How to Tell if Your Cat Has Anxiety (Pasadena, MD)

Have you ever wondered if your cat may have anxiety? Maybe you were unaware that cats could even experience anxiety in a similar way to humans. Almost any animal can experience anxiety, and cats are no exception to this rule. It can be difficult for many cat owners to know whether or not their cat has anxiety. Many companion animals have been known to experience separation anxiety specifically. Untreated separation anxiety may also lead to other general anxiety disorders in cats. Unfortunately, many owners are not educated on the signs of anxiety to look for in their cats which can lead to worsening behavior.

cat anxiety pasadena, md

Signs of Anxiety in Cats

Here are the most common signs of anxiety in cats.

Hiding

An important symptom of anxiety in cats to watch out for is hiding. Cats naturally hide occasionally. However, some cats hide constantly, which usually comes from fear. There are cats with anxiety or other problems with fear that may hide so much that it seems like you don’t have a cat at all. Cats that hide this much may only come out to eat or use the litterbox. They may wait to come out until no one is around. This can cause them digestive and urinary problems over time, depending on the severity of their hiding behavior. When a cat is introduced to something new and unknown, it may have extreme hiding behavior that may last a few days to a week. This behavior may be concerning to you, but if you give a cat the space to react to something new in their own time, they should go back to their normal behavior before long. If your cat displays hiding behavior constantly or for more than a few weeks, they are likely experiencing anxiety, which is one of the most worrying symptoms.

Aggression

Cats may also act more aggressively when they have anxiety. If you think about it from the perspective of humans, it does make sense. People are usually easy to anger when they have anxiety as well. Stress causes a fight or flight reaction in the body of whoever experiences it, and those who have anxiety may be aggressive to those around them because they see what they believe are threats. Many cats that display aggressive behavior may be experiencing anxiety because of boredom and lack of stimulation. When a cat doesn’t have adequate access to stimulation, they become so bored that they begin to have mental issues such as anxiety. Cats need cat toys, scratching posts, and interaction with others to be mentally stable. They also need enough room to run around when they want to get out some built-up energy. There are plenty of interactive toys you can get for cats with this type of anxiety. Catnip also works for many cats to add to their stimulation and playtime.

Excessive Vocalization

All cats meow for attention from humans. We have found through research that adult cats only meow for the benefit of humans and not to communicate with other cats. Some cats are more vocal than others. However, cats that begin to vocalize much more than they used to might be experiencing anxiety. Usually, cats that are meowing excessively due to anxiety will have a very insistent and even distressed sounding meow. It’s more of a cry for help than a simple bid for attention. It’s essential to ensure that the different vocalization isn’t caused by heat. Female cats in heat may be excessively loud for long periods. If they exhibit this behavior when they shouldn’t be in heat or if they are spayed, then it may be a symptom of anxiety.

Overgrooming

Excessive grooming is usually a sign of anxiety in cats. There can be other causes for overgrooming, but anxiety is one of the most common reasons for this. Cats that groom themselves too much usually suffer from boredom-induced anxiety related to lack of proper stimulation. When a cat overgrooms, a lot of other problems can occur. This can cause cats to lose fur and have more hairballs than average. This can be an issue for their digestive tract and esophagus and lead to expensive vet visits. This type of anxiety can also be eased through more opportunities for stimulation such as toys and interaction with other animals or humans, specifically you. Playing with your cat every day can make them much more mentally stable.

Constant Movement

Cats spend more than half the day sleeping. They spend some of those few waking hours resting as well. Most cats will play and be active for just a few hours every day. Most anxious humans will pace when they are having anxiety, which can be true for cats. Anxious cats may pace the floor or change sitting positions or resting positions very frequently. They often act unsettled, which is not normal for cats and a sure sign of anxiety.

Watch Your Cat’s Behavior for Proactive Care

There are quite a few tell-tale signs of anxiety in cats; you have to know what to look for. Pay attention to any hiding behavior and how long it lasts. Also, if your cat displays more aggression than they used to or what is normal for them, this can be a sign of anxiety typically due to not having enough access to stimulation. Cats may also meow more than usual and in a way that sounds desperate. This is a cry for help because of the feeling they are experiencing with their anxiety. Overgrooming is a severe symptom of anxiety in cats caused by a lack of stimulation. Cats with anxiety will also spend an abnormal amount of time moving around and not relaxing. If you are a proactive pet parent, you can stay on top of your cat’s anxiety. Watch out for any symptoms and how your cat reacts to different situations. Being proactive and getting ahead of your cat’s anxiety before it worsens is the best thing you can do for your pet.

Call Lake Shore Pet Hospital at (410) 317-2028 or book an appointment online to talk with a veterinarian about your cat’s anxiety.

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About Lake Shore Pet Hospital

You want only the best for your family and you always keep their best interests in mind. We understand your pet is a part of that family. Our veterinarian's mission at Lake Shore Pet Hospital is deeply rooted in treating you and your pet family how we'd like ours treated. We take great satisfaction in giving back to and developing strong bonds with the communities we serve, including Pasadena, Riviera Beach, and Lake Shore.