How Do I Prevent My Cat From Getting Anxiety
The best prevention for anxiety is understanding the reason for the anxiety. This can help you avoid situations that cause anxiety or help your cat adapt to them if theyre unavoidable. Cats crave routine and have some basic needs. They need to feel secure when they eat, drink, use the litter box, play, and explore.
Ways to ensure these basic needs are met include:
Provide your cat with food in small amounts throughout the day.
Place toys and treats inside for your cat, so they can pounce, play, and feel as if they are hunting.
Interact with your cat and provide ways for them to exercise. Consider adding cat perches or building something they can climb on, hide in, or scratch.
Lower Stress And Anxiety
Petting or playing with your cat can release all the right chemicals in the brain. There is also evidence that a cats purr can help lower blood pressure and relax the nervous system.
They also help relieve stress and provide anti-anxiety benefits for their owners. Cats are generally low maintenance pets, which mean less stress for their owners, making them ideal pets for those who cant deal with a pets rigorous care.
Study Looks At How Our Personalities Shape Our Relationship With Cats
The COVID-19 pandemic may have many people feeling anxious. But if you happen to own a cat, they may be benefiting from your anxiety. A new study from researchers at the University of California, Davis, and California State University, East Bay, finds that the more neurotic and anxious cat owners are, the more trust and affection they have for their cat. The study was published in the journal Anthrozoös.
Cat ladies arent crazy, theyre just anxious, quipped co-author Mikel Delgado, a postdoctoral researcher at the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine. Our study finds that anxiousness may be a positive trait to have because it is associated with trust and affection for a cat.
Delgado and co-author Gretchen Reevy, a psychologist with California State University, East Bay, conducted an online, anonymous survey of 1,239 cat owners. Eighty-seven percent of respondents were female. The survey asked questions about how worthy people felt of their cats love, how available and trustworthy they felt their cat was, and their general feelings of affection toward their cat.
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Can Cbd Oil Reduce A Cats Anxiety
CBD products for pets have gained popularity in recent years, and many dog owners have seen benefits when using them to treat anxiety in dogs.
However, while there are many different CBD products on the market for cats, its important to note that there have been very few scientific studies examining the safety of CBD in cats. There is also no official regulation, as the Food and Drug Administration has not officially approved CBD products for therapeutic use in cats.
Cats are a sensitive species, and often have difficulty processing drugs that are safe in humans and dogs. Therefore, at Small Door, we currently do not recommend CBD for cats, and will not do so until there are more studies on its safety.
You Cat Has A Lot To Say
In general, cats meow to communicate with their humans versus each other. If your feline friend is trying to get your attention with excessive meowing, and you’re not sure what kitty wants, they might be trying to tell you that they’re feeling dark and twisty. “If your cat has become excessively chatty in their meow language then this definitely means they are trying to tell you something,” iHeart Cats explained. “Often this vocalization will sound very troubled, something like a distress call that they need you as they are desperately trying to get your undivided attention.”
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Do Cats Know When You Are Sad
You might have wondered – can cats sense emotions such as sadness?
However, they may perceive things from a different angle. Cats are able to sense sadness in a way that they associate the visual and auditory signals of human sadness such as frowning and a listless voice with how they are addressed or treated whenever their human is in a sad state.
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Although cats are known to be independent and may not be as social as dogs are, they do form ties with their colony in the wild. When it comes to your home, you are considered as part of your cats colony so they recognize the importance of emotional signals in living harmoniously with you as their furparent.
Meanwhile, how do you know if your cat recognizes that youre sad or they just want to be fed? According to the animal behaviorist Shadi Delshad, it is helps to be observant about how your cats behave through time. For example, if you notice your cat coming over whenever youre feeling down, its likely that they know how your are feeling.
What Is The Cost Of Treating Anxiety In Cats
Because every case of anxiety is different, its hard to provide a single estimate for the cost of treatment. Treatment may include an examination by your vet, medication, testing, and training. Depending on the extent of treatment and the duration of any training required, the costs could range from a few hundred into thousands of dollars.
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Cat Adoption Is A Tangible Act Of Goodwill Toward The World
Like so many others, I am constantly overwhelmed with the number of homeless cats in the world. Id be lying if I said the issue of pet overpopulation didnt profoundly disturb me. But I am comforted by the fact that providing safe housing, high-quality meals, and love to my rescue cats is act of service that I dont need to leave my house to be a part of.
Environmental Anxiety In Cats
If your cats anxiety is being triggered by something in their immediate environment , one of the first things you should do is try to remove or lessen the effects of the stressor.
For example, cats are naturally quite territorial creatures and territorial anxiety may develop if they feel an intruder has invaded their space and is threatening or competing with them for resources. In this instance, you can take steps to ensure they have their own territory where they can feel safe.
