Give Your Cat Some Space
Cats are solitary creatures, so they dont like to be crowded by others that counts for other cats, other pets and even children or other family members. Ensuring your cat always has space to escape from the chaos is a good way to reduce their stress. A quiet spot, preferably somewhere high up, is ideal. Try a cardboard box on a sturdy shelf, for example.
Specialist Help For Cats
For particularly severe anxiety or issues that are not resolving, you should speak to your veterinarian. They can organize a referral to a board certified veterinary behaviorist to get you additional help. Keep in mind that if your cats anxiety goes untreated, the symptoms can become more severe over time, even resulting in health conditions.
Helping Your Cat Relax Or Calm Down
When it comes to helping your cat relax or calm down, there will be a couple of factors we need to take into account. The first thing you’ll want to do is make sure that your cat doesn’t have any underlying diseases, you can do this simply by taking them to the veterinarian for a regular check-up. Certain illnesses, such as hyperthyroidism, can lead your cat to become hyperactive. This is why it’s best to first rule out any medical reasons.
Next, you want to make sure that your cat’s needs are all met. Is their litter clean? Do they have fresh water and food? So they have enough space to play and their own personal area to relax? All of these things will play a role in how they are feeling. Cats may sometimes get aggressive or hyperactive as a coping mechanism for when they are stressed due to a lack of care from their companion.
If your cat’s needs are met and they are physically healthy, it’s still possible for them to experience nervousness, stress, hyperactivity or aggression. In these situations we will need to be there for them so they can calm down and get over whatever has caused them to react the way they did. Keep reading to learn how you can help your cat calm down!
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Summary Of Anxiety In Cats
Anxiety is a natural response to certain situations and stimuli, but it can become debilitating for your cat, leading to poor quality of life and worsening or causing medical issues, so its important to watch out for the signs of anxiety and consult your veterinarian for treatment as soon as possible. With an approach combining behavioral modification, environmental changes, calming aids and potential medication, most cats can overcome or lessen their anxiety, and be able to lead a much happier life.
Cat Anxiety: What Causes It
Some causes are easy to identify – perhaps you’ve introduced a newborn baby or new pet to the household, you’re having building work done or a neighbours cat is muscling in on your cats territory.
But smaller changes can also disturb your cats peace of mind – a new brand of litter, for example, or a house guest they’re not familiar with.
Fireworks and thunderstorms can be hugely stressful too.
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Excessive Scratching In Cats
In addition to unwanted urination, cats may also start scratching things more if they are upset or stressed. Scratching is a natural behavior and is used to maintain the health of their claws and to mark their territory. But this behavior may increase and become an issue during stressful times for your cat.
Help Them To Handle Changes Before They Happen
Cats are creatures of habit. Routine is important to them, so anything that disrupts this can leave them feeling stressed. Whether youre planning to move house, have building work completed or welcome a new baby into your home, preparing your cat for the changes reduces the risk of stress. During house moves and improvements, cats are often much better temporarily staying in a cattery to keep them calm. With new babies, you can get your cat prepared for their new arrival with our advice guide, which includes getting them familiar with baby sounds and how to make the nursery off-limits. Visit for a month-by-month guide.
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What To Give Cats To Relax Them
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Ways To Calm Your Anxious Cat
It might be difficult to believe that cats can get stressed. After all, they get bottomless bowls of dry cat food, spend most of the day sleeping and, well, they dont have to hold down a job. Who hasnt looked at a dozing cat on their way to work and thought, I wish I was you? Cat behavior helps us understand the cat signs and cat symptoms of a scared cat and helps us calm his anxiety.
Cats are creatures of habit, and if something is amiss, they dont have the words to tell you theyre worried. Situations you might not consider stressfulsuch as an influx of people into your home for a partycan be incredibly anxiety-inducing for animals. Anything new thats outside the normal of a cats lifestyle can be a stress factor, says Dr. Robert Trimble, DVM, Head of Veterinarian Services and Lead Veterinarian at Yourfuzzy.com. Even down to as something as insignificant as the type of cat litter in the litter box.
One of the first things we look for when cats are stressed are behavioral symptoms, Dr. Trimble says. Here are some cat symptoms that any concerned pet parent needs to be on the lookout for:
- Inappropriate urination or defecation outside of the litterbox
- Excessive vocalization
- Excessive, compulsive grooming
- Heavy, open-mouthed breathing
So whether your scared cat is exhibiting any of the above cat signs or anxiety or youre trying to preemptively treat stress , weve gathered some expert-approved solutions to make a scaredy cat feel at-ease.
