Dealing With Feline Stress

Many cats don’t like change. Their personality is a mixture of experience and genetics. Some cats have high anxiety and suffer from stress as part of that personality.

Some cats will just accept change whilst others struggle with all things new. If your cat does suffer from stress, there are things you can do to help that anxiety dissipate.

Some triggers for cats to experience stress are:

  • A new family member, whether human or animal
  • Moving house
  • Having their family away on holiday
  • Feeling over crowded in a multiple cat household

Signs that your cat may be feeling anxious or stressed include:

  • Hiding under beds, furniture and clothes, or inside boxes and cupboards
  • Vocalising more often than usual, either hissing and spitting or meowing
  • Urinating inappropriately around the house, or spraying walls and furniture
  • Increased levels of scratching

If you suspect that your cat may be feeling worried about something, there are many ways you can help soothe them.

  • Use a synthetic cat pheromone, designed to make cats feel at ease. These products are available both in spray form and as a diffuser. They can be sprayed on bedding and scratching posts or plugged in to release pheromones throughout the house. The pheromone is undetectable to humans and will reduce stress levels in all nearby cats. You can use it during times of change, such as rearranging the furniture or having guests in the house, or keep it plugged in all the time for anxious cats.
  • Provide several litter boxes throughout the house, particularly if you have multiple cats. Often unnoticed by humans, subtle social battles occur on a daily basis and one cat may be guarding the litter tray from the other. Often cats will be stressed if they feel they are forced to toilet somewhere they feel uncomfortable, so giving them lots of options will make them feel more relaxed.
  • Provide their food in interactive toys, so that they have to work to get it out. This mimics their hunting behaviours and can reduce anxiety. Rotate the toys so that they don’t get bored.
  • Provide high up places to rest and nap, such as cat trees. Cats feel safe and secure when they can look down on their territory and prefer non-slip surfaces such as carpet.
  • Try to limit the amount of change happening in the household until the cat has settled down.