Anxiety is a fact of life for humans. Unfortunately, our feline friends also experience anxiety.
Veterinarians at The Cat Guide sums up a kitty's life perfectly: sleep, patrol, hunt, groom, and sleep. If one of those crucial elements are missing, you've got an unhappy cat. Other kitty stressors could include a new family member or someone special leaving the household. The cause of stress could even be as simple as an unclean litter box in a poor location, or as serious as trauma or illness.
Recognize the symptoms.
Anxiety in cats can appear in different ways, according to researchers. Urinating outside the litter box is a big clue that something is not right. Tummy troubles like diarrhea and constipation can also signal distress, as well as excessive grooming and scratching. An anxious kitty might spend a lot of time by himself, hiding under bed, or he could become aggressive and more vocal than usual.
Kittens experience anxiety too, but it manifests itself differently. When kittens are nervous, they'll shy away from scratches and pats on their head. They hide and slink, keeping their little bodies close to the ground. Watch their body language — a nervous kitten will twitch their ears and keep their tail lowered according to behaviorists at Animal Planet.
Separation anxiety is pretty common. This disorder occurs in cats that have been re-homed many times According to feline behaviorist Pam Johnson-Bennet, when cats are left alone, they may meow constantly, use your bed as a litter box, or even groom excessively.
How to treat anxiety.
If you have an anxious kitty, the first thing to do is schedule a vet appointment. Once you rule out medical problems, the solution takes love and patience, and maybe a shopping spree at your favorite pet supply store.
Enriching your cats environment will work wonders. The Spruce suggests purchasing a cat tree. Your cat could snooze, climb, scratch and get away from annoying other cats (and people). Food puzzle toys are also a good investment — hunting and eating are both important aspects of cat life.
Rotating your toys keeps your cat's brain busy and is a good way to combat stress. Get on the floor and play with your cat! Playing helps reduce stress and anxiety, and it's really fun!
The key to being a good cat parent is to pay attention to your cat's behavior, body language and health. An anxious cat isn't the end of the world — there's a lot you can do to help your kitty's mental health.
Are you interested in learning more about what you're reading? Then scroll through this article about what it means when your pet doesn't remember you. Also, like us on Facebook and join our newsletter to learn more about your pet's behavior.