How to Keep Your Cat Anxiety Free!
Cat Stress and Anxiety is always the cause of behavior issues. We must address the stress before beginning cat behavior correction.
by Linda Hall and Rita Reimers, Cat Behavior Experts
We get requests for many types of kitty issues and behaviors. We see plenty of litter box avoidance, fighting between kitties, aggression, scratching, and many other challenges.
One of the things we’ve discovered, however, is that every one of these kitties has one thing in common… Anxiety. We must address the stress and anxiety first, before we can begin behavior correction to solve the problem.
Causes of Anxiety and Stress in Cats
There are many things that can cause anxiety in cats. They all boil down into these 4 general categories:
- Natural Instincts: In nature, cats are both predator and prey, right in the middle of the food chain. They are always on alert for their next meal, or on the look-out for someone who is going to harm them. This instinct is alive in all of our precious kitties, but on different levels, much like humans. Some people are easy going, nothing ruffles their feathers. Others see problems everywhere and deal with extreme anxiety. Our cats are no different. If your cat startles at every sound and needs to check out every movement, he is probably dealing with a naturally higher anxiety level.
- Change: Oh, this is a big one! In a cat’s purrr-fect world, nothing would ever change. They would ask that no one be added to nor leave the household. OH, and you can’t move! EVER! Never buy new furniture or rearrange the existing furniture. No one gets sad or angry. Of course that isn’t reasonable, but we can help make adjusting easier on your cat during these times, and try to minimize too much change at once.
- New Beings: Cats don’t see species. They have categories. Are you prey, predator, or a nice being I can play with? It takes cats time to watch and decide in which category they go. The fear of a possible predator is very real to a cat. We know cats are territorial and tend to guard their resources closely. A new human, a new kitty or neighborhood cats in your yard can cause your cat to stress! In addition to being on guard against predators, they have to be concerned about their resources, like their food, toys and humans. Remember, YOU are their resource, too.
- Illness: When your cat feels sick, it’s stressful for the, and for you. Chronic pain can cause cat stress. Over 90% of cats over age 12 have arthritis, causing pain and inflammation we are often unaware exists.
Can Anxiety in Cats be Managed?
It’s important to remember that your cat isn’t “naughty.” If you get upset with kitty, it won’t help. In fact, it can make things even worse. We need to be patient while we identify the source of the stress for your cat. Once you find the source, you need to determine what you can do to minimize or resolve this stressor.
A vet check up is always a good idea. If there is pain or illness, your veterinarian can treat it to give kitty some pain relief. This should greatly reduce that stress!
If you need help to discover the problem that has led to your cat’s anxiety, please consider booking a cat behavior session, so we can create a plan of action for you.
We have helped many kitties and cat parents to reduce their problems, relieve stress, and become happy again.