Monday 1 March 2021

Young confident cat cures elderly dog of separation anxiety

This is a beautiful picture of a young, confident cat, Pete, lying next to an elderly dog, Lucy, who suffered (past tense!) from separation anxiety when Joe's job took him away from the family home for long periods. Jo's wife, Lindsey, was at her wits end because Lucy's separation anxiety was acute. As soon as Joe packed his suitcase she'd start whimpering and when he left she wouldn't get out of bed.

She wouldn't go to the bathroom and everything she tried to assuage her separation anxiety failed. Her children, aged 3 and 6, wanted a new pet anyway, and I suppose this encouraged her to try that route. She decided to adopt a young cat rather than another dog as a companion for Lucy and made enquiries at a Pennsylvanian animal shelter called Forever Home Animal Rescue.

Young confident cat cures elderly dog of separation anxiety
Young confident cat cures elderly dog of separation anxiety. Picture: Lindsey Getz.

They were 'advertising' Pete on their website, I presume, describing him as laid back with a really easy-going temperament. An ideal cat she thought although you can never be sure that it is going to work out when you introduce a new companion animal to a home where there is a resident companion animal. Interspecies relationships are more problematic as well.

She shouldn't have been worried because Pete was very well socialised to dogs and that factor in combination with his confident and laid-back nature leapfrogged all the barriers that could have been presented. On the day he was brought home from the rescue center he was lying next to Lucy in the evening cuddling up.

Initially he was a bit fearful and hid for a day or two but Pete quickly became friends with the kids and importantly with Lucy. Lucy had a companion, a substitute to Joe, and Pete was looking after Lucy. Her separation anxiety faded. It is still there but to a much lesser extent. It is almost a cure and of course Lindsey is delighted because she has resolved what she no doubt saw as a major problem in her life.

She says that her life has been transformed for the better in solving Lucy's separation anxiety and in addition, both the lives of Lucy and of course of Pete have also been transformed. And Joe doesn't have to worry any more about Lucy being troubled with his departures. He can do his job without being concerned about Lucy's anxieties. Perhaps that makes him feel better as well because no doubt when you love your companion animals if your behaviour causes anxieties in them it will cause anxiety in you as well.

The lesson is that sometimes taking a chance on introducing a cat into a home where a dog suffers from anxieties of this nature can be hugely beneficial to both animals and to their owners.

Note: this story is from 2016 but it counts as it is educational as well as beautiful.

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