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What Is Cat Anxiety
Just as there are different types of anxiety in people, cat anxiety can manifest in many ways. PetMD designates three categories: phobia, or a persistent and excessive fear of a specific stimulus, such as a thunderstorm fear, or the instinctive feeling of apprehension resulting from a situation, person, or object that appears to present an external threat and anxiety, or the anticipation of future dangers from unknown or imagined origins that result in normal body reactions associated with fear.
The important difference here is that anxiety is an ongoing condition . According to PetMD, cat anxiety is most likely to develop at the onset of social maturity12 to 36 months of age.
Understanding Your Cats Behavior
You probably already know that your cat is most comfortable with the familiar, and needs time to adjust to things, people, or places that are unfamiliar. When you bring your cat to visit the veterinarian, it is often difficult for her because the carrier, car, and the veterinary hospital are usually unfamiliar places and experiences.
Here are a few tips from our feline veterinarians:
Respect your cats need for time to become familiar with new situations, people, and places. Leave the cat carrier out and open in your home so your cat can become familiar with it. Consider taking your cat on short trips in the car so she can become familiar with it and hopefully learn that a car visit does not mean you are taking her to the veterinarians office. Give your cat rewards to encourage positive behavior. For example, if your cat is sitting calmly in or near a carrier, give her a treat.
Your cat perceives the world through her senses. Weve broken down ways to help keep your cat calm corresponding to the way your cat experiences her environment.
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Take Short Trips To Acclimate Your Cat To The Car
After your cat is comfortable inside the cat carrier, put your cat inside the carrier and carry it to your vehicle. Just as you want your cat to be familiar with the cat carrier, allow your cat to get familiar with the vehicle as well.
Begin the acclimation process by taking short trips to the vehicle but not driving anywhere. You can even let the cat out inside the vehicle so that the cat can explore the ins and outs of the vehicle. Of course, make sure to shut all doors so the cat cant escape.
Eventually, work your way up to exposing your cat to short car rides. Begin with short bursts and work your way up to longer trips. By starting with short car rides, your cat can be acclimated gradually and un-traumatically.
Why Are Some Cats More Prone To Developing Chronic Stress Than Others
The ability of the individual to cope with challenges depends on both genetic and environmental factors. The development of the physiological systems involved in the stress response starts before a kitten is even born and if the mother is stressed during pregnancy or receives poor nutrition then her litter may be more prone to developing stress, and the non-adaptive coping strategies that form the basis of many of the common behaviour problems.
A lack of early socialization and opportunities to experience the sights, sounds and smells of a typical domestic home environment may also result in life being very challenging later on.
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Create A Chill Out Zone
Just as teens retreat to their bedrooms, and adults to their homes, cats need a place they know is theirs, where they are safe, calm and away from the daily feline grind.
Set aside a corner in your home and place a few of your cats favourite toys, blankets and some climbing equipment. Make sure this area is away from anything too loud for the cat, such as the TV, stereo, fridge or washing machine. Remember, nobody likes to feel trapped, especially cats, so make sure they can access this area whenever they need to.
Open The Windows So Your Cat Can Get Fresh Air
This is a great way to keep your cat from smelling other, unfamiliar animals while traveling. Letting them stick their head out the window and take in some fresh air will help them relax and focus on doing what cats naturally do, such as enjoying napping in sunbeams, catching bugs, and staring off into the distance.
If your cat is very nervous or cant seem to calm down even with these techniques, its best to keep them at home so theyll feel safe and secure.
Cats are susceptible to stress in cars because of how unfamiliar it is for them. Make sure they have a familiar blanket or toy to cuddle with, turn off any lights or loud noises, and open the windows for some fresh air. Doing all of these will ensure that you both enjoy your road trip.
If your cat is extremely agitated about riding in the car, it might be best to let them stay at home where its safe.
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Making A Cat More Comfortable Around Visitors
First, if this anxious behavior is something new, be sure to have your cat checked by a veterinarian to rule out a physical cause.
To start, youll want to provide your cat with a safe area to go to before the strangers arrive. The safe area should be an out-of-the-way location, such as a back room, where the sound of knocking or the doorbell is muffled. In the safe area, your cat does not have to interact with your guests and, consequently, she can feel calm and relaxed there. Before guests arrive, the room should be set up with a comfortable resting place, water and a litter box, depending on the duration of their stay.
