Cats can make wonderful pets, but just like humans, they also experience stress. And just like us, cats can’t always tell us when they are feeling overwhelmed or anxious. That is why it’s important for cat owners to be aware of the signs that their pet may be stressed out. Let’s look at the most common signs of stress in cats and how to identify them.
One of the most common signs of stress in cats is physical changes. Look for changes in your cat’s behavior such as excessive grooming, hiding or avoiding people and places, vomiting or diarrhea, and increased urination. Other physical symptoms include dilated pupils, rapid breathing, panting, shaking or trembling, fur pulling or licking off patches of fur due to over-grooming. These physical symptoms could indicate that your cat is feeling overwhelmed and needs help to calm down and relax.
When cats are stressed out they may display a range of behavioral changes such as increased aggression towards other animals or people, lack of appetite or eating too much food, change in sleep habits (sleeping more than usual), hiding from people and places they normally enjoy being around, vocalizing excessively (meowing louder than usual), pacing around restlessly and even rampaging through the home. All these behaviors are a sign that your cat is not feeling well mentally, so it’s time to take action.
If you suspect that your cat is displaying signs of stress then it’s important to seek professional advice from your veterinarian as soon as possible. Treatment options will vary depending on the cause of the stress but can include diet modifications (such as switching to high protein food), environmental enrichment (adding new toys to keep them occupied) and behavioral modification therapies such as desensitization therapy which helps cats become comfortable with certain situations they find stressful. Your vet will be able to provide tailored advice based on your pet’s individual needs so don’t hesitate to reach out for help if you feel like something isn’t quite right with your kitty friend!
Stress in cats can manifest itself in a variety of ways - both physically and behaviorally - so it's important for cat owners to be aware of potential warning signs that their pet may be feeling overwhelmed by its environment. If you think your cat might be suffering from stress then seek professional help from your vet who will work with you to create a treatment plan tailored specifically for your pet's individual needs. With patience and lots of love from its owner(s), any stressed-out kitty should be able to find peace again!