Cats are popular pets. Unlike dogs, they don’t need constant care and attention, although some breeds are more demanding than others. It’s OK to leave a cat home alone for the day since most moggies will either sleep or venture outdoors for a wander around. Cats are not the most demonstrative companions, but they can be very loving and affectionate. A happy cat will curl up on your knee, purr, and sometimes play if it is feeling energetic enough. An unhappy, anxious cat will hide out of sight, be aggressive, pee everywhere, groom excessively, and be very vocal. As you can probably tell, it isn’t much fun living with an anxious cat. So what causes anxiety in cats and what can you do to solve the problem?
A change in their living environment is the most common cause of anxiety in felines.
New Member of the Household
Introducing a new pet to the household often upsets the status quo, even if your existing cat is the most chilled out feline ever. Cats are very territorial. Unlike dogs, cats are often happier living in splendid isolation, so even though you assume your cat is lonely, in fact, he’s quite happy on his own. Once a new cat comes along, there will be a period of adjustment while both cats decide who is the dominant cat.
Older cats may fight and show aggression to a usurper on their territory. An older cat may attack a playful kitten, or if you introduce a mature cat, it could get nasty.
The key to success is to introduce the cats to each other gradually. Restrict the new cat to one room initially, so each has a chance to get used to the other cat’s scent in relative safety. Once the new cat has settled, let him meet the other cat under close supervision.
The same strategy applies when you introduce a new dog to the household. Don’t rush the process and make sure the cats have a safe place to go where the dog can’t reach them.
Moving home is another source of cat anxiety. Like people, cats get used to a home and uprooting them can cause problems. Whilst you may see a new home as an excuse to purchase a nice new cat bed, this is a bad idea. Your cat will appreciate the familiarity of his smelly bed, so don’t throw it away. Keep your cat in for a week, so he has a chance to settle down and get used to the new house.
Trauma and Stress
Rescue cats often display symptoms of anxiety because they have suffered trauma. You can’t do much about this other than being patient and showing your cat plenty of love. Once they come to trust you, they should settle down.
Plugging in a Feliway is one way to ease anxiety in cats. Feliway plug-ins emit natural pheromones that can ease the transition when introducing a new pet. Cannabis sativa supplements can also help with situational anxiety problems.