Are You Concerned Your Cat Is Suffering From Anxiety
Bold, mellow, jumpy, shy every cat has a unique personality that shapes how they respond to stress. You may first notice your cat has fears and phobias anywhere from 5 months to a year old, but cats can develop new triggers at any age. Here are the physical symptoms and stress-based behaviors to watch for, as well as ways you can help your cat.
If your cat seems stressed, your first step is to consult your veterinary team to rule out any physical cause. Make an appointment
Kitty Is Extra Aggressive
If your cat is aggressive for no known reason, anxiety might be behind kitty’s behavior. “A well-behaved pet wouldnt go repeatedly berserk on you without a solid motive, so try to discover the root of the problem and fix it for them,” iHeart Cats advised on its website. What’s more, “boredom can result in anxiety for a cat that needs attention, and taking out their frustrations on your belongings is one way they can express their discontent to you.”
How To Calm A Cat
1. To feel safe, your cat needs to have their own space and an easy way to escape if it all gets too much. Don’t crowd them or make a fuss instead, give them room to move away and do their own thing, then wait for them to come back on their own terms when theyre ready.
2. Your instinct might be to comfort your cat by stretching out your arm to stroke them, but they could see this as a threat and lash out with claws or teeth. Instead, give them some space and keep a watchful eye over them from somewhere close by, then save cuddles for a more relaxed moment.
3. Once your cat seems less stressed and more like their usual self, try to engage them in play from a distance. Use a fishing-rod toy or roll a ball for them and they will join in if they no longer feel like there’s danger looming.
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Q: I Have A Social Cat Who Enjoys Company But I Travel Often And He Becomes Agitated In My Absence I Have Someone Who Checks In On Him Regularly When Im Away But This Doesnt Seem To Help What Can I Do To Lessen His Stress
A: Its a myth that cats are essentially independent. Felines, especially those highly bonded to their people, may become stressed when left alone, especially for long periods of time. Some felines may be OK with shorter daily periods of separation but may have trouble with longer absences.
Separation distress can lead to a variety of unwanted behaviors, including defecating and urinating outside of the litterbox , excessive vocalization, appetite loss, throwing up, destructive clawing and excessive self-grooming.
While Every Cat Has A Different Personality The General Signs Of Separation Anxiety In Felines Are:
As veterinarians and pet owners, we know that some of these things can be frustrating, particularly the elimination outside the litter box. Many cat owners have gotten the gift of defecation on the bed, in a shoe, or on an item of clothing. Its important to remember that this isnt necessarily a sign of spiteful behavior but can often mean that your cat is looking to mix their scent with yours. Cats believe they are also helping you find your way home. Instincts run deep!
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Create A Safe Space For Your Cat
If other pets, a baby, sounds, or things they can see outside are creating stress for your cat, a quiet, dark area away from these stimuli can help. Create a safe space for your cat , where they can relax away from any stressors. A quiet, darkened place, made from cardboard boxes or sheets draped over chairs can work well. Make sure your cat can live in this space comfortably for a few days, and provide all the essentials in this one room: food, water, bedding, a litter box, a scratching post, and other toys. Provide plenty of individual attention, playtime and cuddles to your cat, to ensure they dont get jealous of other pets.
If you live in a smaller apartment and are worried your cat does not have enough individual space, there are a number of ways you can increase their territory vertically, using cat trees, cat shelves and window perches .
Cat Separation Anxiety Symptoms:
- Cats with separation anxiety will follow their owners compulsively between rooms and demand constant attention
- They will begin to recognise the signs when youre about to leave the house, and will become distressed: hiding, sulking, or vocalising their displeasure loudly.
- When theyre alone in the house, they may perform destructive behaviours that they are not usually inclined to, such as failing to use the litter box or refusing to eat.
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Body Language Of An Anxious Cat
- If your cat is hiding, or alternatively if your cat has frozen in fear, they are likely to have a tense, hunched or crouched posture, usually pressed quite low to the ground.
- Your cat will have all four of their feet planted firmly underneath themselves so that they are ready to quickly escape or take a defensive swipe with a paw if the situation escalates.
- Your cats legs and tail are likely to be pressed close to the rest of their body, their head lowered, and neck pulled in towards their shoulders.
The 10 Best Cat Calming Sprays Of 2022
We have selected the best cat calming sprays. So after reading this article, you be sure about which one you should buy for your cute feline friend.
If you are a cat owner who just landed here, say no more! We know that youre definitely looking for solutions on why your feline friend is behaving unusually. The reasons could be divergent, but the remedy is only one, cat calming sprays. You need them if you have a cat not being herself lately.
