It would be naïve to assume that cats never get anxious. Just like human beings, they can also get anxious. Cat anxiety can be identified through a change in its behavior. Any issue that affects its emotional and physical health may make it anxious.
When it is anxious, it becomes very defensive. This often occurs when it anticipates anger. As a result, the cat develops some sort of fear that is expressed through becoming anxious. When it is anxious, it becomes abnormally scared. It also looks chronically stressed.
Anxiety is a sign of an unhappy or emotionally unstable cat. For example, the presence of a new member of the family may make it anxious. Additionally, when you leave it alone, it can also become anxious.
Unfortunately, many people do not realize when felines are anxious. If you are keen enough, you tell when your feline friend is a bit tensed. After realizing this, you can try to establish the cause. Finally, you can offer the right solution after identifying the problem.
How can you tell if your cat is anxious?
You must be keen for you to note if your feline friend is emotionally stable or not. Thesprucepets.com notes that cats behave differently in different places and situations. Therefore, the context you can always use H.I.S.S test to identify its emotional and physical health.
H.I.S.S. test is commonly in ascertaining how felines feel. When using this test, you check on the following aspects:
When your feline is feeling unwell, you expect them to portray an anxious behavior. When a cat is hurting, it mainly hides it to an extent that you can’t know it. Therefore, you need the vet to investigate its overall health in case you are noting an anxious behavior in it.
Cats are always very sensitive, especially to oncoming danger. They can tell when there is danger ahead. In this case, being anxious is one indication that it is being cautious. Being cautious and anxious are common survival instincts among felines.
If you note any signs of anxiety, then it is possible that the cat is stressed up. However, different breeds of cats react differently to stress. Some are just generally nervous, especially to stressful situations. Therefore, stress might be one reason why your feline friend is behaving anxiously. Ensure you identify factors that are causing stress to your cat or kitten.
Symptoms, signs, and solutions
When cats are anxious, it is normal for them to hide in the dark where you can’t find them. It is normal to see them hide under the bed or chairs. In other instances, they will hide inside boxes, closets, basements or even under piles of clutter. If you see yours behave like this, then it is possible that it is anxious.
You can also tell if your feline is anxious through how they urinate. In most cases, cats will urinate outside the box when they are anxious. Urine is in most cases sprayed vertically when it is urinating on vertical surfaces. It will also urinate on windows, bed and other property that is familiar to it.
Moreover, anxious furry friends are always very vocal. In most cases, they do the meowing very occasionally. It will always meow out of nothing. Finally, it will always keep a distance from you.
Other common symptoms of anxiety in cats include:
- Becoming less active
- Sores and lesions, mainly due to overgrooming
- Withdrawal and hiding
- They don’t use the little box
- Aggressive and destructive behavior
- Trying to escape
In extreme cases, your cat may lack appetite, thus mass weight loss. It also becomes unusually restless, even when sleeping. Certain repetitive behaviors, such as chewing fabric, are also noted in an anxious feline. In case you note all these symptoms, then know that something is making it anxious.
What are the common causes?
Anxiety in cats is usually attributed to many factors. On causes of extreme fear. Other factors that can make your feline friend anxious include the following.
- Illness - Phobias, fear, and anxieties are mainly seen in unwell cats, especially those undergoing painful physical conditions.
- Separation - When they are abandoned or neglected, they become anxious. Rehoming or change of ownership can also cause anxiety.
- Traumatic experiences - Any frightening experience makes it anxious.
- Aging - As cats grow old, their nervous system also changes. It is believed that aging comes along with viral infections to the nervous system. As a result, it becomes unusually nervous.
- Phobias and panics - They may develop a phobia to some things such as being locked in the house. When they are in such situations, they become anxious.
Diagnosis and medications for anxiety
After noting persistent anxiety, you should see a vet. The vet will first observe the cat for any medical condition that might be causing anxiety. The vet may also ask you questions regarding its environment.
After identifying the cause, the vet may prescribe medication that is meant to relieve fear and nervousness. The vet may also make recommendations on how you should be treating it. He may also suggest ways of preventing anxiety triggers within the home environment.
Common cat anxiety medication recommended include selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) such as sertraline and fluoxetine.
How to treat anxiety in cats – remedies
You can treat anxiety in cats at home without seeking help from the vet. Anxiety can be environmentally managed.
Some of the activities that you can adopt include:
- Buy a cat tree - The tree gives it numerous perching opportunities. This ensures that it doesn’t spend much time sleeping. The tree is significant in reducing anxiety in cats.
- Reduce fights amongst your cats - If you have more than one feline in your house, you can separate them in case they keep on fighting.
- Buy food toys - These are toys that look more like food. It can play with these foods, thus diverting its mind from anxious situations.
- Anxiety products - Thundershirt Classic Cat Anxiety Jacket, Rescue Remedy Natural Homeopathic Stress Relief Drops For Pets, Comfort Zone with Feliway Diffuser Refills for Cat Calming, among many others.