Cats in the wild don’t have this problem. They are busy throughout the day stalking, eating, sleeping, and then repeating the whole process multiple times. But our domesticated cats who live indoors can become lonely and frustrated when no one is around and there’s nothing to do. It’s not unusual for them to develop a problem more often associated with dogs: separation anxiety. Yes, you heard it here first: cats can get separation anxiety.
Any cat can develop it, but it’s most common in kittens who were orphaned at an early age or separated from their mother too early. For instance, cats who lose an owner to death or divorce may develop signs of the problem. How can you tell if your cat has separation anxiety? Your cat follows you everywhere. When you leave, he sulks, cries, wanders, seems depressed, or won’t eat. Cats with separation anxiety may express their dissatisfaction by eliminating outside the litter box, spraying urine on your bed or clothing, throwing up, grooming so compulsively that they develop bald spots, or scratching furniture or other objects. I’m lonely, I’m bored, I’m scared, and doing these things helps me feel better.
Cats are sophisticated and smart, but they’re not capable of that kind of emotional leap. So tuck away the urge to punish your cat for his destructive behavior and take steps to help him feel more comfortable when you’re gone. Enrich your cat’s environment — behaviorist-speak for making your house more interesting and fun for a cat. Load them with his daily ration of kibble and let him spend the day figuring out how to release it from the toy. Set up a tall cat tree with a view. The height — ideally, up to the ceiling — gives him a chance to do some real climbing, and birds and squirrels outdoors will give him something interesting to look at. Leave the TV tuned to a nature channel or Animal Planet, or pop a wildlife DVD into the player while you’re gone.
You can find some that are made just for cats. Give your cat more attention and playtime when you’re home, but wait to do so until you’ve been home for a few minutes. You don’t want him to be anxiously awaiting your return. For severe cases, an antidepressant prescribed by your cat’s veterinarian can help, but it won’t solve the problem alone. You still have to help your cat learn to entertain himself. Ready to adopt a cat?
There are so many cats out there, and so many kinds of cats to choose from, it can be hard to know how to choose the right one for you. There are lots of important things to think through before picking your new pal. The first step to starting a long and lasting friendship with a cat is, of course, choosing the cat—or, more to the point, choosing the cat that’s right for you. By definition, this is the biggest decision you’ll make regarding your cat. And it’s an important decision, because a cat—unlike an item of clothing, a video game console or a must-have electronic gadget—is a living, breathing being who will need your care and attention for the next 10, 15 or even 20 years. There are so many cats out there, and so many kinds of cats to choose from, it can be hard to know where to begin. The answers to some of these questions may lie in your own lifestyle.
Are you a couch potato who wants a cat to nap along with you? Do you hang on every fascinating word a kitty says? Is kitten-watching more fun than TV? Kittens are adorable, curious, playful and full of energy. And a kitten is an unknown entity—you really don’t know what kind of cat you’ll end up with once they outgrow their kitten personality. Adult cats are usually calmer, less bouncy, and less mischievous.
With an adult, what you see is usually what you get, so if you are looking for specific qualities, consider cats that are a year and older. When choosing a cat, keep your family in mind. Kittens and very young children usually don’t mix well, as kittens can be fragile and youngsters kind of rough. Babies and toddlers tend to grab the closest part of a cat, be it tail, ear, or fur, and they can’t resist giving the cat a great big hug. Always supervise any interaction between your youngster and your cat. Cats, like people, are individuals. No two are exactly alike, whether they’re from the same breed or even the same litter. Some cats are very mellow and will tolerate any kind of handling. These cats are perfect for young kids or older people who want and appreciate this type of cat.