Both wild and domestic animals undergo a wide range of emotions, including anxiety. Cats can easily feel anxiety in a wide range of ways. Which can make it difficult in trying to figure out what is causing your cat’s anxiety. Learning about cat anxiety can help you better understand the world of your cat, and help them cope. Continue reading for tips about calming an anxious cat from designers of cat furniture, The Refined Feline.
Cat Anxiety 101
Cats express their anxiety in a number of ways, so knowing some tell-tale signs can help. According to PetMD, there are three categories of anxiety: phobia, fear, and basic anxiety. Phobias will consist of a persistent fear of a stimulus, such as a thunderstorm or fireworks. Fears center around an object, a person, or a situation that a cat thinks is a threat. Having fears is an instinct for cats, as they can be both prey and predators in the real world. Cats will then think there’s a danger, whether it’s actually real or just perceived. Basic anxiety is when a cat is anticipating dangers that may or may not happen, or even exist. Basic anxiety will manifest itself similar to those of fear symptoms. Cat anxiety is a constant for them while a phobia or fear may be a shorter term issue. Mature cats ranging from 12-36 months of age are usually the onset stage for cat anxiety to form.
Symptoms of cat anxiety can be obvious or very subtle. Compulsive pacing, hiding, diarrhea, urinating or defecating outside of the litter box and increased vocalization are more obvious symptoms. If your cat is eating too quickly or barely touching their food, this is another sign, along with increased vomiting. Cats may become more aggressive if they’re feeling threatened. Or they may turn more docile and submissive, feeling fearful so they’d rather cower. Another obvious sign is overgrooming, with visible hair loss usually on their belly or feet. Subtle symptoms can include avoiding eye contact or never taking their eyes off of you. Cats will tuck their tail against their body when nervous, and avoid any attention. If they are trying to be invisible towards you or visitors, this is a tell-tale sign of fear.
Calm An Anxious Cat With These 3 Tips
Visiting the vet for a checkup is the first step you should take. Any number of illnesses or diseases can make your cat start feeling anxious and fearful. The veterinarian will run multiple tests to ensure there is no medical reason for your cat’s anxiety. Once you get the all clear from the medical side, then you can determine what may help at home.
- Increase Your Cat’s Playtime
Cats can easily experience separation anxiety while home alone, just like dogs. The signs are similar as well, with increased vocalization or destroying of items. To ease your feline’s anxiety, provide the right amount of playtime and enrichment. Playing with your cat multiple times a day is necessary for their mental and physical wellbeing. Plan on an hour of play time cut into smaller increments throughout the day to keep your cat less stressed.
The enrichment needed will vary depending on what your cat is struggling with. If they are bored, you can use food puzzles to keep them occupied longer. Giving your cat different toys and items every day will help too, like paper bags and catnip. It’s also important to provide cat furniture and a high area for your cat to climb to. Cat wall shelves can help your cat feel safe and secure while also letting them survey their kingdom.
- Make Safe Spots For Your Cat
It may seem impossible figuring out what is causing your cat stress. One often overlooked component is giving your cats a place to hide. This allows your cat a chance to escape, lowering their anxiety levels. Designating a specific area just for your cat will give them a sense of security. The designated space could be a corner of a quiet room or an entire spare room where they feel secure. Loud or new experiences can cause your cat to seek a hiding spot, whether it’s up high or down low. A perfect location could be a bedroom with a cat tree as it offers high and low spots to hide.
- Form A Routine For Your Cat
You may not realize it, but cats thrive on daily routines and don’t usually enjoy change. This can calm your cat as they will know when to expect meals and when you get home. Frequently breaking routines by staying late at work or traveling extensively could cause your cat to feel anxious. If you’re noticing your cat acting more stressed during these routine breaks, it’s a good indicator of cat anxiety. Trying to establish a routine can benefit your cat and could ultimately lower their stress-levels. Stick to a routine for a few weeks and see if that helps ease any anxiety in your cat. If it’s simply too difficult maintaining a routine, that’s okay too. If you know your schedule is going to change soon, try to slowly transition to the new one instead. This will allow your cat time to adjust to the new schedule, rather than dealing with instant change.
Follow These Tips To Calm An Anxious Cat
Having the knowledge of cat anxiety will allow you a better experience in helping your cat. After visiting the vet and knowing there are no medical issues will set the stage for the next steps. Understanding what’s making your cat anxious will help you apply these tips properly for a well balanced cat moving forward!