What Is Cat Anxiety
Does your cat get startled at a really loud noise? Are they timid when you bring a visitor home? For instance, a new baby can be a big change for everyone in the household. Its normal for cats to be a bit nervous at these times, and it doesnt necessarily mean that youre dealing with a case of cat anxiety.
On the other hand, if they seem to be constantly on edge and showing signs of worry, it should be investigated. An anxious cat displays fear even though there doesnt seem to be anything threatening in their environment.
Just like humans, a cats body has physical reactions when theyre scared. This includes an increased heart rate and faster breathing. Basically, the body is going into fight or flight mode to handle danger. Cat anxiety will present the same way. In addition, cats may show distress behaviors like hiding, vocalizing a lot and destroying things around the house.
Determine The Root Of The Problemand Find A Solution
While all of the aforementioned strategies are helpful for dealing with cat fear, anxiety, and stress, its essential to look deeper, especially if your cat is experiencing severe stress. Its not enough to treat the symptom, as it were, Parry says. Knowing what triggers the fear allows you to build a plan to help the cat feel safe. She advises observing interactions between pets in your home to address any problems, and to be alert to potentially stress-causing environmental factors. Regular visits to the veterinarian are crucial, and you may even want to check in with a certified cat behavior consultant. If any of their essential needs and resources are out of whack, you could have a chronically stressed cat, Parry says.
How To Handle Neighborhood Animals Causing Stress
Cats can especially get stressed by neighborhood cats, even if they never come inside the house, and they may take that stress out on other household cats. Seeing a feral cat wander outside can be enough to cause your cat stress. Try closing the blinds or even using motion-activated sprinklers to keep feral cats away from your home.
Remember, decreasing stress can take time. If your cat is acting uncharacteristically, it might take a few weeks or more to build new habits and help your pet feel secure. But with patience and love, your cats can learn to get along again.
1. Negron, Vladimir. “10 Signs Your Cat Might Be Stressed.” PetMD, 20 June 2014, .
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Cat Calming Products To Consider
There are a number of products on the market designed to help calm down anxious cats.
In addition to pheromone products that are available as diffusers, wipes or sprays, Calder sometimes recommends nutritional supplements that are designed to help anxious cats. You should always speak with your own veterinarian first before adding or changing your cats diet.
For some cats, Calder will prescribe medications to help reduce fear and anxiety.
Something Calder doesnt suggest to pet parents as a cat anxiety treatment? Essential oils. Essential oils can be toxic to cats, especially if ingested.
Keep Your Stressed Cat Cozy
If your cat is experiencing stress and is upset, make sure she has a place to go that’s cozy and secure. If you’re home, the top of a tall scratching post is a great spot. Cats , especially when they’re feeling anxious or uneasy.
It can be helpful to some cats to confine them to a small “safe room” when they’re dealing with more chronic forms of stress. You can create a pleasant, calm feline space where your cat’s food and water, litter box, cat beds, scratching posts, and toys are all available. You can even play some soothing classical music, which has been shown to calm many cats.
If you’re traveling, keep your cat inside a carrier. This provides a cozy spot where your cat can’t escape, get underfoot, or become more upset because of things she can see going by. It can be helpful to when there isn’t a stressful situation at hand.
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Plan And Use Training And Desensitization Methods
Traveling can be a bit stressful for cats. Training your cat to voluntarily go into the travel box and having a positive association with it will go a long way in building its confidence and comfort in it. As a rule, the cat should get a reward for going into the travel box multiple times. Those rewards will help the cat feel more confident.
Play With Your Cat Regularly
Keep your cats mind stimulated and help reduce stress with exercise and interactive games. There are many types of toys available, so experiment and find out what type of toy your cat likes best. Some cats prefer toys with feathers that mimic a bird, while others prefer those that more closely resemble a mouse or small rodent. Laser pointers can be entertaining for some cats as well.
Spend at least 20-30 minutes a couple of times a day actively engaging your cat in play. Your cat will appreciate the time with you, get more exercise , and be less anxious.
