Cats can quickly become very attached to you, which may lead to separation anxiety. Nancy Peterson, cat programs manager at The Humane Society of the United States, explains that cats that suffer from separation anxiety are distressed because their owners are not around. Your cat acts out not to spite you, but because you have changed its routine.
Some breeds, such as Siamese and Burmese cats, are predisposed to separation anxiety. Orphaned kittens, early-weaned kittens and store-bought kittens that have bonded improperly to a person are more prone to it.
Peterson says your cat may be suffering from separation anxiety if it displays the following behaviors: follows you around the house, vocalizes more, does not eat, claws at doors or over-grooms itself. Your cat may also “defecate or urinate near doors through which you’ve exited, and on items with your scent, such as sheets, clothing, shoes,” says Peterson. “It may also greet you exuberantly by meowing loudly and rubbing on you, following you and jumping in your lap at every opportunity.” These behaviors may also indicate a medical problem, so it is important to have your cat examined by a vet.
There are ways to help ease your cat’s stress level when you leave the house. Create a safe place, such as a cat bed or window perch, and encourage your cat to spend time there alone. A good view of the outdoors or a bird feeder by the window will give your cat something exciting to look at.
Stacey Brecher is a freelance writer. She has contributed to Animal Fair magazine, and her blogs have previously appeared on The Dog Daily.