Though they are very skittish in nature, you can easily spot the difference in manners. This happens when your cat is stressed, upset, or anxious.
To calm her down, there is no better option than cat calming sprays.
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How To Treat And Manage Your Cats Anxiety
The best way to treat most cases of anxiety is a multi-modal approach that combines behavioral modification techniques, making changes to your cats environment, natural calming aids, and potentially anti-anxiety medication, depending on the severity of your cats anxiety. Any underlying or linked medical conditions will need to be treated as well.
Successful treatment plans require consistency and commitment, as it may take several months for your cat to overcome their anxiety, or to reduce it to a manageable level. Be patient and remember that even small changes in their behavior and symptoms will have a meaningful and cumulative impact on their wellbeing and quality of life.
How To Prevent Anxiety In Cats
One of the best ways to help your cat grow up to be well-adjusted and anxiety-free is to ensure theyre well socialized as a kitten.
Expose your cat to a variety of social situations and experiences while they are young to decrease the likelihood of them developing anxiety in the future. This could include being petted by strangers, human visitors coming and going, meeting other cats and dogs, travelling in a car, and hearing a variety of loud noises.
When introducing a new pet to the home, take things slow. If you notice any signs of anxiety or territorial behavior in either pet, separate them and let them live in separate rooms for a while. Reintroduce them slowly, starting with their scents use a common towel, brush, or other item between your pets to help them recognize and get used to each others scents. Next, slowly allow them to spend time together. Gradually increase the duration of their interactions until they have adapted to living in the same space. Continue to introduce and separate your pets until they are coexisting safely.
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What Else Should I Do
If you are concerned about your cats quality of life then speak to your vet. Your cat may also benefit from the use of synthetic pheromones to reinforce a message of safety and familiarity in the home. It may even be worthwhile to seek advice from a behaviour specialist who would be able to provide you with strategies to manage your cats anxiety in the most appropriate way.
Cat Anxiety: Understanding Your Stressed Cat
You may tease someone for being a “scaredy-cat” or even get a chuckle when something startles your kitty and makes them jump. But a fearful, anxious cat is no joke. Cat anxiety can be a serious problem, especially if left untreated. If you think you might be dealing with a stressed cat, keep reading in order to understand what’s going on with your kitty and how you can help them.
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Cat Fear: How To Help A Nervous Cat
From the loud bangs and the bright lights of fireworks, to storms and lots of festive visitors the world can be a scary place if youre a cat! Thankfully, there are lots of ways you can help your furry friend through their anxieties and fears.
Weve all heard of the term scared-y cat, but sadly when a cat is scared its more than just a phrase. Cats can be afraid of lots of different things and for many owners finding the cause of the problem and knowing what to do next can be a challenge. Unfortunately if your cat is left without any help their fear can lead to stress, anxiety and even illness, especially as fears tend to get worse over time.
Our vets have put together some tips to help you know if your cat might have a fear or phobia as well as advice on how to help them. Its always important to get your cat checked by your vet if theyre suddenly acting differently. Although most fears are a behavioural issue, your vet will be able to look for any medical problems that could be causing your cat to feel anxious and if needed they can refer your cat to an accredited behaviourist who will be able to help them.
Final Notes: Easing Your Cats Anxiety
Anxiety is something that can affect people, dogs, and cats. But whether its an animal or a human, anxiety is frustrating and can be quite debilitating. Since your cat cant go to the doctor and fix their anxiety themselves, its your responsibility to do it for them. Finding the proper treatment for your kitty is the only way theyll be able to go on living a happy and healthy life.
Fortunately, there are various different courses of treatment for your feline friend, including giving them medication. Dutch.com is a great way to have your cat evaluated quickly and if advised, get the medication they need to feel at ease. With Dutch, you can virtually connect with licensed veterinarians who will determine the best treatment plan and if medication is right for your kitty.
If they do decide its the right course of treatment, theyll prescribe the necessary medication and youll get it delivered directly to your door within 7 days. Dutch eliminates the need to physically go to a vets office, which is more efficient for both pet owners and veterinarians. Check out Dutch so you can help your anxious kitty go back to their sweet and cuddly ways as quickly as possible.
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Diagnosing Anxiety In Cats
Your veterinarian will diagnose anxiety based on your description of your cats behavior, and potentially after running diagnostic tests such as bloodwork and urine tests to rule out any medical causes of your cats behavior.
