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Dealing With Long-Term Separation From Your Cat

Separation from our feline friends can be  hard for us and them. Temporary separations or traveling long distances or durations can be down right heartbreaking. Here's a few ways to ease the achy heart for both parties. 

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Step 1:
Identify How You're Feeling About Your Separation

While this step might seem silly, it's probably the most important for you, as the human to do. Ask yourself some important questions. 

What am I specifically anxious about leaving my cat for?

Am I sad because I think I'll miss my cat?

Am I worried something is going to happen?

Will my cat get depression from missing me?

All these are great lead questions to determining how you are currently feeling about separation from your cat. Know that it is perfectly reasonable to question these things and your feelings are valid.

Creating a list of items you know your feelings on, can help rule out what you can or can't control, come up with solutions, and give yourself peace of mind.

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As a cat owner, your ability to bond with your cat, your unique way carries a lot of value that not all of society will recognize for you. Do yourself a favor and give yourself grace right off the bat and own those feelings. 

Consider giving yourself the gift of therapy. No joke. Human therapy is an ideal way for us to process through a separation. If you already use a local therapist see if they are willing to meet with you virtually throughout your separation.

 

If you don't already have someone, maybe consider using a virtual therapist who can meet with you before, during and after a separation to help let you process your own feelings. Therapy is a tool to help you process. 

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Lastly...don’t let others tell you how your supposed to feel about separating from your pet. Own your deep love and give yourself grace if your struggling.

Step 2:
Sooth Known Anxieties In Advance

Once you've identified what your anxious about, you can begin working on solving as many as you can, in advance so when the time comes to separate you can do so without panicking!

Who is your cat staying with while you are away?

Are they qualified to care for your cat?

Do they know your cats routine?

What happens, if the unthinkable happens to me while I'm gone?

Solving who your cat is staying with is likely the number one source of anxiety when it comes to separating from your cat. Ideally you have a trusted friend or family member, maybe a room mate that already knows the normal routine, that's great! 

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If you aren't in a position to have this figured out right off the bat, don't stress. Start looking for what you can control in this situation. There are a few types of care that you can line up:

  • Drop in pet sitters

  • Live in pet sitters

  • Temporary fostering organiziations

  • Boarding facilities

Drop in pet sitters:

Drop in sitters can visit as few or as often as you can afford or your sitter can work into their schedule. This is ideal for shorter separations and not so much if you know your going to be long for extended periods of time. 

Live in pet sitters:

Live in sitters can come and stay at your residence and watch not only your pets, but your property as well. If you have a cat with known separation anxiety, this is a fantastic option. 

Temporary Fosters:

Depending on the reason for your separation there are organizations that help with military members and fostering temporarily. 

Boarding Facilities:

A great option for those who want the most attentive care is utilizing a boarding facility. Many cats get round the clock care, observation and owners can frequently get check ins and updates. 

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Did you know there are cat  exclusive boarding facilities? A drive might be worth it for your kitties comfort! 

Make sure whoever you choose they are licensed and insured! Even if a pet sitter that's dropping in, make sure they have liability insurance at a minimum to help cover accidents or illness. First Aid and CPR for animals is different than human courses, be sure they have this training in case of emergency!

Step 3:
Prep For The Actual Separation 

Now you've narrowed down where kitty is staying and who's caring for your feline friend... Now let's get down to the details for your cats possible reactions. Some of the best things you can do for kitty is to keep things the same! 

Routine the same.

Are they qualified to care for your cat?

Food/Treats the same.

If your cat begins to get moody or irritated during the separation you can try a few tricks to help ease their experience. 

Have your sitter feed in a puzzle instead of a bowl:

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Treat dispensers can help challenge the mind and really break up boredom with your cat. A mental challenge can help improve and stabilize mood for them too! This is the Trixie Fun Board and it has insanely good reviews and a fan favorite of ours! 

Hire in a cat cuddler:

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Hire in or pay for an extra cuddle session if your cat is super struggling. This could be as simple as hiring a local kid that loves animals, or if you don't have a trusted individual, hiring in a local sitter to do a drop in. 

Utilize a calming Pheromone spray:

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Give your cat audio or video to hear:

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A calming pheromone spray might be just the ticket to help soothe your feline friend. We choose spray's on surfaces that can be washed or removed in case your cat is sensitive to it as opposed to whole room diffusers. 

Consider creating a quick audio or video file you can share with your cats temporary caregiver to use if they are needing to hear your voice. 

 

 

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You might consider a pet camera to check in on and or talk to your cat while away. This doesn't have to be a pet specific device, although treat dispenser ones are fun. We just don't encourage laser based play cameras. 

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Giving your cat a scented item of yours can help keep them calm during times of separation. While long term separation is harder to keep your scent, it is possible to use scent training equipment and your freezer to offer long storage of your scent if done correctly. 

Step 4:
Patience And Grace For The Both Of You

Just remember, every cat is unique, so it may take some trial and error to find the strategies that work best for your furry friend. Patience and understanding goa long way in helping your cat cope with separation. 

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And.... the same goes for you. You are unique in how you handle a separation from your furry friend. Know that it's ok to struggle, and it's ok to ask for help. Even just having a trusted friend to say how lonely you are or how much you miss your buddy can be helpful. Lean into taking care of yourself during this temporary time. Best of all... it's temporary, we can breath and know that one day soon you and your buddy will be back to snuggles and catnip sessions in no time!

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What education and or certifications does this groomer have? or are pursing currently?
While grooming isn't necessarily a regulated field requiring a degree to get into... it is a field that allows you to see a wide variety of talents and skills. Since there are no licensing requirements it is imperative that owners take it in their own hands to research who they are trusting their kitty with! 

Some important things to check out/ask your groomer:

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