Cat Anxiety Advice

Cat anxiety treatments, tips and cat calming products to help scared cats live their best Cool Cat life!

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Cat Anxiety Symptoms

Cat anxiety can present itself in many different ways. Read on to find what the signs of a stressed cat are and how you can distinguish them from regular cat behavior.

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Cat Anxiety Treatments

Counterconditioning and desensitization can work wonders for cat anxiety, but require time and patience. Combining with cat calming products can help the journey.

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Cat Calming Products

We are lucky enough to have options when it comes to treating anxiety in cats, but how do you know which are the best calming products for cats and which to avoid?

Welcome to Cool Cat Advice

Our team is made up of qualified veterinarians, animal welfare experts, and cat parents bringing you the very best in cat calming information so you can rest assured this is advice you can trust

The Cool Cat Advice team is dedicated to providing the very best in cat-care resources. We have descriptions of cat anxiety symptoms as well as the best cat anxiety treatments and cat calming products available today. We are here to help you find the tools to help ease your cat’s anxiety so you can relax with one feline-good Cool Cat. You can read more about us here.

Yours in paws, The Cool Cat Advice team

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Our Top Cat Calming Picks

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How We Compare & Choose Cat Products

Rest assured with expert reviewed advice

First and foremost your cat’s health and welfare is our top priority. We know how important it is to have accurate information, which is why any cat anxiety treatment or cat calming product we recommend is thoroughly researched and reviewed by our experts.

Our reviews are unbiased and fair and will help you choose a cat anxiety treatment plan that’s right for your cat. You’ll know exactly what sets each product apart from its competitors and which ones you can confidently rely on.

How Do I Know If My Cat Has Anxiety?

Signs of Cat Anxiety include:

  • Hair loss due to over-grooming
  • Failing to urinate in the litter box
  • Aggressive behavior
  • Repeated attempts to hide or escape and staying stunned or still
  • Trembling
  • Restlessness
  • Loss of appetite and weight loss
  • Excessive vocalizations 
  • Vomiting or diarrhea
  • Chasing people in the home 
  • Scratching furniture and scraping at curtains
  • A rigid tail that is held low to the ground
  • Ears facing backward or flattened against the head
  • Ears fully erect as if sensing danger

 

Cat anxiety can also cause feline medical conditions such as Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease (FLUTD) and Upper Respiratory Infections (URIs), so keep an eye out for these as well.

Severe anxiety can cause a cat to become so agitated that it inadvertently harms itself or others. This can manifest as aggression, excessive grooming, or other self-mutilating behaviours.

Depending on the underlying cause, Cat anxiety symptoms can vary from cat to cat.

What Causes Anxiety In Cats?

Causes Cat Anxiety Physical Cool Cat Advice

Physical Changes

Anxiety in cats can be caused by both overwhelming situations and specific stimuli. Anxiety may be caused by environmental changes in a cat’s surroundings, such as moving to a new home or remodelling the current one. Your cat may experience anxiety as a result of the addition of a new pet or family member.

Causes Cat Anxiety Psychological Cool Cat Advice

Psychological Changes

A previous painful or traumatic experience can lead to your cat developing anxiety. Similarly, so can neglect or abuse. If you are an introverted pet owner, this can also lead to cat anxiety because most cats need some sort of social interaction. This is particularly true of the more interactive breeds such as Siamese and Ragdoll cats. 

Causes Cat Anxiety Health Cool Cat Advice

Health Problems

According to recent medical data, the most common cause of cat anxiety is health issues. It can occur as a result of pain or illness, toxic exposure, or infectious diseases that affect the nervous system.

Senior cats are also more prone to anxiety as they age and develop memory problems or dementia. Another common sign of an anxious cat is joint pain.

Types of Anxiety in Cats

There are two kinds of anxiety.

Generalized Situational
The anxious behaviour in situational anxiety is triggered by specific circumstances. These can include being alone, going to the veterinarian, or travelling.

Cats suffering from this type of anxiety may become overly attached to their owners. When their owners are away, these cats frequently over-groom, hide, or destroy items in the home. These are some of the more common anxiety symptoms in cats.

A cat suffering from generalised anxiety is constantly anxious, regardless of the circumstances.

The following are the most common types of cat anxiety:

Cat Separation Anxiety

Cat separation anxiety belongs to the situational category and is considered to be one of the most widespread mental health issues in cats. 

Cat OCD – Obsessive-compulsive disorder

Obsessive-compulsive disorder can be characterized by overemphasized, repeated, or tedious responses in your cat. 

Preventing Anxiety in Cats

During the critical socialisation period, expose your kitten to as many different situations and stimuli as possible (2-8 weeks of age). This will help to reduce the likelihood of future cat anxiety symptoms developing.

When you adopt a pet, introduce it gradually to other pets and family members. A new environment can be intimidating enough without the addition of multiple strangers! If you continue to notice cat anxiety symptoms, or if your pets are attempting to harm your new arrival, separate them immediately and confine your kitten to a different room for a short period of time.

