Cats worry about their owners

Separation Anxiety In Cats: Do Cats Miss Their Owners?

To cats, humans are can openers designed to do what the cat wants. And if the person is lucky, he can stroke his cat too. But of course only as long as the cat feels like it. Otherwise the claws will be extended. These clichés often cling to cats: They are considered to be freedom-loving and independent, do not necessarily need their people and enjoy the time when their owners are not there. But is it really like that?

Studies reveal: that's how much cats really miss their humans

In 2003, Stephanie Schwartz conducted a study examining files from cats from animal clinics. She found symptoms of separation anxiety in 136 of 716 cats. That is almost the same one fifth!

The more recent study “Identifying separation problems in domestic cats” from 2020 was carried out by researchers at the Brazilian Universidade Federal de Juiz de Fora. They asked 130 cat owners about the behavior of their 223 cats. 30 cats of these met at least one criterion for separation anxiety. These are 13.5 percent.

So: More cats than expected show separation-related behavior disorders! Cats also develop a bond with their humans and often miss them more than humans think.

How is separation anxiety expressed in cats?

What does this mean when one speaks of “behavior caused by separation”? In the study "Identification of separation problems in domestic cats" (2020), the 30 cats with separation anxiety showed the following abnormalities:

Behaviors:

  • destructive behavior (Cat breaks something): 20 out of 30 cats, 66.7%
  • excessive vocalization (Continuous meowing): 19 out of 30 cats, 63.3%
  • Urination in inappropriate places (e.g. bed): 18 out of 30 cats, 60%
  • Feces in inappropriate places: 7 out of 30 cats, 23.3%

Conditions:

  • Depression apathy: 16 out of 30 cats, 53.3%
  • Aggressiveness: 11 out of 30 cats, 36.7%
  • Agitation fear: 11 out of 30 cats, 36.7%

Cats that were not diagnosed with separation anxiety also showed some of the symptoms mentioned. However, it was only referred to as separation anxiety when ...

  • two or more behaviors apply.
  • at least one behavior and one emotional state was true.
  • all three emotional states were true.

Also in the investigation by Stephanie Schwartz were Uncleanliness, excessive meowing and destructive behavior common signs of separation anxiety in cats. Added to this here was the excessive (fur) grooming, especially in female cats.

Measures against separation anxiety in cats

If you experience one or more of these symptoms in your cat too, then you should go first rule out other causes. Because uncleanliness, aggressiveness or excessive care can also be signs of Diseases be. For example, if a cat has dementia, it can forget where its toilet is and become unclean.

If organic causes are ruled out, you should urgently take care of your cat can deal with alonewhen you are not there. As the study "Identification of separation problems in domestic cats" (2020) showed, cats are particularly affected by separation anxiety, which have neither play opportunities nor conspecifics with which they can occupy themselves.

An example of a good activity for cats without humans: sniffing pillows or fumbling boards. You can hide dry food in it and the cat can look for it. This takes some time and also rewards the cat with food.

Other measures against separation anxiety in cats:

  • no excessive farewell ceremonies
  • Avoid stress and rush before you leave home
  • Allow the cat to look outside. Cats love it when you can watch things.

Additionally, you should reconsider whether your cat might be Leave alone for too long. Most cats can stay alone for several hours without any problems, but eight hours five days a week is too much for cats. If so, think about giving your cat one Conspecifics or one Cat sitter to get hold of, otherwise they might get lonely. During the time you are at home, you should be all the more occupied with your cat: play with her, give her affection and love.

If these points do not improve symptoms, consider one Animal psychologists to seek out.

Leaving young cats alone

Young cats in particular need a lot of talk and employment and also eat several small portions spread over the day. Therefore, they cannot be left alone for as long as adult cats. So if you don't have enough time to spend the first few weeks with your new cat, you should reconsider your purchase!

It is also important to get the cat used to being alone as a kitten. That works best Step by step: Leave the room or apartment only briefly at first and extend your absence in small stages.

It is believed that experiences in kittenhood can even be a trigger for later separation anxiety in cats. Especially kittens that too separated from her mother early or with the bottle raised become, attach themselves strongly to their people - and then miss them all the more when they are alone.