It’s not a good sight when a cat is stressed. You tend to see classic symptoms like not eating, excessive grooming, hiding, hissing and aggressive action like growling, hissing, and even biting.
Your cat may become anxious when it’s time for a vet visit, when there’s too much noise, when you’re moving to a new home or when they are exposed to an unpleasant situation. Vets have even recorded that stressed cats tend to pee outside the litter box.
But the bad part is that you tend to also become anxious when your cat is anxious because you want to understand why they behave the way they do.
You may try to calm your cat if you notice the situation is litterbox related- simply get more litterboxes, especially when you’re a multiple cat household. However, some behaviors displayed by your cat may be tough for you to understand.
But this piece will show you some natural approach you can use to calm an anxious cat. Check them out below:
1. Create a space for them alone
Just like adults retreat to their homes, and teens to their bedroom, cats also need a little space to call their own. They tend to stay calm and feel less anxious when they know they are safe and away from the daily feline grind.
You can create a chill-out zone at a corner in your home, a place blankets, a few of your cat’s favorite toys, and some climbing equipment. Ensure you keep away anything that produces loud noises, you’re your fridge, TV, or washing machine.
But one thing to note is that nobody likes being trapped, including your cats. So try to make this space easily accessible by your cat whenever they need to.
2. Allow your cat to be a Cat
Some characters like climbing and exploring are part of every cat’s nature. So don’t try to restrict or scold your cat when it is displaying what it has evolved to do.
A good way to calm your anxious cat is to provide games, toys, and climbing equipment to allow them to embrace this side of themselves. You can create vertical spaces for them to climb, and encourage their scouting behavior. Just an idea- you can hide a treat around the house and allow your cat to sniff them out.
That said, it is also important not to shout at your cat when they do something wrong. Don’t assume they understand what you’re trying to say, even though they seem to have a good perception. The best way to correct any unwanted behavior is to demonstrate and reward positive behaviors around your cat. Punishing them won’t change a thing, instead, it would teach them to fear you, and that would heighten their anxiety.
Also, be careful not to grab your cat’s head or bear down on them when petting. This only stresses them out. Cats love to know they can escape a situation instead of being restricted.
3. Let them eat in peace
Your cats need a quiet place to feed peacefully. Keeping them in a noisy place where you have your fridge, washing machine, or dryer can trigger anxiety in your cat. Hence, ensure your cat’s food, water, and litter tray is kept somewhere free from noise and out of the way.
You need to understand that cats tend to become anxious when you keep their litter tray in a major thoroughfare such as the kitchen or hallway. They find it difficult to relax, especially when you have to step or pass over your cat. This builds stress and results in an anxious feline.
4. Take them outside
You will be building much stress and anxiety in your cat when you restrict them to a place. The truth is that cats are smart creatures and they always love new stimuli. So you can try to put them on a bungee harness or on a lead and let them hang out with you.
When you take your cat outdoors to experience new smells and sights, it stimulates their brain and helps their long-term development. Besides, it also relieves them of stress and anxiety.
5. Provide Distractions
When you sense anxiety and stress in your cats, you can provide them with climbable furniture and scratching posts to distract them. When they get a chance to play games and use toys, it burns out some nervous energy, and they exercise too. This helps to distract your cat and strengthen the bond between the two of you.
More so, these climbing and scratching posts and other cat accessories work well to entertain cats and lower their stress levels. This improves their overall quality of life.
Your cat tends to become anxious when the environment is not comfortable. So using a Feliway- a pheromone spray- is a good way to keep your cat calm and make them feel safe, especially when you introduce them to a new environment.
You can also use Feliway in your cat’s personal chilling zone, or get a diffuser for your home.
7. Calming Cat Treats
Another effective way to reduce anxiety in your cat is through calming pet treat having targeted nutrients that support a healthy nervous system and brain function.
These treats are considered one of the best natural remedies to reduce cats’ anxiety, and you can use daily or in times of stress. They come in flavors that cats like, including turkey and chicken, and they’re easy to digest.
The ingredients in calming cat treats have been shown to effectively reduce feline stress. A common ingredient is L-theanine, which is an amino acid supplement that helps reduce anxiety in both humans and animals.
However, you need to note that you may not see major changes after one chew of calming cat treats. You need to use it regularly, as is the case with supplementation in humans. Then you will start seeing gradual changes in behavior over time.
8. Use Pheromone Sprays
Pheromones are naturally produced by cats to help them relax. So the pheromone sprays are created to mimic the work of these substances. You can spray them directly onto your cat’s bed or use them in diffusers that you plug into a standard wall outlet.
This is simply the process of reconnecting your cat’s body with the natural energy in the ground. This has worked greatly to reduce the effect of stress on people, and it also works for kitties.
The Earth emits an electrical charge that helps balance the autonomic nervous system when transferred through the skin. Your cat will enjoy this effect daily if it spends time outside. But even if your feline is indoors only, you can still get them to sleep on a grounding sheet or pad to enjoy the effect of Earthing.
You can try using the sheet or pad to allow it to absorb your scent. This way, it becomes less threatening and more attractive to your cat. Your cat may even join you for some cuddle time.
Cats can become anxious when there is a change or the environment is not favorable. You don’t have to be harsh, but with these tips highlighted above, you can help your cat relieve anxiety. Remember, cats may not be verbal enough, so ensure you keep a check on their body language and mood.