Pet Anxiety: How to minimise stress and anxiety in cats?
Despite our feline friends often having a reputation for being one of the most independent pets, cats can often feel anxious without us even realising it. Cats thrive on routine, and as lockdown measures begin to ease, it is not just us humans that will need to adjust to a change in routine, our cats will need to readjust too. Carry on reading to find out what behaviours may indicate that your cat is anxious, and how you can get your cat to be as calm and relaxed as the one below!
After most of the UK spending the majority of the last 12-months at home, our cats have likely become more attached than ever to their owner. As lockdown eases, and people are out more, our kitties will notice the lack of presence of their owner, and this can become confusing and disorientating for them. This means that over the next couple of months it is important for cat owners to watch out for the following signs:
- Urinating in the house
- Being abnormally aggressive to people in the household
- Under or over-grooming
- Seeming on edge and very alert
- Destructive behaviour
Dealing with stress and anxiety
Once you have identified anxiety behaviours in your cat, make an appointment with your vet practice to rule out any underlying health conditions that may be adding to, or causing, stress.
One of the most important things to remember when trying to help your stressed or anxious cat is to never tell them off for any of the above behaviours. Scolding them will increase fear and make the anxiety or stress worse. Instead, make them feel safe and secure in their surroundings.
Unpredictability is stressful for cats so, if your routine is changing, try and keep interactions with your feline friend consistent. If you can work out what it is that makes your cat anxious, try and manage your environment in a way that helps reduce the likelihood of your cat experiencing stress. If this isn’t possible, provide your cat with an enriched indoor and outdoor environment to keep them stimulated.
Cats spend the majority of their time sleeping or resting, so provide various perching spots around the house – this is especially important in multi-cat households, to reduce stressful arguments over ownership. Place scratch objects near resting spots for them to scratch upon awakening, making your kitty feel more comfortable and calmer. If you’re struggling to choose a cat tree, we love this one!
If you are still worried about your cat feeling stressed or anxious when you are gone, many vet-recommended products can help relieve and reduce these feelings. The FELIWAY products plug into the plug socket and release pheromones which help solve all common signs of stress and enhance serenity.
If these techniques do not reduce the signs of stress and anxiety, your vet will be able to advise on the next steps or prescribe some anti-anxiety medication. Continued anxiety must be treated as over time this can have a physiological effect and make your cat vulnerable to illness – only further increasing stress.