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Do Cats Get Seperation Anxiety?

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

I'm new to the forum. I acquired a cat from a friend. Long story short... "David can you watch Sarah (cat's name) for two months?"

David: No.
Michelle: Please?
David: No.
Michelle: Pretty Please?
David No.

Story is that her boyfriend's son was coming up to stay for part of the summer. He has allergies. Eventually, she convinced me to watch her (after buying me lots of drinks one night out, I can be pretty slutty in that regard I suppose). I had cats when I was younger so it wasn't really that big of deal. I don't mind them. Just never really owned one since I was a kid and they were outdoor cats. Cat arrives in May (it's an indoor cat). A month goes by, it consumes and it sleeps. Cat pays me little attention. Cool. We have an understanding. I stay out of your way, you stay out of my way. Perfect. I tell it to get a job. No such luck. It slightly reminds me of my older sister in that regard. Anyway I awake up one morning and it's staring at me. cat? I get up... it has food, water and litter box that's sparkling clean. What else could it want? Leave and go about my day. Next morning, same thing. This goes on for a couple of nights. Then one night, I wake up and find it sleeping in my bed. Now, this a touch unusual because Michelle told me that it would never sleep in the same bed with her. So this continues for awhile. Not a big deal. I even find myself at the pet store one day buying it little mouse like thingys, flashing balls and other things of the sort. I'm amazed at how much crap you can buy for a cat. Anyway, kid goes back to Texas. She asked for it (the cat) back. I was silent. I realized at that moment that I had grown attached to it. She calls me out on it and of course, I vehemently deny it. Finally, she's says, "She likes you better anyway, you should just keep her." So I kept her. Sorry, that was a little long I must admit. Just a little background info there. My apologies.

Anyway, the point of all of this incessant rambling... I have a fairly busy life: busy day job, musician by night, friends etc. When I come home and when I leave she's completely nuts. NUTS. Whining and crying, it's like a four year old. She lays by the door when it's time for me to leave, she's on her back, staring at me and quietly yelping. When I come, she's crying really loudly for attention and won't stop until I play with her for a bit. Now, I don't mind it a ton but it can be sometimes a bit annoying. I feel really bad for her. I hope that she's not lonely. Do they get separation anxiety? Do they get lonely? Is there something I can get her that will entertain her will I'm gone? Something to the effect of a TV on humans? A robot? Do they make anything like this? NO I'm putting her on pills. She's really social and runs up to all of my friends when they come over. She really loves people and being the center of attention. Maybe it's that I'm just stuck with a diva molted into a cat form.

Fyi... I live alone and have no other creatures in the house minus the stray spider or bug on occasion. I also disagree with name Sarah. I've been trying to rename her "Wondercat" but no avail. She's about three years old and really really cute Any thoughts? Could I could leave the screen saver on all day or buy a goldfish? Suggestions are quite welcomed.

post #2 of 8
Don't apologize for the long background story...I loved it and was quite caught up in it! It's really cool how you two have bonded and that you got to keep her...
Yes, she misses you and esp the really social ones can have separation anxiety. Alot of people will tell you to get her another cat to have some company while you're gone. I have a ragdoll kitty and they are known to crave company and yes she follows me from room to room all the time. I only leave her for short periods of time though as I am a sahm so no second cat in the works here...yet anyways . Adding a second cat can take a lot of work and patience at first though, so you'd need to be sure....
If getting a second cat is not something you want or need or can take on....yes leave her some entertainment. She likely sleeps alot while you're gone and just making you feel bad for it when you get home anyway. There is such a thing as a dvd for cats that you can leave playing while you're out. I haven't seen it but the ads for it look pretty neat.
And yes, you're right, there is an amazing amount of crap you can buy for a cat! Leave different toys scattered about, some will even hold treats that she has to work for ( now there's kitty entertainment!), maybe a cat tree she can climb and lay on parked by a window to watch birds?
Good luck and just don't feel "too guilty" (maybe a little) with the act she's laying on while she wipes the sleep out of her pretty little eyes!
post #3 of 8
Loved the story! I knew George and I bonded when he started to sleep with me (I adopted him from the shelter, and my first ever cat). He also likes to give me the guilt trip - laying by the door when I get ready to leave for work and waiting by the door when I get home (how he knows "when" is a mystery to me!). I'll leave the tv on or some music if I know its going to be a long day out - and he always has some toys, food and water available.

