Additional Tips And Tricks To Help Your Anxious Cat
- Make gradual changes. Introduce changes to your cats environment and routine slowly. If youre rearranging furniture, do one room at a time. If moving to a new home, confine your cat to a smaller area and introduce them to other areas over days or weeks. If you bring home a new pet, be sure to talk with your veterinarian about gradual introductions.
- Provide comfort. Just like a scared child needs comfort, the same may be true of a scared cat. However, be cautious and watch the cats body language. Some frightened cats may react with a bite or a scratch.
- Calming products. There are calming products that can be helpful, like sprays and diffusers that release a substance mimicking natural cat pheromones. However, they should not be relied on as a sole solution.
- Anxiety medication. In some cases, your veterinarian may prescribe an antianxiety medication to help your cat cope with stressors more effectively. These medications can be very helpful but should be used alongside your environmental changes, not as a replacement.
- Never use punishment. Punishing an anxious cat only makes the situation worse and increases their fear response. This includes all forms of punishment, like hitting, swatting, yelling, and squirting with a water bottle.
Behavioral And Lifestyle Changes To Help With Cat Anxiety
Managing anxiety goes beyond medication and helpful products. Your cats environment and your behavior can also make a significant impact in helping them.
Keep your cat mentally stimulated
The New York Times suggests that you first make sure that your home offers plenty of mental stimulation to satisfy your cats natural instincts. Your cat is a predator at heart, and they crave a challenge. Hanging a bird feeder outside of the window, offering your cat a high perch, and introducing new, exciting things such as empty paper bags and boxes, new toys, or kibble-dispensing puzzles will help with meeting your cats natural needs.
Give your cat space
Giving your cat enough space is essential if they suffer from anxiety. The New York Times states that over-petting sometimes pushes cats toward aggressive behavior. Let your cat come to you on their terms, and dont push affection onto them.
Positive interaction boosts your cats confidence, PetMD says, and helps them to feel secure in your home. To keep things interesting, try keeping a stash of cat toys stored in a closet and rotate toys out to keep them fresh and exciting for your cat.
Manage separation anxiety
A few common departure clues that can trigger separation anxiety include grabbing keys, putting on shoes, putting on a coat, or grabbing a handbag. Doing these things regularly without leaving your house will help decrease the power they hold over your cats stress, according to VetStreet.
Is There A Way To Prevent Newly Adopted Cats From Becoming Anxious
When adopting a cat, look for one that is friendly with people and confident. The socialization period for kittens ends at 7 weeks old, but research has shown that proper socialization can benefit a cat up to 14 weeks old.
Expose your cat to a variety of social situations and environments in an overwhelmingly positive way when they are still young to decrease the likelihood of fearful behavior. This doesnt mean forcing your cat to endure stressful situations. Remember that taking a cat into situations where it is clearly moderately or severely fearful for them will actually make things worse.
How To Calm A Cat After Moving
Relocating to a new home or apartment can be very difficult for cats, who love routine and familiarity. If youre moving with cats, Van de Kieft says this isnt the time to buy a new cat tree or debut a different cat bed. Since a new place will smell different already, bring as much stuff as possible that smells like the cat, so there are familiar things there, she says.
Van de Kieft also suggests plugging in a feline pheromone diffuser a few weeks in advance of arriving with your cat, if you can, to get those soothing scents into the air.
Calder and Van de Kieft both recommend designating a single safe haven room for your cat when moving into a new place. Fill it with all her familiar belongings, and make sure there are separate areas for using the litter box, resting, eating and drinking. Let her get comfortable and used to that room before slowly introducing her to the rest of the new home, ideally one space at a time.
Meanwhile, stick to her usual schedule for feeding and playtime as much as possible.
What Are The Symptoms Of Anxiety In Cats
There are a number of different ways that anxiety can manifest, and symptoms may not always be obvious. In general, you should watch out for any changes in behavior, particularly following any changes in your cats environment.
Common cat anxiety symptoms
Physical signs of anxiety, such as holding their tail tight against their body, holding their ears back and hair standing up
Anxiety can also trigger a number of medical conditions, particularly Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease and Upper Respiratory Infections , so you may also notice related symptoms, such as difficulty urinating and increased frequency of urination for FLUTD, and sneezing, congestion and discharge for URIs.
If your cat frequently suffers from recurrent medical issues, you and your veterinarian should consider the possibility that they are being caused by underlying anxiety.
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Identify The Cause Or Triggers Of Your Cats Anxiety
Cat personalities can be incredibly diverse, and so are the causes of their anxiety. The rumbling noise of an unbalanced washing machine may cause one cat to run away in fear and leave another completely unfazed. Anxiety is defined as the anticipation of a threat or danger real or not .
- Lack of socialization at a young age
- Animals outside the home
Signs Your Cat Has Anxiety & How To Help December 21 2020 2 Comments
While anxiety might seem like a human-centric problem, it’s possible for cats to struggle with anxiety as well. Does your cat spend their days hiding? Refuse to use the litter box? Do they groom themselves to the point of excess, resulting in bald patches? These can be signs your favorite feline is dealing with anxiety. Here are 6 signs of anxiety in cats, and a few ways you can help them cope.
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How To Train Your Cat To Be Less Anxious
Amy Shojai, CABC, is an animal behavior expert and award-winning writer with over 25 years of hands-on experience training and caring for cats and dogs. She has written 27 books on animal care, been named CWA Friskies Writer of the Year, and appeared on Animal Planet as a pet expert.
