stress in cats, anxiety and stress in cats, how to reduce stress in cats, how to calm a cat, anxious cat how to calm,cats

Cats are sensitive animals. Stress and Anxiety in Cats or Kittens does happen. Stress and anxiety symptoms in Cats, affects their health and behavior.

When Cat is anxious and stressed as a result it will display certain physical reactions. For example, increased heart rate, breathing very hard, panting, trembling out of fear, and salivation. They will hide in corners, show aggression when you try to hold them, their face may give a shocked expression.

We shall discuss the Causes, Signs of Stress and Anxiety along with Remedies to reduce Stress or Anxiety in Cats.

Causes of Stress & Anxiety in Cats/Kittens

  • Cat who is fearful or afraid.
  • Felt threatened by any other cat or by any human.
  • A sudden loud noise.
  • Screaming at them.
  • A fight with other cats.
  • Travelling to the Vet
  • Frustrated about something
  • Bothered and irritated by other fellow cats
  • Faced certain traumatic situation
  • Lost in the street and not able to find the comfort
  • Physically injured
  • Change of environment or household
  • Shifting household and family environment

Signs of Stress & Anxiety

  • Pacing Vigorously – Your cat pacing all through the house.
  • Hard Breathing – Breathing very hard, panting with tongue out.
  • Restlessness– Looks extremely restless, not able to find comfort to sit and relax.
  • Hiding– You find your cat hiding in corners or under the bed and sofa.
  • Decreased Appetite– The cat’s appetite has gone down as compared to normal eating habbits.
  • Hissing and high Vocalization – Your cat hisses at you or other cats and give out an aggressive vocalisation.
  • Trembling, salivation – Your cat is salivating, the nose, mouth and tongue has become red along with trembling body.
  • Holding their tail close to their body– Curling down the tail between their legs.
  • Dilated pupils – The pupils are enlarged. The cat’s eyes appear totally black, dark.
  • Crouching and leaning away – When someone try to touch them, they crouch their body, leaning away to avoid any body contact.
  • Trying to escape– The cat is running around and trying to escape from any possible opening.
  • Completely frozen in place – This is a very serious sign when you see the cat is frozen in a place. It means your cat is having major health issue which in turn has affected them mentally.
  • Holding their ears back – The cat would flatten their ears, hold their ears back with partially dilated pupil.
  • Back Hair standing up – Its very common when the cat’s are afraid, or feel threatened. The hair at the back will rise up and the tail hair flares up.
  • Aggression– A Stressed Cat shows severe signs of aggression. Mostly seen when you try to rescue a cat. Do not attempt to hold them without any protection for your hand and body. Take help of some expert who can rescue the cat.

Reduce Stress & Anxiety in Cats/Kittens

Your cat getting stressed must not be taken lightly. Calming the stressed cat is very important. Sometimes letting the cat be on its own works while sometimes it doesn’t.

Here are some of the remedies to calm your cat, reduce their anxiety and stress.

Reduce stress of Adopted/Rescued Cat

You have adopted a cat from a shelter, friend, from a foster parent or recued a cat/kitten. Your cat may feel stress and anxiety beacuse of change in environment. Here is what you can do to comfort the cat.

  • When you have rescued a cat, so there is a higher chance that the cat would be stressed. Let the cat be in a peaceful quiet room on its own for sometime.
  • Give a box or some pile of clothes for the cat to rest in. It is perfectly normal if the cat sleeps for 1-2 hours at a stretch to reduce the stress.
  • Place a clean bowl of water and food in the vicinity of the cat so that they have access to them when she/he feels comfortable.
  • Some cats who would take an hour or less to calm down while others may take bit longer. Be patient and keep watch of the cat to see if there is any improvement in the cat’s behaviour or mood. You must give time the cat takes to feel at ease.
  • Take the rescued cat to the vet as soon you find it has calm down and comfortable with you. It is very important to get the rescued or adopted cat checked by your regular Vet.
  • In a multiple house hold cat, do not immediately introduce the newly adopted/rescued cat to the resident cat.
  • In such a house, make a separate room for your cat to stay in. Water bowl, food bowl, a clean litter tray and a cat bed must be placed in that room.

Reduce stress in house Cats

  • To make your cat feel comfortable, give your cat everything important which makes them happy. Access to clean water, cat beds, scratching posts and clean litter trays. Place litter trays far away from food.
  • Ideally you should keep two water bowls, 2 litter trays, 2 posts and 2 beds for single cat.
  • In a multiple cat household, you need to keep litter trays for each cat plus one extra. Those litter trays need to be spread around the house.
  • There should be at least 2 or more water bowls depending upon the number of cats you have at the house.
  • Place different types of cat furniture around the house. For example, cat scratching posts, cardboard boxes, play tunnels and cat tree houses. This gives them a sense of belonging to the space and satisfies there territorial need.
  • Territorial issue is a big reason for stress in cats. Giving separate beds and cat furniture for each cat in a multiple cat house, you would reduce the chances for stress in them.
  • Give your cat calming bed, which is very helpful to reduce stress in cats, helps them take their comfortable naps.
  • You can play cat calming music for a stressed cat.
  • Various cat calming collars are available, which has lavender scents helps the cat reduce the stress.

Reduce Stress with Playtime

  • Cats have hunting instincts. As a result you should play with them using interactive teaser toys. These toys are lasers pointer, feathers sticks, long fabric threads to stimulate, etc. This interactive play time satisfies their hunting instinct. The play time and mind engagement fun plays helps to reduce chances of forming any anxiety or stress. This activity keeps them busy which in turn reduce chances of any unnecessary fighting among the cats.
  • Provide them the vertical space for climbing. For them to explore the vertical area of the house, make simple shelves with a pieces of wooden board.
  • Build a catio which gives safe outdoor access, place window perches and interactive play. “Play is an important part of relieving stress,” Delgado says. “It helps cats release those feel-good hormones.”

Conclusion :

These are the general pointers to reduce stress and anxiety in Cats. A cat may go through trauma and certain violence. Which results in behavioral or psychological issue. In such cases, a proper treatment with consultation of Vet will help the cat get better. Acupressure, holistic treatments, light and hydro therapies are used now a days to give cat’s a better health and happy life. You can always try different options to keep your cat in good state of mind.

PIctures courtesy- Image by greghristov from Pixabay

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