Anxiety in cats is a very normal problem. It can occur with anyone and in any phase of the life. In past few years, due to sound pollution, lifestyle, uses of gadgets etc. increased the risk of anxiety in the human being as well as our pets and others animals too.
Humans are fortunate that there are plenty of resources available to treat the anxiety for them, but what about pets?
According to the reports and researches, separation anxiety is the most common form of anxiety in cats and dogs too. Although there are many reasons for anxiety in cats, amusement, cruelty, and loneliness can lead to anxiety in cats. However, cats are very independent animals she does not feel loneliness in the absence of owner, but it can. Cats feel loneliness in a very specific circumstances. Pet owner often notice the first signs of the anxiety in cats between 5 months and 1 year of age. These anxieties usually get worse by the passing of the time, or new concerns may develop when your cat is between 1 and 3 years old.
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There are not many resources for animals. Although, there are few which will be discussed by me in this article. So let’s start our journey;-
Causes of anxiety in cats
A small change in the environment and behave can affect the cat, and she can be anxious. Small changes can lead to the stress in the cats. Now you can understand how soft the mind of a cat is!
However there are following causes that are responsible for the anxiety and stress in the cats;-
- Arrival of new member in the family:- You can say that cats are mighty jealous. Well it’s not funny and this quality of cat lead the stress and anxiety. There is so much important to inform the cat about the newcomer before arrival of new member. This can reduce of chances of frustration and anxiety in the cats. Cats can not adopt the sudden changes in the environment. Cat needs time to co-ordinate with the newcomer, so stop the new member to make friendship with cat in the very beginning.
- Physical pain:- There are many types of physical pain that cat often tolerate. Any infection, aging related disease, some poisoning (such as food poisoning) may lead to anxiety in the cats.
- Improper socialization :- Cats need more attention in the young age (7-12 weeks). So during this age, changes in the environment (such as residents), neglection and any type of misbehave can lead the stress and anxiety in the cats and that can be fatal for her because at this age, the mind of the cat is still in the developing phase and mind is not in the condition that tolerate the anxiety and stress.
- Separation from the owner/ loved ones:- Well this is one of the most common cause of anxiety. Cat can’t tolerate the little changes. So being separation from the loved ones can cause the severe anxiety in cats. This type of anxiety can not be treated by natural remedies, trainings or any type of tricks. There are 20-30% of chances to visit a veterinarian.
- Moving to a new home:- I have discussed previously that moving to a new home is not pleasurable for your cat. She needs a lot of time to co-ordination with the environment or circumstances. Even in the young age of the cat, it is restricted to moving to a new home. This can be fatal for your cats. Going to a new home can turmoil the life of a cat, and it is unacceptable.
- Loud noise or parties in the home :- Everyone gets stressed from loud noise. This can also happen with your little, lovely kitty. Having parties in the home can lead to severe anxiety. Repeated exposure to unexpected, unpredictable loud noises can cause phobias in many animals, increasing pain reactions to loud noises in the future. The repetition of loud noise can cause the panic attacks in your lovely kitty.
Symptoms of the anxiety in cats
If you cat has anxiety, she will definitely try to say you her frame of mind. It can be in the form of following symptoms;-
The symptoms of the anxiety in the cats are categorized into mild, moderate and severe.
Mild signs and symptoms of the anxiety in cats
- Cat will avoid the eye contact from you
- She will flick her tail
- The pupils of the cat will be partially dilated
- She will hold her tail close to the body
- Kitty will follow you everywhere
Moderate signs and symptoms of the anxiety in cats
- The ears of the cat will be partially side
- There will be increase in the dilation of the pupils
- Cat will continually look at the stimulus
- There will be increase in the rate of respiration
- She will crouch and lean away
- She will hold her tail tight against her body
- Cat will not use the litter box
Severe signs and symptoms of the anxiety in cats
- She will completely freeze in her place
- She will try to escape when you touch her body or try to go close to her
- The pupils of the cat will completely dilate
- Cat will hold her ears back
- Her hairs will stand up
- She will stare continually
- She will always be in the aggressive mood
- Your cat will tremble
- Kitty can not sit
- Your cat will avoid daily activities
How to train your cat to be less anxious
There are following ways to train your cat so that your cat feel less anxious;-
- A cat tree:- When your cat will be frightened, stressed or anxious, then she will prefer to hide in dark places where they can not easily be seen. Cat also like inaccessible places where they can’t be reached and can most easily defend. There are many favorite places where a cat usually likes to hide. The favorite places of cat are;- under the bed or other low-to-the-ground furniture, basements, under stairs, in closets, or inside boxes.
- Improve the litter box experience:- Litter box is the place where cat feels like own place in the anxiety. Anxious cat always urinate. So during the anxious stage, the cat can urinate outside the box or inside the box. Now it’s your responsibility to clean the litter box instead of punishing the cat. Litter box is the property of cat, where cat can urinate. Although there are many other places that are properties of cat such as;- bed, near windows or other lookouts (where they see stray cats), or by doors (where they hear or smell stray cats).
- Desensitization :- Desensitization is the process in which the repeated, controlled exposure of stimulus occur which is causing fear and anxiety. Always start in low level so that cat does not feel fear and anxiety. Like if your cat is anxious from sound, then play a sound that your cat is afraid of at such a low volume that there is no fear or stress. After playing the sound three or four times at a low volume without a reaction, then you can increase the volume very slightly and repeat the process. If your cat started anxious or stressed, then stop the sound. It is very important that your cat is showing no signs of fear or stress before you increase the volume. Never think that that desensitization means exposing the cat to the frightening stimulus repeatedly. If you are thinking it, then it can be fatal for your cat.
- Counter conditioning:- It is a process in which the alteration of the emotional response to a stimulus from negative one to positive one occurs. Like if your kitty is afraid of your another pet (e.g:- Dog) then alter that situation by desensitization training.
Tips to prevent the anxiety in cats
If you adopt a kitty which is lesser than its socialization age (minimum 7 weeks and maximum 12 weeks) then expose your kitty to a various conditions and environment so that she can adapt to various conditions and does not feel anxious at such conditions in future. However, there are following tips that can prevent the anxiety in cats;-
- Calming the cat with food:- It is one of the most popular choices for reducing anxiety in the cats. There are a variety of reasons that makes this trick one of the best natural remedy for preventing the anxiety in cats. In the beginning use chicken and turkey that is easy to digest for cats with such ingredients that are really helpful for stress.