What Makes Cats Anxious: Things Your Cat Wishes You Knew
Have you ever considered the possibility that your cat is stressed out? Our homes may be peaceful and happy places for our cats most of the time but, like people, cats can become stressed or anxious from time to time. And, like people, how well they handle stress depends upon their inherent dispositions as well as the stressor itself. But what makes cats anxious?
Why consider cat anxiety? Again, just as in people, cat stress and anxiety can cause health problems. And, stressed kitties are more prone to behavioral issues that might result in re-homing, or worse yet, euthanasia. Even with the best of intentions, you may be causing your cat stress without realizing it! Here’s what your cat wishes you knew.
What Makes Cats Anxious?
The causes of cat stress can sometimes be traced back to medical issues, and so it’s important to talk to your veterinarian if your kitty seems stressed so you can rule out any health problems.
Here are some of the top causes of stress in cats at home:
- Environmental changes, such as a new household member or a move
- Conflicts between cats that may arise from introducing a new cat into the household, or from competition for resources such as food and resting places
- An environment that is lacking in opportunities to exhibit normal feline behaviors such as hunting or scratching
- A change in the daily routine
- Bringing out the carrier only when it’s time to visit the vet
- Letting the dog chase her, or intentionally scaring her (think “the cucumber vs. the cat” videos)
- Lack of human-cat socialization, fear of punishment, or too little handling
Stress Reduction For Cats
If you’re not sure how to help your stressed out kitty, we’ve got some ideas for you. First, if you have identified the stressor and can remove it from her environment, do so. Otherwise a gradual exposure to the stressor in a pleasant manner could help. Here are some other tips for reducing stress and anxiety at home for your cat.
- Use positive reward and training, not punishment
- Don’t intentionally scare her or let the dog or other household cats chase her
- Provide lots of opportunities for her to exhibit normal feline behavior
- Enrich her environment! Hide treats to mimic hunting, provide high places to perch and rest, and change out toys often.
- Use her carrier as another regular place that she rests and enjoys being in
- Provide attention and love on a regular basis
- Reduce stress between household cats, and do your research before introducing a new cat to your household
- Explore pheromones with your veterinarian’s help
Have other questions, concerns, or need support? We’re happy to answer questions or schedule a behavioral consultation with one of our veterinarians. Contact us for more help.
But what makes cats anxious?
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Schertz Animal Hospital
Since 1976, Schertz Animal Hospital has offered the greater San Antonio area outstanding pet care. Our state-of-the-art animal hospital in Schertz, TX compliments our stress-free handling and experienced veterinary staff. Make an appointment online or give us a call at (210) 659-0345 today!