A few minutes before guests arrive, allow your cat to retreat to the safe room if she chooses. Once shes inside, provide her with a special food treat and an interactive or food-dispensing toy to distract her and create positive associations with the presence of strangers in the house.
Next, youll need to follow a series of behavior modification steps to help your cat become more comfortable around visitors. Besides treats, toys or other rewards for your cat, you will need the help of a friend to act as the stranger coming to visit. The basic idea is that the stranger will stand at a distance from your cat, who will be rewarded for remaining calm in the strangers presence. Over multiple sessions, you will gradually decrease the distance between them until your cat is able to remain completely relaxed sitting next to the stranger.
How To Recognize Stress In Your Cat
Hiding is one of the most obvious signs that your cat is stressed but it’s not the only one. Hissing, running away, growling, scratching items, and eliminating outside the litter box can be other signs of stress in your cat and should not be ignored, especially if they are occurring regularly. Monitor your cat for these symptoms and think back to what may have changed before you noticed these behaviors.
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Try Not To Handle Them If Theyre Not Keen
While many cats like to be stroked for a long period of time, others are happier to enjoy their own company. Some cats might be quick to tell you that theyre unhappy while others are more subtle in their behaviour. Pay attention to their body language and always make sure they have the freedom to move away from you when they wish.
Help Your Furry Friend Feel Less Anxious
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Just like people, cats can get stressed out from time to time. Boredom, overstimulation , and changes in their environment can easily set them off. While the best thing to do is keep your cats environment as stress-free as possible, calming aids for cats can also help when unavoidable changes are happening in their environment.
According to Dr. Zay Satchu, DVM, co-founder and Chief Veterinary Officer of Bond Vet, there are several different types of products marketed to help relieve stress and anxiety in cats, including treats, collars, sprays and plug-ins. Sprays and plug-ins work by releasing calming pheromones into the air that are calming and help kitty relax, explains Satchu. Treats use a blend of calming and relaxing herbs, similar to how some teas work for people.
So, what should you look for? The best calming aids contain pheromones, rosemary, chamomile, and/or tryptophan, says Satchu. Shes partial to Feliway products, but there are other options that cat parents have also used with some success. Keep in mind that no product is effective with 100 percent of cats, so it may take trying out a few different options to help your cat feel more relaxed.
Below, you’ll find the best calming aids for cats.
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How To Calm A Cat After Moving
Relocating to a new home or apartment can be very difficult for cats, who love routine and familiarity. If youre moving with cats, Van de Kieft says this isnt the time to buy a new cat tree or debut a different cat bed. Since a new place will smell different already, bring as much stuff as possible that smells like the cat, so there are familiar things there, she says.
Van de Kieft also suggests plugging in a feline pheromone diffuser a few weeks in advance of arriving with your cat, if you can, to get those soothing scents into the air.
Calder and Van de Kieft both recommend designating a single safe haven room for your cat when moving into a new place. Fill it with all her familiar belongings, and make sure there are separate areas for using the litter box, resting, eating and drinking. Let her get comfortable and used to that room before slowly introducing her to the rest of the new home, ideally one space at a time.
Meanwhile, stick to her usual schedule for feeding and playtime as much as possible.
Cat Calming Products To Help Ease Cat Anxiety
Reviewed for accuracy on August 29, 2018 by Katie Grzyb, DVM
Humans are not the only ones that deal with anxiety issues cats can suffer from anxiety, too. As a pet owner, keeping your cats anxiety under control is important for establishing and maintaining a positive pet and human relationship.
There are many reasons a cat may experience anxiety, but there are also many calming products that pet owners can try to help manage their cats anxiety.
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Should I Leave My Cat At Home With A Sitter
Unless you cant avoid taking your cat with you on the journey, its best to simply leave your cat at home with a cat sitter. Even though you may get lonely without your cat, leaving your cat at home is the best choice for your furry feline.
For example, you should leave your cat at home with a sitter if youre only leaving for a week or so. Even if the sitter is a person your cat has never met, your cat will be much less stressed with a new cat sitter than they would be on a car ride.
The only time you should take your cat away from home is when it is unavoidable to do so. Vet appointments and moving to a new home are two examples of when you should not leave your cat at home for obvious reasons.
If you have someone you can trust that your cat is already familiar with, thats the best choice for a cat sitter. If you do not know anyone who can or is willing to watch your cat, you can look online for reputable cat sitters in your area.