How To Calm a Cat with Anxiety

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Similar to humans, cats also deal with anxiety issues and there are ways on how to calm a cat with anxiety. As a fur parent, keeping our cat’s anxiety at a minimum is vital for establishing and maintaining a positive relationship.

We should be well informed in interpreting our furbaby’s behavior to learn if they are having anxiety issues and how we will be able to calm them down.  

A cat hiding

Our cat’s anxiety can be manifested in different ways, and unlike straightforward illnesses, it is not as easy to identify if they have anxiety. Continue reading to find out more what are the causes of cat anxiety and what can be done on how to help cat anxiety.

Is it Anxiety or Just My Cat’s Behavior?

All animals, including cats, can suffer from anxiety. Although our feline friends cannot express themselves with words, they will be able to visually show that they are suffering from anxiety through many signs and symptoms that may include the development of destructive behaviors.

Most pet parents interpret signs of cat anxiety only as bad behaviors; that’s why it is essential to be observant and take note of when your pet starts to show off these signs. 

A cat under a platform

The development of anxiety in our cats can be triggered by specific events, objects, other animals or people, or changes in their routines and environment.

It will be a great leap forward if we can identify what triggers the anxiety, so we can quickly identify the best cat anxiety treatment for your furbaby.

10 Signs Your Cat Has Anxiety

These are the signs to check if you’re worried that your furbaby is anxious. By knowing and noticing these signs, you will be able to tell if they need to undergo stress-relieving techniques. 

1. Your Cat Loves to Hide 

Regardless of whether your cat is social or naturally independent, they still need to be petted once in a while. If your cat mostly hides, to the point that you can’t see them for a day, they may be anxious. 

Cat hiding

2. Shows Aggressiveness Most of the Time

If your cat becomes aggressive all of a sudden, with no known reason, it may be because of anxiety. Boredom can result in anxiety to a cat wanting attention. They are taking out this frustration by being aggressive and showing that they seek your attention.

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A cat biting the fingers of his pet parent

3. Meows More Than Usual

Generally, cats meow to establish communication with their pet parent. If they are communicating with you more frequently than usual, they might be telling you that they’re feeling scared and anxious. This sound will often sound troubled, like a distress call that they are in desperate need of your attention.

A cat purring

4. Non-stop Grooming

Cats are known for their grooming habits. Licking their coat is their way of making themselves clean. However, if you notice that your cat is grooming themselves all day, it may be a sign that they have anxiety. Excessive grooming can also cause hair loss that can be bad for your cat’s beautiful coat. 

A cat licking itself

5.  Your Furbaby Refuses to Use the Litter Box

A potty-trained cat will always use a litter box, but if they suddenly stopped using it and start relieving themselves in other places of your house, then they may be trying to tell you something. 

6. Your Cat Shivers

Who likes getting startled, right? Like us humans, cats are not thrilled to be startled. If your cat becomes easily afraid of anything and almost trembles in fear daily, they may be overstimulated and need some anxiety-relieving techniques. 

Stretched out body of a cat

7. They Have Developed Separation Anxiety

In our previous article, we have tackled that dogs can have separation anxiety. This is also possible for cats.

If your cat begins to follow you anywhere you go regularly and does not want to let you out of their sight; they may be suffering from anxiety.

Cat Sitting in Dubai

8. Your Furbaby’s Eating Habits Change

Your cat’s changes in eating habits can be a tricky sign. Before jumping to the conclusion that your furbaby is anxious, you have to clear out all other medical problems first, specifically, digestion problems.

Once that is done, proceed in observing the signs of having anxiety such as eating everything they see or completely stop eating. 

Cat eating in a food bowl

9. Your Cat Sleeps Less Than Normal

Cats love to sleep. Most cats sleep 16 hours a day on an average basis. If your cat is spending more time of the day awake and restless, it is a definite sign that they are experiencing anxiety.

Anxiety can trigger the sensors in the mind that could cause your furbaby to feel stressed, uneased, and nervous for no reason at all.

A sleeping cat

10. Your Furbaby Starts to Become Sluggish

Anxious cats will lose interest in playing and interacting with their pet parents, toys, and other animals. However, keep in mind that other health concerns can also cause this sign. Once everything else is ruled out, then it’s a sign that your furbaby is experiencing anxiety. 

Causes of Anxiety in Cats

Most cats feel anxious due to reasons that may surprise pet parents. As a habitual animal, changes in their environment and routine, such as moving to a new house, visiting the vet, or a new animal, can play a big part in giving anxiety to your pet.

Some of the causes of anxiety in cats are the following:

1. Being on a Confined Space

Cats are wandering animals, which means they love to explore their surroundings. They are not suitable to be in confined, small spaces as these are one of the most common causes of cat anxiety.

2. No Control Over Their Environment 

Domesticated cats cannot control their environment and necessities such as food, water, and the location of their bed and litter box, and from their point of view, this is unnatural for them. Due to this adjustment, they may experience anxiety and stress.

A kitten starting to walk

3. Being Unable to Escape Stressful Situations

To cope up with challenging situations, cats tend to run away or escape to somewhere high. Cats enjoy jumping around from a high place to another so they can overlook their surroundings. If they are limited with these vertical spaces, this can likely cause them anxiety. 

Scared cat with a dog as the trigger

4. Privacy

Cats, being solitary pets love some alone time but keep in mind that they still need frequent socialization with their pet parent. Similar to humans, eating, sleeping, and doing potty is a private matter for cats, and they can become easily anxious when they have to do these activities while others are around. 

