Scaredy-Cat: What To Do About Cat Anxiety

cat anxietyAre you living with a fearful feline? A trembling tomcat? A cowardly kitten? Cat anxiety is no laughing matter, especially when it interferes with a happy home and a harmonious relationship with your pet. Helping our readers learn about cat anxiety is important to us, and we are confident that our tips can help you to create a happy kitty and harmonious home.

Symptoms of Cat Anxiety

Like most animals, felines can exhibit a wide range of behaviors and still be considered “normal”. However, the following symptoms are generally associated with cat anxiety:

  • Hiding most of the time
  • Urinating outside the litter box
  • Yowling or vocalizing more than usual
  • Aggression toward humans or other animals

First Things First

Getting to the bottom of any change in behavior in your cat should start with a trip to the veterinarian. Cats have evolved to hide signs of illness or injury, but pain or other health problems can cause them to act out in undesirable ways. Making sure your pet is healthy by bringing them in for a wellness exam and any diagnostic testing recommended by your veterinarian is the first step in reducing cat anxiety.

Three’s Company

Stress is a huge factor in cat anxiety, and living with one or more cats can be a major source of stress, even if the cats in question appear to get along. If you are living in a multi-cat home, provide plenty of space and privacy for each cat by making sure there are ample perches and hiding spots where cats can get away from each other and survey their surroundings. There should also be one litter box per cat, plus one more, to reduce territorial problems surrounding elimination.

Environmental Enrichment

Although most veterinarians, including us, recommend that cats live indoors for their safety and longevity, life inside four walls can become dull and lead to stress and anxiety. You can help your cat exercise their brain, body, and natural instincts by creating a more cat-friendly environment inside your home with the following ideas:

  • Cat tree – Cat trees are wonderful ways to provide exercise and comfortable perches for indoor cats.
  • Scratching surfaces – Scratching is an important form of exercise and stress relief for cats, and plenty of good quality scratching surfaces are a must.
  • Food fun – Cats are born hunters, and you can help to replicate the stalking experience with food puzzles or games such as hiding kibble throughout the home for kitty to “hunt”.
  • Pheromones – Feliway or other pheromone spray can be especially helpful in calming territorial or environmental stress in cats.

We Can Help

Scolding or coddling an anxious cat isn’t helpful, and may make the problem worse. If you are still struggling with your cat’s anxiety and behavior issues, please contact your team at Rocklin Ranch Veterinary Hospital, we’re here for you!