Does your cat always run and hide when strangers come calling? Many cats do if they’re not well socialized. But does that mean that your cat suffers from anxiety? Our expert veterinarians have some answers for you.
What Are the Causes of Cat Anxiety?
If your cat is a rescue animal, it’s likely that you don’t know what he or she experienced before coming to live with you. If they were well treated, your new pet probably wouldn’t exhibit symptoms of anxiety. Poor treatment is only one possible cause of anxiety in cats, however. The following could also be contributing to your cat’s anxiety:
- Traumatic experience
- Neurological disease
If your cat is jumpy, fearful, won’t use the litter box, isn’t eating or drinking as it should, call us for a wellness check. Your pet should have a thorough examination by your trusted veterinarian before diagnosing and treating anxiety.
Cats Don’t Like Change
They like the living room chair exactly where it was before you moved it to vacuum. Cats don’t see the world the way humans do. Because they are predators, they calculate movement. Changes in their environment, even small things, can upset them and may cause anxiety. Reassure your cat with love and kitty treats to distract them from reacting to changes in their world.
Cats Like Routine
They may ignore you when you’re home or seem interested in you only when it’s feeding time, but the fact is, they probably don’t like it when you leave the house. They can manage if you come and go at about the same time every day. If you leave them for a weekend, even with plenty of food and water and a neighbor checking on them, your cat could feel anxious. Comfort and soothe your cat; never scold because of anxious behavior.
Symptoms of Anxiety in Your Cat
Your cat may exhibit new, unwanted behaviors after you’ve been away on a trip or moved the family to a new house. A new baby in the family can upset your cat because the household routine changes and humans seem on edge or nervous.
Once your cat has acclimated to the changes, its behavior may go back to normal. If the anxiety behaviors persist, you will want to seek treatment. Here is a short list of symptoms to watch for:
- Not using the litter box
- Hiding more than usual
- Changes in eating and drinking habits
- Excessive meowing
- Trying to escape
Cat Anxiety Behaviors Can Signal Serious Health Issues
Maybe nothing has changed in your household, but your cat is acting strangely. Your pet could have an illness or injury that you can’t see. Persistent abnormal behaviors always warrant a trip for your pet to the vet for a wellness exam.
Is Cat Anxiety Treatable?
Yes, it is! After a thorough health examination to rule out any underlying cause of your cat’s behavior, your veterinarian may prescribe an anti-anxiety medication. They may suggest meeting with an animal behaviorist to help redirect your cat’s energies toward more positive behaviors. With professional help and family love and support, your cat should be well on its way to feeling and behaving better.