The Most Frequent Causes of Cat Anxiety

Cat anxiety may come about for unknown reasons, but it can produce very noticeable health and behavioral problems. Like humans, cats process different stresses in a variety of ways. A particular stressor may not manifest detrimental behavior or health effects for a long period of time. Cats are subject to emotional stresses as well as anxiety related to physical situations and environmental changes.

The first step to keeping your cat calm and free of anxiety is to familiarize yourself with the common causes of cat stress. Having identified the potential sources of your pet's anxious behavior, you can experiment with ways to eliminate those stressors from his life. The most frequent contributing factors to cat anxiety include the following:

Environmental Stressors

Cats are acutely aware of their environment, and a change you might not even notice may significantly affect your pet. The most obvious environmental changes involve physical relocation, as when the pet is moved to a new house or part of the house, and change of family members, as when a new cat or person is introduced to the living situation.

Smaller changes to a cat's daily routine may cause stress that lead to cat biting or other detrimental behaviors. If you change your cat's meal times, or even the time that you leave for or return from work, your cat may respond with anxiety. Loud noises and unusual or frightening passersby may also disturb your cat and cause him stress.

Emotional Stressors

Cats are subject to emotions like sadness, depression, anger, and fear. If other animals in the home chase and terrorize him, your cat may develop anxieties based upon fear. Your cat may also be frightened by new furniture or objects in the home, or by another cat playing in an unfamiliar way.

The presence of a new pet may cause emotional stress as well as environmental stress. An older cat may respond with anxiety if family members suddenly pay more attention to a new pet than they do to him. The change in social hierarchy that accompanies a new pet in the house may also cause your cat stress.

If your cat displays unusual and erratic behavior without significant problems relating to health, he may be suffering from anxiety. Keep a log of any potential environmental or emotional stressors that may have impacted your pet, and note his reaction as you modify his environment to reduce those stressors one at a time. For instance, a cat that is afraid of the outdoors may calm down if the curtains are kept closed for a few days.

It is important to keep in mind that cats reflect, to a greater or lesser degree, the anxieties of their owners. If you are frantic and disorganized, it will be difficult for your pet to remain calm and collected. In addition to managing the stressful factors in your cat's life, consider how you may relieve stress in your own life. In doing so, you will not only help your cat to lead a calm and happy life, but you will also help yourself to do the same.