Do you have a cat at home who is easily frightened? Cat personalities can vary, but some of them become extra fearful and even exhibit maladaptive behaviors as a result of their anxiety. This situation can happen with any cat, but is most common in those with unknown histories. Your cat might have been exposed to a stressful situation in the past that is contributing to their current anxiety.
Whatever the cause, take the following steps to help your anxious cat feel secure within your household.
Set up a routine. Cats thrive on routine, so establish clear feeding times. Other aspects of your daily routine should remain as predictable as possible. If you come and go at predictable times, this helps your cat to anticipate your actions and feel soothed by regularity.
Avoid upsetting changes. Moving the furniture, changing their food or litter, or otherwise disrupting a cat’s environment can set off anxiety (even in cats who haven’t exhibited problems before). Of course, sometimes change is unavoidable, but do your best not to change things unnecessarily.
Offer your cat a retreat spot. Choose a quiet place in the house and set it up to accommodate your cat. She needs to know where she can go during times of extra anxiety.
Anticipate changes to lessen the impact. If you’re expecting guests, remodeling part of the house, or otherwise disrupting your cat’s environment, anticipate anxiety ahead of time. Move your cat to her retreat spot and offer a special treat.
Seek a health examination. All cats need routine health screenings. But if your cat suddenly begins to display signs of anxiety for no obvious reason, underlying health issues could be to blame. Look for the following signs of anxiety:
- Trouble with the litter box
- Over grooming herself
- Hiding more than usual
- Excessive meowing
- Loss or sudden increase of appetite
- Aggressive behavior
- Trying to escape the house
If you notice any of these symptoms, especially in a cat that has not displayed anxiety in the past, call us to schedule an appointment. We should screen your pet for illnesses that can cause pain or neurological symptoms, and get them treated if necessary.