If you think you have a scared cat, or a depressed or nervous cat then you could be right, cats can suffer from stress and anxiety just like the rest of us!
Most of us are aware of how fear and anxiety can impact on our own lives and physical health.
But do we realize that the same is true for our pets, and that they can suffer from stress causing them to become very nervous or appear permanently 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 recognized 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.
Fears and anxieties can develop into phobias and nervous behavior 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 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!
Recognizing 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 pet return to being a healthy and happy cat.
Common signs and changes in behavior that indicate stress can include:
Other signs of cat stress are:
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 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.
In most cases your cat will display symptoms of stress for a short period of time and with a little help from us, return to normal by themselves. However, if the symptoms of stress return or becomes persistent, then it is always best to get your cat 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 nervous cat behavior. 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.
As cat owners we must take responsibility in making sure that we do not cause our cats stress and to minimize anything which could make your pet anxious.
For instance :
Always follow the advice of your vet, or you could consult a specialist in cat behavior problems if your cat does not recover over time.
As cat owners we must be aware of how our own behavior 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 behavior.
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 behavior 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 behavior 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 homeopathy and plant essences can be tried, and special cat behavior training techniques can be used, but these need to be taught by a specialist.