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CAT CORNER > Behavior & Health > Is Your Cat Anxious and Stressed?

Is Your Cat Anxious and Stressed?

Some signs and symptoms to help your cat be calm and happy.

What’s your cat stressed about?

While you’re juggling your bills, finding enough time to go to the gym, food prepping for the week, and staying calm in traffic, your cat is sitting by the window at home twitching her tail. So you may be wondering: What do cats have to worry about? Though your cat doesn’t have to present to her boss or run to the post office before it closes, cats do experience their own kind of stress, which is a result of their anxiety and fear.

Cats can experience stress if there’s a change to their routine, a dirty litter box, new additions to their home, loud music or fireworks, and more. Most cats hide their stress, which may turn into a slew of health issues. Stress can compromise your cat’s immune system, making them more vulnerable to illness, depression, and could even compound and create behavioral issues. But we’re here to tell you how to spot if your cat is stressed — and what to do to make sure she’s back to her calm, happy self.

Signs that your cat may be anxious or stressed:

  • Insomnia: Cats are renowned for their napping skills. So, if your cat isn’t sleeping, he or she may be stressed. Cats usually sleep for around 9.5 hours and rest for another 5 hours in a day. Cats that are stressed tend to spend a lot of time awake or hiding.
  • Under- or over-grooming: The average cat grooms himself about 4 hours every day. If your cat is stressed, he may not make an attempt to groom and may appear unkempt. Other cats may begin grooming obsessively, creating bald spots on their bodies.
  • Hiding: If you find your cat hiding under the bed and seldom see her come out to say hi, this is another sign that she’s stressed. Cats do enjoy an occasional moment to themselves, but not usually for extended periods of time.
  • Avoiding their litter box: If your cat is peeing or pooping outside of her litter box, this may be a sign that your cat is too stressed or frightened to go into her litter box.
  • Lack of appetite: Cats who are stressed often stop eating or reduce their intake of food. This can also be a sign of a serious underlying medical condition, so you’ll want to take your cat to the vet if you notice changes in appetite.
  • Aggressive behavior: Every once in a while, if your cat swats, hisses, growls, or bites, it may be a momentary indication of anger or unhappiness. Yet, if your cat is constantly in an angry state of mind, he may be retaliating due to stressful circumstances.
  • Lack of purring and awkward posture: If you think your cat may be stressed, pay attention to her actions. If her ears are pinned back, her pupils are dilated, her tail is fluffed or tucked or twitching, your cat may be stressed. Happy cats will have their tail raised straight up and will want to rub up against you and purr excitedly.

If you think your cat is stressed, here are some ways to help:

  • Visit the vet: Sometimes, signs of stress may point to underlying diseases or illnesses. Of course, your cat may also be perfectly healthy, in which case, your vet can provide you with a treatment that’s tailored to your cat and his well-being. Either way, it’s always good peace of mind — for you and your cat — to get a clean bill of health just in case.
  • Remove potential stress triggers: If it’s difficult to identify what triggers your cat’s stress, try testing the usual suspects. If your cat is alarmed by unfamiliar guests, create a safe space for him where guests can’t intrude. If your cat is alarmed by loud alarms, try to figure out a way to silence your alarm clock or house alarm. Go through these stressful triggers (mentioned above in greater detail) one by one and do your best to eliminate them.
  • Exercise and cuddle time: Exercise alleviates stress for cats just as well as it does for humans. Set aside some time to play with your cat for 5–10 minutes and force her to run around a bit. Also, set aside some time to pet your kitty and give her some love and attention.
  • Create a Kitty Spa Bathroom:Provide a large litter box in an easily accessible but private area. Fill the box with 3–4 inches of your favorite kind of Fresh Step® litter. Scoop the box regularly and change the litter box according to the package directions.

Give Kitty a fresh outlook.

Want to make sure Kitty always has lovely, clean litter? Join the Paw Points® Rewards Program, and score free litter and coupons. Check out the Paw Points® catalog to find other rewards that will make your cat’s new litter box fresher than ever, and minimize the stress in her life. Soon enough, you kitty will be one cool cat indeed.

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PAW POINTS® PROGRAM

Earning points is easy. Redeem Paw Points on litter, coupons — or spread the love and donate them to your favorite shelter.

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