK to feed him.
Not sure about food puzzles? Our veterinarian reveals why the payoff for your pet is well worth any extra work.
With these simple dental care tips, you can help keep your canine’s adorable smile shiny and healthy for life.
The friendly and inquisitive LaPerm has an easy-care coat that comes in a variety of colors and patterns.
Check out our collection of more than 250 videos about pet training, animal behavior, dog and cat breeds and more.
Wonder which dog or cat best fits your lifestyle? Our new tool will narrow down more than 300 breeds for you.
If the video doesn't start playing momentarily,
please install the latest version of Flash.
Thank you for subscribing.