Advice on how to help an anxious cat

Posted by Maggie the Moggie. December 4th 2013.

Our feline friends are such a pleasure. Their presence around the home is usually soothing and therapeutic. Whether they are lounging around with you on the couch while you watch TV or snuggling up into bed with you on a cold winter’s night, their companionship is worth the time, attention and money you invest in their upkeep.

It’s therefore distressing when your pet shows signs of being unhappy; in other words, when there are indications that your pet suffers from anxiety.

anxious cat

Signs of anxiety

The main question that goes around a cat owner’s head when they are observing uncharacteristic behaviour in their pet is just what are the signs of anxiety? An anxious cat urinates in inappropriate places, scratches excessively, vocalises more than usual and takes to hiding.

An anxious cat will repeatedly urinate outside its cat litter box. Typically, it will urinate against a wall, in its owner’s bed and close to entranceways where it can smell other cats passing by. It does all of this to mark its territory in order to feel more secure.

When it comes to meowing more than usual, the purpose is to either increase distance between itself and a person or animal or to get attention from the owner.

Typical causes of anxiety

The top cause of anxiety in a cat is simply and not surprisingly, its environment.

If a cat feels crowded out in its home by other felines, it may feel the anxiety of having to compete with them for food and attention. Of course, there are plenty of cats which live together happily enjoying one another’s company but some pets simply can’t take the stress of having to accommodate another animal in what it feels is its territory.

Simple factors such as availability of food and water and the temperature of a home may also induce anxiety. If your cat is meowing excessively, check its food and water dishes. They may need to be replenished.

Dealing with feline anxiety

If your cat’s worrying behaviour is chronic, you’ll have to do more than keep an eye on its feeding dishes and cat litter. If you have more than one pet, start by ensuring that you have cat litters for each and maybe one spare dotted around your home in spots which are convenient for you and your pet. Not having to share its toilet facilities will make a cat feel more secure.

The same goes for feeding dishes. Make sure that your pets have their own bowls and also place water dishes around your home so your cat will have no problem quenching its thirst.

Help your cat feel more secure in its environment by placing climbing frames and scratching places in strategic spots and provide it with a selection of toys so that it can entertain itself.

Of course, don’t do this at the risk of turning your home into a cat domain! You live there too so find a happy medium that keeps everyone happy.

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