How to recognize anxiety in your cat - Sarah-Jane Farrell

How to recognize anxiety in your cat (and help them stay calm)

If you are a cat lover you probably know when your cat is stressed and anxious.

Just like humans, cats can get anxious, which can change their behavior massively and result in them being deeply unhappy in your home. In this post, we’ll provide some ways in which you can spot the development of anxiety in your kitty and take steps to alleviate it to make your home a more calming and welcoming place for your four-pawed pal.

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The Symptoms

The symptoms of cat anxiety are various and are very much dependent on the type of cat you have. Detailed below you’ll find some guidelines to help you spot the warning signs – but if your cat is exhibiting two or more of these symptoms, then it might be worth taking your furry friend to a vet, if only for peace of mind.

Symptom #1 – Hiding

If your cat is nowhere to be seen throughout the day, only escaping from a hidey-hole for food and sleep, then it may be anxious – particularly important if you recognize this to be a recent behavioral trait. This kind of behavior could be derived from a tough upbringing – and is especially prevalent in rescue cats that have experienced hardship or abuse, so it’s a definite cause for a quick check-up at the vet.

Symptom #2 – Excessive grooming

Every cat spends a lot of time licking and smoothing their fur, but doing it to the point that fur is falling out could be a sign of anxiety. This type of obsessive behavior is one of the more visible signposts that feline anxiety is affecting your pet, so stay on the look-out for excessive clumps of fur around your house and bald patches appearing on your cat’s body.

Symptom #3 – Aggression

Anxiety typically places the brain into a ‘fight or flight’ state – and this is especially true for cats. If your cat has its claws out constantly and swipes at house guests and strangers, then it might be unhappy and stressed in your home.

Symptom #4 – Very Vocal

Excessive meowing might seem adorable at first, but over-chattiness is seen by professionals as a sign of anxiety – especially if it hits more of a distressed tone (think yowling rather than mewing). If your cat is extra vocal, it’s probably trying to tell you that something isn’t quite right.

Symptom #5 – The litter box is unused

This symptom is arguably the most noticeable of all, as you’ll soon see and smell the results – especially if yours is an indoor cat.

If your cat starts using other parts of your home as its toilet, then it might be experiencing anxiety derived from a threat of some kind – as spraying is a behavior that is related to territory-marking in cats. In trying to ward off this perceived danger, they’ll make a mess of your home and require some form of anti-anxiety therapy.

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Symptom #6 – Trembling & Restlessness

If your cat has a visible tremor, then it’s probably living in constant fear and stress – and this needs to be addressed immediately as it could also be a symptom of a more serious neurological condition. An instant way to alleviate such fear is to create a space in your home that is cozy, safe and quiet for your kitty to escape to if it all gets a little too much.

In addition to a tremor, if your cat is pacing up and down constantly and isn’t settling down, then this could also be a symptom of a fear or phobia.

Symptom #7 – Separation Anxiety

If your furry friend can’t bear to be apart from you and cries when you’re in another room, then it may be down to separation anxiety. It’s a common misconception that cats are antisocial creatures, as the truth is quite the opposite. They require a little socialization every day, whether it’s cuddling on the sofa or a nice scratch behind the ear – but if they demand company all day, every day, then something is wrong and separation angst might be the culprit.

Symptom #8 – Eating Habits

Cats love routine – and meal times form an integral part of this. If they start to deviate off a set mealtime rota – either by eating too quickly or picking around food they previously loved – then this should be a cause for concern and a reason to consult a vet.

Symptom #9 – Lethargy

If your previously energetic cat is no longer enjoying play and has less interest in human interaction, then it could be a whole host of feline health issues.

Consult a vet when your cat suddenly loses energy, as it could be anxiety alongside more serious physical health issues.

Treatments & products

Once your registered veterinary practitioner has come to the conclusion that your kitty is suffering from anxiety, then there are a number of different treatments available to bring your cat’s old self back.

I am a little biased after seeing just how quickly animals can create their own sense of peace and calm and release perhaps years of unresolved trauma through the Trust Process. If you have always wanted to help your pets heal naturally and stay healthy, happy and vital then take a look and see if you feel called to learn this process which will not only help your pet but also help you to reset your nervous system and create peace and calm in any chaotic situation.

The Trust process is essential in any animal communication or healing session, so if you are an animal lover, a behavioralists, a vet or alternative health practitioner for animals and peoples, you will want to have this in your tool box.

After consulting a holistic vet, there are plenty of products available right here at EntirelyPets that can help calm your cat down. The HomeoPet Anxiety Relief liquid uses alternative medicine to keep pets calm, while the FELIWAY MultiCat diffuser system releases pheromones that promote harmony and reduce anxiety – especially useful if you have multiple cats with a strained relationship. The small plug-in diffuser starts to work after seven days and is recommended by veterinarians nationwide as a solution to cat anxiety and conflict in your home.

A third option that can’t be overlooked is Rescue Remedy, a dilution of five flower remedies – Star of Bethlehem, Rock Rose, Cherry Plum, Impatiens and Clematis – that combine to create a gentle, alcohol-free food additive that will soothe your cat’s anxieties after each meal. I also love essential oils and the blend of valor, or 4 thieves are two of my favorites to keep calm and peace in the house for people and animals alike. if you don’t live in a country where you can buy Young Living essential oils just email me for the recipes to mix them up yourself.

These products are especially useful during Fourth of July Weekend to prevent your pets from being spooked by the fireworks – a common anxiety trigger in cats.

Be sure to check out this video on some simple and effective ways to prepare your animals and your home in advance of a scary event like fireworks or thunder storms

And don’t forget to take the dosha quiz to deepen your relationship and know exactly what foods and play your animal will thrive with.