Cats Can Get Anxious From Small Environmental Changes
Your cat may become anxious if you introduce a new cat or human to his home, or if the existing family changes in some other way. However, some cats display anxious behaviors in response to more subtle changes. If you change your cat’s meal times, move a piece of furniture or open up a new room in a house for him to explore, your cat may perceive these as a stress and respond negatively. Some cats become stressed even when the curtains are open and they can see outside, or if you attempt a new training program.
Because of the wide variety of potential contributors to feline stress, it is important that you pay careful attention to your cat’s behavior. If your pet exhibits unexplained feline aggressive behavior, consider which elements of his living situation may have changed recently. Even marginal changes may contribute to your cat’s anxiety, so make a comprehensive list. The easiest way to resolve feline stress may be to address the stressful elements in his life. By creating a list of stresses and experimenting with addressing them individually, you may be able to determine what is causing your cat to be anxious and address his anxiety without medication.
In some cases, you may not have control over the stressful situation, or your cat may not respond to your efforts. In this situation, a feline anxiety medicine may be helpful. Typically, a veterinarian will not prescribe a medication until you have attempted to reduce your cat’s environmental and physical stress.
All About Cat Anxiety
- Anxiety is common among cats of all breeds, but more common in older cats.
- Symptoms include house soiling, hiding, excessive grooming, hair loss, or shaking.
- A change in household routine or environment can cause anxiety in cats.
- A veterinarian or behaviorist can help to diagnose and treat feline anxiety.
- Treatment may include behavior modification, medication, household changes, or a mixture of all three.
An anxious cat will let its humans know loud and clear that something is wrong. However, its easy for humans to misinterpret the signs and miss the underlying cause of telltale behaviors.
Anxiety is relatively common in cats. Veterinarians estimate that they treat 20-25 percent of their feline patients for symptoms of anxiety . Those symptomslike spraying outside the litter box, incessant meowing, aggression, or hidingcan be as distressing for humans as they are for the suffering cat. Untreated anxiety can lead to more serious health problems, like skin and gastrointestinal issues.
Fortunately, veterinarians and animal behaviorists understand the link between feline stress, behavior, and medical issues better than ever before. Here is what you need to know to spot the signs of anxiety, de-escalate problem behaviors, and return to a happy, healthy cat.
What Are Side Effects Of Anxiety Medications
Side effects of anxiety medications can relate to altered cardiovascular or kidney function and lead to additional cardiovascular problems, increased risk of injury, and difficulty breathing.
Anti-anxiety medications are often given to cats in order to negate the stress felt during major events such as long-distance travel and recovery from major surgery. Anti-anxiety drugs can also be used for training and behavioral modification in extreme circumstances. Although these drugs are very effective for their intended purpose, they can have some side effects that cat owners should be aware of prior to using such medication on their pet.
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Can A Liquid Sedative Be Given To Your Cat With A Syringe
If you cannot mix the liquid with food, its still usually easier to get your cat to take a liquid sedative than it is to get your cat to take a pill.
Are There Any Special Precautions That You Must Take While Using A Syringe To Give Your Cat A Sedative In Liquid Form?
While you can use a syringe to get your cat to take a liquid medication, its important to administer the medication slowly.
If you administer the medication too quickly, your cat could aspirate the liquid. This could be extremely dangerous.
Regardless of how you administer the medication, you should always try to get your cat in a calm mood before you administer the medication. This will make it less likely that your cat will protest and/or attempt to bite you.
How Gabapentin Helps Anxious Cats
How does gabapentin help with excitement in the brain? To my surprise nobody knows. The best hypothesis is that gabapentin blocks calcium in what would typically signal the release of excitatory transmitters, telling the calcium You shall not pass!
Gabapentin was originally used to control seizures in humans, and then neuropathic pain. Although not labeled for anxiety, the benefits cannot be ignored. A recent study in cats showed that administering gabapentin before an annual vet visit allowed cats,that normally couldnt be examined to get examined and receive vaccinations. This decreases the stress for the cat obviously, but also the owner, vet, and vet staff. All really good things.
