No one wants an unhappy kitty. Anxiety in cats is a very real problem, and it can upset the balance in the household.
Especially if you have more than one cat. Cats are emotional animals, but are not good at showing exactly what is making them anxious.
When you bring a new cat into the household it’s normal for them to be a little anxious at first. Hiding under the bed or somewhere equally as secure is perfectly normal.
But a cat’s natural curiosity should take over, and exploring their surroundings should begin.
Likewise, bringing a new cat into a household with a cat already established will likely cause some anxiety and disruption. But again this should settle down as the cats find their own places to relax.
If you notice your cat is taking a long time to settle in and is still showing signs of anxiety, you should step in and help. Otherwise it can cause more serious health problems, such as skin conditions, loss of fur, and mental anguish.
10 Tips to Help Calm an Anxious Cat
Check for Underlying Health Issues with Your Cat
Before talking the issue of anxiety you need to be sure your cat doesn’t have any other health issues. Sometimes if a cat is in pain it can behave in an unusual manner. Your first port of call should be a visit to the vet to have your cat checked out.
If you explain the recent behavioral patterns, a vet will be able to give you some advice. Excessive meowing, skin issues, patchy fur, these are all signs that there is either a pain, or anxiety problem.
Once you vet has confirmed it’s anxiety and there are no other problems. You can start to address the issue.
Find out the Reasons Why Your Cat Is Anxious
There will always be one or more reasons why your cat is stressed and anxious. If it’s not completely obvious, it’s worth starting to take mental notes, or writing down on a piece of paper anything that seems to be stressing your cat.
Have you done anything recently to change their routine? Have you introduced a new pet or a person into the household recently? Maybe there is a new cat in the neighborhood that is bothering yours.
Think about moving their bed or litter box somewhere quieter if possible. Noise can be an upsetting factor.
Take a Closer Look at Your Cat’s Diet
You’re responsible for feeding your cat the right food. Diet can have a huge impact on their behavior. Have you changed the food lately, even just the brand? If so try changing the food back and see if this has an effect on their mood.
It’s also worth keeping an eye out to see if your cat is finding food or being fed elsewhere. Cats are great scavengers, they will find food in all kinds of places. Not to mention ‘helpful’ neighbors often give leftover meat to cats.
Look into your specific breed’s dietary requirements, see if there is something you can improve.
Pheromone Therapy Can Help Anxiety
Using pheromone therapy can be an effective way to sooth the symptoms of an anxious cat. This is only a way to help soothe the symptoms however, it’s not a cure to the root cause. So you will still need to identify why the cat is becoming anxious.
You can buy pheromone sprays or diffusers to use around the home. They work by producing pheromones that are similar to the natural pheromones feline kind. It helps your kitty feel calm and relaxed when they inhale them.
Using pheromones are completely safe. You will not detect anything yourself, and I have seen it be successful before. It shouldn’t be your first method however, as you need to find the root cause.
Assess How Feline Friendly Your Home Is
Cats have a lot of explosive energy to burn off. You may have seen your kitty have a few moments of madness before, running around or jumping for seemingly no reason. This is normal behavior, and something they need to do.
If you cat stays indoors a lot and doesn’t have the space to exercise they can become stressed. Take a look around and check you have some places high up, open spaces for a quick burst of energy, and places to feel safe while sleeping.
Cats need toys too. But some toys and a cat tree for them to climb. Sprinkle a little cat nip on there too, see if this adds some extra enjoyment.
Is Your Cat Suffering from Separation Anxiety?
Cats suffer from separation anxiety, much like dogs do. They do not make it as obvious however, so you need to look for the signs yourself. If you have been away for a few days or more and come back to find your cat looking scruffy, this is a sure sign.
That means that even through the duration of the day while you’re out your kitty is probably suffering from separation anxiety. The best way to deal with this is to give them more stimulating things to do while you’re out.
So interactive toys, maybe leave a radio on quietly to give some background noise, this all helps.
Don’t try to counteract this with being overly fussy when you are home, it will make the problem worse. It should get easier over time.
Recognize the Behavior Associated with Anxiety
When a feline is anxious there are some typically behavioral signs. Aggression, excessive marking, constipation, these are all signs of an anxious kitty struggling to deal with the problems.
You will often need some medication from a vet to deal with these issues. You need to treat the health concerns as well as working on the root cause for the problems. Always consult a professional in these circumstances and act within their guidelines.
Consider Natural Remedies to Help
Natural remedies are always open for debate. Personally I like to try them, being natural you can be fairly sure it’s going to be safe. I know some owners that have had remarkable success, while others claim it makes no difference.
Some owners swear that giving your cat melatonin helps with anxiety. Read how we tried it – there are several different types of this supplement on the market that is actually designed with cats in mind.
So there is only one way to find out, you need to try for yourself. Flower remedies like the Bach Rescue Remedy is a popular choice. Often used as a short term fix for situations like travelling or grooming a particularly highly strung cat.
Be Prepared for Stressful Events
Some cats are fine most of the time, but find certain events particularly traumatic. Fireworks night is a common example, it can cause pets a great deal of distress. You should do everything in your power to avoid this, so be prepared.
Distance yourself from where the noise will be, or use some anxiety medication as previously mentioned. If your cat gets stress by travel, don’t show them the travel box until the last moment.
They will associate the box with the pending travel, and it will wind them up. Don’t add stress to the situation yourself either, keep your bad vibes to a minimum.
Keep Your Own Stress Levels to a Minimum
As just mentioned, if you get stressed yourself you can make your cat even more stressed. Animals, and cats in particular are very intuitive and will pick up on vibes.
So don’t rush or panic if you’re running late, especially if you have an anxiety prone kitty. Provide a calm and soothing environment for your cat. Talk in a lower soft voice, and give them some soft head fussing.
Cats are great for reducing stress in humans too. So use some give and take and create a tranquil, pleasant setting where you are both relaxing and happy.