In this article, I am going to talk about recognizing signs of cat anxiety, and how you can help your cat if he is suffering from anxiety.
Let’s dive in
We often think that cats do not get stressed or suffer from anxiety
But this is not true at all.
Cats are emotional animals and just as how we humans can suffer from anxiety your little feline friend could be hurting too.
The worst part is, if we don’t recognize the signs then this can cause your cat to feel even more stressed and can lead to more complicated behavior problems or health issues.
It is essential as cat parents that we understand the symptoms of anxiety in your cat.
Recognizing Signs of Cat Anxiety
Let’s look out for the signs of anxiety so you can help your kitty stay calm if they are suffering from this.
1. Excessive Grooming
Cats are very clean animals and they spend around 30% of their lives grooming themselves to keep themselves clean!
It can be difficult to notice if your cat is over-grooming due to being stressed.
One thing to look out for is if you start to notice your cat losing some part of their hair on their body.
Are they leaving some patches?
This is over grooming which could be a sign that your cat is stressed.
2. Litter Box Avoidance
If your cat has all of a sudden stopped using the litter box then this could be a sign of anxiety.
Your cat will not just stop using the litter box for no reason.
It can be frustrating when they decide to all of a sudden relieve themselves out of the litter box.
So it’s important not to shout at your cat if he does because it’ll make things worse.
Your cat won’t just all of a sudden become aggressive unless something is wrong with him.
This could be a sign of anxiety.
4. Excessive meowing
If your cat has started to meow more than normal then this is a way of your cat saying to you something is wrong by getting your attention through meowing. This might mean they are feeling anxious and want your attention
This meow would sound like a distress call to you.
From seeing your cat every day to now seeing him rarely because he’s hiding can mean your cat is feeling anxious.
6. Changes in eating
Have you noticed a difference in your cats eating habit?
Is he eating too much or just stopped eating altogether? This could be a sign of anxiety.
Before you actually determine this, you should take your cat to the vet to rule out any medical condition.
7. Following you around everywhere
If your cat does not want to leave your sight and starts to follow you everywhere, then this could be a sign of anxiety.
You see, cats can suffer from separation anxiety too.
Although this can make you feel loved because your kitty is following you everywhere, it can also mean your cat is stressed too.
These are signs you should look out for in your cat to ensure your cat is not suffering from anxiety.
What Causes Anxiety in your Cat?
Here are some things that may cause your cat to become anxious:
- New pet: Cats appreciate company although they can get through the day lounging around. If a new pet has entered his territory (your house) then this will cause your cat to become stressed especially if the introduction is not done correctly. This is a significant change for your cat so it’s important to know how to introduce a new pet to your cat.
- Changes in the environment or moving homes: Moving can be very stressful for us humans, and it can be stressful for your cat too. Also, changes in the climate can stress your cat out too and this can lead to your cat spraying, especially on new furniture.
- Visitors: New visitors can cause your cat to become anxious so if you are planning on having friends coming over or a family then make sure your cat has enough space for himself should they become scared and worried. It gives your cat some breathing space too.
- An absence of the owner: If you are away for some time more than usual due to work or just doing overtime, this can cause stress to your cat. Especially if your cat had unfortunately been abandoned earlier in their lives or been kept in shelter
- Bad experience: Unfortunately cats that have had a bad experience in their past due to being a stray cat or faced some hard times can be a reason for anxiety. If this is the reason, then it is imperative to show your cat extra love and affection.
- Cat parent being stressed: In this fast-paced world, we live in where we have so many responsibilities, such as work, family commitments, financial situations, it can get very stressful! And if you are stressed, your cat can get stressed too!
These are some of the reasons for your cat to be anxious
Now that we know what the signs to look out for and what can cause anxiety let’s look at how cat parents can help their cats if they are ever anxious and stressed
How to Treat Cat Anxiety
The wrong way is to shout at your cat and get frustrated
I would really advise cat parents to never take this approach and to have patience
Shouting at your cat will only increase the problem and make things worse
Here are some of the things you can do to help your cat when they are stressed and anxious:
- Spend quality time together: If your cat is anxious then they need you the most. They want attention, love and affection. Give them all this and go extra! Spend quality time with your kitty. Pet him, stroke him and let him take a cat nap on your lap. By doing this, you are giving your cat reassurances that he is loved and this will make him feel safe and secure and more importantly reduce anxiety!
- Create a safe space for him: Create a cat environment for your cat. If your cat feels stressed due to visitors coming over or you have nephew and nieces who love running after your cat then provide your cat a safe space in the house. For example you can buy your cat a Cat tree or cat shelves where your cat can overlook everything from a height and a distance. Cats are very territorial and they love to see what is happening from the top.
- Pheromone sprays: This spray is designed to make your cat feel calm especially if they are stressed
- Play with your cat: You should spend at least 15 – 20 minutes a day playing with your cat. This creates a bond between you and your kitty. This will help reduce any stress your cat may have. it also shows your cat that you love him as you are giving him attention. Your cat will also get the exercise they need and this exercise releases endorphins in your cat’s brains that will help reduce the stress in your cat
- Stick with routine: Try and stick to your cats routine. Feed them at the same time every day. This regularity helps with their digestive system too
It may be difficult to keep your cat completely stress free but it’s very important that you know and understand what the symptoms are of anxiety in your cat.
By having this knowledge, you can help your cat as soon as you recognize any of the symptoms. If you suspect something is wrong with your cat then you should take them to the vets to rule out any health issues.
The main thing is shower your cat with love and affection. Spend time with them and play with them with a variety of toys.
They want attention and love. The misconception that cats are self-reliant and don’t need the love is far from true. Showering them with your love and affection will only help reduce your cat from being stressed and suffering from anxiety.
To find out more on how you can show love to your cat, you can check out my article.
How do you tell your cat you love them
About the Author
Ibrahim Raidhan is a cat parent himself and due to his love for cats has created Catloverhere.com, which is a website dedicated to cat parents.