Side note: The study gave cats the 100 mg gabapentin 90 minutes before the event. I recommend giving it 120 minutes before. The dosage may be different for your cat. Please consult your vet.
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Is Rescue Remedy Homeopathic
Now, it’s not produced in the same way as homeopathic remedies. The dilution is not so great and there’s not the concussive step to transfer the energy.
In homeopathic remedies, they take a drop of a substance, they dilute it in a lot of water and then they bash it against a leather strap to transfer the energy of the substance to the water, before diluting it again. This step is repeated a large number of times, with the more dilutions performed, the stronger the remedy.
So Rescue Remedy doesnt undergo these steps, but it’s got very similar underlying philosophies to homeopathy.
Whats Going On In The Brain
What drives the anxiety in the brain? Obviously, whats supposed to happen is an increase in excitability when there is a threat so that we can get away from it if necessary. Fight or flight. Sometimes, we perceive things that arent actual threats as threats. For humans, its believed to be hereditary or caused from traumatic events.
Is it the same in cats? The hereditary piece is so hard to study because we often dont know a cats father. One thing we do know that causes anxiety is repeated abuse and/or neglect. It can change the brain, and it will make a cat more easily go into fight or flight. A cat will be more sensitive to those excited signals in the brain, even when the abuser isnt present.
The result is ongoing symptoms like these:
- Constant stare downs if you are in the room Regardless of how big the room is and regardless of how close you are to the cat.
- Dilated pupils Non-stop dilation.
- Growling Very consistent, even if you arent near the cat.
- Hissing Sometimes at the air, and not even directed at you.
- Twitching the tip of the tail Even at rest, if not in REM, the tip is twitching.
Take a look at Lucy and Sunshine, each on their first day in my home. Turn the sound up and youll hear the growling:
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Hi And Welcome To My Ragdoll Cats Site
My name is Lucas and I have two ragdoll cats. First, there is Grandma Cat and she is 24 years old. Second is Maya and she turns 14 this year. Both are Seal point Ragdolls, and as you might expect have their fair share of personality.
I quite like cats and this site is all about living and travelling with ragdoll cats. Hope you enjoy the site and feel free to contact me.
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How To Prepare For The Journey
Aside from medicine, there are other ways and means to travel with cats. You might be able to get by without medication if you use a really comfortable carrier . Cats prefer cool and dark environments, generally speaking, and they need a lot of space to feel free. So get a high-quality carrier with lots of space, enough to also insert a litter box. You can also place a few toys in the case. Try to make sure the carrier is as secure as it can be. If the carrier is loose and moving with every bump in the road, it will make for a very unpleasant experience for the feline. You can also insert extra padding within the carrier. Ideally, try to find a cloth carrier with a dark fabric with at least one rollup panel on it.
A few days before you take off, place the cat inside the carrier for an hour. You can even practice taking short trips with the cat in the carrier. It could also be a good idea to lure the cat inside the carrier by placing treats or snacks inside. No animals like the feeling of being trapped. But at least the conditions should be made as comfortable as possible. Put something familiar inside the carrier, such as an old blanket. This can help the cat to acclimatize to the conditions inside.
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Why Do Cats Get Anxiety
Cats experience anxiety because of psychological, physical and environmental stressors. Without your intervention, their stress can have detrimental affects on your home, your family, and your cats overall health.Determining the root cause of your cats anxiety can be challenging, so begin by evaluating their environment and daily life. Some things to consider:
- In your household has there been a loss or addition of family member or pet?
- Has there been recent separation from a family member?
- Recently, have they had minimal play or exercise? Is your cat experiencing boredom?
- Are there any new causes of fear that could have sparked their anxiety, such as loud noises, other pets or humans?
- How have they been eating? Might your cat be having less-than-adequate nutrition?
- Is your cat otherwise healthy or are they experiencing any pain or discomfort?
