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HomeExclusiveWhat To Do When Your Cat Has Anxiety

What To Do When Your Cat Has Anxiety

What Else Should I Do

What does Separation Anxiety look like in your cat and how can you help?

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.

What Are The Symptoms Of Separation Anxiety In Cats

Symptoms of separation anxiety in cats include:

  • Excessive vocalization. Your cat will be crying, moaning, or meowing a lot.
  • Not eating or drinking when the owner is away
  • Urinating in inappropriate places. For example, urination can take place on the ownerâs bed.
  • Inappropriate defecation. This just simply means that the catâs stool may be found outside the litterbox.
  • Destructive behaviors
  • More excitement than is usual when the owner returns home

There can be differences in the type and frequency of symptoms depending on the gender and breed of the cat.

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  • becoming more withdrawn or hiding more than usual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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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

  • Increased vocalization

  • 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.

What Are The Signs Of Separation Anxiety In Cats

Recognizing Your Cats Anxiety and How To Calm Them

A few possible signs that a cat is suffering from separation anxiety include:

  • Urinating outside the litter box: in one study, three-quarters of the cats that peed outside the litter box did so exclusively on the pet parents bed

  • Defecating outside the litter box

  • Excessive vocalization: some cats also carry a favorite toy in their mouths while yowling or crying

  • Destroying things: more common in male cats

  • Excessive grooming: more common in female cats

  • Hyper-attachment to their caregiver: seeking constant contact when they are together

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Subtle Triggers For Cat Anxiety

Other times it can be something subtle like a new feral cat in the neighborhood walking by the window or a piece of furniture that was moved around. If you can identify the trigger and change it, thats great but more often than not we dont identify the reason for the anxiety or we cant change it.

Are There Any Other Tips To Reduce My Cats Stress Levels During The Veterinary Visit

Unless otherwise directed by your veterinarian, do not feed your cat for several hours before her appointment to reduce the chance for vomiting or letting the bowels or bladder go during the trip.

If you have a kitten, train her to use a cat carrier as a haven early on .

Unlike dogs, who often associate car trips with fun destinations such as the park or trail, few cats go in the car for a pleasant adventure. You can teach your cat to relax in the car by taking short trips that have a positive outcome. For example, put your cat in the carrier, give her one of her favorite treats or toys, and take a short drive that ends up back home. During the entire process, speak to her in a calm and reassuring voice.

For some cats, a Thundershirt®, which swaddles the cat much like swaddling an infant, may reduce anxiety.

One of the most effective ways to decrease your cats anxiety level is to remain calm and relaxed during the visit. Speak to your cat in a calm and soothing voice and reassure her by petting her on her head or stroking her in her favorite spot.

Contributors: Tammy Hunter, DVM Cheryl Yuill, DVM, MSc, CVH

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What Do I Do If My Cat Wont Eat Because Of Anxiety

The first thing you can do is try a different cat food. Purchase a few small cans of cat food from different brands and try each one. Provide them to your cat at different times of the day. If you usually feed your cat dry food try to change it up by introducing him to wet food. You can even do what I like to do which is sprinkling dry food on top of the wet food. My cat seems to love this kind of mixture although it can get a little pricey. This may be enough to trigger your cat to start eating again.

Also remember to take it slow. If your cat hasnt been eating for awhile it may take them some time to get back to normal sized portions. The stomach shrinks as food intake decreases. Your cats stomach will have to slowly stretch out again if they havent been eating normal sized portions.

If your cat still will not eat their food you can try this method at a last resort. Try pouring tuna juice or chicken brother on the food to try and tempt your cat to try it. Maybe even put some off limit food into his food to see if that will shake his appetite at all.

Helpful Tips To Prevent Or Curb Separation Anxiety

Cat Stress: What You Need to Know!

Kornreich says preventing or curbing separation anxiety is about preparation. That means learning about cat behavior and how to identify the signs of a problem, understanding that there are tools and resources to minimize the likelihood of separation anxiety, and knowing that talking to a veterinarian can empower you to address the problem.