Diagnosing Anxiety In Cats
Your veterinarian will diagnose anxiety based on your description of your cats behavior, and potentially after running diagnostic tests such as bloodwork and urine tests to rule out any medical causes of your cats behavior.
The most helpful thing you can do is provide your vet with as much information as possible when it comes to the behavioral changes and symptoms youve noticed. This will allow your vet to help narrow down the actual trigger for your cats anxiety and prepare a treatment plan for them.
How Cats Help My Mental Health
When Im feeling anxious, more often than not, I reflexively move to withdraw and hide from the world. Lemmy doesnt let me do that. He loves attention if Im holed up in my room, hell jump up and lay at the foot of my bed, wanting me to pet him. I cant see him laying at my feet and not give him the affection that he wants. Ill lay next to him, giving him gentle pets and listening to him purr.
As Im petting him, Ill instinctively start talking to him if Im feeling anxious, what I say will naturally be about whats making me anxious. Weird as it may sound, there have been days where Ive had conversations approaching 30 minutes with Lemmy. At some level, I understand he cant respond, and that he doesnt really comprehend what Im telling him, but at that moment. that doesnt matter. I perceive him to be a sympathetic listener who loves me and wants me to be happy, and that is all I need.
His therapeutic characteristics reach an even more basic level than that. The simple act of feeling his fur helps drive the negative thoughts out of my head. Even looking at his face makes me smile and gives me something positive to get me through the day. I keep a massive gallery of his pictures on both my phone and my computer at work so I can see him regardless of where I am. These benefits should not be seen as exclusive to me. Pet ownership has been linked to an increase in a number of hormones that help control anxiety, including oxytocin, dopamine, and serotonin.2
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What Can I Do When My Cat Is Anxious
In addition to the above-mentioned options like calming medications, supplements, and training, there are several things pet parents can do to manage an anxious cat. Here are some options:
- Cat Anxiety Bed. The cat anxiety bed is a special pet bed designed to provide calmness and relaxation. The calming cat bed is supposed to provide the cat with a safe and secluded space. Plus, it is made from warm and cozy materials.
- Pheromones. Pheromones are chemicals cats release into the environment. The mother cat makes pheromones that are calming to the kittens. There are diffusers with pheromones that mimic these chemicals and support calmness and relaxation.
- Mental Stimulation. If your cat is acting anxious, you can distract it by engaging in fun and mentally challenging playtime. If you are too busy to play games with your cat, you can invest in interactive cat toys.
How To Help A Cat With Fear And Anxiety
Just like humans, cats can have anxiety. And just like humans, it can impact them physically and mentally. An anxious cat may react with fear to new items or changes in their home, even to situations you dont think would frighten them. It can be difficult to see your furry family member struggling this way, but there are many ways you can help. With a little detective work, patience, and time, you can identify the triggers for your cats anxiety and help them overcome it.
But first things first. Signs of anxiety can also be symptoms of a medical condition. If you feel your cat is suffering from anxiety, see your family veterinarian to rule out any underlying health issues. If a medical condition is uncovered, treatment may be all thats needed to get your kitty feeling like themselves again.
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Additional Tips And Tricks To Help Your Anxious Cat
- Make gradual changes. Introduce changes to your cats environment and routine slowly. If youre rearranging furniture, do one room at a time. If moving to a new home, confine your cat to a smaller area and introduce them to other areas over days or weeks. If you bring home a new pet, be sure to talk with your veterinarian about gradual introductions.
- Provide comfort. Just like a scared child needs comfort, the same may be true of a scared cat. However, be cautious and watch the cats body language. Some frightened cats may react with a bite or a scratch.
- Calming products. There are calming products that can be helpful, like sprays and diffusers that release a substance mimicking natural cat pheromones. However, they should not be relied on as a sole solution.
- Anxiety medication. In some cases, your veterinarian may prescribe an antianxiety medication to help your cat cope with stressors more effectively. These medications can be very helpful but should be used alongside your environmental changes, not as a replacement.
- Never use punishment. Punishing an anxious cat only makes the situation worse and increases their fear response. This includes all forms of punishment, like hitting, swatting, yelling, and squirting with a water bottle.
Causes Ofanxiety In Cats
To successfully address cat stress and anxiety symptoms, it would help totry to determine whats causing anxiety in your cat. Has there been a change athome lately? Major household events such as moving to another house, taking ina new pet, or the loss of a family member are a few examples of situationswhere cats have been known to show signs of anxiety. Different types of anxietyin cats may be caused by different triggers such as:
· Boredom Catsthat arent given enough attention or allowed to engage in stimulatingactivities may either withdraw or try to let out some pent-up energy byengaging aggressive behavior.
