Updated: Nov 22
Stress is the most common complaint I hear about cats. And if there is a medical or behavioral concern, stress is often a big trigger.
I'd like to share some common signs of stress, the reasoning behind why this may happen, and let you in on some alternative stress relief options for our feline friends!
This can vary widely among cats, but here are some that are most common:
Inappropriate urination and marking
Refusal to eat
Why do cats get stressed?
Pets don't always understand what is going on with their environment, and can become confused and scared.
Did you recently move? Was your cat recently adopted? Did you rearrange furniture?
Cats can be very territorial. Something as simple as seeing another stray cat outside during the day can cause stress and anxiety.
Does your cat want his food, litter box or sleeping area in another place? Resources are very valuable. If these feel threatened, your cat can become upset.
Cats like all attention on them, adding a new addition can really change up the family dynamic.
Not all cats like strange visitors. If they have no 'escape' they may show aggression or other unwanted behaviors.
Too much commotion
Heavy traffic and noise can be stressful. Especially if their resources are near the main visiting and living areas.
Kids can be scary. They grab, run, scream, drop things.
Suddenly working long hours? Your cat may not understand and he could start acting out because things have changed.
Loud noises can be startling.
Lack of socialization
Litter box laziness
Believe it or not, a common stressor for cats is their own litter box. Not cleaning the litterbox can impose a real problem. Cats love clean places, and the litter box is one of them. Clean it every day or at least every other day. This not only makes it an inviting place, but also cuts back on the harsh ammonia smell/ odor in your house without the need for extra chemical cover-ups.
How can we help stressed cats get some relief?
As you could expect, I am NOT a fan of putting pets on behavioral medication for stress or anxiety. I feel that where there is a reason, there is a solution! An in my eyes, this does not include psychotropic drugs.
I couldn't even tell you how many times I have filled behavioral medications and sedatives for anxious pets. But, if that is what an owner decides to do, then that is their choice.
I am here to simply provide alternative recommendations and resources for pet owners if they want to go another route in managing their pet's care.
***First things first:
Always see a veterinarian to be sure your cat does not have an underlying medical condition that is contributing to any behavioral changes and/or stress and anxiety! This is especially important to address before you start giving supplements or changing up their space & daily routine.
Some examples of natural solutions:
Providing proper enrichment and hiding spaces.
Preferably away from high traffic areas. High perches, and tunnels to hide in are great.
Feliway sprays or plugins
These can be very calming. Especially for multi-cat households.
Another great calming remedy, that is very safe. I prefer Super Snouts Hemp Company!
Evaluate the home
Have things changed recently? Is there too much noise near where your cat eats? Is his litter box not getting cleaned enough?
Relaxing music (it really works!)
If you have started working long hours, try leaving some music on, or even the TV for some stimulation.
Flower essences and herbs such as catnip
Herbal remedies can be a useful tool in 'taking the edge off' naturally. I have seen great results with this!
An extremely powerful tool in getting to root cause of energetic imbalance.
Acupuncture or massage
A holistic veterinarian can perform these for your cat and it can provide the same relief for them as it does for us!
Socialize your cat!
Socialization is not what you think. Learn the top tricks to socializing your cat to decrease fear and anxiety in this post.
A note for holistic remedies:
All of the natural remedies listed above are explained more in-depth with product links to my favorites in this post.
As you can see, there are MANY reasons, and even more remedies for our kitty's stress!
Happy Trails Pets also specializes in homecoming anxiety with newly adopted pets!
*I must remind you, that if your cat is exhibiting any troubling signs as stated above, please be sure to visit a trusted veterinarian to rule out any serious medical issues first.
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