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How To Help A Stressed Cat

Worried about your cats symptoms or change in behaviour? While there are a lot of things you can do at home to calm a stressed cat, planning in a visit to the vet should be top of your list.

If youve found a problem with your cats physical health, such as weight loss or issues toileting, it is even more important to get them seen quickly.

Your vet may suggest things you can do at home to keep your cat calm, such as altering their environment or changing their routine.

Treatment Of Extreme Fear And Anxiety In Cats

The treatment of extreme fear and anxiety is done on an individual basis. You may be given training techniques to try at home, or your cat may need to be hospitalized while your veterinarian works with them.


Your veterinarian may prescribe medication to help with the fear and anxiety. This may include something to treat their illness, injury or motion sickness, as well as . Your cat may need to stay at the hospital until the medication starts to work.

Behavior Therapy

Your cat may need training to change their behavior and help them cope with their fears. Your veterinarian may recommend visiting a behavior therapist for extreme anxiety.

Training At Home

You should always talk to your veterinarian before starting any training at home. Your veterinarian can provide tips on how to train your cat based on their own fears and anxiety. One example would be training your cat to sit inside their carrier during a car drive. Start by keeping your cat as comfortable as possible, such as placing their favorite blanket inside their carrier. Small steps are essential to getting your cat used to the situation. It may start with your cat sitting in their carrier for several minutes and end with a short car drive around the block. Be sure to give your cat plenty of love, attention and encouragement so they feel safe. You should always avoid punishment because this could make your cat feel worse.

Worried about the cost of Extreme Fear Anxiety treatment?

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Recognise The Signs Of Stress In Cats

1. An unhappy cat will often twitch the end of their tail as a warning sign, just before stress sets in. Their claws may also come out in self-defence.

2. If your cat feels unsafe or threatened, they are likely to hide and crouch down to make themselves seem as small as possible. That way they will feel less visible to any potential dangers.

3. A stressed cat may mark their territory by spraying while standing with their tail quivering in the air.

Provide Positive Alternative Behaviors Through Enrichment

Three Methods for Cat Separation Anxiety

Cats have instinctual needs that, when met properly, can dramatically impact their quality of life and state of mind. Giving them opportunities for play, hunting behaviors, mental stimulation, and of course, a sense of safety and security is a surefire way to alleviate anxiety. Try social enrichment activities such as:

  • Interactive play
  • Cognitive enrichment through food puzzles and training sessions

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What Can I Do When My Cat Is Anxious

In addition to the above-mentioned options like calming medications, supplements, and training, there are several things pet parents can do to manage an anxious cat. Here are some options:

  • Cat Anxiety Bed. The cat anxiety bed is a special pet bed designed to provide calmness and relaxation. The calming cat bed is supposed to provide the cat with a safe and secluded space. Plus, it is made from warm and cozy materials.
  • Pheromones. Pheromones are chemicals cats release into the environment. The mother cat makes pheromones that are calming to the kittens. There are diffusers with pheromones that mimic these chemicals and support calmness and relaxation.
  • Mental Stimulation. If your cat is acting anxious, you can distract it by engaging in fun and mentally challenging playtime. If you are too busy to play games with your cat, you can invest in interactive cat toys.

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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Your Cat’s Eating Habits Change

Cats that eat everything in sight, or stop eating altogether, could be suffering from anxiety. However, before you determine that your cat is anxious, it’s important to rule out any other medical problems first. “Eating or choosing not to eat is a way for them to deal with their anxiety and a common sign that there is an underlying issue present,” iHeart Cats noted.

Increased Aggression Or Submission

Does your cat have separation anxiety and how you can help

Any cat owner will testify that sometimes their furry friend can act a little odd. Because of their predator-prey roots, cats will oscillate between acting aggressive and acting submissive, especially if they have a playmate. While this behavior is normal, any major changes could be a sign of cat anxiety. For example, if a normally playful cat spends all day under the bed, they may be anxious about something.

