Seperation Distress? - Cat Forum : Cat Discussion Forums
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post #1 of 2 (permalink) Old 03-08-2009, 07:30 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2009
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Seperation Distress?

Oscar, our ginger tom, seems to have developed in the last 2 years this uncanny knack of falling ill before we go on holiday resulting in the need for him to go into cat hospital in the days before and/or during our holiday. I've been looking around for reasons why this may occur and have identified 'separation distress', however Oscars symptoms are not that consistent with the condition. For whatever reason he just stops eating and drinking and becomes really lethargic. We end up taking to the vets because of his dehydration and they keep him as he has to go on a drip. They always normally pump him with anti-biotics 'just in case' and do full blood works for kidney, liver and heart. We always worry there is a kidney problem because when he was 18 months old he was hit by a car which squished one of his kidneys which had to be removed. However, despite him now being over 15 years old, the kidney and other tests always come back clear. We're under no doubt that its the fact we're going away that probably upsets him. Whether it is the bit of us not being around, or him going into a cattery (which is very very good and he gets spoilt rotten), we don't know. Last weekend, we were away for two nights. Our next door neighbour came in to feed Oscar and our other cat Trixie. Our neighbour said Oscar was fine, and ate all his food on both nights. However, when we got back on third day, although we were met on the garden path by Oscar with a huge big hello meow, as soon as he came in, he went straight to his bed and over the space of 6 or hours, went into his lethargic, not eating/drinking routine. It was only because I stayed up most of the night giving him attention, offering chunks of food, bowl of water, etc, that he slowly recovered so it meant by morning he was eating/drinking enough to not warrant another visit to the vet. Within 24 hours he was back to normal again as if nothing had happened. We love Oscar to bits and would do anything to make sure he is OK but trips and stays in cat hospital are expensive, and would like to know if there is anything I can do or get Oscar to stop him getting seemingly so stressed with our going away. I'm sure if he can get over the initial shock of us not being around he is fine. Any advice greatly appreciated.

PS - yes, we've done the 'not taking the carry case and/or suitcases out until he's gone to cattery'
GrahamH is offline  
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post #2 of 2 (permalink) Old 03-08-2009, 11:25 AM
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Wisconsin, USA
Posts: 12,677
Re: Seperation Distress?

He's identified the preparations for the trip with going away to the cattery. Even when you don't pack until he's gone, there's still a change in normal household routines, your own stress level goes up, and so forth. He knows what's coming and gets stressed himself. I don't think it's the separation itself, it's the runup to it that's the cause. I'm wondering what you can do to break the association. Maybe just stay home one year? Find someone, a trusted friend or cat sitting service who can take care of him in your own home? Take him along?
coaster is offline  
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