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I don't think separation anxiety is technically what this is since he's not destructive, but that's the only term to describe what I feel like I'm seeing.

Booth has always cried when I left him on his own. He lives downstairs in the basement where my brother and I have our rooms (it's well lit and all, basically like an apartment down there) and he's blocked by a baby gate at the top of the stairs from coming all the way into the rest of the house. Whenever I go upstairs, he follows me up the stairs and cries from behind the gate for about 5-10 minutes and then he stops and goes off to sleep or play by himself. This happens every time I go up the stairs (6-7 times a day). I never reward him for crying (I don't respond to him at all) and I try to make a point of returning once he's silent but he still does it. He also cries whenever I close my door/the bathroom door on him.
I don't really mind the crying, it stops soon enough and it's kind of cute.

However, now he's stopped eating unless I'm in the room. I feed him his wet food in the morning before I go to school and at night before we go to bed and while he has no issue eating at night when I'm there, he never finishes eating his breakfast until I return home much later in the day. As soon as I get home he runs over to his food like he's been starving, and starts chowing down.
I really don't like this, he's a growing kitten, he needs his food! And I want to be able to leave and have him still eat...
He's also free fed dry food and he seems to nibble on that a little bit during the day but not nearly as much as he does when I'm home. When I'm home it's like gorging time or something...
Also, this morning I tried feeding him a scrambled egg with a little bit of cooked turkey and he ate that like nobodies' business, even though I wasn't home. However, I feel like scrambled eggs probably aren't the most healthy breakfast for him to eat every single day...


What should I do? Should I even worry about it? Help?

Thanks in advance!
 

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It does sound like seperation anxiety to me. My cat used to stare out the door everytime I left for school and cry. He would want to be in the bathroom with me, and he'd cry until i'd let him in. I had no problem with doing so.

Eventually he just grew out of it; as he got accustomed to my routine. He didn't have too many issue with food, but I did notice if I was in the room he did eat more often. I'm not sure what to tell you, I didn't do anything for mine. He just kind of stopped. Hopefully someone here will be able to give you some helpful advice!
 

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Can you afford another kitten? If he's very sociable and desperately lonely, you could direct a lot of that energy towards another feline.

No human can play exactly like another cat does either with chasing and wrestling or even just mutual grooming (my cat tastes funny, not recommended... pthewee).
 

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Georgia was origionally the same way with eating and still sort of is but not as bad. I mentioned it to the vet that she would only eat when someone was home and in the room with her and he told me not to worry and that she would grow out of it. She now will eat more while we were at work then she did at first and when we are home it doesnt matter if we are in the room or not. Unless Booth starts losing weight or isnt gaining the normal amount of weight I would say its ok and hopefully he will start to grow out of it too! :)
 

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I don't think it's separation anxiety. No, I'm pretty sure it's not separation anxiety. What I DO think is going on is a kitten training his human to do his will.

point #1 - cat vocalizations often sound like "crying" to human ears. Cats don't express their distress this way. He's just talking to you, wanting you to come back and let him through the gate. If your intent is to keep him behind the gate, then you're doing the right thing. Don't worry about it.

point #2 - he's found that he CAN manipulate you into keeping him company by not eating because he senses your distress when he doesn't and then your ease when he does. So he eats when you're there. If he's healthy and gaining weight, then he's getting enough to eat. Again, don't worry about it, but unless you want to be there keeping him company while he eats, then don't be there and don't make a fuss.

All that being said and analyzed and all that other behavioral stuff that only works half the time (but 50% is doing pretty good when it comes to cats)

.....why are you keeping him separate anyway? Is there a problem with access to the rest of the house? Blocked doorways and closed doors are anathema to cats. They want to know what's going on on the other side. You probably solve BOTH your concerns by allowing him free access to the entire house.

There!! That's the best solution, anyway, isn't it? :smile:
 

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I agree with icatguy, in that Booth's problem doesn't sound like separation anxiety. It's likely that Booth knows there are things going on in the rest of the house. He wants to be part of the action, and he doesn't like the locked door/baby gates. If it's possible to let him out, then you should do so -- although I imagine you must have a valid reason for keeping him in the basement in the first place, so letting him out might not be possible. If that's the case, then I too would suggest you just ignore his cries and pleas.

He'll be fine over time and he won't starve himself for lack of company. I note that, when they were kittens, I fed my girls wet at specified times, but then also free fed them dry. They rarely ate much of the dry during the day...their appetite was much more voracious first thing in the morning and in the evening.

The only other thing I will suggest (or ask) is are there any windows in the basement/room that he's in and can he get to the window? If Booth must be confined to a basement, it would at least be helpful if he had access to a window, so that he could look outside when you're away.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks everyone! I feel a lot better about it now.
I agree, I think he's just trying to train me to do his bidding and he's bummed that it's not working. Haha!
I've started feeding him smaller portions of wet food (1/6 of a 5.5oz can instead of 1/4th) to encourage him to eat it all since he was wasting so much of it and that seems to be working to make him more excited about eating it, even if I'm not there.

He's not allowed upstairs because my mom is a little bit allergic to him and I'm trying a variety of allergen management strategies, but we're testing them in the basement first so that deep cleaning is easier since it's a smaller area. He's also not allowed upstairs because the first two times he was let up there for a while, he started galloping around and climbing up the back of our fancy couch, while digging his claws into it. So the basement is also a "housecat training" center so he can learn about furniture and how to treat these things, on non-fancy furniture.

However, in the scheme of things, we're making progress. I bet he'll be able to come upstairs one day. I mean, for the first little while that I had him my parents were adamant that he needed to be rehomed. Then, it slowly morphed into "he can stay for a few more months but he needs to stay in your room!" Then, it turned into "He needs to be an outside cat." To "he needs to be an outside cat when he's older." To "he can live in the basement and eventually be an outside cat." And then the other day my dad told my grandma when she asked why he wasn't outside yet "He's still not afraid enough of things, he'd get eaten. He'll go out when he's older." Hah! I doubt that! My parents have always been around outside cats and they've always thought that cat's belong outside and that they aren't happy inside so Booth is basically slowly changing their minds. My hope is that one day he'll be allowed upstairs but that probably won't happen until he's gotten a little bit more sedate and we know for sure that my mom's allergies won't be bothered by him.

The basement actually has tons of windows. It's really perfect like that. Booth's favorite room has a large window that looks out to the field behind my house and another large window that looks out on to our backyard and to under the deck where birds like to regularly frolic in the bushes. So he has plenty to watch. There's also a fireplace (really a stove insert thingy) down there that we use to heat the house and he loves to sit in the chair in front of the fireplace and look out the window. It's rather hilarious.

And the gate between the upstairs and downstairs is actually just a wooden frame (I built it myself) with chicken wire so he can see what's going on upstairs. And he regularly does just sit there and watch us. He really basically just wants to be part of the family ALL the time.


Also, on the getting another kitten front, that's definitly a no. I have barely enough resources to care for Booth properly so adding another cat would just be asking for trouble. :(
 
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