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CAT TALES: Stressed out

August 02, 2014

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Prepare your kitty for separation before you plan your holiday!

I AM hiding under the table. When she comes to get me, I will jump from one chair to another. I am not going to let her touch me or hold and hug me.

No, I am not usually like that but today I know that she is going away on one of those beastly official trips. The big, bad bag is on her bed and she is throwing her stuff in it. How heart breaking is that for me, she will never know.

I know she has to go but I refuse to understand. Meeeerrrr! I will sulk and wallow and not rub my head on her leg nor let her pet me. Do you know how we cats hate separation and change? It causes us anxiety and stress. We may go for years without issues, and then suddenly act out when our human’s work schedule changes and takes him/her away for long hours.

This morning I put an old, worn out toy mouse on her pile of clothes. It made me feel better. I’m quite sure she didn’t notice it and it may well have gone in her bag with her clothes. Of course, I know that these unwelcome “gifts” will stress her out but there might be an uproar which will stress me even more but I’m going quite crazy that she is off on a trip, leaving me behind.

She thinks I won’t know that she is going away. I know that every time she picks up her handbag or freshens her lipstick she is about to go out. I lie on the couch watching her, half asleep and too lazy to get up but I know very well when she is getting ready to go out. Although my human thinks that it is only when she comes to say bye-bye to me, will I know of her departure!

Well, if she would leave the bag outside, I would probably become less sensitive to it. And I wouldn’t get so upset to see her packing away.

Throwing my catnip pouch would be another good idea so that I could jump in the bag and it can be my play area for a bit. Once the big bad bag becomes a happy place for me, I won’t feel sad about her going away.

Maybe she could freshen her lipstick at home and pick up and put down her bag a few times so that it becomes a normal activity instead of a stress sign.

That’s how it works with us. She should open and close the door a few times, till it becomes routine for me and I can just lie there and ignore the whole activity. Gradually she could extend her “outside” time to one, two, three or five minutes and so on before returning inside. This gradual increase in absence helps build our tolerance to departures. It also trains me to believe that no matter how long she is gone, she will always return.

I know that new toys, music and even videos of birds flying work for some of my kitty friends when their humans are out but all cats are different and each one has their own level of stress and way to deal with it. Not all tips work with every cat, but using these anti-stress techniques alone or in combination can heal an upset kitty’s feelings, and turn homecomings into joyful reunions.