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.
Best Treat: Vetriscience Composure Calming Formula For Cats
Delivery Method: Treat | Key Ingredients: Colostrum calming complex biopeptide blend, L-theanine, thiamine
Starts working in 20 to 30 minutes
Can increase dosage for desired results
Can be broken into smaller pieces
Some cats might not eat them
Can be difficult to chew
These treats, which combine colostrum, L-theanine, and thiamine can start to calm your cat down in as little as 30 minutes. In addition to soothing the nervous system, these ingredients support cognitive function and improve brain health. The dosage, or amount of chews you give, depends on your cats weight but if youre not getting the results you want, you can double or triple the amount with no adverse effects. You can also break a treat into pieces if a smaller bite is more appealing to your cat or you want to offer them a smaller dose. If you have a cat with an anxious personality, you can give these daily or you can administer them just as needed during particularly stressful times.
My cat is generally very nervous, so we wanted to find something to help her during car rides. It took several tries to get her to eat the VetriScience Composure treats, but we eventually had success by adding them to her regular breakfast. They do seem to help her chill out., Senior Editor
Delivery Method: Diffusion | Key Ingredients: Natural nursing pheromones
Covers up to 700 square feet
Easy to use
Needs a refill every 30 days
What Causes Cat Anxiety And What Are The Signs
Some triggers of anxiety in cats include changes in environment, traumatic events, and getting into a fight with another animal. Sometimes, you may be able to figure out what triggered your cats anxiety. Other times, it may be hard to determine.
You may notice any of the following common signs of distress:
Meowing more than usual
Changes to body posture or language
Losing hair or grooming more than usual
Hissing, growling, or other signs of aggressive behavior
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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 .
Gabapentin Dosage For Cats
The dosage for gabapentin may vary depending on a cats size, as well as whether its being used as a pain medication, adjunctive anticonvulsant, or as a sedative before vet visits or travel.
From a safety perspective, a gabapentin dosage for cats will typically not exceed 50-100mg per cat to address pain or when being used as a sedative.
As a sedative, it is often given a couple of hours prior to an examination at the vet clinic or before getting in the car or on a plane.
Many vets feel that the sedative effect is better when an additional dose is given 24 hours prior . As a pain medication, it is most often given every 12 hours to start, but may be increased to every 8 hours if needed.
These are just general guidelines, and it is very important to follow your veterinarians recommendations very specifically for the most effective and safe use of this medication.
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Does Gabapentin Sedate Cats
Gabapentin is often used as a sedative for cats, but the sedative effect largely depends on dose, which is why its very important to follow your vets advice when using it for this purpose. If your cat is on gabapentin as a pain medication or for adjunctive seizure control and he or she seems really sedate when taking it, make sure to contact your veterinarian for advice on adjusting the dosage.
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.
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Best Wipes: Feliway Animal Health Wipes 12 Count
Delivery method: Wipes | Key ingredients: Pheromones
Need to have a hard surface to wipe
Only 12 in a box
Whether youre driving down the road to your local vets office or taking your kitty on a long car ride, traveling can be stressful for cats. Just like baby wipes, these Feliway Travel Calming Wipes, which rely on pheromones as the active ingredient, are easy to throw into any bag or in your glove compartment. You dont apply them to your cat directly, but you can wipe down any hard surface, like a cat carrier or the car or plane seat while you travel. When you do, a facial pheromone, similar to the one that cats give off when they rubs his cheek against the furniture , is released to produce a calming effect.
Use Cat Calming Products
We have had great success with our cat Barney by using a Feliway plug-in diffuser which is supposed to have a calming effect on cats. It works by emitting synthetic pheromones, which it is claimed, can help reduce anxiety and stress in cats. The smell mimics a cat’s own pheromones which helps a cat feel safe and secure. You simply plug the diffuser into your plug socket, in much the same way as you would do an air freshener, and forget about it.
I have to confess that this can be a fairly expensive method to employ. Firstly, you need a minimum of one diffuser on each floor, depending upon the size of your home. In addition to purchasing refills on a monthly basis, you will also need to replace the diffusers themselves, typically after six months.
Due to the potential fire hazard, I personally have a problem leaving the diffusers plugged into the mains overnight, or when I am not at home. They do become warm to the touch and I prefer to give them time to cool down. I am sure that the fire risk is extremely low, but this is my preference. I have not experienced any adverse effects from my cats, as a result of doing this and it also makes the refills last a little bit longer.
Of course, there are several other different types of calming products available which may help with your cats anxiety. These include cat calming collars and natural supplements such as Bach Pet Rescue Remedy, vitamin B calming chews and liquids.
