Can Cats Have Anxiety?

Scared cat

Everyone can get a little worried here and there, but what about your pets? Can cats have anxiety like humans? Yes, cats can have anxiety that ranges from mild fears to full-blown phobias. And while treatment is absolutely possible, it’s important to catch the signs your cat is anxious and get a proper diagnosis to start working on the issues. Let’s take a look at some of the classic cat anxiety symptoms for pet owners:

Signs Your Cat is Anxious

  • Changes in mood or activity level
  • Hiding or avoiding the litter box
  • Aggression
  • Excessive meowing
  • Vomiting
  • Changes in appetite or weight
  • Compulsive behaviors
Hiding cat

Reasons for Cat Anxiety Symptoms

Cat anxiety symptoms may stem from a variety of reasons. Maybe you’ve just adopted a kitten who is nervous about a brand new environment in Naperville. Maybe your cat has a diet allergy that is causing them distress in Glen Ellyn. Visiting a vet is a crucial step of the process to get an accurate diagnosis and formulate a treatment plan, but here are a few of the most common sources for feline anxiety:

  • Medical Problems: From injuries to infections to toxicity, many medical issues can trigger anxiety symptoms in cats. This also includes age-related conditions in senior cats.
  • Past Trauma: Past trauma and abuse situations can cause fear and phobias. Lack of socialization in the kitten stage of life can also result in heightened anxiety later in life.
  • Pheromone Plug-Ins: Cats naturally mark their “safe zones” with headbutting to self-soothe. Using plug-ins that mimick the pheromones they deposit can help them feel safe and soothe anxiety.
  • Separation Anxiety: In cases of rehoming or neglect, a cat may develop separation anxiety – or fear of abandonment.

How to Help a Cat with Anxiety

If you’re wondering how to help a cat with anxiety, a vet visit is in order. When you bring your cat in for an appointment, the vet can rule out any underlying conditions that could be causing stress to your furry friend. A basic blood test can rule out a wide range of medical problems, from thyroid disorders or lead poisoning. If your cat is healthy, your vet will help you discover your cat’s fear trigger and how to ease anxiety:

  • Behavioral Changes: Behavioral training like counter-conditioning and desensitization can help your cat become more comfortable with their environment.
  • Increasing Activity: In the case of separation anxiety, fun activities can help distract and soothe your cat while you are away. Check out our top cat entertainment tips.
  • Anxiety Medication: In more extreme cases, your vet may prescribe an anti-anxiety medication to help your cat cope with stressors more effectively.

Need to schedule an appointment with a Veterinarian?

Please contact Springbrook Animal Care Center.