According to Professor Nicholas Dodman, director of the small animal behavior clinic at Tufts Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine in Grafton, Mass., cats that enjoy human interaction and affection can become psychologically unglued, especially if their best human friend comes back and then suddenly “disappears” again.
“Cats don't display their feelings as outwardly as dogs do,” adds Dodman. “So, often their anxiety and depression flies under the radar and their people don’t really notice."
The fix is lots of extra (and ongoing) attention. Dodman says that cats will benefit from between 30–40 minutes of exercise a day prompted by chasing laser beams, interaction with wand-type toys and a variety of battery-operated activities that hone their hunting skills and give both mental and physical enrichment. Exercise sessions can be broken up into ten-minute stints.
Another idea is to place food in food puzzles so that your cat has to work to extract it. Dodman also suggests giving your feline some entertainment, such as a birdfeeder outside a window that will attract both birds and squirrels.
Ask the Expert: Dealing With Post-Holiday Cat Stresscats decoded
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