April 30, 2021

Table of Contents:

While some may find it surprising, cats can experience anxiety the same as humans. That’s right, Fluffy might have symptoms like racing thoughts, fear, and the inability to self-soothe. What’s a pet owner to do? Thankfully there are many solutions, from extra cuddles to anti-anxiety cat beds!

Cat owners might be used to the typical cat who doesn’t need much of anything. They rule the kingdom and demand food from afar. Some may be taken by surprise when they are met with a cat who exhibits differing behavior. It’s so important for cat owners to recognize that cats can have anxiety.

While most humans experience anxiety at least once in their life, chances are they never expect it from a pet. Especially since pets are one of the main resources for humans to combat their own anxiety. Once pet parents realize all animals can experience this type of discomfort, it becomes easier to focus on the first step. Treatment.

Anxiety in cats is fairly common and fortunately very treatable. Cat science has come a long way so pet owners everywhere can have stress-free kitties. But how can someone tell if their cat has anxiety? Since cats can’t communicate verbally (well, in English at least) humans depend on a few key indicators that signal anxious habits.


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How to Tell if Your Cat Has Anxiety

Identifying if a cat has anxiety can range from the cat being lethargic to the cat running from window to window expecting a threat.

Other symptoms include:

  • Hissing, biting, and aggression
  • Urinating in places outside the litter box
  • Meowing for no apparent reason
  • Changes in appetite
  • Pacing
  • Extra time sleeping
  • Over-grooming
  • Trembling
  • Hiding
  • Vocalizing especially when their owner is out of sight\

All of these symptoms indicate that the cat is experiencing some form of anxiety. Whether it’s separation anxiety or general anxiety, one or more of these indicators will be present. Cats need to feel safe and secure to ease the manifestation of anxiety which is why an anti-anxiety bed for cats is such a successful tool (but more on that later.)

Cats tell their humans when they aren’t feeling well by using their body language. While some cats get pretty close to human speech with their yowls, they haven’t quite gotten to the word “anxious”. When someone has had a cat for a while they may be able to recognize anxious body language more quickly, but when a pet is newly adopted it can be difficult to know what deviates from normal.

Anxious Body Language in Cats

Cats are made up of extremely cute appendages such as boopable noses, fluffy tails, and big expressive eyes. Cats use these adorable features to try and communicate to their humans but more often than not, the signs are missed. Here are a few tricks to tell if a cat is feeling anxious using body language:

  • Avoiding eye contact
  • Short abrupt tail movement
  • Tail pointed down
  • Dilated pupils
  • Crouching
  • Holding ears back
  • Freezing in place or hiding
  • Swiping with paws
  • Leaning away
  • Increase breathing and heart rate
  • Erratic movement throughout their space
  • Negative reaction to sights, sounds, and touch

By taking the time to register what a cat is trying to say, cat owners can avoid further aggravating the situation and work towards a solution. When humans take the time to fully observe their pet instead of assuming that Princess Snowball is just grumpy today, they are opening a direct line of communication from pet to person. Who knew cats could talk so fluently?


Causes of Anxiety in Cats

Some cats come home as kittens, some as adults, and some choose their owners by persistently sitting on their porch until they’re allowed inside. Whatever the case may be, cats and humans share one major quality. Everyone comes with baggage. That’s right, cats have baggage too.

Even if a kitten has been raised by the loving hands of a quality pet parent, anxiety can still develop as they grow older. No one is to blame, just like in the case of humans, anxiety just happens. That being said, while pointing the finger of blame is “pointless”, there are triggers pet parents can look for as the cause for their anxious kitty. Better understanding why a certain behavior is happening can help it be avoided in the future, thus reducing anxiety.

Triggers include:

  • Illness
    If a cat is experiencing an illness it may irritate existing anxiety and make symptoms more obvious.

  • Physical Pain
    When a cat is experiencing physical pain it may exhibit symptoms of underlying anxious behavior or show new ones.

  • Trauma
    Fear of being stuck in a thunderstorm or an attack from another animal can cause trauma to our furry friends. This trauma can trigger anxiety when a threat is perceived even if the cat’s human counterpart doesn’t view it that way. Be mindful of what is happening when anxious tendencies appear.

  • Socialization
    Improper socialization can occur when a kitten (ages 7-12 weeks) is in a negative social environment during its development. Whether it comes from introducing a new pet or feeling trapped in an unsafe environment, cats can become triggered by similar situations.

  • Separation
    If a cat is used to constant human contact or has been subjected to multiple re-homing, it can develop separation anxiety. If a cat is yowling or seems to panic when the owner is not near, this is a clear sign of separation anxiety.

  • Single-Kitten Syndrome
    If a kitten is raised as an only kitten and suddenly is introduced to a new pet or family member (such as a baby) this can cause great stress on the feline in question. The new intruder will be seen as a threat and might be treated as one.

While that might seem like a lot of triggers, know that a cat probably isn’t experiencing every single one at once. Narrowing down an anxiety trigger is something a vet can help with as well as observation by the pet owner. It isn’t as overwhelming as it seems, especially with things like cat beds for anti-anxiety, pheromones, and routines readily available to help.


What to Do if Your Cat Has Anxiety

So here it is, the big question. What can a pet owner do if their cat has anxiety? Firstly, commit to the work. It might not be a simple or easy road, but to get kitty feeling its best, trial and error is necessary.

Second, consult this list of incredible products and simple strategies:

  • Make Space
    Ensure kitty has a safe space within the home that it identifies as its own. Whether it be a crate or a whole room, make sure that space is always available to the cat.

  • Cute Clothes
    Cats in shirts are exceptionally cute, but products like ThunderShirt are both cute and practical. While this option may not work for all cats, for some it has a calming effect and can be used to manage anxiety when triggered.

  • Make Time
    Spending time with the anxious cat speaking softly, petting, or cuddling lets the cat know they’re supported. While some cats shy away when anxious, know that being within sight can sometimes be enough to ease the stress of anxiety. Making time to do so can be a challenge but is worth it in the end.

  • Incorporate a Routine
    Making a routine is crucial to the stability of cats. In the wild, there is always a schedule and cats are very sensitive to changes in that schedule. The same goes for house cats. The crying to be fed at exactly the same time each day isn’t coincidental, it’s nature.

  • Invest in an Anti-Anxiety Cat Bed
    This is by far the most affordable and effective solution! An anti-anxiety, fluffy cat bed is a perfect invitation for cats to relax and feel safe. Cats often love to on the fluffy fabric, they’re machine-washable, and they come in multiple sizes and colors for every kind of cat. The Meowy features a super amazing Calming Cat Bed™, and there are also a few other anti-anxiety cat beds on Amazon.

  • Calming Pheromone Products
    Pheromone products like Feliway are often used to combat anxiety in cats. The pheromones create a calming atmosphere for the cat. These pheromones typically come in a plug-in diffuser but can also be found in collar form from KrohneTec.

  • Play
    This compounds on the time section a bit but is essential. Playing is very important for cats. Taking time to help them release pent-up stress is just as crucial as time for snuggling.


It Comes Down to Patience

It’s tough to navigate anxiety in cats. Thankfully with these solutions, cats everywhere will be on their way to enjoying napping in their anti-anxiety cat beds and enjoying a solid routine with their humans. Be patient with the cat and be patient as a human, the rest will fall into place.

40 CM <6 LBS
M 50 CM <11 LBS
L 60 CM <20 LBS
XL 70 CM <40 LBS