Their manner suggests they could not care less but cats may not be as aloof as they seem. Picture: Reuters
Their manner suggests they could not care less but cats may not be as aloof as they seem. Picture: Reuters

There's a reason why your cat misbehaves when you're away

By VICTORIA ALLEN Time of article published Apr 16, 2020

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London - Their manner suggests they could not care less but cats may not be as aloof as they seem.

Cats, just like dogs, may suffer separation anxiety when their owners are away.

They may miaow more and are destructive, according to a study of more than 200 cats. They also found that one in seven appear anxious when its owner is absent.

And unfortunately for their owners, rather like dogs, they will urinate around the house. Popular targets include the kitchen sink, vases, beds and clothing.

Research led by the Federal University of Juiz de Fora in Brazil questioned 130 people with cats about their animal’s behaviour. They wanted to know if, after leaving their cat, they returned to find it had gone to the toilet outside the litter tray or if it had damaged possessions.

Other signs of separation anxiety include cats being aggressive, agitated, depressed or excessively miaowing when their owner was away – which others may have noticed.

Cats were judged to have separation anxiety if they met a minimum number of these behavioural and emotional problems. Among the 223 cats in the study, almost 13.5 percent appeared to suffer from separation anxiety.

These cats most often destroyed things, with being noisy and urinating in inappropriate places the next most common behaviours.

The authors, writing in the journal PLOS One, said there is a "belief that cats can easily cope" when their owners are away.

But they added: "Recent studies have reported that cats can be considered as social, being able to generate bonds with their owners, and therefore it is likely they show behaviours and physiological reactions due to the owners’ absence."

Cats were more likely to show signs of separation anxiety if they were the only pet in the house and had no access to cat toys.

But the authors pointed out that attention seeking and climbing to high places are not related to separation and are normal behaviours.

They also admitted that cats may not be missing people when they act out but might simply be bored.

Daily Mail

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