Tuesday 17 November 2020

13.5% of domestic cats suffer from separation anxiety problems

The figure seems a little low to me but I'm going to rely upon a questionnaire survey sent to 130 owners of adult cats living in the city of Juiz de Fora in Minas Gerais, Brazil. There were 223 questions for each cat. The research is published in the journal PLOS ONE and it was published on April 15, 2020.
Photo: Pixabay

Information collected showed that 13.5% of the sampled cats i.e. 30 out of 223, had at least one symptom of separation anxiety or a separation problem such as destructive behaviour (which was the most frequently reported behavioural symptoms), excessive vocalisation, inappropriate urination, depression-apathy, aggression, agitation-anxiety and inappropriate defecation. Inappropriate defecation was the least encountered behavioural problem at seven of the cats while inappropriate urination occurred with 18 of the cats surveyed. 

The cats lived in households whose owners varied in age between 18-35 years and in homes where there are no female residents or two female residents. 

 Comment: having read lots of literature of on cat behaviour and cat ownership, I sense that there is a real problem with cats being labelled as independent and being left alone all day while their owners have to go to work. You can't really criticise the people but I don't think that they are fully aware of the mental difficulties that their cats experience when left alone. 

Also, not infrequently, these cats are left alone as full-time indoor cats and therefore they can't entertain themselves outside. I'm not saying that they should be outside because it is more dangerous outside. I'm just saying that it's an issue about cat ownership and whether people are in the right place in terms of their lives to be high quality cat caretakers. 

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