Do you have a scaredy-cat? Just like people, kitties are all unique individuals, with their own likes, dislikes, quirks, and characteristics. While some of our feline friends are calm, fearless, and bold, others are very timid. Fluffy can even be prone to anxiety! Here, a Thorold, ON vet discusses anxiety in cats.
Fluffy can’t tell you if she is feeling stressed out, but she can give off some clear signs. Your cat may pace or meow incessantly, or may groom herself obsessively, even to the point of fur loss. Some kitties even chew or suck on specific fabrics. Others may withdraw, or go the other way, and become aggressive.
Many different things can trigger anxiety in cats. Major changes, such as a move, a new owner, or the arrival of a new roommate, are some common causes. Loneliness is another possibility, particularly in indoor kitties that don’t have enough entertainment or stimulation. Of course, Fluffy’s relationship with her human can also be a factor.
If you suspect that your cat may be suffering from anxiety, schedule a full veterinary exam ASAP. You’ll want to make sure that Fluffy’s symptoms aren’t caused by medical issues.
There are some things you can do to help your furball get over her anxiety. Try to keep Fluffy on a set schedule for her meals and playtime. Keeping her litterbox clean is also important. To prevent kitty boredom, make sure your feline pal has plenty of toys and at least one comfy window seat with a good view. Tiring your furry friend out with a fun play session may help, as it may burn off some of her nervous energy. Cat-calming products may also be beneficial. Just make sure your vet doesn’t object. Finally, give your kitty lots of TLC. Talk to her, pet her, and play with her, so she feels loved and safe.
Never punish Fluffy for her behavior. Cats don’t understand punishment, so you may just end up making your kitty even more anxious. On the other hand, rewarding your furball may just reinforce her behavior. The exact method you’ll need to use will depend on your pet’s personality, and the cause of her anxiety. Ask your vet for specific advice.
Do you have questions about caring for your kitty? Contact us, your Thorold, ON animal clinic, anytime!