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Signs of anxiety in cats to watch for – is your pet concerned?
Cats are sensitive creatures! They like routine and don’t cope well with changes in their environment. It’s not always easy to spot if your cat is anxious or stressed, but it’s important to act fast if you are to limit any physical or emotional distress symptoms - you may start to see stress behaviors like spraying, scratching or hiding if your pet is unhappy!
So, if you spot even small changes in your furry friend’s behavior, or if they seem to be acting out of character, try to find the reason - the sooner you get to the root of the problem, the sooner your cat will return to their usual self!
How to Spot Signs of Anxiety in Your Cat
If your cat has stopped eating, is behaving aggressively or spraying indoors, it could be a sign that they are stressed.
Physical signs of cat anxiety include:
- Trembling or shaking
- Rapid breathing
- Licking their nose frequently
- Excessive vocalisation such as growling, hissing or yowling
- Dilated pupils
- Crouching down frequently
- Ears flat against their head
- Rapid breathing
- Lethargy and sleeping more than usual
- Eating non-food items - such as plastic or wool
- Over grooming, creating bald patches or sores on their coat
- Diarrhoea and vomiting
- Significant change in their weight (loss or gain)
Behavioral signs of cat anxiety include:
- Urinating outside the litter box
- Urine spraying around the house
- Excessive scratching of furniture
- Aggressive behavior towards you or other pets
- Constant meowing
- Pacing around the house, often accompanied by meowing
- Easily spooked by noises or movement
If you are concerned about your cat, always check with your vet to rule out any illness that your feline friend may have contracted. Then, once you are sure that your pet has no physical condition, you can delve deeper into the cause of their anxiety.
Reasons why your cat may be anxious
Getting to the bottom of why your cat is anxious may be a little tricky! So ask yourself the following questions and maybe you can put your finger on it.
- Have you thought about their resources?Cats don’t like their food and drink bowls close to their litter boxes! They’re clean animals and don’t like to use a litter box that has not been ‘refreshed’; they also like to have their own individual space to escape to, like a high perch, away from any other pets.
- Have you moved home recently or had some building works done around the house? Cats like familiarity so any major changes could unsettle them and make them feel anxious.
- Have you brought home another pet? It may take a while for your cat to accept that they’re not the only one who will get attention in your home. You may have to work at helping your cat and dog to get along a bit better.
- Is there a new baby in the house? New smells and sounds around a home that has been calm and peaceful till now, could be unnerving your cat.
- Is there another cat on the block? There may be a new feline intruder (stray cat) on their patch which is making them nervous.
How to help your cat stay relaxed
Cats will pick up stress from you, so if you are feeling worried and tense, try to relax and you may find your cat follows suit. But if you are totally laid back, make sure your cat has a safe environment they can escape to, make sure their daily essentials (like food, litter tray etc.) are easily accessible, play some calming music and have some regular quiet play time set aside for them - remember cats like routine!
It’s always important to consider any underlying health conditions, so if tweaks to your normal routine with your cat don’t seem to be having an effect, get them checked out by your vet.
Try FELIWAY to reduce kitty anxiety. A FELIWAY Optimum Diffuser is an excellent way to help comfort cats at home. Leave it plugged in to help ensure that your cat is provided with the safe and secure messages at all times, so that they are ready for whatever life throws at them!