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How To Stop Stress In Pets
The rise in some catsâ stress levels during the pandemic is likely due to the disruptions to their daily peace that weâve unwittingly caused. By being at home more, we have probably created a much busier, more chaotic environment than they are used to â and may be causing them more stress when we want to lavish them with attention.
Given that cats can recognize humans emotions, our elevated stress levels and desire to spend more time interacting with them have likely made matters worse. Some people may have also made other changes during the pandemic â such as redecorating, having a baby, or even getting another pet.
There are many things we can do to help cats better cope and be less stressed:
4. Provide cats with a predictable routine. This means keeping mealtimes, play, and interactions with them to a schedule where possible.
3. Give them a dedicated quiet room or area. And when theyâre in these areas, ensure theyâre never disturbed. You should also let your cat choose when they want to interact with you.
2. Create an enriching indoor and outdoor environment. To help your cat feel safe, provide them with lots of hiding options and places they can get up high. Place litter trays in separate areas from food and water bowls and locate all these resources in quieter areas of the home. Provide toys, climbing frames, food puzzles, and cat-friendly plants to help keep your cat physically and mentally stimulated.
Pet Your Cat To Reduce Stress
Pet Your Cat to Reduce Stress!
| Cornell Feline Health Center – Member Blog
With the current COVID-19 situation, we are all going through a difficult time and such times can be stressful. It has been shown that stress can have negative effects on our physical and mental well-being, so finding ways of minimizing stress is in everyone’s best interest.
We have a simple solution to this problem for all cat owners…try petting your cat. Most of us have experienced the calming effect of interacting with our feline friends, and numerous studies suggest that interaction with cats and dogs can have beneficial physiologic and psychological effects on us.
Talk about a safe and effective therapy…no side effects and an appreciable benefit to your mood. We say win-win for both you and your cat.
In fact, a recent study that used university students as subjects found that petting cats and dogs for 10 minutes decreased the amount of cortisol in their saliva. These findings are consistent with the notion that interacting with cats and dogs decreases stress.
We know that these are trying times, but with people, cats, and dogs working together, we will all be OK.
Interested in becoming a member to receive weekly blog posts from Dr. Korneich himself?Learn more here about membership
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Spotting Stress In Cats
Cats can be incredible at hiding their emotions. This would have been an evolutionary advantage â no-one can prey on a weakness if they canât see it. But there are subtle behaviours which show us they arenât particularly fond of a situation.
– Immobility ,
– Laying flat on their belly,
– Tail under their body,
– Wide eyes,
– Excessive salivating,
– Involuntary toileting,
Some cats will attempt to make themselves look bigger by way of piloerection. Their hand stands on end along their back, but more commonly youâll notice a suddenly bushy tail. In dogs we notice this as getting their âhacklesâ up. This is an involuntary nervous system response because of the circulating adrenaline which makes the muscles contract. Be mindful though, cats will also do this if they are cold or aroused, so assess the situation to establish if itâs stress related or not. Again, this makes total evolutionary sense a predator would think twice about hunting a larger prey.
There is a ladder of response in most animals, and this is no different in cats. They will often show subtle signs of discomfort or stress. If the trigger doesnât disappear, behaviour will progress. You may first notice flat ears, then the pupils will dilate. You may have a low growl or a silent hiss. Them running off or lashing out with their teeth and claws may be a few steps up the ladder.
Stress Reducing Products For Cats
Aside from making changes within your home, there are a few stress reducing products that we trust. There are multiple options for cat anxiety solutions on the market, so to help you weigh through the options, lets introduce you to the products that we find to be the most helpful.
- Feliway diffusers:Feliway diffusers are a vet recommended product that is known to release calming pheromones and reduce stress in cats. These diffusers are so effective that you will often find these diffusers in your vets office.
- Feliway spray: This spray has the power of the feliway diffuser, in a portable spray form. This spray can be applied to your couch to reduce scratching, in a spot that your cat has accidents, and even in their crate before they go to the vet.
- Sentry Calming Collar: This calming cat collar is one of the only cat collars that is scientifically proven to relieve stress in cats. Each collar releases pheromones for 30 days, and helps to reduce unwanted behavior and symptoms of anxiety.