The Spruce / J. R. Bee
The typical anxious cat hides, urinates inappropriately, increases scratching, and/or vocalizes excessively. Some cats are naturally anxious while others can suddenly feel anxiety due to an underlying cause.
Anxiety in cats can arise from many different issues. Veterinarians and behavior specialists look at the cats physical and emotional health, as well as instinct traits to help figure out whats going on and find solutions. You can apply the H.I.S.S. test to discuss and figure out ways to reduce your feline’s anxiety.
Use Natural Calming Supplements
With the rise of natural calming supplements for pets, you have your choice of many natural treatments for your anxious cat:
- CBD: This natural compound from cannabis plants may reduce cat anxiety and comes in many varietals now, including treats, oils, and capsules. However, never give your pets regular marijuana, which contains THC.
- Bach Flower Rescue Remedy: This natural stress reliever is made from spring water infused with wild flowers. It is said to help ease an anxious pet by restoring balance between the mind and body.
- Anti-anxiety diets and treats: Ask your vet about Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Calm formula and other calming cat chews.
- Herbs: Find out which herbs are safe for cats, including catnip and valerian. While these herbs might initially stimulate your cat, the resulting euphoria should leave him calm and relaxed.
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Benefits Of Parenting A Cat: My Cat Helped My Anxiety
There are many benefits of parenting a cat, though one of the best is having a constant companion. A furry friend-turned-family member, your cat is always around, and for people suffering from anxiety, a cat provides a safe, calming constant in their life. Yes, someone may get the pet therapy benefits from visiting with a “rented” furry friend, but it’s even better to welcome your own cat into your home.
While anxiety can affect a person at any age, it can be especially difficult to deal with in the teenage or young adult years. The American Psychological Association states, “Teens report that their stress level during the school year far exceeds what they believe to be healthy and tops adults’ average reported stress levels .” So what can a college-aged anxiety sufferer do to feel calm and confident?
Here’s a story of Kennedy, a freshman entering college who struggles with anxiety. She recently adopted a kitten and certified her as a therapy cat so that she could bring her to college as part of her anxiety treatment plan.
Signs Your Cat Is Dealing With Anxiety
Detecting cat anxiety isnt always easy. Obvious signs can include increased aggression, hissing, vocalizing, pacing, and extreme mood changes, notes Dr. Hermann. But in terms of the more subtle signs, you should be on the lookout for behavioral shifts, such as not using the litter box, hiding, or becoming needier or afraid to leave your side. The anxiety may also manifest itself physically. A cat experiencing anxiety may eat less and lose weight, try to escape, or overgroom , creating bald spots or even skin sores, explains Dr. Hermann. Sometimes, it can even present as a medical symptom, such as diarrhea.
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Your Cat Hides Most Of The Time
While some cats are less social than others, if your cat hides all of the time to the point that it feels like you don’t even have a cat, Fluffy could be anxious, according to PetMD. Typically, research has found that this sign is typically short-lived. However, if you notice that itâs continuing on for a few days, that is your sign you should take your kitty to get checked out by the vet.
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
- Running away
- 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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Anxiety Supplements For Cats
Anxiety supplements for cats include options such as pet CBD products and supplements with silvervine, catnip, or some other natural ingredient that promotes calmness.
- Do not require a veterinary subscription
What are the risks of using anxiety supplements for cats?
- Not as strong as anti-anxiety medication
- Do not work for all cats and anxiety types
- Can be expensive
What Are The Signs Of Stress In A Cat
There are numerous cat stress signs to spot although theyre not always obvious. Signs of stressed cats can include:
- becoming more withdrawn or hiding more than usual
- becoming less tolerant of people
- hesitating or becoming reluctant to use the litter tray, go through the cat flap or sit on your lap
- eating or drinking less
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Natural Ways To Ease Cat Anxiety
If theres one thing any cat owner wants to avoid, its a stressed out cat.
Whether its a trip to the vet, moving to a new home, or too much noise, stress can result in a number of unsettling feline behaviors. Hiding, excessive grooming, not eating, and aggressive actions such as hissing, growling, and even biting are just some of the classic symptoms of cat anxiety.
And then theres the number one behavioral issue that veterinarians see in stressed cats peeing outside the litterbox.
But the stress doesnt stop there. These behaviors also tend to cause anxiety for cat parents, who just want to know how they can help their pets relax, without resorting to Kitty Prozac.
If the situation is litterbox related, and youre a multiple cat household, the solution may be as easy as getting more litterboxes. Other behaviors may pose more of a challenge. Getting a cat to calm down is often easier said than donebut with a little trial and error, and a healthy dose of patience, it can be done. Here are a few natural approaches to cat anxiety relief that I recommend trying:
Anxiety Medication For Cats
Cat anxiety medications work fast and provide good stress management. However, they are not available over the counter. Also, if using anti-anxiety medications, it is advisable to have your cat frequently examined.
When is a medication used for cat anxiety?
Anti-anxiety medications for cats are used in the initial phases of the anxiety treatment plan until the effects of the other management options kick in. Anti-anxiety medications are also prescribed to cats with severe anxieties that cannot be managed otherwise.
Benefits of using cat anxiety medication
- Fast-acting and provide quick stress relief
- Work against different stress triggers
- They are efficient and reliable
- Can be combined with other approaches
Risks of using cat anxiety medication
- Cannot be used in the long run
- Require a veterinary prescription
- May interact with other medications
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