Is my cat stressed? – 5 tips to reduce anxiety


Cats are creatures of habit. When they are taken out of their comfort zone, they can become scaredy cats. Correctly reading your cat’s behavior is the first step in helping to calm their anxiety. Observe your cat and learn the signs that they need help.

Some behaviors to watch for:

  • Ears flattening
  • Change in grooming habits, either excessive or lacking
  • Mood changes
  • Appetite changes
  • Vomiting
  • Won’t use the litter box
  • Follows you everywhere
  • Hair on back and tail going up
  • Arched back
  • Hiding, withdrawal
  • Urine spraying
  • Vocalizing
  • Lethargy
  • Pacing
  • Hissing
  • Trembling
  • Biting
  • Swatting
  • Excessive scratching
  • Chewing
  • Fighting with other cats or dogs
5 tips to help manage your cat's anxiety
5 tips to help manage your cat’s anxiety

Try to anticipate possible stress and manage the situation to reduce your cat’s anxiety. The following 5 tips are not exhaustive by any streach, but they provide you with a great starting point to help your kitty be less anxious.

1. Create A Safe Place

If you are traveling, or you have moved, the quicker you get kitty used to their new environment, including gear such as cat carriers, outdoor play areas, travel cages, and other accessories, the better. Purchase these products long before you start on your trip and make them a part of your décor. Use new bedding and cooling mats so smells will be long-established before you hit the road.

2. Develop A Routine

Cats crave routine. It’s a natural de-stressor, so create as much routine as possible before your new adventure. Ease into your new life by introducing new accessories and habits over a period of time. Here are some ideas:

  • Use the food and water dishes you are going to be using on your trip. This will include a water bottle for hiking and outdoors.
  • Introduce treats you will be using for training.
  • The day after you decide you will be spending a portion of your life on the road, start training with halters and leashes.
  • Change to the litter boxes you are going to be using on your trip. If it’s more than one, then use them both.
  • Start using the litter you will using on your trip.
  • Clean litter box often as a dirty box can contribute to anxiety.

3. Use Calming Products

Thunder Jackets

If you are looking for a drug-free natural and gentle treatment, you can’t go past a thunder jacket. It applies gentle, constant pressure to ease anxiety. Get kitty used to wearing a calming jacket in good times so that they can handle trying times. The jacket should not be worn for long periods of time but is brilliant for overcoming stressful situations or thunderstorms. This is an essential product for your trip.

Cat Thunder Shirt
Cat Thunder Shirt

Buy on Amazon

As an Amazon Associate, Walkabout Cat earns from qualifying purchases

Feliway

Feliway spray uses cat pheromones to help relieve anxiety. Spray it on prominent objects such as the inside of the cage for about 20 minutes before putting your cat into it. You can use it anywhere. It must be used regularly (at least 3-4 times initially) until you notice your cat rubbing its head on the sprayed area. That’s when you know it’s working. Feliway spray is pheromone-based and clinically proven to reduce stress.

Feliway Cat Calming Pheromone Spray

Buy on Amazon

Rescue Remedy

A natural homeopathic alcohol-free product made from 5 flower essences. Rescue Remedy helps to settle your cat when stressed. Make sure you buy the proper product for pets as the human version has alcohol in it.

Rescue Remedy

Buy on Amazon

As an Amazon Associate, Walkabout Cat earns from qualifying purchases

CBD Oil

CBD oil works brilliantly for helping to calm stress. It can be used regularly, especially in high-stress times, such as when you start on your adventure. There are many inferior oils out there. Do your homework and make sure the pet CBD oil you purchase is made from quality ingredients. You need to check the laws for your country as well. We use CTFO, and you can buy their products online by clicking here.

If all of the above fail to reduce your cat’s anxiety, please visit your vet for advice.

4. Combat Boredom

Unpredictability and boredom can be stressful for cats. Playtime helps to alleviate stress. If your cat has a favorite toy or game, take it with you on the road. Laser pointers are great as they don’t take up much room. Create new games and introduce new toys as cats in confined areas can get quite bored. Keep your playtime interactions consistent and predictable. This includes the time of day you set aside for play.

Consistency is key in reducing cat anxiety.

Ensure you have at least one spot where your cat can scratch. This is not always easy to incorporate into a confined space. It may require creativity, such as adding a cat scratch mat or wrapping sisal rope material around the table leg.

Check Amazon for cat scratch mats

Cats need sunshine for vitamin D. Take your cat for a walk. Let them breathe the fresh air and be in harmony with nature. It is a natural way to de-stress. Good for us humans as well.

There will be many times when it is just not safe to take your cat outside. Cat anxiety does come from going stir-crazy (the cat that is, not you). If you can create a window box or platform in a window, kitty will be (who are we kidding) thankful. All cats are curious and love to see what is going on around them. Help kitty to be comfortable while allowing them to be one with nature.

5. On The Road

Anxiety is natural when you get underway, for everyone. Once you are on the road, allow time for the entire family (including kitty) to get used to your new lifestyle. The first couple of nights may be sleepless. It is to be expected. You can ease the stress by continuing with the routine you have worked hard to set before starting the adventure.

If you have planned well and have kitty used to all their new travel accessories, you will be well ahead of the game.

Allow for regular pit stops every 2 hours or so. Keep travel short, at least in the beginning. More than 4 hours will likely result in increased stress for all.

A cat’s behavior and characteristics are shaped by a complex mix of influences relating to the species, genetics, and experiences as a kitten. This means your cat’s personality is unique. Embrace that uniqueness by understanding it.

Any change in routine will likely increase anxiety in most cats. Using these tips, constant reassurance and positive rewards will help to calm behavior. You must manage and reduce your cat’s anxiety so you and kitty can get on with your adventure.

Recent Posts