How You Can Help Your Anxious Kitty Relax
By Eoin Connolly, Dogviously.org
Cats can become quite anxious for various reasons; maybe you have just moved to a new house or it is firework’s night or perhaps they are just feeling a bit off. Adopting a new kitty and bring him/her home will create some anxiety as you both get to know each other. Thankfully, there are things you can do to help when your beautiful kitty is anxious, but first, you need to…
Recognize the Signs
All cats (like humans) are different and you will be accustomed to the different ways that your pet displays his or her feelings. However, there are some tell-tale signs that he or she isn’t quite comfortable.
If your cat is unhappy, the end of their tail may twitch slightly—this is a warning sign! The stress levels haven’t quite set in yet, but they are letting you know that it is about to happen.
Along with the twitching tail, they may display their claws as a sign that they are trying to defend themselves from whatever it is they are anxious about.
This is a really common sign for most, if not all, cats. Hiding in a box, under the sofa or crouching and making themselves appear really small is a coping mechanism to feel invisible to any dangers.
To further protect themselves, cats may mark their territory by spraying. This is where they stand with their tail pointing to the sky and shoot urine horizontally in order to spread their scent and hopefully ward off any threats.
Some kitties may increase either the volume or the amount that they meow. It is a chance for them to verbally express their distress to you, in the hopes that you will recognize it.
Change in Appetite
This tends to only come with prolonged feelings of anxiety. However, if you see that their eating habits have changed, this may be cause for concern—at this point, if you are truly worried, take them to the vet.
So How Can You Help?
There are multiple ways in which you can aid your little kitty and you will more than likely know what is best for them at the time. But there are (like with the signs of anxiety) some universal rules that are sure to help. Just like with dog behavior issues, the key is to play things as safe as possible so as to avoid further spooking your pet.
Give Them Space
Your cat will feel the need to escape and you have to be prepared to step away and let them have their own space so they can. Understand that your kitty will return when they are ready to.
Do not try to reach out and stroke them—regardless of how much temptation is there!—they could see this as an added threat. Instead, just be there for when they are ready for some tender loving care.
Once they are back to their usual self and don’t seem as stressed, engage in some play from a distance. Rolling a ball or using a toy on a string will feel far less intimidating and, if they really do feel safe, they will be sure to play along with you.
Ensure You Provide Hiding Spaces
Perhaps use some packaging boxes or other hollow objects like baskets to create a safe haven for your gorgeous cat to go to when they are feeling stressed. Make it really dark and cozy for maximum safety. Cats love high places where they can look down on their world so be sure to provide high vertical space such as a cat tower.
Let Them Do Everything on Their Own Terms
It is essential that cats feel in control of what they do, where they go and who they see. With that in mind, be sure to allow your cat to come to you when they feel like it; do not overcrowd them.
Above all, you need to be giving off serene vibes. If you lose your temper or try to force anything, this will only result in your cat becoming more fearful. Stay calm and, as we have mentioned, allow them to control the situation.
It is important to remember that some of these signs and behaviors could be hiding other symptoms of things like pain and other illnesses. The best thing to do if you have already followed our advice is to seek guidance from a professional veterinarian, as they will be able to provide you custom solutions to your problems.