Guest Post by Kamira Gayle, Author & Creator of Impurrfectlife.com –A blog about finding joy, life inspiration and comfort after pet loss.
Cats are some cool characters. Not only are they adorable and give unconditional love to us, they mosey around the house nonchalant without a care in the world; well that is until they don’t. Do you have a cat that is nervous and skittish at times? Is your cat always anxious? If your cat suffers from anxiety you want to find ways to help alleviate this problem and bring your cat back to a state of relaxation, but what can you do about it? Well first you’ll need to get to the root of the issue and from there find solutions to help relieve your cat from anxiety and stress.
So, let’s first address the signs your cat may display when stressed or suffering from anxiety.
Warning Signs for cat stress & anxiety
According to PetMD.com the following 9 signs are indicative of anxiety and/or stress in cats.
- Urinating outside the litter box
This indicates a behavioral problem or potentially something more serious medically. You should take your cat to the vet to get checked out.
- Bowel issues (Constipation/Diarrhea)
Your cat has trouble going to the bathroom or has loose and runny stools. This could be stress induced, due to diet or indicates a potential medical issue so you should see your veterinarian.
- Excessive Grooming
Grooming in excess to the point of being raw or bald is a sign something’s wrong and your cat is in distress
Can be an indication of health or behavioral issues
Cats are known to have a more independent and aloof nature however if they are avoiding you, take them to the vet to get checked out. Something is wrong.
- Excessive vocalization
If your cat is vocalizing more than normal, they are probably trying to tell you something and get your attention.
- Decreased appetite
Decrease in hunger and drinking water are warning signs something is wrong. Cats cannot go without food and hydration without dire consequences. So, take them to the vet to determine what ‘s going on.
- Increased sleeping
Cats are known to sleep most of the day however as a pet parent, you are used to knowing your cats “normal” routine. So, if they are acting out of the ordinary, don’t dismiss your instincts. Take them to the vet. Cats are often the master of disguising their issues, so best to rule out if anything is wrong and take them to the vet in case.
- Aggression towards other people or other animals
This can be a sign of a sick or stressed cat.
Causes of cat stress & anxiety
According to PetEducation.com causes of stress and anxiety in cats, breaks down into three areas:
- Moving into a new house or apartment
- Too many animals in the household
- Undue confinement
- Lack of fresh air and/or sunshine, especially if the cat was used to going outside
- Change in daily routine, such as during the holidays.
- Physical trauma
- Surgical procedures
- Fleas, worms, or other parasites
- Boredom and loneliness
- Death of human or animal family member
- Other changes in the number of human or animal family members
Cat stress and anxiety remedies
So, with all this in mind, how can you help your cat? The solution to your problem will depend on the cause. Here are some helpful tips to help alleviate stress and anxiety in your cat.
- Is your cat showing signs of anxiety and stress in the home and you are able to eliminate the source, do so. If that doesn’t work and your cat is exhibiting physical or emotional stress signs, take them to the veterinarian for a checkup to see if they are ill or have a chronic condition that needs treatment.
- If your cat is suffering stress due to environmental changes in the home like new pets or a new baby. Take time to slowly introduce your cat to the new family member little by little and supervised. This may take several weeks.
- If your cat is urinating outside the litter box in the home, try introducing more than one litter box. This is especially important in multi-cat/pet homes. If the problem persists, a visit to the vet is in order.
- If your cat is stressed due to boredom or lack of stimulation, cattify your home. Add a cat tree, scratching post or plenty of window perches/shelves to your home to allow your cat to climb and roam. This provides mental stimulation and cats love to take advantage of vertical space.
- Incorporate playtime and fun for your cat as well. Cats sometimes act out because they have pent-up energy they need to release daily. Being cooped up indoors all day without a way to release that energy in a positive way can result in displays of aggression or biting. So, get out the laser pointer or other toys for your cat to play with and get some physical activity and fun.
- Also, don’t underestimate the power of catnip or other herbs to help stimulate or calm your cat as well.
- Keep your home environment calm and inviting. If you love loud music, you should consider turning down the volume. Do you love to have company over? Consider limiting the frequency of visitors and strangers coming over. If that’s not possible, consider giving your cat(s) a separate room so they can have a peaceful, quiet environment to roam.
- In multiple pet households, be sure to have more than one litter box and also multiple food dishes to reduce competition among animals for food. This will make things less stressful.
- If your cat is stressed and annoyed with skin issues and scratches, they may suffer from fleas. Visit your vet and also consider flea shampoo treatments as well to alleviate the problem.
- Keep on top of hygiene and maintenance as well. Keep your cat’s nails trimmed short to prevent long nails digging into their pads which can be painful and create stress in your cat.
If you find you’ve taken your cat to the vet and all is in order health wise, your cat just may have anxiety and stress because they don’t spend enough quality time with you. So, cut out a few minutes each day to bond. It’s not necessarily about quantity of time as much as quality.
Cats are cool characters however even they can become stressed and anxiety ridden. Whether the cause is behavioral, environmental or physical do your best to care for your cat and pay attention to the signs. Rule out any potential illness or conditions and visit your veterinarian. Once you find out the root cause of the stress, take steps to eliminate it. This may require patience and time on your part. However, when it all is said and done, you’ll have a happy healthy cat on your hands.
Did you like these tips to relieve stress in cats? Have you tried any of these solutions? Would you add anything else? Comment and share your experience below.