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Cat Separation Anxiety: Causes, Signs, & 7 Ways to Help

Sure, they’re known for being confident creatures who prefer to “do their own thing,” but kitties are also prone to experiencing cat separation anxiety just like our canine friends. 

Cat separation anxiety is perhaps more popular than you may think. In fact, a 2019 study determined that 64% of cats are “securely attached” to their owner, and that they feel less stress when their humans are around. 

Ignoring your cat’s distress can cause some trouble for both you and your kitty, so it’s a wise idea to get ahead of the issue. Below we’re covering common signs of cat separation anxiety and offering some helpful guidance on how to help cats who feel uneasy when you’re away.


Find advice from pet parents about cat and kitten anxiety on the purrch app.


What is Cat Separation Anxiety?

Cat separation anxiety is a feeling of mild to intense distress your feline gets when you’re away. Some cats experience anxiety at night when their humans are asleep, as well. Some cats have more extreme anxiety than others, which can cause them to feel stressed even when you’re away for an hour or two. 

We don’t know the exact cause of cat separation anxiety, notes MedicAnimal, but experts have a few guesses. For starters, it could just be the way your cat’s wired. Another potential cause is if your cat had one or more negative experiences while you’re away. Other environmental factors could come into play, as well, like outdoor noises and other animals in the home. 

Signs and Symptoms

Not sure if your cat is dealing with a case of anxiety when you’re away? Here are some of the most common signs: 

  • Meowing or moaning incessantly when you’re away
  • Pooping or peeing outside of the litter box 
  • Destroying property 
  • Hiding (you might catch this on a camera, or see them coming from a hiding spot when you get back home) 
  • Excessive grooming, which can result in patchiness or wounds from the licking
  • Vomiting or diarrhea
  • Signs of trying to escape, like clawing at doors 
  • Increased or decreased hunger 
  • Never leaving your side when you are home

How to Prevent It

Though it’s not always possible to prevent cat separation anxiety (remember, it could be a genetic or trauma-related cause), there are a few methods to consider. First, if you’ve adopted your cat as a kitten then do your best to properly socialize them from a young age. That means giving them a chance to interact with other humans and animals! Slow introductions are always best, so use your best judgment there. 

Another way you can help prevent cat separation anxiety is to leave the house for short periods at a time, slowly building up to being gone for longer stretches. Whenever you’re away, do set them up for success. We’ll get into that below! 

7 Ways to Help Cat’s With Separation Anxiety

The reality is that we do need to leave our homes sometimes, so figuring out how to ease cat separation anxiety is imperative for both you and your feline. The following can help: 

  1. cat or kitten with separation anxietyTry Not to Make Coming/Going a Big Deal: Cats can sense when you’re going to leave, so do your best to be nonchalant. No need to announce your departure or be overly excited when you come home. 
  2. Create a Happy Place: Give your cat a safe and calming nook to relax in when you’re away. They usually like covered spaces and soft fabrics. Adding an item that smells like you can help, too. 
  3. Make Sure Litter Box is Clean: Going to the bathroom puts them in a vulnerable position, and cats feel stressed when their potty area is dirty and unkempt. Fresh litter, a scooped box, and a safe space is a must. 
  4. Play Some Music: Nice sounds can help your cat relax while you’re away. There’s even music composed specifically for cats
  5. Try Feliway: Feliway is a product that releases cat-calming pheromones into the air. It’s available as a spray or wall diffuser.
  6. Provide Lots of Love When You’re Home: Ample playtime, loads of cuddles, yummy treats, and happy words of love will make your pet feel fulfilled and cared for. 
  7. See the Vet: If your cat’s separation anxiety seems extreme or isn’t getting better, then it’s time to visit the vet. They can offer catered advice, prescribe medication that can help, or explore some underlying issues that might be impacting your kitty.

And remember, the purrch community welcomes you with open arms and open paws! Join us on the app to engage in the conversations about cat separation anxiety right now.

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