8 Ways to Reduce Stress and Anxiety in Your Cat

Shy Tense Cat Stares from the Back of a Kennel with Big Wide Eyes in Grass Valley, CA, United States

Cats are very sensitive and emotional creatures.

Sometimes they can get stressed out easily, which can cause them to lash out at those around them.

When you notice that your cat seems particularly stressed or anxious.

It’s important to take steps to help him calm down and relax so he doesn’t hurt himself or someone else in the house.

Here are eight great tips on how to help your cat overcome anxiety and stress so you can enjoy a peaceful time together again.

 

1) Have a positive relationship with your cat

If you’re struggling with trying to have a positive relationship with your cat.

A great first step is creating an enriched environment for your feline.

Enrichment is important for all cats—not just those who are showing signs of anxiety or stress.

An enriched environment can help reduce stress by giving your cat plenty of toys and activities (like interactive games) that will prevent them from getting bored or acting out.

Cats also need plenty of opportunities to explore and enjoy outdoor time.

A good rule of thumb is allowing your cat outside at least once a day, but more if possible!

And remember: even if you don’t live in an ideal location for letting your cat roam free outside.

There are still lots of ways to give them access to fresh air and sunshine through windows and doors.

 

2) Play with your cat

Cats are predators, so much of their time is spent hunting.

When we leave them alone for long periods of time, they can develop some pretty intense anxiety.

Just like us, cats will feel more relaxed when they know they have a purpose and something to focus on—and that’s where playtime comes in.

Playtime is also a great opportunity for both you and your cat to bond.

Cats are very social animals who need human interaction just as much as we do!

Plus, it’s been shown that stroking or petting your cat lowers blood pressure and releases endorphins (the same hormone released during exercise).

So next time you want to relax, try spending some quality time with your kitty.

You might be surprised at how well it works!

 

3) Create cozy hiding places

Cats naturally gravitate toward dark, quiet places like closets or under beds.

Give them a safe spot to hang out at home (e.g., a spare bedroom) with a comfy bed and some cool places for them to hide.

This will help your cat feel secure, happy, and less anxious when you aren’t around.

If you have an outdoor cat, consider adding a cozy shelter that they can go into during storms or while they wait for their food.

It’s also a good idea to keep plants away from windows where cats may accidentally get stuck.

I had one family come into my office after their cat got its tail stuck in a cactus!

We were able to safely remove it without incident, but it was still scary for everyone involved.

Keep those paws inside!

 

4) Spay/neuter your cat

Spaying or neutering your cat not only helps control overpopulation but can also reduce anxiety.

Declawing your cat is a controversial practice as it does not treat anxiety or help with behavior problems.

But rather takes away one of their natural ways of interacting with their environment.

If you do decide to declaw your cat, don’t let them outside where they could get into trouble.

Cats who are indoors only and spayed/neutered are less likely to develop anxiety than cats who go outdoors.

Other things that can help your cat overcome anxiety include changing their diet (eliminating chicken).

Adding more vertical space in their home, providing lots of scratching posts/toys, and getting regular veterinary care (vaccinations, parasite prevention).

Keeping litter boxes clean and making sure they have plenty of water available at all times.

 

5) Make your home smell good

Aromatherapy is one of many different ways in which we can help reduce our cats’ anxiety and stress.

Put a few drops of your favorite essential oil into a diffuser or spray bottle (make sure it’s safe for pets) and spritz a few misty squirts around your home.

Ideally in areas where you know your cat spends time.

Some good choices include lavender, eucalyptus, lemongrass, tea tree, and rosemary.

The smell will be calming to both you and your cat!

It may also be helpful to talk to your vet about natural supplements that can help reduce your cat’s anxiety.

These supplements are often used with great success by people with anxious dogs, so there’s no reason they wouldn’t work on cats as well.

 

6) Make sure your cat has plenty of food, water, and litter boxes

Cats can get stressed out when they don’t have enough of these three things.

If your cat is peeing outside her litter box, make sure there’s one in every room of your house, even if you only have one cat.

If you plan on having more than one kitty at home, then start off with at least two litter boxes for each cat.

Keep them clean, too!

It’s also important that your cat has plenty of food available to him at all times.

Feed him twice a day and make sure he has access to water whenever he wants it.

You may need multiple bowls around your house so he always has a fresh supply nearby.

 

7) Consult a vet before trying new things

When it comes to mental health, cats can be a bit of a mystery.

They don’t have therapists. They don’t talk.

And they have no problem hiding their discomfort if you aren’t paying attention.

If your cat is showing signs of anxiety or stress, it’s important to consult with your vet before trying new things—especially medications—to treat her condition.

The last thing you want is for your cat to become dependent on drugs when she doesn’t need them.

As always, prevention is key: There are many ways to reduce your cat’s anxiety and stress without medication.

 

8) Make changes gradually

Cats are masters of self-preservation, so when making big changes in their environment it’s important to make them gradually.

This will help your cat adjust to new situations more easily.

If you want to introduce a new pet into your home, for example, start by introducing them at a distance (through a screen door or window) before allowing them to interact face-to-face.

If you plan on moving or remodeling your home, do so one room at a time while keeping your cat in his normal routine as much as possible.

It can also be helpful to hire a professional trainer if you have specific behavior issues that need addressing.

Share this post

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on pinterest
Share on print
Share on email