Anxiety in Cats: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

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“The only thing a cat worries about is what’s happening right now.”
Lloyd Alexander


Anxiety in cats can be a severe problem, more so if left untreated. If you think that your cat is unusually anxious or fearful, read on to know about the possible causes, symptoms, and treatment.  

Anxiety is a feeling of uneasiness like fear, worry, or apprehension of what’s about to come. It’s the natural response of the body towards stress or a foreboding danger. Anxiety is a common emotion but frequent and severe anxiety can make your kitty physically, emotionally, and mentally ill.   

This is why you should be able to recognize early on that your pet is suffering from stress and resolve the problem immediately before it gets worse. 

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Possible causes: 

Pain or illness 

Cat anxiety can develop from an illness or physical pain that your cat is experiencing.  


Separation anxiety  

This happens when your cat gets stressed and anxious whenever you leave. They may display an obsessive behavior of following you around wherever you go or become destructive once left alone. This commonly happens to cats who experienced trauma, have been abused,  have a history of abandonment, and have been rehomed multiple times. 


Not properly socialized 

Seven to twelve weeks old is the time a kitten should be taught to socialize and get used to people, other animals, and the environment. Not being used to these stimuli can cause fear and anxiety making your pet hide,  run away, or exhibit strange behaviors  


Lack of essential resources  

If your cat is lacking key resources like fresh food, clean water, and clean litter then she could get stressed and express her unhappiness through being aggressive or destructive. 

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Symptoms of cat anxiety:  

  • Hiding
  • Trembling
  • Inactivity
  • Withdrawal
  • Aggressive
  • Destructive
  • Mood change
  • Change in appetite
  • Weight loss 
  • Lethargic 
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea 
  • Constantly follows you around
  • Excessive vocalization 
  • Avoids eye contact 
  • Tucked tail 
  • Raised heart rate 
  • Hair standing up
  • Obsessive grooming
  • Sores and lesions caused by obsessive grooming 



Sometimes these symptoms of anxiety can hide underlying conditions that your cat is experiencing. It’s best to consult your vet to check if your cat has anxiety or suffering from an illness. If having an illness is ruled out and your cat is diagnosed with anxiety, your vet might prescribe some medication or teach you techniques to help calm your kitty down. 

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What you can do to reduce stress: 

  • Comfort kitty when you feel she’s having a bout of anxiety
  • Don’t scold your kitty
  • Don’t punish or confine her in a cage
  • Provide a cat-friendly environment
  • Create a cat-tree or hideout where she can chill by herself
  • Make eating and drinking interesting with food puzzle toys and drinking fountains
  • Provide a clean litterbox
  • Give her toys to keep her entertained while you’re away
  • Use scents and other natural therapies to treat your pet’s anxiety
  • Try not to make sudden changes in their environment, feeding schedule, and other factors that can stress them. 
  • Slowly introduce new things, people, food, or pets to avoid triggering anxiety  

Recovering from cat anxiety is not going to happen overnight. You will need lots of patience, love, and willingness to see it through the end to help your furry baby recover and return to being a healthy happy pet


You might also be interested to read 9 Ways to Keep Your Cat’s Heart Healthy and Dog Anxiety: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment.

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