As your kitten grows, you can help them overcome their fear of other cats and people by accompanying them when they meet other humans, vaccinated cats or dogs, or travel in a car.

Now, let’s look at some ways to prevent anxiety in cats.

Environmental Anxiety in Cats

Try to keep any potential triggers away from you. Loud noises and quick movements should be avoided to the greatest extent possible. You should also establish a strict routine for feeding and playtime to help your cat feel more secure.

Create a Safe Area

If you have recently adopted a pet, try to keep it in a place where it feels at ease. Providing a safe area will give your cat its own territory where it can relax during times of stress.

You don’t have to buy an expensive box for this. Boxes made of cardboard are inexpensive and will provide a safe haven for your kitten.

Specified Litter Box Area

Litter trays with multiple tray entrances should be placed in appropriate, quiet areas. These keep your cat from feeling confined. As a general rule, one litter tray should be provided for each cat in the house, plus one more. Even if you only have one cat, it is recommended that you have two litter trays. Particularly if you live in a multi-story home.

Separate Feeding Areas

A newly acquired pet must be fed in a separate confined area because they become nervous when eating directly in front of other household pets (if you have any!).

Exercise and Toys for Mental stimulation 

Exercise is essential for keeping your pet active and stimulated. You can take your cat for a walk outside or play with him inside. A tired cat is more likely to sleep and ignore the majority of anxiety triggers.

Plenty of toys and exercise will help to deplete their energy and keep them calm. As a result, it is critical in reducing cat anxiety symptoms.

Cat Pheromone Sprays and Diffusers

Pheromone sprays are an excellent way to manage your cat’s mood. Most veterinarians recommend Feliway, which reduces cat anxiety symptoms by mimicking a cat’s facial pheromones.

This spray is used to calm cats who are stimulated by changes in their surroundings.

Multi-cat Feliway can be used to calm a cat who is stressed due to social immobilisation.

You can use a pheromone spray anywhere in your home, but especially in areas where your cat is likely to wander. You can also spray their bedding with it.

Diffusers, such as the Feliway pheromone diffuser can be plugged into an electrical socket in a room that your cat frequents.

Another effective method for relieving stress in your kitten is to use a pheromone collar.

Treatment of Cat Anxiety

A mulit-modal approach is best for treating cat anxiety. Depending on the severity of the anxiety, this may include a combination of cat behavioral modification techniques, changes in the cat’s environment, soothing, and medication.

Anxiety in cats can be acute or chronic. Depending on your cat’s condition, your vet may recommend either short-term or long-term medication to address these issues.

Short-Term Medication for Cat Anxiety

If your cat exhibits acute anxious behaviour, vets will usually recommend this solution to relieve stress in a few hours before prescribing a more permanent treatment.

Long-Term Medication for Cat Anxiety

Keep in mind that long-term medication can take up to one and a half months to produce an initial positive effect. Regular intake is critical, so follow your veterinarian’s recommendations.

What If Cat Anxiety Goes Untreated?

Severe anxiety can progress to acute depression, resulting in additional behavioural issues. So try to intervene as soon as possible to relieve your cat’s stress and start proper treatment. 

Choosing the Right Cat Anxiety Treatment

We are lucky to have a variety of treatment options in the form of desensitization and counter-conditioning training, cat calming products and veterinary advice.

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Cat anxiety can be due to a medical condition so it is important to talk to your veterinarian if you are at all concerned about this. Treatments and products we’ve found helpful include:

Top Cat Calming Aids

Cat Calming Sprays and Diffusers

Our number one cat calming product of choice is a cat calming spray such as Feliway spray. Useful in a variety of situations, you can spray soothing pheromones on your cat’s collar or bed or disperse them throughout your home using a pheromone diffuser.

Cat Calming Treats

There are a range of cat calming treats on the market and not every one is created equal. We have reviewed natural cat treats, CBD cat treats and calming chews that cat owners swear by. But always remember they are a treat not a meal substitute!

Cat Calming Collars

Like pheromone sprays and diffusers, the pheromones that cat calming collars emit are intended to mimic what mother cats produce to calm and soothe kittens, and thankfully they can also help with the calming of adult cats.

CBD For Cats

Along with cat anxiety medication, CBD for cats can be useful if your cat has chronic anxiety or for particularly stressful times. Before giving your cat CBD oil or CBD cat treats ensure you check out our guidance here.

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How To Raise A Calm Cat

Socialising your kitten early is key

Ensuring your kitten isn’t overwhelmed while exposing them to as many different situations and stimuli as possible during the critical socialization period (2-8 weeks of age) will help to raise a calm cat.

Cat Calming Pheromones

Science has shown us that pheromones play a huge part in animal and human life, and that’s certainly the case for cats. A pheromone spray or diffuser can help calm your cat, but it doesn’t work with all cats so you will need to try it out for a few weeks.

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