When the cat's away, the mice will play. But when you're away, your cat may not be as jovial. While many cats are happy to veg out and enjoy their alone time, some prefer the company of their humans and may even experience cat anxiety when separated from you.
According to Dr. Arnold Plotnick, a veterinarian in NYC," some cats are truly social creatures and...may exhibit signs of separation anxiety."
To help their fur babies feel a bit more secure while they're away, many pet parents have come up with some pretty creative ways of easing cat anxiety. After all, long days of lounging about at home alone can be taxing, right?
A recent article on Comicbook.com showed just how creative pet parents can get (and how weird cats can be). One cat mom found that playing the show "Critical Role" – a web series about Dungeons & Dragons – in the background while she was away helped to relieve the separation anxiety her cat was feeling while left home alone.
Maybe your cat isn't as interested in Dungeons & Dragons, but luckily, there are many other things you can do to help soothe the cat anxiety your little one may be feeling.
Talk to Your Vet About Cat Anxiety
Signs that your cat is experiencing separation anxiety when you are away can include meowing when you leave, accidents outside her litter box, excessive grooming, or changes in her eating habits. If your furry friend is showing any of these symptoms, she may be stressed.
Before trying any new tricks to deal with her cat anxiety, make sure you've discussed these behaviors and symptoms with your vet to rule out any possible medical issues that need to be treated. It's always better to be safe than sorry with your fur baby's health.
Provide a Safe & Engaging Environment
The environment your pet lives in plays a big role in cat anxiety. So much so that the experts at Ohio State's College of Veterinary Medicine suggest setting up a "cat refuge" in your home that's in a less traveled location where your kitty has all the things she needs – like food, water, and a litter box – plus things to keep her amused.
Stock your cat refuge the way you would your beach condo on a much-needed vacation: full of food and fun. You know, a little kitty vacation spot where she can get away from it all and deal with her feline drama.
You can add excitement to your fur baby's existence and ward off stress by adding entertaining elements like cat perches, cat trees, or puzzle feeders. By turning even a small area of your home into a kitty playground, you can create both a safe haven and an enriching play place for your cat.
A Friend on the Silver Screen
Just as one parent found leaving "Critical Role" on the TV for her Dungeons & Dragons-loving cat was a cat anxiety antidote, you can get creative to help your cat feel less alone when you leave the house.
YouTube is full of cat-friendly channels - like Relax My Cat or Calm Your Cat - dedicated to entertaining your fur baby and easing cat anxiety. Of course, you may need to think outside of the box if your cat is an odd ball. (Aren't they all?)
Perhaps your cat has a fondness for lovely British accents, and some Downton Abbey drama can cure your little one's cat anxiety? Maybe your cat enjoys exploring new cuisines and would love nothing more than watching Bobby Flay prepare the perfect fish tacos?
Pay attention to what sparks your cat's interest while you're at home and give that a try when you're away.
Soothing Sounds & Smells
Music is another great option to provide background noise for your fur babies and can help distract them from any distressing sounds when they're home alone.
On the other hand, many cats prefer peace and quiet, but just need a bit of soothing scent to relax away their cat anxiety. Many cats are never more relaxed than when snuggling with their pet parent, so leave out a blanket or sweater that smells like you next to your cat's bed or scratching post.
Things to Do When You're Home
Soothing your cat's anxiety doesn't just happen when you're away. There are many things you can do to help when you are home as well.
For instance, practice coming and going in a low key manner can help your cat feel less disturbed by your absence. You can also help your cat by gradually desensitizing triggers. A trigger or signal that you're about to leave may be picking up your keys or putting on your shoes. Do these actions throughout the day at random times, even when you're not about to leave, so your cat stops associating those actions with you leaving.
Getting your cat some healthy stimulation while you're home can help her feel more at ease when you're away. Make sure you engage in active playtime once or twice a day with your cat to ease her anxiety and make sure she feels loved and secure.
How do you help your fur baby deal with cat anxiety? Share a photo of your happy, relaxed cat with us on Instagram @PrettyLitterCats.