What You Need To Know About Your Cat’s Anxiety

Scared cat hiding in wool blanket

Cats are somewhat known to be a little skittish in nature. The term “fraidy cat” didn’t formulate from nowhere. Have you ever noticed how fast your cat tends to scatter when you do simple things like move quickly after sitting still for a while, or accidentally dropping something makes a loud noise? Cats are often the first to jump up and to flee to safety at any sign of danger.

What is Cat Anxiety?

Just like in humans, anxiety is the feeling of nervousness, apprehension and a general uneasiness. It can be pretty normal under the right circumstances, but it can easily turn into a problem. Sometimes it becomes severe and occurs at inappropriate times.

How to know if your cat has anxiety:

  • They hide a lot more than normal, especially when there is activity in the home

  • Excessive vocalization

  • They greet you with fervour when you get home and follow you around

  • Eliminations outside of the litter box

  • Digestive issues

  • Excessive scratching or grooming

  • Isolation

  • Decreased appetite

How play can help:

Toys can be an excellent source of mental stimulation and physical exercise. Different cats enjoy different types of toys, so you may need to experiment to find the right ones. Wand toys and laser toys are both very popular and readily available at most pet stores; even the dollar store has them.

The best way to play:

Don’t wiggle the toy in your cat’s face or move it toward your cat. This won’t make sense to your cat and it might frighten an already anxious cat. Real prey moves away and hides. Your cat also needs the mental stimulation of strategizing how he’s going to ambush that mouse behind the couch. It’s not all about chasing and pouncing and biting. End each play session by having the cat “catch” the prey item and receive a favored treat. You can do this by having the laser or wand lead the cat to the treat and then disappear. This gives the cat the satisfaction of having been successful in their “hunt”, and motivates them to participate in the next game.

When to contact the vet:

If your cat’s symptoms don’t improve with more interaction or after time getting more familiar with a new situation then it may be time to ask your vet for help. They may advise you to get some feline anxiety medicine such as Clomicalm or fluoxetine to help them cope with their fears. They can also help you with behavioral tips that fit your situation in combination with the medicine.

We don’t want to see our cats be afraid. Especially when we know that everything is fine and that they have nothing to worry about. Hopefully with a little help and coaxing they’ll be able to lose some of their anxiety and enjoy life a little bit more.

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