Cats are very complex and interesting little furballs. While it may be easy to crack jokes about the fact that Fluffy is a cold and aloof serial killer, the truth is that these cute furballs are actually quite emotional, and can feel fear, anxiety, depression, and other emotions. A Fort Bragg, NC vet discusses feline anxiety in this article.
Fluffy can feel anxious for many reasons. Major changes, such as moving, getting a new owner, the arrival of another pet, or even a different litterbox can trigger it. Kitties can also suffer from a sort of feline PTSD after a traumatic event, such as being hurt, abandoned, or trapped. Illness or injury can also cause anxiety, as can friction with another household pet. Separation anxiety is another possibility.
Our feline pals are all unique individuals, so they won’t all show signs of anxiety in the same way. Some kitties may not want to be held or petted, while others will withdraw to an isolated hiding spot. Fluffy may act aggressive, or she may go in the opposite direction and become very clingy and affectionate. Other warning signs include unkempt fur, reduced appetite, litterbox avoidance, and aggression. Fluffy’s body language may also offer some clues: anxious cats may breath rapidly or tuck their tails, and they may have dilated pupils.
There are ways to help Fluffy feel more at ease. If she’s adjusting to a change, make sure she has comfy hiding spots to retreat to and give her space. Don’t force attention on her: that may just make matters worse. Talking to her in a friendly tone can help quite a bit. It’s also important to make sure that your kitty has plenty of toys, and take time to play with her daily. Burning off extra energy can help quite a bit! If the issue is friction with other pets, ask your vet for advice on helping ease tensions.
If you aren’t sure why your feline friend is acting anxious, contact your vet to schedule a complete exam. It’s important to either diagnose or rule out potential medical issues. If Fluffy gets the all-clear, you can move on to addressing the matter as a behavioral issue. However, medication may help. Ask your vet for more information.
Do you know or suspect that your cat has anxiety? Contact us, your Fort Bragg, NC animal clinic, anytime!