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Best Spray: Pet Mastermind Cool Kitty Cat Calming Pheromone Spray
Delivery Method: Spray | Key Ingredients: Distilled water, proprietary cat pheromone, passion flowers jasmine medley and paraben-free preservative
Can spray it anywhere
Also contains soothing flowers
Works on a short term basis
The Pet MasterMind Cool Kitty Calming Spray also utilizes cat pheromones, but unlike a diffuser thats constantly releasing product into a general area, this one allows you to target and fully control where you spray. In addition to pheromones, it contains passionflower and jasmine, two florals that have additional calming effects. You can use it any time, but its especially useful during visits to the vet, while traveling, or when new pets or people come into the house. You can spray it onto your cat’s favorite hangout spots, like their bed or carrying case.
Can I Give My Cat A Sedative Or Antianxiety Medication To Decrease This Stress
Sedatives are prescription medications that should only be administered to healthy animals. If your cats veterinary appointment is for a routine wellness examination, your veterinarian may prescribe a sedative or antianxiety medication if your cats stress is severe. Since these drugs may have side effects, NEVER administer a sedative if you have ANY concerns about the cats present state of health – even if your veterinarian has provided you with a sedative for routine wellness visits in the past.
Buprenorphine , gabapentin and alprazolam are examples of medications that have recently begun to be used to reduce the anxiety associated with car travel or veterinary visits. If one of these medications is appropriate for your cats situation, your veterinarian will prescribe it.
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How Do I Tell If My Cat Is Anxious Or Scared
If your cat is anxious or scared, they are likely to use these basic strategies to help protect themselves:
If your cat is confronted with something they find frightening, their first instinct will most likely be to remove themselves from the situation. Your cat may either turn and run or move very cautiously while keeping their eye on the potential threat. In both cases, your cat will seek out the nearest point of safety, usually either a hiding place or somewhere up high.
In general, if your cat is already fearful or anxious, they are only likely to behave aggressively if their preferred option is not available for example, your cat may feel trapped or that they have limited options in terms of retreating to safety. Alternatively, your cat may have previously learnt that a pre-emptive attack is the best way to protect themselves. In both cases your cat may just growl and hiss but could also swipe or bite.
As an alternative to fight and flight, your cat may freeze when they are either startled by something, or when they do not have the option to retreat to safety. Your cat may also use this strategy to buy time whilst your cat decides what the best course of action to take next is .
Benefits And Uses Of Gabapentin For Cats
Generally speaking, Gabapentin is prescribed by veterinarians for felines suffering from seizures, chronic pain, and anxiety. In cats, chronic pain is usually associated with arthritis and certain types of cancer.
Gabapentin for Managing Cat Seizures. Gabapentin is a commonly prescribed adjunctive therapy for cats with idiopathic refractory epilepsy. Gabapentins unique working mechanism and effects are often described as promising.
Gabapentin for Chronic Pain in Cats. Because of the analgesia effects, Gabapentin is used to manage a cats chronic pain. According to a study, Gabapentin yields satisfactory pain management with no obvious side effects.
Gabapentin for Anxiety Relief in Cats. In higher doses, Gabapentin features anti-anxiety and sedative effects which can be used to manage feline stress. A study showed that preappointment Gabapentin dosing results in stress-free vet visits.
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Will The Sedative Last For The Whole Trip
It depends on the medication as well as how your cat reacts to the medication. However, its not uncommon for a dose of the medication to only last for part of the trip.
Discuss what to do if this happens with your vet. Some cat sedatives can be re-administered after a certain period of time has passed, but this isnt possible with all medications.
How Much Do Cat Sedatives Cost
The cost of cat sedatives depends on the specific sedative that you are using. In addition, the cost of sedating your cat depends on the dosage of the medication that your veterinarian recommends.
Different veterinarians may charge different prices for the same medication. Larger cats typically require more medication. Therefore, it is likely to cost more to sedate a larger cat than a smaller one.
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What Are The Side Effects Of Sedation
Side effects vary with each medication, so its best to ask your vet for specific information about the drug your cat has been prescribed.
In addition to specific effects listed above, common side effects of sedation in cats include:
- Vomiting or diarrhea.
- Clumsiness or lack of coordination.
- Occasionally, paradoxical reactions. This is when a medication has the opposite effect, i.e. causing excitement, reactivity, or aggression instead of sedation.
Because of some of these effects, its important to monitor a pet closely until theyre more awake, or as advised by your vet.
Use Of Homeopathy In Veterinary Medicine
Hemopathy is successfully used in many animal species. Traditionally large animals and farm animals such as cows, horses and sheep were the largest area for their usage.
Nowadays small animals like cats, dogs, rabbits, guinea pigs and exotics are often treated with homeopathic medicines. All different kinds of birds in particular respond very well to those remedies, too.
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Medicine To Calm Cats For Travel Conclusion
There are a variety of means and medicine to calm cats for travel. The best advice is simply to plan in advance. Get a comfortable carrier and take your cat on a trip. Even so, it is often a far better idea to simply give your feline some medication to make the trip extremely comfortable. It is a once off that wont have any long lasting side effects.
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.
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