If you’ve had a cat companion for some time, you may have developed a very close bond with your beloved feline family member. A connection may have developed, that is so strong, that your cat might have a hard time being without you for long periods of time. This is commonly known as separation anxiety. It’s a condition that can lead to symptoms like loss of appetite, excessive meowing, vomiting, uncontrollable grooming and evacuating outside the litter box.
Obviously, this can present a problem, when it’s time for you to do some traveling. However, there are a few techniques that you can try, when you want to “Reduce Cat Separation Anxiety.” Below are a few tips to consider.
Consider asking trusted friends or family members to take care of your cat while you’re away. Those who have been to your home and spent time with your kitty, can use their familiarity to help reduce your cat’s separation anxiety. Prior to your trip, ask them to visit a little more frequently, so that your cat can become used to them being there. Inform your friend/family member about any medical, feeding or general requirements your cat may have, so that the stay goes smoothly.
Consider A Cat Sitter
If none of your friends or family members are available to watch your cat. Then you can look into a professional cat sitter. Try looking online with a close eye on the reviews, to make sure that the sitter is the best choice for the job. As stated above, make sure the sitter you choose, comes over to visit a few times prior to your trip. Also, make sure the sitter knows about any requirements your cat needs—medical, feeding or otherwise.
When you go on your trip, your inclination will be to say goodbye to your cat. However, you may want to reconsider or at least say farewell a few days ahead of your actual departure. This is because the familiar gestures of saying farewell, can initiate your cat’s anxiety. Also, try not to let your cat hear the jingling of keys, see you pack your bags or move toward and out the door. These are all familiar signs, that lets your cat know that you’re going away.
Train Her Sadness Away
Over time, you can get your cat to accept that you’re leaving, by letting her see you take steps toward the door. Take baby steps, inching a little closer to the door, with each session. When you can successfully make it out the door, without your cat having any separation anxiety symptoms, then you can start to feel more comfortable about leaving her alone while you travel. The time of results can vary, but are commonly a few weeks or more. For best results, consider talking to a cat behaviorist.
If you leave out toys, treats and other fun things for your cat to do, her attention will be occupied as you’re about to walk out the door. As she’s playing, your cat will be so distracted, she won’t be triggered by anxiety. Any anxious energy she does have, she can play away.
Pheromones are chemicals that are released from your cat’s glands, to communicate within the species. Specific pheromones can communicate a calming and familiar message, potentially reducing the anxiety of your cat. There are synthetic pheromones available in plugin form, that can be used as a room diffuser. This is an ideal option to consider, if you’re trying to reduce your cat’s separation anxiety. If you do decide to use pheromones, consider a trial run prior to your trip, to make sure you get the desired effect.
Like pheromones, certain herbal remedies act as a calming sedative to help calm your cat’s anxiety. These natural calming agents are typically dried flowers & plants(catnip), but there are also products like Bach Rescue Remedy(flower essence, liquid dropper or spray) for pet owners to consider.
Rescue remedy is made with the idea of restoring an inner balance to your pet, which can reduce anxiety. Catnip may excite your cat at first, but after she comes down from the high, she can be quite sedate.
Be sure to consult a qualified veterinarian for a calming herb, that best suits your cat’s needs. Also, it would be helpful to take a look at the ASPCA’s complete listing of non-toxic and toxic plants/herbs for cats.
Cat Trees, Landings & Boxes
Typically cats like to view things from above and/or hide in safe, small spaces. Consider setting up a high landing for perching. Cat trees tend to have different levels suited for perching, but an open closet with shelf space is just as good. You can also leave your cat an empty box or two for her to hide inside. If you have a cat carrier, consider leaving it open in her favorite room. The idea is to reduce your cat’s separation anxiety, by making her feel safe, with several places in which to retreat.
Consult A Qualified Veterinarian
If the above techniques don’t work, then it may be worth your time to consult a qualified veterinarian for a more suitable remedy.
Let Her Come Along
Another option is that you can bring your cat with you on your travels. There are many travel options that accommodate pets and you can plan your trip around pet friendly activities. With a little research, you can create a travel experience that can completely bypass your cat’s separation anxiety. Thanks for reading.