Is Your Cat Stressed Out? 3 Signs of a Seriously Anxious Cat

Cats are highly sensitive creatures, which means they don’t react well to change. Whether the disruption is minor, such as moving clocks ahead an hour and changing a routine or major, such as moving to a new home, these things can lead to an anxious cat. Generally, geriatric cats seem to find changes in routine more difficult than younger, healthier cats. Learn to identify stress in your cat so you can help them relax and adjust to changes.

1) Your cat is urinating and defecating outside the litter box — Inappropriate elimination is a common side effect of stress in cats. Geriatric cats are more likely to suffer from osteoarthritis and disc disease, conditions that result in pain and can give your cat anxiety when it’s time to eliminate. Once a cat associates painful elimination with the litter box, they often begin to eliminate outside it or in other areas of your home. If your cat has started avoiding the litter box, they may be experiencing stress or may have an underlying medical condition.

2) Your cat is overgrooming and pulling out hair — During grooming, endorphins are released, making grooming a pleasant activity for your feline friend. When your cat is stressed, it makes sense they would try to relax by grooming. However, this behaviour could become compulsive, and your cat may continue it long after the stress has been resolved. Overgrooming and pulling out fur also can be signs of pain, so schedule an appointment with your veterinarian if you notice your pet grooming more than usual.

3) Your cat is more reclusive than usual — cats are creatures of routine, and stressed cats tend to hide and go to different areas than they used to or may shun interaction with you or other pets in the household. You may find your cat lurking in their favourite hiding spot more often, or they may set up shop in a dark closet. If you notice changes in your cat’s regular routines, this could indicate stress or be an indicator of other health problems your cat is hiding from you.

It is always a good idea to shed light on a cat’s sensitive nature and how they react to stress. Keep a close eye on your cat to see if they become stressed by changes in your household, and contact your veterinary team if you notice any worrying signs.