Before it's lights out, I make sure we get a good play session in - no matter what time it is otherwise I "pay for it" either in the middle of the night or way too early in the morning...George becomes VERY vocal and lets me know that he wants to play.

As for changing her name - George wasn't his original name (he just wasn't a Rascal) but he now actually responds to it. Give it a go!
post #4 of 8
You're obviously a renowned cat lover! I loved the story, made me smile. Anyway, my personal opinion is that you should get another cat. Not a kitten necessarily, as they can be a handful and need lots of attention, but maybe a cat around the same age as the one you have. Make sure the cat is used to being around people AND other cats... you don't want to introduce two cats that have been alone all their lives, that can be scary. Go to a shelter and check out the cats there. See what kind of personalities might go well with your cat. Sarah (a.k.a. Wondercat) seems very social, so maybe a calmer more laid back cat could be a good match. Be careful though, and make sure you read everything you can find on introducing cats to each other. It can be a mess if you don't do it properly.
Hope I helped!
post #5 of 8
She absolutely needs a life - either you play with her a lot (except aren't there to do it) or get her a cat friend. It's not fair to expect her to just be there like a doorstop all day and happy about it - she's bored stiff.
post #6 of 8
Yep, you're living with a little predator and since she's indoors and you live alone with no other pets you're by far the highlight of her day.

Have you any idea how she'd react to another cat? Sometimes female cats that have been on their own for years will not really adapt to other cats, they seem to be more territorial than the males. Anyway often they will though even though it can take a few weeks of slow introductions etc. and even though they don't become best friends, keeping track of each other etc. gives them something extra to do during the day.

If that's not an option which I understand if it's not. There are things you can do. First of all be sure to play with her every day. She needs the exercise, both mental and physical to help her stay sane. Also there are puzzle feeders you can use if she's fed dry kibble. They're usually a ball you can open up and fill with kibble and it has a small hole where the kibble will fall out when the cat nudges it.

I've got a few of those and all of my cats dry food comes through these now. Cats in the wild work a lot for their foods and even though the puzzle balls are quite easy for the cats to get food out of once they've figured out how to use them, it's something extra to do during the day and every little bit helps.

Also you can look into getting a feliway diffuser for your flat. It's a diffuser you plug into an electric outlet and it releases a synthetic feline pheromone that we can't smell at all. What it does is lower the overall stress level of the cat. It's not a drug or medication. I'd see it more as you doing your share of scent marking the home territory as "safe".

I.e cats use their facial pheromones to mark their core, safe territory. They then use scratching and urine and spraying to mark the edges of the territory. With the feliway running your home will feel really well marked as safe and theirs by the cat and that makes them comfortable. It doesn't work on all cats so it's not quaranteed to help but it's worth trying it out if you can afford it. If you don't see a change just turn it off after 4 weeks (it can take that long to start working) and don't buy any refills.

Still paying attention to her and playing with her a lot when you're there so that she's had a release for most of her energy when you're gone is probably the best 'solution'. I live alone and have a very energetic cat and I've got to play with her for atleast an hour every day and I leave out paper boxes in varying combinations with treats hidden in that she can search for, in addition to having figured out a few toys she'll play with on her own so I have a few of those on rotation (she gets bored with the same one if it's out too long) and all her dry food goes through puzzle balls.

I've also made sure all the windows have a nice perch for her to sit at where she can watch the outside world. I'm also.. er helped by having a mouse infestation currently where I'm living. I wouldn't recommend that my cat loves it though.
post #7 of 8
fish tank? but make sure she wont eat em or fall into it)
post #8 of 8
David and Sarah, I loved your story.

David do you have Da Bird for Sarah? This is a great toy for both of you. It's a wand with a line that has a feather toy on the end. You can drag it on the floor, flip it over her head and the cat will chase it and do quite spectacular leaps to catch the toy. My three love it, even my fifteen year old, Furrari, will play with it. Ok, he doesn't make flying leaps after it (not at his age) but he does bat at it and chase it if I drag it on the floor. The cats get fun and excercise and you get to laugh till it hurts. At least, I can't play with Da Bird and my cats without laughing - a lot.

Other people have some good ideas with climbing trees, window perches and puzzle cubes, etc. These will give her something to do when you're gone. (Mine like to stare out the window at the bird feeders.) Another cat may be good, but only if Sarah wants a friend and you want a second cat. Single cats can live wonderful lives if their human makes extra time and effort for them.
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