Furry felines are a beloved member of the household. Cat owners know that cats, like people, have moods and can become irritated. Cats express stress in unexpected ways that can be easily misunderstood or overlooked. In addition, some symptoms mimic a medical condition that requires a veterinarian’s intervention. You need to know what to look for in order to help your cat feel safe and stay healthy.
Look for These Signs
Cats can develop upset stomachs and intestinal distress just like their human counterparts. Some of the results of cat anxiety can cause your feline friend to experience inflammation and changes to the frequency of his or her urination and bowel movements.
Cat anxiety symptoms include:
- Increased frequency in urination
- Painful urination
- The possible presence of blood in the urine
- Urinating or defecating outside of the litter box
Bladder inflammation can result in a blockage that can be deadly when left untreated. Immediately bring your cat to your veterinarian anytime your cat is frequently going to the litter box to urinate, this is especially true for male cats.
Medication and sometimes a diet like Hills C/D Stress can help to calm the condition. This is an area where cat
anxiety disorder symptoms can resemble medical conditions such as arthritis, stomach upset or a bladder infection. A visit to the vet is strongly suggested.
General behaviors can change when cats are:
- Over-grooming and developing bald spots
- Excessively meowing or crying
- Chewing or eating unusual items, such as cloth
- Exhibiting restlessness, walking back and forth guarding the home
- Demonstrating unusual withdrawal from the area and hiding under beds, closets or preferred nooks
Any changes in your cat’s behavior can be indications of illness. In order to rule out illness, a visit to your veterinarian is always the first step. Once your cat has been handed a clean bill of health, we can concentrate on eliminating stress factors that are causing the behavior.
Determine the Cause of Cat Anxiety
Document the symptoms and try to determine when the behaviors first began. Your veterinarian will inquire as to the start of the symptoms. Find the reason for the change in order to address the issue. Help your cat return to her calm and natural state.
Parasites and Physical Discomfort
Claws that are excessively long can cause pain. Overgrown nails are easy to resolve. Flea infestations are worse but can be addressed with the right flea-control program and by taking steps to remove any fleas from the home.
Loud noise can frighten cats and cause them discomfort. They are particularly sensitive to changes in volume. Turn down the music and reduce the cat’s exposure to fireworks and thunderstorms. Reduce the amount of stimuli she receives when the noises are outside the home. Close any curtains, put the TV on at a minimal and provide hiding places until the event is over.
New environments can cause a change in behavior. A change in location while owners are traveling or have moved
into a new home may cause stress and
it may take time until your cat can feel secure in the new space. Medication may help in the interim.
Provide the Comfort She Needs
Cats benefit from a calm and stable home environment. Reward your cat immediately for good behavior and avoid yelling for misbehaving, as it will make the situation worse. If your cat seeks you out in times of distress, give love and compassion. Offer a variety of activities for “challenging play” –indoor cats need mental engagement. Your loving attention will help your cat to thrive.
Prolonged periods of stress can impact your cat’s health. Speak to Dr. Amber Naig, our staff behavior doctor at University Animal Hospital, or your veterinarian to determine the right approach to help your pet. You can email Dr. Naig at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 480-968-9275 to make an appointment.