The days are getting shorter, and the air, at least in Minnesota, is starting to get cooler. That can only mean one thing—it’s August.
August has always sparked the beginning of the back-to-school season for me, and, even though I’m not in classes anymore, I still think of this time as new beginnings.
If you have little ones at home, I hope you’ve been enjoying these last few months with them before they head back to school.
After so much time at home, your cat has probably adjusted to this new summer schedule. When the kids head back to school and are suddenly gone for 7 hours a day, this can have a big impact on your cat.
Here are a few ways you can help stop separation anxiety and heal those back-to-school blues.
What is Separation Anxiety?
Even though people think of cats as very independent, often standoffish animals, they love their humans. When there is a drastic change in a cat’s routine or how often they see their human, they can have a hard time adjusting.
Signs of Separation Anxiety in Your Cat
- Excessive meowing
- Urinating outside the litter box
- Behavior issues
- Increased affection and clinginess
- Vomiting or diarrhea
- Excessive grooming
How to Help Your Cat Copy with the Back-to-School Season
If you notice separation anxiety symptoms in your cat, it’s always a good idea to take them to the vet. There may be underlying issues at play, and your vet can prescribe medicine to help treat those issues and calm the anxiety.
Once you’ve taken your cat to the vet, here are a few home adjustments you can make to ease the transition for your cat.
More Play Time and Exercise
Cats need exercise every day to tire them out and release all their pent up energy. With the kids gone to school, they may not be getting as much exercise as they’re used to, leading to destructive behavior.
Give your cat some extra play time, maybe even before school, to get rid of all that energy and keep them calm while everyone is gone.
Ease Your Cat into the New Schedule
A good way to prevent separation anxiety is to prepare your cat for the new schedule. Before school starts, figure out what the new schedule and routine will look like for your cat, and do a few practice runs. Get up at the new, early time and start feeding your cat at the new times as well.
Stay out of the house a little more at a time so your cat knows that, even though you’ve been gone a while, they can still expect you home.
Keep Your Cat Entertained While the Kids are Away
If no one is in the house during the day to play with the cat, there are still ways of keeping them entertained and distracted. Interactive toys, cat scratchers, and cat trees in front of a window are all great ways to keep your cat entertained.
Puzzle toys are also great at holding their attention. You can put a few treats or some of their food in a store-bought or homemade puzzle toy, stimulating their hunter instincts. Another way to stimulate that hunter brain is to hide a few pieces of food around the house for them to find.
If they seem too lonely during the day, considering a cat sitter to come over for an hour or two every day could also be the best decision.
Spend Quality Time with Your Cat While You’re Home
Your cat misses their humans when they aren’t in the house, so make sure that, when everyone is home, they are taking advantage of that time. Give your cat extra pets and affection, and make sure they are getting enough exercise.
Being reward with quality time at the end of the day will help make the transition a little easier.
How are you helping your cat transition during this back-to-school season?