Cat Anxiety: 6 Reasons Your Cat May Be Stressed, and What to Do About It


An anxious cat isn’t ideal for the pet owner or feline. Not only is kitty feeling stressed out about the world around her, but this situation can also wreak havoc on your household. For example, cats with anxiety can exhibit destructive cat behaviors such as peeing outside the litter box or getting into areas they shouldn’t. Cat anxiety can also cut into your ability to get some quality bonding time with your pet.

While this can be a challenging problem to deal with and it won’t magically go away overnight, it is by no means impossible to overcome. We asked cat experts to weigh in on the issue—and provide some possible solutions to save everyone’s sanity. When you’re up to speed, find out if your cat’s hissing is related to anxiety, as well as if cats can cry.

Signs your cat is dealing with anxiety

Can cats have anxiety disorders? Yes, and it’s perhaps more common than you think. While some signs of cat anxiety are clear, others are more subtle, notes Jessica Herman, DVM, a veterinarian at Fuzzy Pet Health.

Obvious signs of cat anxiety may include:

  • Increased aggression
  • Hissing
  • Excessive vocalization (especially if it’s more than usual)
  • Pacing
  • Extreme mood changes
  • Becoming needier or afraid to leave your side

Subtle signs of cat anxiety may include:

  • Not using the litter box
  • Hiding
  • Trying to escape
  • Lethargy
  • Change in appetite (and therefore, weight)
  • Digestive issues such as diarrhea
  • Overgrooming, which may create bald spots or skin sores

Keep in mind that these various stressors can also trigger cat depression.

Common reasons why cats experience anxiety

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