Felines can also suffer from this type of pathology and be anxious and stressed. What are the causes? How to recognize the symptoms? What to do? Here’s everything you need to know.
If you have a cat and you are very attentive to its physical and mental health, you must know that Kitty, being a very sensitive animal, could suffer in the course of his life from states of anxiety and stress even if apparently he seems calm and relaxed.
Stress is a defensive state of mind: observe your cat, objectively analyze his behaviors to understand if he is suffering from these diseases and talk to your veterinarian.
The article you are reading will also help you understand how to prevent these states of discomfort which, like humans, cats can suffer from.
Acute and chronic stress in your cat: everything you need to know
The primordial instincts of the cat (hunting, marking the territory, eating, resting, reproducing) have remained intact over the centuries and despite the fact that over time it has become a friend of man and lives in an apartment, the feline can not and must not give up these fundamental inclinations.
The man, for his part, must indulge them perhaps making the spaces as suitable as possible and adopting a behavior in keeping with the life of the four-legged friend. The causes of stress can be different and also linked to pathologies.
The most common causes of stress in cats
The most frequent reasons that could lead a cat to be anxious are:
- latent disease not recognized as intestinal parasites and external parasites;
- debilitating diseases such as kidney failure, hyperthyroidism and heart disease;
- total absence or unstable relationship with the owner;
- excessively intrusive behavior of the owner;
- removals and sudden changes of environment (including moving furniture around the house or hospitalization);
- forced coexistence with others similar and of an incompatible character in unsuitable or too small spaces;
- absence of favorable environmental conditions;
Symptoms of stress and anxiety in cats
Watch cat carefully and look for the signals he sends you to make you understand that he is not well.
Here is the list of acute stress symptoms in cats.
- Immobility: when the cat is afraid it feels prey and not a predator so it paralyzes and tries to blend in with the surrounding environment;
- hiding: cat hides in a place he deems safe and remains there until he feels that the danger has passed;
- aggression: if it has no hiding places the cat becomes aggressive; arches and pulls up the hair on his back, straightens his paws to appear taller, meows as if he is roaring, widens his jaws, blows, pulls his ears back, dilates his pupils, and can become threatening by crouching on the ground with his ears back. It does not attack unless forced to do so. Don’t get close and let him relax.
The symptoms of chronic stress, on the other hand, are:
- inappetence or exaggerated hunger that can last for long periods;
- increase or decrease in the amount of stool produced;
- inappropriate urination, urinating in different places or against walls, never before;
- continuous vocalizations;
- indolence (becomes lazy and listless);
- behavioral changes, if before he was always calm now he is always agitated or vice versa, or shows aggression towards family members or has unusual behaviors;
- absence of grooming (the cat no longer cleans itself and remains with the hair always agglutinated);
- compulsive repetition of behaviors (chasing a shadow or one’s tail or excessive grooming);
- continually hiding and staying hidden;
- excessive sleep.
What to do in case of anxiety in cats
If you see your cat changed in behavior and see him or her in any of the symptoms described, you should go to your vet right away. Only the latter will be able to make a correct diagnosis and detect whether it is stress or another disease.
If the doctor rules out organic causes, he will be able to identify the cause of the discomfort and indicate how to deal with and overcome the problem.
Also remember that when stressed cats can suffer from various diseases including idiopathic cystitis, obesity, stress alopecia and diabetes.