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Cats are often considered the more independent of our four-legged pets; they like to keep to themselves, they’ll spend hours in hiding, and they are often royally unimpressed by us humans. So, it may come as a surprise that cats actually suffer from separation anxiety just as much as dogs. In fact, it’s common for a kitty to become distressed when left alone, and days spent separated from their owners can be quite hard on them. Here are 5 ways to ease your furry pal’s separation anxiety…

How do you detect it? There are a few tell-tale signs. Misuse of the litter box, excessive scratching, and hair pulling are all red flags that your cat might be suffering from separation anxiety. Does your neighbor hear him crying while you’re gone? Vocalizing their distress is also quite common for felines. Luckily, there are several ways to manage your kitties anxiety, and it starts before you leave the house.

First, practice: cats that aren’t used to their owners leaving have a harder time adjusting to their absence. Plan several short errands and leave the house for 15 or 30 minutes. While it seems counter productive, the more you leave, the more your cat will begin to understand that you always return!

Keep departure cues at a miminum. Cats (and dogs) pay attention to your every move. Picking up your keys or putting on your shoes are all indications that you’re heading out. Keep your departure as brief and uncomplicated as possible, and don’t prolong a goodbye. In fact, some cat experts recommend briefly ignoring your furry feline before you leave, and once you return.

Leave them toys and distractions. If you have time, setting up a scavenger hunt will keep your furry pal occupied while you’re gone, and he may even begin to associate your absence with a fun game. Try hiding treats or his favorite toys around the house.

Consider a cat sitter for peace of mind, especially if you plan on being gone for most of the day. Our cat sitters are well-versed in all things feline, and will keep your furry pal happy and stimulated while you’re away.

If your cat’s anxiety worsens, consider a trip to the veterinarian. It may take some time (and patience), but stay hopeful!