Stress in cats is a serious condition that should never be ignored.
Be sure to use the tips we mentioned above for reducing cat stress, and you can bring comfort to your nervous cats life!
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How To Help Your Stressed Cat With Natural Remedies
Do you have a cat that urinates outside the litter tray?
Or maybe they are pulling out all of their hair and overgrooming?
Or do you have a bully cat that beats up your other cat? Or maybe they are redirecting their aggression towards you?
These can all be signs that your cat may be stressed, amongst many others. Many cats are sensitive to changes in the household, like new furniture, kids coming home from college, or a new pet. If we dont recognize some of these more subtle signs of stress, the chronic stress in our cats can lead to medical conditions, like stress cystitis, urinary obstructions, and even cancer.
In this short video, we identify some obvious but also subtle signs of stress your cat may be displaying so you can identify if your cat is dealing with this condition. But most importantly, you will gain tips on how to help them overcome stress and be a calm and balanced cat again.
There are many remedies for pet stress ranging from supplements to behavior modifications. However, if you find that your pet is having extreme anxiety, please contact a veterinary behaviorist on ways to address the anxiety.
We Hate To Break The News To You But Theres A Good Chance Youre Accidentally Stressing Out Your Kitty Heres How To Change That And Keep Your Cats Anxiety At Bay
An anxious cat isnt ideal for the pet owner or feline. Not only is kitty feeling stressed out about the world around her, but this situation can also wreak havoc on your household. For example, cats with anxiety can exhibit destructive behaviors such as peeing outside of the litter box or getting into areas they shouldnt. It can also cut into your ability to get some real human and animal bonding time. While cat anxiety can be a challenging problem to deal with and it wont magically go away overnight, it is by no means impossible to overcome. We asked veterinarians to weigh in on this issueand provide some possible solutions to save everyones sanity. When youre up to speed, find out what else your cat would love to tell you.
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How To Calm A Cat
1. To feel safe, your cat needs to have their own space and an easy way to escape if it all gets too much. Don’t crowd them or make a fuss instead, give them room to move away and do their own thing, then wait for them to come back on their own terms when theyre ready.
2. Your instinct might be to comfort your cat by stretching out your arm to stroke them, but they could see this as a threat and lash out with claws or teeth. Instead, give them some space and keep a watchful eye over them from somewhere close by, then save cuddles for a more relaxed moment.
3. Once your cat seems less stressed and more like their usual self, try to engage them in play from a distance. Use a fishing-rod toy or roll a ball for them and they will join in if they no longer feel like there’s danger looming.
Make Sure Your Cat Has Everything It Needs
It might seem obvious, but ensuring your cat has a litter tray, food and water bowls and even a scratching post can help reduce stress. Where you put these items can also have a surprising impact on your cats stress levels too. Keep litter trays away from eating areas, for example, and make sure your cats resources arent in an area with lots of noise or people.
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Cat Stress: Is My Cat Stressed Out
Since cats do so much to help our stress levels, its important to remember that they can get stressed, too.
Some stressful situations can be good for keeping a cat engaged and stimulated allowing your cat to feel new sensations through play and exposure to the outdoors is a positive example of stress. But chronic stress can lead to health issues in your cat.
Watch for the signs of chronic stress, like changes in your cats appetite or sleeping patterns, a drop in energy, or withdrawal. If you see any of these symptoms, check with your veterinarian to eliminate any medical problem.
But if your veterinarian thinks its stress-related, here are some common causes of chronic cat stress, along with ways to help manage your cats anxiety.
Speak To The Vet About The Possibility Of Antianxiety Medications
If none of the above is enough to help your cat deal with anxiety and stress, speak to the veterinarian about the possibility of long-term or short-term anxiety medications. Depending on your cats specific needs, the veterinarian will be able to prescribe something that helps your kitty stay calm.
We recommend using this as a last resource, as most cases can be solved naturally without using these medicines. The medicines could have secondary effects and tend to be addictive. They are an effective last resource, but make sure you have exhausted all other options first.
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Giving Your Cat Medication
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.
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