The Top Signs Your Cat Might Have Anxiety
Spotting anxiety in cats can be challenging as the little furry companions can’t express themselves when having a problem as well as dogs can. Fortunately, knowing the symptoms and causes of cat anxiety, will give you the tools to diagnose your cat when something seems wrong.
With any change in your pet’s routine or environment, be on the lookout for the following signs of anxiety.
Cat Anxiety Symptoms
Due to their subtle nature, many cats tend to keep anxiety hidden. As a result, many signs of anxiety in cats can be easily overlooked or mistaken for bad behavior.
Here are the most common signs that your cat may have anxiety:
- Sudden withdrawal or aggressive behavior
- Trembling or tail twitching
- Lack of interest in patrolling, playing, and exploring
- Loss or reduction of appetite
- Unhealthy weight loss
- Changes in litter box habits
- Diarrhea or constipation
- Excess meowing, clinginess
- Personality changes, such as becoming depressed or passive-aggressive
- Hiding and not coming out for food or play
What Triggers Anxiety in Cats
Cat anxiety can be sparked by the same things that cause anxiety in people, such as abrupt changes in their daily routine, switching between several homes over a short period of time, the death of a loved one, loud music and TV. A cat might also feel anxious if the home where it lives welcomes a new member of the family.
Rescue or adopted cats can be extremely anxious if they faced severe trauma in the past. Also, re-homed cats are more likely to be affected by anxiety than other cats. So, make sure that you know your kitty’s history and potential anxiety triggers.
According to multiple studies, kittens that were deprived of socialization in their early years are more likely to grow up into anxious cats.
Experts claim that even neutering or spaying a cat too early might boost its risk of developing anxiety later in life. Even though the American Veterinary Medical Association recommends spaying cats as early as eight weeks of age, A growing body of evidence suggests that premature spaying and neutering might fuel a cat’s shyness and anxious behavior.
Cat Separation Anxiety
Ironically, despite their independent nature, cats can also be affected by a disorder commonly associated with dogs, separation anxiety. Symptoms of separation anxiety include excessive meowing, excess grooming, and sudden aggressive behaviors.
Since cats form strong bonds with their primary caregivers and because they dislike change, they are prone to separation anxiety when their owner is not around.
Sudden changes, even things we might consider minor, such as leaving for work at a different time can make cats anxious simply because something in their routine has changed.
Unlike dogs with separation anxiety, a cat affected by this condition will usually not adopt a destructive behavior like destroying a couch or pair of shoes. An anxious cat is less likely to be diagnosed as such by a non-professional. Fortunately, there are some subtle signs that your kitty might be affected by separation anxiety.
- An anxious cat might become clingy and follow you around the home 24/7 so as not to lose you;
- When their owner is about to leave, some cats with separation anxiety tend to become lethargic and hide while others might become aggressive;
- Urinating on your sofa or other personal belongings is also a telltale sign that your kitty is not feeling well.
- Compulsive grooming is another sign of separation anxiety in cats.
- While you are away, your feline might refuse to eat or drink.
- Upon your return, you might notice your cat is overly enthusiastic to see you.
Cats can develop separation anxiety when they are separated from either their special humans or other pets. Usually, animals with a long history of abuse, abandonment, or re-homing are more likely to develop separation anxiety.
Depression in Cats
An anxious cat can easily become depressed. A depressed cat becomes lethargic and loses interest in things that used to spark joy. Just like anxiety, feline depression can be triggered by abrupt changes in a cat’s routine and environment, the loss of a loved one, or the arrival of a new member of the family, such as a spouse, new baby, or another pet.
Here are the top signs that your favorite fluff ball might have the blues:
- Appetite reduction or loss
- Compulsive eating and weight gain if your cat finds comfort in food
- Total disinterest in grooming
- Excess napping
- Loss of interest in its favorite toys and activities
- Cat no longer comes to greet you as it used to
Best Ways to Help Your Cat Overcome Anxiety
If you have noticed any of the symptoms of cat anxiety in your pet over several days, take him or her to the vet. A professional can tell if your feline is struggling with anxiety, and rule out any underlying medical conditions.
Experts recommend spending more time with your kitty, play with it to help reduce anxiety, and buy new toys to keep its mind stimulated – try a quality treat puzzle for starters and a cat tree.
Also, minor changes to your cats’ environment and routine can work wonders in the case of cat anxiety. If your pet struggles with separation anxiety, you can give it distracting toys to keep it occupied while you’re away. Try giving your cat a perch to view the outside to stay stimulated. Try to maintain a routine with your schedule, as we have mentioned cats like routine!
You can also try natural remedies to help give your anxious cat relief. Since hemp CBD extract has been proven effective in both people and pets with anxiety, we have specially designed a whole plant Hemp CBD anxiety relief spray for cats. It is important that you do not use the high levels of CBD found in human-grade products on cats. Also, it is recommended that you always consult with a veterinarian first, and always stick to the prescribed dosage.
Featured image by Mikhail Vasilyev via Unsplash
Image no. 2 by Cat Mapper via Unsplash