Have you noticed your cat has been acting differently lately? It’s normal for cats to show changes in behaviour, but if you observe a flurry of out of character habits, your feline could be feeling stressed out. To help you identify if your cat may be feeling anxious, here are 6 stress signs in cats you should look out for.
- Do they seem unusually agitated? Cats may act restless and be in constant movement, making it hard to get some peace. If your cat seems frequently uncomfortable, yowling and hissing and repeatedly drawing attention to themselves, this could be a sign.
- Do they often disappear? When cats are stressed out, they tend to run or hide in order to feel safer. If your cat is constantly lurking in dark areas or climbing to hard-to-reach places, this could be an indication of distress.
- Do you see any changes in their eating habits? Pay attention to their normal routine and if you notice sudden changes in their hunger, such as not eating at all or overeating, there may be something more serious going on.
- Do you recognize any unusual body language? Cats are great communicators, and they’ll tell you their feelings through body language. Watch out for flattened ears, dilated pupils, and constant licking or grooming. If you observe any of these signs, they may be trying to tell you something.
- Do they seem uninterested? Stressed cats can slowly lose interest in everything around them. If you used to have a playful and keen cat, but now it doesn’t seem interested in its surroundings or the things it used to enjoy, this can be a sign it’s feeling out of sorts.
- Have you noticed any kinds of destructive behaviour? Cats may claw objects, chew on furniture and shoes, or spray urine as a reaction to stress. If your furry friend displays this kind of behaviour, it definitely may be time for a vet appointment.
What Causes Stress in Cats?
Cats are highly sensitive and complex creatures, so your pet may be experiencing stress for a variety of reasons. Fear of unfamiliar visitors, changes in home environment or temperature levels, a recent move, or just a sudden loud noise can quickly cause a cat to feel uneasy.
Cats are naturally shy and tend to stress out over new environments. Moving to a new home, a new pet, or significant changes in its surroundings can scare them and make them feel unsafe. Other cats, even those who love cuddling, may still react poorly to sudden handling or over petting.
In some cases, loud sounds such as fireworks, loud music or construction work, or even just loud talking can frighten cats and make them feel jumpy. Even vacuum cleaners and hairdryers can cause them to act restlessly.
How to De-Stress Your Cat
The most important thing for a stressed-out cat is to re-establish a safe environment. Cats like to feel in control and certain, so it’s important to make them feel at home and taken care of, as this can help build up their resilience. According to the Humane Society, here are a few ways to soothe their anxiety:
Provide your fur baby with plenty of hiding spots by golling up areas with blankets and boxes. This will allow your cat to retreat and feel secure.
Pay attention to any changes in your cat’s routine and consider gradually introducing new changes that may trigger distress. This can help your cat feel less intimidated.
Pay your loving cat more attention and provide more cuddles. Just remember to follow its lead and never force petting as this may only worsen their distress.
Can Stress Make Cats Sick?
It’s not uncommon for cats to experience stress. In some cases, the fear and apprehension cats feel can cause physical symptoms, such as gastrointestinal distress and even high blood pressure.
Stress is often a secondary condition caused by underlying issues, such as malnutrition, physical pain, and discomfort. If your cat has underlying health problems, it might be best to seek professional help to get a diagnosis, as they may need specific care or treatment.