The most helpful thing you can do is provide your vet with as much information as possible when it comes to the behavioral changes and symptoms youve noticed. This will allow your vet to help narrow down the actual trigger for your cats anxiety and prepare a treatment plan for them.
How Do I Know If My Cat Is Nervous Or Afraid
Sometimes its clear when your cat is upset about something, but some cats can hide their fear and you may not realise theyre uncomfortable. You might not to see their first reaction when something scares them, especially if it happens while theyre outside, so you may only see the end result which is often hiding or stress.
Signs of fear in cats include:
- Freezing in place or making themselves small by crouching low to the ground and lowering their head
- Arching their back and puffing up their fur
- Wide eyes with big pupils that look like ovals or circles
- Tucking their tail under them or swishing the tip quickly side to side
- Moving their ears quickly or flattening their ears close to their head
- Hissing or spitting
- Scratching or biting
- Peeing or pooing outside their litter tray.
If youre seeing any of these signs, it could be your cat is afraid, anxious or stressed and its important to get take the steps below to help.
If you have an anxious or fearful cat, they can develop a condition called stress cystitis which causes pain, blood in the urine and can even lead to a blocked bladder. Contact your vet for help as soon as possible if you see signs of these or any other symptoms that are worrying you.
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What Is The Time Required For A Cat To Settle Into A New Home
The cat might need some time. The cat might be distant. But as soon as it knows it is fed and taken care of. It will be getting close to you.
Cats need to feel at home. It needs some care and time. Soon after the right input of care and love the cat will get attached to you. You will be all comfy and cozy in no time post adjustment period.
How To Reduce Stress In Cats
There are many natural, non-medicated approaches to helping your cat deal with stress and anxiety. Depending on the severity of your cat’s anxiety, you may be able to come to a complete resolution without having to resort to medicating. However, if your cat fails to improve or is causing themselves or others harm, we recommend chatting to your vet about options.
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Behavioral Modification And Training Techniques For Cats
There are two different strategies you can use to help your cat learn to cope with their anxiety triggers: desensitization and counterconditioning.
Desensitization is accomplished through repeated, controlled exposure to your cats specific fear or anxiety stimulus. If the stimulus is given in small doses and at a low intensity, your cat will hopefully not respond with fear or anxiety. Repeated exposure, accompanied by rewards for positive behavior, can be extremely helpful in the long-term management of anxiety.
A common example is playing a sound that your cat is afraid of , at a very low volume when they are in a calm state. Doing this repeatedly, while slowly increasing the volume over time, can help them to become more accustomed to the noise, so they dont become anxious when they hear the real thing.
Its important to always work at a sub-threshold level this means ensuring that you work at a level that does not cause them any fear or stress, which would be counter-productive. watch your cats body language cues carefully, including their ear and tail positioning, and stop while they are still calm.
Counterconditioning teaches your cat to change their response to the anxiety stimulus. You use positive behavior reinforcement to replace anxious behaviors with more desirable ones.
How To Help A Cat With Anxiety
Its important to understand that cat anxiety is rarely solved with just a single action. To truly help your cat and see lasting results, youll want to approach the problem from a few different angles simultaneously. You can apply this approach to almost any behavior concern:
Lets look at how you can put these steps into practice.
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Some Of The Ways To Minimize Separation Anxiety In Cats Are As Follows:
- Leave the radio or TV on a station that is often on when youre there
- Keep arrivals and departures low key
- Create a nook, safe haven, or refuge for your cat that is their safe space
- Provide plenty of toys and/or puzzles for playtime while you are gone
- Channel prey instincts by hiding food in toys that make them work for it
- Start with shorter absences first
- Provide a perch or catio so that your cat can see their favorite views
- Consider a room diffuser or pheromones to provide a calming scent for your cat
- Remove departure cues put your keys in your pocket a few minutes before leaving)
- Provide plenty of cuddles and playtime once home
- For more serious cases, consider having a sitter coming for 1-2 play sessions during absences
We cannot emphasize enough the importance of checking with your veterinarian when you see any change in your cats behavior before you chalk it up to separation anxiety, as early treatment of illnesses is crucial to cat wellness. For example, some cats go outside the litter box when they have urinary tract infections.
In extreme cases, medication may be an option, but your vet will usually leave that as a final alternative. As the ASPCA notes: “Sometimes for cats, veterinarians will advise using pheromones or calming treats before prescribing medication. Always consult with your veterinarian or a veterinary behaviorist before giving your dog or cat any type of medication or supplement for a behavior problem.”