How Do I Know If My Cat Is Stressed
Cat communication often appears subtle to human beings. But once you know what to look for, it may be easier to spot a potential problem in the early stages.
Here are some common symptoms of stress or fear in cats:
- Making themselves appear as small as possible.
- Ears back or flat against the head.
- Hair standing up.
- Signs of aggression, such as growling, hissing, spitting, or trying to scratch or bite.
- Behavior changes, such as grumpiness, playing less often, or hiding more.
- Urinating outside of the litter box.
Affected cats may show just 1-2 symptoms, or several. And context is important. For example, a cats pupils may also become larger during playtime, and thats perfectly normal.
Since some of the above symptoms can also indicate a serious medical condition, its important to before assuming these signs are stress related.
Prior to prescribing a sedative or anxiety-reducing medication, a vet will perform a physical exam, and possibly diagnostic tests such as bloodwork. This helps rule out underlying medical conditions as a cause of the cats symptoms. It also helps ensure a cat is healthy enough for sedation.
Read Also: How Do You Stop Anxiety
Changes In Eating Or Drinking
For the most part, cats are creatures of habit. They enjoy being fed at similar times every day, usually eat about the same amount every day, and thrive off of healthy routine. If a cat drastically changes their eating or drinking behavior, they may be anxious about something in their environment. This can include both eating less and eating more, and should be addressed with a vet.
A Note On Cbd For Cats
CBD products for pets have gained popularity in recent years, and many dog owners have seen benefits when using them to treat anxiety in dogs.
However, while there are many different CBD products on the market for cats, its important to note that there have been very few scientific studies examining the safety of CBD in cats. There is also no official regulation, as the Food and Drug Administration has not officially approved CBD products for therapeutic use in cats.
Cats are a sensitive species, and often have difficulty processing drugs that are safe in humans and dogs. Therefore, at Small Door, we currently do not recommend CBD for cats, and will not do so until there are more studies on its safety.
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Melatonin For Cats: Uses
“What does cat melatonin treat?”
While melatonin as a supplement for cats seems useful, there’s not enough scientific data as melatonin use in cats has not been thoroughly studied. Most of the positive evidence associate with melatonin use in cats is anecdotal.
It seems that melatonin for cats has shown improvement for health and behavioral issues. Overall, the action of melatonin in cats is a sedative one, helping felines with anxiety and sleep problems.
Why Is My Cat So Stressed When I Take Her To The Veterinary Clinic
For most cats, a visit to the veterinarian is an overwhelming experience. The cat is taken out of its familiar home environment, usually roughly pushed into a carrier, put into a noisy car, driven to the veterinary clinic, taken into the reception area where there are intense smells from many other pets and people. Then they are taken into an examination room where an unfamiliar person examines them and administers various treatments. Any one of these things can be stressful, and when they are all combined together, it is no wonder that your cat is so frightened or stressed.
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Maladaptive Anxiety In Cats
Wariness, of course, is a useful response to a phenomenon that a cat has never before experienced. Its understandable that a cat would be wary about going around a corner for fear that a predator might be waiting for it, says Dr. Dodman. That instinctive kind of anxiety is healthy and useful its what we call adaptive behavior. It helps the cat survive. On the other hand, there is maladaptive behavior. This is a dysfunctional kind of anxiety, a concern about something that really isnt an issue. Thunder phobia or separation anxiety the fear that owners who have left the house for a brief period will never return are good examples of that type of problem.
Other common triggers of severe anxiety in a cat include the arrival of a new baby, the permanent departure of a family member, rearrangement of furniture, persistent and loud noise from outside, or even relocation of the litter box. Cats can be anxious about living creatures, says Dr. Dodman, such as a dog that has just been brought into the home. But they can also be disturbed by inanimate things flapping curtains or strange smells. Such anxiety disorders tend to become worse over time if they are not addressed, he says, and the earlier in its progression that a serious phobia is identified, the easier it will be to relieve in most cases.