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Myth Busting Cats and Solitude

 by jaime on 22 Jul 2014 |
1 Comment(s)
There are a number of myths that exist about pets and their owners. Dogs are viewed as great family pets because their friendly nature makes them not only great companions for individuals, but also playmates for young children. Cats, on the other hand, are often viewed as grumpy characters best suited for individuals and couples that do not need playmates around the house.
The myth that cats are solitary animals capable of surviving with a lack of contact with their owners is a dangerous belief. Cats need the same levels of contact with their owners that dogs require to maintain a happy disposition in life. As a current or potential cat owner, you need to realize that cats do in fact feel abandonment and separation anxiety.
Both cats and dogs need companionship. This companionship comes not only from their human owners, but also from other animals living in the home. By nature, cats are not solitary animals best suited for living life alone. Cats can, and do, form strong bonds with their owners or other animals in the home just like a dog.
When many pet owners leave town, for an evening or a long weekend, it is second nature to arrange for a kennel or pet sitter to watch after dogs in the home. However, when it comes to cats many will simply leave town for short periods and leave their cats home alone. This creates the same sense of abandonment and separation anxiety in cats that it does in dogs.
Cats will express their abandonment and separation anxiety issues in a number of ways. One of the most common is to urinate and defecate outside of the litter box. In many cases, cats will urinate on the clothing or possessions of their owners. They are not doing this to punish an owner for absence, but rather to try and mix their scent with that of their owner.
It is common for dogs to howl or bark incessantly when suffering from separation anxiety, and cats have been known to do the same. Cats will express their stress over separation in much the same way, with loud vocalizations and constant "meows" that can irritate neighbors. Vocalizations also increase the stress on the cat as it saps its own energy with these continuous vocalizations.
Another clear sign of separation anxiety and abandonment issues in cats is a change in behavior. Some cats will become clingy, following their owners around in the house at all times for fear of losing sight of them. Even worse, other cats become reclusive in the home. They will mope around the home, hide under furniture, and actively avoid contact with humans.
Prepare Your Cat

If you have a cat and spend long hours each day out of the home, there are steps you can take to prepare your cat to cope with extended periods of separation. Create spaces in your home where your cat can climb and observe the world around it. Purchase cat climbs and install shelves by windows to allow your cat to get higher up and not only watch over the room, but look outside and watch the world around it.
When you come home from work each day, carve out some time in your schedule to interact with your cat without distractions. This reinforces in its mind that you will return and show affection following any absence. Additionally, it helps strengthen the bond between you and your cat.
Finally, don't shower your cat with attention and affection just before walking out the door. It only serves to confuse your cat when you do this. Before you leave for the day, do not go out of your way to make a spectacle of leaving. If your cat is ignoring you, go about your business and get prepared to leave without acknowledging it. This helps your cat maintain an emotional balance and survive your departure for the day.

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James Reed  - Comment
James Reed 19 Nov 2017Reply
My cat and i just moved into a small studio.
In ower old building he was able to roum the hall way and was loved by most all my neighbors.
I don't think that will be possible in new place.
Also we are inner city dwellers so he dose not go outside. Hates the outside.
I'm altogether happy with the move because of the situation concerning my cat. I'm interested in any and all impute. I'm conerned for my cats welfair.

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