These are just a few signs that your kitty might be experiencing some anxiety. If you notice any major changes in your cats behavior, eating, or litter box habits, speak with your vet about possible feline anxiety.

Now that you understand some of the common symptoms of cat anxiety, its important to understand what may be causing them.

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Provide Playtime And Enrichment

Start a daily routine of exercise and play with your cat. Even 15 minutes a day with a laser pointer or wand toy will help your cat get the exercise he needs while reducing his stress. Similar to creating a safe space, youll want to make sure your cat has enough environmental enrichment while youre away to stay distracted from ensuing anxieties. Keep him stimulated with catnip toys, food puzzles, cat grass, and window-watching spots.

Should I Discipline My Cat When He Gets Anxiety

No. You should never respond to an anxious cat in a negative manner. You never want to yell or punish your cat. Never punish your cat by locking them in a separate room from you. Reacting this way will make the anxiety your cat is already suffering from even worse. The best thing you can do for your cat at this time is to try and find out what the common issues are in the house that can be making him act the way he is.

A few things to keep in mind are if anyone new moved into your house recently. Did you get a new pet? Maybe you started spraying your house with a new air freshener. The possibilities can be endless and some may sound dumb, but your cats mood can change from something as simple as a new roommate living with you.

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How Do I Help My Cat With Anxiety

All cats want to feel a sense of safety, control, and choice in their daily lives and interactions with people and other animals, notes Delgado. Keep this in mind as you work to relieve your cat’s anxiety.

“Never punish a cat for exhibiting signs of anxiety, as this could make the anxiety worse and cause more unwanted behavior. You want to make them feel safe and loved,” says Dr. Herman. “Sticking to a routine will help. Feeding and playing with your cat at a similar time each day will help create security. Creating a mentally stimulating environment will help, as well.” For example, you might add cat perches and scratching posts to your home, and/or provide an array of cat toys, including food puzzles and interactive mouse feeders. In that same vein, make sure your cat has a quiet, safe place to escape.

Another important thing you can do is scoop the litter box daily and replace the litter every week. That’s actually one of the big things your cat wants from you. An unclean litter box can be a huge source of stress for a cat. On that note, Delgado says that you may need to add more litter boxes and food dishes to soothe a stressed cat, especially if they’re in a multi-cat home. Every cat should have their own.

“Calming cat pheromone products can help, as well,” says Dr. Herman. “Feliway spray, diffusers, and wipes mimic a natural ‘happy feeling’ feline pheromone for your cat and can soothe, calm, and relax him or her.”

What Is The Cost Of Treating Anxiety In Cats

Less Stress, More Purr

Because every case of anxiety is different, its hard to provide a single estimate for the cost of treatment. Treatment may include an examination by your vet, medication, testing, and training. Depending on the extent of treatment and the duration of any training required, the costs could range from a few hundred into thousands of dollars.

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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. 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.

Causes Ofanxiety In Cats

To successfully address cat stress and anxiety symptoms, it would help totry to determine whats causing anxiety in your cat. Has there been a change athome lately? Major household events such as moving to another house, taking ina new pet, or the loss of a family member are a few examples of situationswhere cats have been known to show signs of anxiety. Different types of anxietyin cats may be caused by different triggers such as:

· Boredom Catsthat arent given enough attention or allowed to engage in stimulatingactivities may either withdraw or try to let out some pent-up energy byengaging aggressive behavior.

· Fear Yourcat may be exhibiting anxiety symptoms due to a traumatic experience or an incidentthat incited fear.

· Unfamiliar environmentMoving is stressful for most cats, because they are deeply territorialcreatures. You need to be extra considerate of your pet when youre relocating with yourcat.

· The introduction of a new pet or a new baby, the loss of a family member, orany other similar situation can trigger separation anxiety in cats. Any changes in routine due to a newschedule, for instance, could also trigger cat separation anxiety symptoms.

· Medical illness Your catmay not be acting like his usual self because he is unwell or is in pain.

· Ageing Older cats are prone to anxiety. Yourelderly cat may be showing symptomsof separation anxiety due to dementia or nervous disorders.

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