Lonely Cat Needs to Get a Life

scared cat


My 2 year old cat has separation anxiety. When he sees me getting dressed he starts crying and follows me, holding my leg, and when I get to the door his legs shake.

Dr. Nichol:

I’m sad just reading about your kitty’s angst. It could be worse. Most cats with separation anxiety give themselves away by urine soiling when home alone. Others cry or over-groom, resulting in bald patches. Quit your job? There’s a better way.

Cats are hard-wired to stalk and hunt helpless rodents. Yours isn’t bored; he needs to engage his brain and athletic body rather than wringing his little paws when you’re gone. Remember Wild Kingdom? I don’t either.

Outdoor surveillance video will reveal freak-out factors like visiting neighbor cats or wild animals. Your boy could be stressed because he can’t escape or chase those scary beasts to the county line. Humane booby traps would send those scoundrels elsewhere for their amusement. Discourage their voyeuristic proclivities by covering the lower portions of your windows with window film.

All indoor kitties need a wonderland of simulated natural opportunities. Locate a floor-to-ceiling cat tree against a window so your nervous Nellie can leer at prey snacking and nesting in the bird houses and feeders suction-cupped to the exterior of the glass. Install hide boxes at various heights in different rooms so the kid can be a secure solitary creature when he chooses. Find more Feline Environmental Enrichments on my searchable website, Drjeffnichol.com.

You can set your cat up for success by making your departures and arrivals non-events. Ignore when preparing to leave, as you walk out the door, and when your return. When your boy is calm you should pet him and quietly tell him he’s good. And drop a few stuffed food toys as you walk out the door for your wild predator to manipulate like fresh kill while nibbling on their innards.

Prescription antianxiety medication can also help, along with the synthetic pheromone Feliway Optimum but don’t add a feline “friend.” You may set up a WWE scenario.


For help with behavior problems, you can sign-up for a Zoom Group Conference on my website, drjeffnichol.com.

Dr. Jeff Nichol is a residency-trained veterinary behaviorist. He provides consultations in-person and in groups by Zoom (drjeffnichol.com). Each week he shares a blog and a video to help bring out the best in pets and their people. Sign up at no charge at drjeffnichol.com. Email pet behavior or physical questions to or by US Post to 4000 Montgomery Blvd. NE, Albuq, NM 87109.