Going on vacation leaves some pets feeling very sad

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Going on vacation leaves some pets feeling very sad

Updated Dec 21, 2021

Dear Cathy,

Nani is our 15-year-old cat. We lost her brother four years ago. She was depressed for two years, but then improved. When the family is all gone at once, I have someone come in every day to check on Nani, change the litter, and feed her.

In December, we were gone for 13 days. Around day nine, she stopped eating and using her litter box. My friend couldn’t find her and thought she had died. Turns out, she was just hiding. Our vet says she was stressed, presumably by being alone. He said it was a good thing we got back when we did. There was also some inappropriate urination discovered later. What can we do to make it easier for her when we are gone the next time?  Would pheromones help? 

– Barb, Massapequa, New York

Dear Barb,

It can be difficult for any pet to be left alone for a few weeks, even with a pet sitter stopping by daily. Our pets often get sad when we’re away for any length of time. I once went on a two-week vacation and left my three cats with a pet sitter who stopped by twice daily to visit. While they had each other and about an hour of human companionship daily, my pet sitter noticed they seemed depressed after the first week. Since then, I have never left any of my pets at a kennel or in the home with a pet sitter for longer than a week.

Shorter vacations are not always possible, so I would recommend feline pheromones plugged in throughout the home to reduce her stress. But the real issue here is loneliness, and the only solution for that is companionship. You might consider adopting another cat or better yet, asking someone to house sit for you when you all are gone. Nani will do much better if someone is at home for part of the day.

Cathy M. Rosenthal is a longtime animal advocate, children’s author, syndicated pet columnist, and pet expert with more than 30 years in the animal welfare field. Send your pet questions, stories and tips to cathy@petpundit.com. Please include your name, city, and state. You can follow her @cathymrosenthal

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Cathy Rosenthal (aka The Pet Pundit), CHES, CFE
Animal Welfare Communications Specialist

Cathy brings more than 35 years' experience in the animal welfare field. She is a sought-after speaker, Certified Humane Education Specialist, a syndicated pet advice columnist, an author, a publisher, and of course - a loving pet parent.

Read more about Cathy here or check out her Non-Profit's page to see more ways she can help you and your organization.

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