Cats are naturally skittish by nature, but there is a clear difference between a cat being stressed and naturally jumpy. When your cat is stressed, they will display certain behaviors to let you know that they’re experiencing anxiety and nervousness. No one wants to see their kitty stressed. Be sure to watch for any or all of these signs so you can help center your cat’s chi once more…
Here are 6 signs your cat is stressed–and how to help!:
Can You Hear Me Meow?
If your cat is stressed, they will likely announce their frustrations by becoming increasingly vocal. This is their way of telling you, “hey, human, something is not okay” in their language. Keep watch for this, and this sign of stress might be clearer to spot should your cat naturally be soft-spoken. (Should you have a naturally chatty cat (there are many cat breeds that are naturally chatty), then this sign might be naturally dismissed by you as their owner.)
Urinating Outside of Their Litter Box
Uh-oh, did kitty make a mess? Sudden and unexplained changes in your cat’s bathroom habits can be a clear indication that your cat is experiencing stress. This stress signal is easy to spot–and smell–and shouldn’t be taken lightly. If bathroom accidents become a new habit, it’s best to take your cat in for a medical examination at your veterinary office.
We all know that cats spend their fair share of the day grooming. But if you happen to notice that your cat is excessively and/or anxiously grooming themself, this is a clear sign that your cat is stressed. Cats sometimes use grooming as a method of self-calming, so your anxious cat who is stressed might excessively groom themselves as a way of trying to calm themself down.
De Donde Esta Gato?
Here kitty, kitty, where are you? If you find your cat suddenly hiding or retreating more often than not, then this could an indication that your cat is stressed and would rather not be seen as a way to cope. If your cat is usually friendly and outgoing, you will see this sign your cat is stressed rather clearly. Has a major change occurred recently in your cat’s life? Purrhaps a move, a favorite person or pet no longer present, or even a change to their diet/routine/litter? Cats are finicky beings who do not respond well to change. For successful transitions, slow and steady is key. Please take into consideration any life-changing events that could have occurred in your cat’s life that may be causing them to run off and hide.
A Sudden Onset of Aggression
Again, if your cat is usually calm and sweet–and suddenly those claws are coming out–this can be a sign that they are stressed. Our cats don’t have the ability to sit you down and tell you exactly what’s bothering them, so if they react out of anger or frustration, take notice. Never for any reason should you shame or scold your cat for being suddenly aggressive towards you or others in the home. When a cat is stressed, they are highly defensive as a means to deal with the situation. Help to make things easier on them and come to them with calmness and concern.
Changes in Eating Habits
Okay, so this one can be closely linked to a human trait. When you are stressed, do you ease your frustration by overindulging yourself with food, or are you one that avoids food as a way to handle your stress? Your cat is the same as you when it comes to managing their stress in this aspect. A cat can choose to overeat or undereat as a means to cope, and as the person who is filling their food bowl daily, you will be able to see this sign your cat is stressed loud and clear.
Want to Help Your Feline Friend Alleviate Their Stress?
If you’ve read this article and determined that yes, in fact, your cat is experiencing stress, here are some helpful tips you can implement to help make them happy once more:
- Engage with your cat on a regular basis. Purrhaps something as simple as giving your cat undivided attention can help to bring them joy once more. Our cats look to us for companionship–despite what all those silly assumptions say about cats being “solitary” creatures.
- Give your cat a zen den that’s all theirs. We know that space in your home might not be abundant enough to give your cat their own room. (Freddie Mercury had a bedroom for each of this cats!) But you can still provide them with a closed off or secluded area that is just theirs. Here, they can retreat to so that they can find inner peace. Purrhaps place a sweater or blanket of yours with your scent in there so that they can cozy up to this familiar scent that they are naturally drawn to.
Take a close look at what your cat is eating on a daily basis.
- Just like for humans, health is wealth for your precious cat. Be sure that your cat is on a high-quality cat food. This is beneficial to their health, which in turn, will be beneficial to their overall well-being.
- Eliminate stress factors for your cat. Look, cats know when something is amiss. If there’s a new pet in the home, a move, a new family member (specifically a baby), or a family member (whether human or pet) has passed, this can cause a sudden onset of stress in your cat. Give them time, show them love, and try to take their feelings into consideration. Time is the best medicine for wounds on our heart, and your cat needs time to adjust.