· Fear Yourcat may be exhibiting anxiety symptoms due to a traumatic experience or an incidentthat incited fear.
· Unfamiliar environmentMoving is stressful for most cats, because they are deeply territorialcreatures. You need to be extra considerate of your pet when youre relocating with yourcat.
· The introduction of a new pet or a new baby, the loss of a family member, orany other similar situation can trigger separation anxiety in cats. Any changes in routine due to a newschedule, for instance, could also trigger cat separation anxiety symptoms.
· Medical illness Your catmay not be acting like his usual self because he is unwell or is in pain.
· Ageing Older cats are prone to anxiety. Yourelderly cat may be showing symptomsof separation anxiety due to dementia or nervous disorders.
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Sharon L Campbell Dvm Ms Dacvim
Dr. Campbell received her DVM degree from University of Wisconsin and completed a residency in internal medicine and a Masters Degree at Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine. She was a Clinical Instructor at the University of Tennessee for 2 years, then worked at a private referral hospital for many years before joining Zoetis, where she is a Medical Lead for the pain management, anesthesia, sedation, behavior and anti-infectives portfolio of medications.
Dr. Campbell is a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine. She is Fear Free Certified and is on the Fear Free Advisory Board.
Signs Ofanxiety In Cats
If you suspect that your cat is suffering from any type ofanxiety, these are some of the symptoms of cat anxiety to watch out for:
· Aggressive behaviorSome cats tend to get aggressive when anxious, scared, or overwhelmed.Aggressive behavior can cause damage to property or harm to people.
· Vocalization Cats suffering from anxiety tend to meow more than usual. The vocalizationwould typically sound distressed, as if asking for attention or help.
· Over-grooming Noticeyour cat grooming himself a little more than usual? Anxious cats tend toover-groom, which could actually lead to hair loss, sores, and lesions.
· Litter box accidentsIf your cat suddenly stops using his litter box and has accidents inforbidden parts of the house, this could be a sign that he has anxiety.However, this may also indicate other health problems such as urinary tractinfection.
· Trembling Anxiety incats may also manifest in other physical symptoms like trembling.
· Tailing Yourcat wont let you out of sight? Catslove being near their owners for several reasons. Its possible your cat isfeeling anxious and is trying to be near you for comfort.
· Withdrawal Dontsee your cat anywhere? Your cat wont come to you even if its time for hismeal? Your cat could be hiding because of anxiety.
· Pacing Catslove to sleep, sometimes for up to 16 hours a day.If they cant stay still, this could be a sign that your cat is suffering fromanxiety.
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How To Treat And Manage Anxiety In Cats
The best way to treat most cases of anxiety is a multi-modal approach that combines behavioral modification techniques, making changes to your cats environment, natural calming aids, and potentially anti-anxiety medication, depending on the severity of your cats anxiety. Any underlying or linked medical conditions will need to be treated as well.
Successful treatment plans require consistency and commitment, as it may take several months for your cat to overcome their anxiety, or to reduce it to a manageable level. Be patient and remember that even small changes in their behavior and symptoms will have a meaningful and cumulative impact on their wellbeing and quality of life.
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What Causes Cat Anxiety And What Are The Signs
Some triggers of anxiety in cats include changes in environment, traumatic events, and getting into a fight with another animal. Sometimes, you may be able to figure out what triggered your cats anxiety. Other times, it may be hard to determine.
You may notice any of the following common signs of distress:
Meowing more than usual
Changes to body posture or language
Losing hair or grooming more than usual
Hissing, growling, or other signs of aggressive behavior
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The Surprising Thing That Really Helped Reduce My Anxiety And Stress Levels
I’ve always been prone to worrying and overthinking things, but a little while ago, I began suffering the worst anxiety I’ve ever experienced. Unlike previous episodes , this time the anxiety was far more personal. I would lie awake for hours dissecting the day, worrying about tiny things I’d done or said, finding myself in a spiral of shame for no real reason. This wasn’t just normal self-awareness it was uncontrollable navel-gazing. And it definitely wasn’t doing my any good.
Then two things happened. Firstly, I went on holiday, and I’m sure that did something to temporarily calm my overactive gray matter. But there was something else that I think has had an incredible effect on my anxiety levels, and that happened when a very sassy calico cat called Mina moved in. Gratuitous photo, because the internet is for cats.
Image Source: Gemma Cartwright
I didn’t know until I’d spent a few weeks with Mina how much the presence of a feline friend can help with anxiety and stress. There’s a reason animals sometimes get prescribed for emotional support, and I’m not alone in noticing the benefits. Aside from the obvious â having something cute and cuddly to play with is awesome and keeps your mind off other stuff â spending time with a cat boosts serotonin levels in the body. Battersea Cats Home should have put that on the adoption page: “Mina: scientifically proven to increase your happiness!”