Cat Anxiety Guide: signs to look for and treatment methods
Know the signs of an anxious cat
- Scratching door frames, walls and furniture
- Peeing outside the litter box
- Hiding from you or visitors
- Fighting between cats in the household
- Changes in appetite
- Changes in activity
- Over-grooming or fur loss
Create a calm and comfortable home
- Essentials: Ensure that your cat has access to fresh water, a good diet, and an easily accessible and clean litter box.
- Space: Keep cats indoors for their safety.
- Autonomy: Allow your cat to set its own schedule, and avoid disruptions caused by sharing a space with other pets or visitors.
- Calm: Cats like peace and quiet. Avoid vacuuming or loud activities around the cat.
- Escape paths: Open doors to allow cats to move freely.
- Stability: Cats are territorial, and they like familiar, safe and secure areas.
Understand Cat Pheromones
Pheromones can be used to reduce stress-induced behavior in cats. By mimicking the natural pheromones that send calming messages to cats, pheromones reduce stress-related behaviors such as hiding, scratching or spraying.
Pheromones are a type of chemical communication that all cats use to interact with each other and the world. Different pheromones send different “messages” and influence behaviors.
Cats have many glands that release different pheromones. Gland locations include: face, chin, lower ears, forehead, cheeks, mouth, paw pads, and around the nipples of female cats.
To share or deposit their pheromone messages, your cats:
- Rub their head on objects
- Scratch or claw
- Bump heads
- Rub their bodies on objects and surfaces
- Spray (urine) mark territorial areas
Pheromones are a natural message cats use. Since pheromones don't enter the bloodstream, there is no risk of ever exposing your cat to too many pheromones. Pheromones influence many different cat behaviors, interaction and emotions.
Pheromones are used to:
- Mark territory
- Identify and learn about other cats
- Create familiarity
- Enhance bonding
- Signal to sexual partners
- Help mother cats and kittens bond, identify and be in harmony with each other
- Signal happiness, contentment, and reassurance
- Signal stress or fear
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Updated November 11, 2020