Feline Fears & Anxieties

Portrait of a white cat on a black background…

The incredible personalities of our pets can be the biggest joy in our fulfillment of owning and loving them.  A common faux “paw”, cats are often left to find their own happiness and contentment in an assumed preference for “social distancing”.  Cats, like humans, need companionship and emotional balance in their lives and can experience anxieties and fears, especially if their bond is underestimated or their needs are misunderstood.  We want to show you how to cope with feline fears & anxieties.

Observe your cat’s habits, responses to noise, their perk when a bug dances on the window, or their personality when it is time for feeding. Observing can sharpen your connection to your feline and help you identify happy associations. Cats can express negative emotions from frustration, loneliness and even anxiousness in subtle or confusing ways. Your Felix may prefer the company of you in the room rather than a lap snuggle for joy like your Fido, and this positive connection can be less obvious to the family. Anxiety and stress from household changes as well as from dysfunctional bonds with their humans can lead to nervous behavior, aggression, or even displays such as urination and defecation outside of the proper “potty” box;  although can be a medical issue, inappropriate eliminations are also known to be affiliated with the expression of stress.   

Achieving a well-balanced, happy kitty can be challenging. Therapy for deterring anxiety in cats can include supplying occupational items when they are left home alone such as offering toys and stimuli including catnip-infused mice, providing a seat near the window for bird watching and sun-bathing, and enriching their environment with instinctually fun elements such as scratching posts. Calming “aroma therapy” can be added around the home such as with pheromone diffusers, like Feliway. Prepping areas where they hide with convenient access to food and water as well as a litter box can be considerate and comforting, rather than expecting your feline to cross a scary social event or noisy area of the home for their necessities. Medications are available to assist in easing feline worries if needed, following a consultation with your veterinarian, and now anxiety targeting prescription diets are also available.  

Cats enjoy games and fun as well as companionship which we can all relate to, though being understood is step number one in reducing their stress and anxiety. Achieving clearer communication, designating time for games and providing opportunities for relaxation are great ways to start ensuring your fantastic felines are fearless.  

Find more information on emotional health and stress-free interactions at wonderful sites such as Fear Free and enjoy spoiling your furry friends with some new toys and enrichment items from “stores” like Chewy.com!  We hope this taught you how to cope with feline fears & anxieties.

By: Dr Jennifer Hennessey  Animal ER