What happens when a cat suffers from anxiety about its relationship with its owner? How can we communicate with an anxious cat and solve his problem?
Sometimes we ask ourselves: what is going on in our cat’s head? We may have noticed some unusual changes in his behavior, and we are worried that he may not be as happy as we would like him to be. So how can we communicate with an anxious cat and try to understand what is really going on in our pet? Here are some useful tips to first understand how our cat is doing, and then to communicate and solve this problem.
Does the cat have anxiety? Recognize the signs
Cats show anxiety in several ways. Some are fairly obvious, while others are much more subtle and may go unnoticed if we don’t know what to notice. Symptoms include aggression, increased vocalization, toilet accidents, excessive scratching, and weight loss.
Repeated bouts of illness or recurring urinary tract infections are another sign of cat anxiety. This is because stress affects the immune system, increasing the chances of disease or other health problems.
Let’s first try to identify the root cause of anxiety. For example, did we just move house? Have there been any recent changes to their environment, such as a new arrival or another pet? If so, the cat may show some signs of anxiety until she comes to terms with the new situation.
Most puppy cats will be fine after about a week, while adult and senior cats may take a little longer to adjust to the new. The same goes for feral cats that are adjusting to their new daily life as a house cat. These cats may retain some of their wild behaviors for a few months, including marking their territory and refusing to use a litter box.
How to communicate with an anxious cat
If we want to know how our cat feels, we need to observe their body language. When a cat is happy, he tends to walk with a sense of confidence. In other words, he struts with his head up and his shoulders out. A real swagger!
When cats feel anxious, however, we can notice a big change in their body language. They tend to look much smaller, keeping their ears flat on their heads, their whiskers pulled back, and their tails can feel stiff or stiff. A careful look at the way our cat moves makes us understand a lot about how it is.
How to help an anxious cat
If the situation does not improve after a few weeks or if we cannot identify the source of the anxiety, it is time to act. Talking to a vet or animal behavior specialist is a good place to start.
Experts can help identify the nature of the problem, advise us masters on what to do next, even making any changes to our home or routine. And if the anxiety is severe, then they can prescribe anxiety medications, for immediate, short-term help.
What about separation anxiety?
Being a pet owner can be hard work. And as cat owners, we want our pets to know how much we love them, but we also know that they need their independence to be truly happy.
Cats without a good dose of independence soon develop separation anxiety. This happens when they can’t cope with having to stay away from their favorite humans for an extended period. Cats with separation anxiety follow their owners everywhere, cry whenever they’re left alone, and start throwing tantrums or getting aggressive when we’re about to go out.
Another important thing is to understand the causes of separation anxiety. Separation anxiety is caused by a lack of socialization, early trauma or abuse, and is particularly common in cats that have changed owners multiple times.
What can we do to relieve cat stress
A few extra toys, a scratching post, a climbing station and puzzles with food treats are all great ways to keep our kitty physically and mentally stimulated. And the more engaged he is with the external environment, the less time he will have to feel anxious or lonely.
We can also try some specific products suitable for calming cats. They release scents that mimic natural pheromones, which have a calming effect on cats. They are available in sprays or diffusers. Calming products for cats may work well, but they are definitely more of a short-term solution than a long-lasting one. So even if we notice a positive effect, we should still address the root cause of our cat’s anxiety.
And have we ever thought about feline aromatherapy? Lavender, chamomile, and valerian can all have a positive effect on a cat’s well-being. We leave a bowl of dried flowers in our cat’s favorite room. It could help him with the scent of these plants.
Feline mental health is something every owner must take seriously. And since our cats can’t tell us how they feel with words, it’s up to us to keep an eye on them and look for any changes in their behavior that may indicate anxiety. As we can see, there is a lot we can do to improve our pet’s wellbeing. But if there are still doubts or if our cat’s condition shows no signs of improvement, we should not hesitate to speak to a specialist.