5. New Unfamiliar Guests

While most cats are friendly and excited when seeing visitors, some cats feel nervous and sensitive every time they see the presence of unfamiliar faces that could lead to anxiety.

A cute cat

6. The Presence of a New Baby

We have tackled in our previous article that cats respond anxiously to new babies due to their scent, the baby’s sounds, and sometimes, due to getting less attention from their pet parent. 

A baby in a crib

For some social and curious cats, being around a baby can be interesting and intriguing, but for other cats, it can lead to stress and anxiety due to the changes in their surroundings. Check out our article on this matter to know how to deal with this situation.

How to Reduce Cat Anxiety

Before considering the following ways to reduce anxiety in your furbaby, keep in mind what causes it. From there, you can come up with the most efficient course of action that is best suited for your cat.

1. Determine What Triggers the Anxiety

  • The first thing you should do is to find out the origins of your furbaby’s anxiety. If you are unable to figure out what is causing your cat’s distress, it is not guaranteed that you can treat it successfully.
  • As a pet parent, you should be able to determine the root cause without difficulty. If a specific object or incident triggers the anxiety, then the easiest thing to do is to eliminate it. 

2. Assess Your Cat’s Environment

  • Similar to humans, cats need peace and calm whenever they feel stressed. Put yourself in your furbaby’s perspective and find out what might be stressing them out, such as loud volume from the TV, screaming children, or noisy appliances like a vacuum cleaner. 
  • Let your furbaby rest in a quiet location and make sure that they have a comfortable bed they can soothe in. For that extra comfy step, you may want to get a cat condo for your furbaby, so they can hide away whenever they are near a trigger.
Cat condo
  • Scratching for cats is a way for them to relieve stress, so it is highly recommended to get them a scratching post. Make sure that their scratching post is stable and tall enough for your cat when they are fully stretched out. It is better to get your cat’s stretched out measurement before purchasing a scratch post. 
A cat using a scratch post
  • Once you have a designated resting location for your cat, ensure that they have easy access to food, water, and litter box. If your furbaby loses appetite due to anxiety, they will feel that their food is a little too rich or too much for their digestion. It is recommended to switch to a bland diet for a short period to readjust your cat’s taste buds.
  • Let them listen to music that can ease their stress and will soon relieve their anxiety. Here’s a link that you can play to your furbaby to help them with their anxiety:

3. Spend Bonding Time With Your Cat

  • Spending some quality time with your feline baby can help in reassuring them. By just sitting quietly with your cat on your lap, stroking them from head to tail will help in stimulating them, making them relaxed. 
A cat sleeping in its owner's lap
  • Constantly petting or rewarding them with a treat whenever they are in a stressful situation can help in their perception that these incidents will result in positive treats. 
Cat getting a treat
  • Exercising with your cat can also help in improving their mental stimulation. Make sure that they are getting enough exercise, and your presence while doing it will help in building up their confidence and will become more independent. 
  • Motivate your cat to play with different varieties of cat toys. Let them play with these toys in rotation every few days to avoid boredom. Some toys even have catnips that can stimulate your cat’s brain and boost the happiness receptors in them. 
A cat with a toy tunnel

4. Use Cat Soothing Products

  • Cat Calming Collars

One of the most popular products that help in soothing your cat’s anxiety is cat collars that are infused with pheromones. These pheromones mimic the pheromones a mommy cat produces.

Cat with a collar

Keep in mind that these collars do not work on all cats. Some cats will get more stressed out while wearing a collar that can negate the positive effects of sniffing into a pheromone-infused collar.

  • Cat Calming Pheromone Diffusers

If your kitty is not a big fan of collars, you may want to consider using a pheromone diffuser. These diffusers can help to soothe your cat’s anxiety by emitting a synthetic version of a pheromone released by mother cats while nursing kittens.

A diffuser
  • Cat Calming Food and Treats

Soothing cat food usually contains ingredients such as tryptophan, a compound found in turkey that is linked with sleepiness. These foods are also meant to soothe upset digestion, which could lead to cat anxiety.

5. Always Check Up on Your Cat’s Health 

  • Always ensure that your cat has updated vaccination, flea, and deworming treatments. See to it that your furbaby is free from any injuries and inspect their ears for ear mites. 
Cat in a veterinary office
  • If you are unsure if your furbaby is in top shape, reach out to your veterinarian immediately for a general check-up. Don’t be surprised if your veterinarian recommends blood tests as these are needed to assess if there is another health condition that may be causing the anxiety. 

To Conclude

To sum it up, managing cat anxiety will be a lesson in the patience of a pet parent. Learn to acknowledge what is triggering your cat’s anxiety and try the tips we’ve listed above.

Don’t be hesitant to ask your vet for advice. A cat experiencing anxiety deserves as much care and attention, similar to ill cats.

We hope our tips have helped you understand how to calm a cat with anxiety! Comment down below if you have any tips you would like to share with our pet parent community or if you have tried ours!

Written By

Laura is the founder of Furs'n'Paws. She is a pet expert with more than 20 years of experience working with dogs and cats. She developed a very strong love for animals at a young age. Her passion led her to establish a thriving pet sitting and dog walking business in Dubai. As an expert in pet training, behavior, and nutrition, Laura is committed to helping pet owners and pet lovers by offering high-quality information on a wide range of topics.

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