If you think you have a scared cat, or a depressed or nervous cat then you could be right and they might be suffering from stress and anxiety!
Most of us are aware of how fear and anxiety can impact on our own lives and physical health.
But do we realise that the same is true for our pets, and that they can suffer from stress causing them to become very nervous or appear permantly scared and jumpy?
Cats love routine, familiarity and the feeling of security, so when they perceive that things are not how they usually are then they can feel anxious or even depressed, just like we can.
And if the cause of their stress is not recognised and improved, then their condition can continue to get worse, with possible implications for their physical health as well as simply making them very unhappy.
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Fears and anxieties can develop into phobias and nervous behaviour can become excessive and irrational, resulting in a timid, aggressive or scared cat.
So to help your scared cat be happy again, try following the tips and advice on these pages. Identify which simple changes you could make to prevent and alleviate their feline fears.
And why not try some of the relaxing pet products that are available such as Calm Care herbal drops, or a Farn Comfort Zone w/ Diffuser scent diffuser to help your cat feel calm and secure until things have settled back to normal. After all, a worry-free kitty means a worry-free kitty owner!
Recognising the signs of cat stress or anxiety, and knowing what makes an animal become scared, can help us to get to the root of the problem. That way we can help our beloved pet return to being a healthy and happy cat.
Common signs and changes in behaviour that indicate stress can include:
Did you know that cats can also purr when stressed or when they are in pain which surprises a lot of people. It is believed that this is a natural mechanism that they will use to try to comfort themselves. So it is not unusual for a scared cat to spend a lot of time purring when there is no apparent reason for it.
Feliway is a well known product that mimics the natural pheromones in a cats scent helping them to feel safe and secure. Available in diffusers such as Farn Comfort Zone w/ Diffuser, it can help you create a happy and contented home for both you and your cat.
Relaxing herbal supplement drops such as Calm Care are also available. These are specially formulated by veterinarians to reduce anxiety in a safe and natural way and can simply be added to the cats food or directly into their mouth.
Products such as these have been designed to help cats relax during periods of stress or change, allowing them to adjust to new situations and learning to calm down until things return to normal.
A happy and relaxed cat equals a happy and relaxed owner!
If your pet displays any of these symptoms or behaviours for a short time but then returns to normal, then there is probably nothing to worry about. But if the behaviour returns or becomes persistent, then it is always best to get them checked out by the vet.
This is because it is important to be able to rule out any underlying medical conditions that may be causing the problem. You can then concentrate on identifying other possible causes for the nerbous cat behaviour. Once identified, you can then set about alleviating the problem of cat stress for good.
There can be many other causes, but this should be a long enough list to get you thinking about what might be creating your cats stress or anxiety, causing tham to be a nervous, depressed or scared cat.
Always follow the advice of your vet, or you could consult a specialist in cat behavior problems. But common sense can point the way to a lot of solutions once the cause of the problem has been identified.
For instance, if your pet is scared of loud noises then obviously it makes sense to keep it indoors on stormy days or when fireworks are going off.
Keep them in the quietest room in the house with toys and food available and the curtains closed. Allow a place for your cat to retreat to, like a space under the sofa or a covered pet bed.
Some owners find that having music playing or the television on, or 'white noise' like a fan operating or the washing machine going, all help to cut out the frightening noises and help the animal feel that everything is normal.
While you are making any necessary changes to your home environment and while your kitty is learning that it doesn't have to feel scared any more, you can also try using some of the stress reducing products currently available, such as Calm Care herbal drops, or Feliway diffusers such as Farn Comfort Zone w/ Diffuser.
These products can help your pet through particular periods of stress, allowing them to feel more relaxed and you to feel less worried!
As cat owners we must be aware of how our own behaviour might affect our pets as well. Every owner knows just how much cats can be sensitive to our own moods.
They can often tell if we are sad, depressed, unwell or angry. If you are afraid during a thunderstorm or when fireworks are going off outside, your cat will pick up on the feelings of fear you are giving off.
So try to act confident and as if everything is normal. Another thing to bear in mind is how we react to nervous cat behaviour.
It is very hard to resist petting and comforting them if they appear to be in distress in any way, but it is possible that by doing so, we are in fact reinforcing their scared cat behaviour and making them feel that there really must be something to be afraid of. By stroking and comforting the cat we can be 'rewarding' the behaviour so they learn to repeat it! Distraction can be a much better option, for instance a game with a piece of string or feather can help to take the cats mind off of the cause of their fear.
In extreme cases prescribed medication may be necessary and your vet is best placed to advise about this.
Alternative therapies such as homoeopathy and plant essences can be tried, and special cat behavior training techniques can be used, but these need to be taught by a specialist.