Moving house, changes in the environment, unfamiliar people visiting the house or the arrival of a new baby or pet can all trigger a response. Behavioral experts explain cat depression as “an absence of joy”. Vet advice courtesy of Dr Cathy Lau BSc (Hons) BVSc BVMS from Greencross Vets Baldivis. Cats are capable of forming very strong bonds and attachments to their owner just like dogs do, and being left alone can cause cat separation anxiety. As you clean out the litter box, notice any abnormalities or changes in their habits. While the symptoms of separation anxiety may differ from cat to cat, there are often some common symptoms that are displayed. There are a few factors that can trigger anxiety in felines. Most often, kittens who display an anxious mentality do so because of genes, and/or a lack of care and socialization with people early on. "But your doctor will most likely make recommendations based on your individual cat, what the fear trigger is, and how you can alleviate your cat's fears and anxieties through behavioral conditioning.". Visitors – Whether it’s a weekend girls trip, a couch-surfing cousin, or an extended mother-in-law’s stay, visitors can make any kitty anxious. Remember that cats are just as sensitive to emotions as dogs, so the calmer and more relaxed you are, the calmer and more relaxed your cat will be. It’s important that you teach your kitten to be alone starting at a young age and watch carefully for signs of separation anxiety in cats. Fact: Depression in cats is a real and recognized condition. Cat anxiety and phobias can form when your cat can’t escape or get away from a stimulus, such as being confined during fireworks or living with a pet that frightens them. They will often do this on things that smell like you, such as your clothes or in your bed. This can get so extreme your kitty could wind up bald in large patches due to their compulsive behavior. This can cause problems in new relationships, but it can work if the person you’re dating is good at being reassuring and attentive. However, each cat is different, which is why it's important to work on a treatment plan with your vet. i soothed him and told him how much i loved him, and how she was not a replacement. Cats that have not been socialized at all are often feral and behave more like a wild animal than a domestic house pet. How Can You Treat Anxiety in Cats? Begin by evaluating your cat’s daily life. Stress is one of the major causes of anxiety and one that you have a certain level of control over. But first I will ask you some questions to answer to yourself. (kittens, eating, male) User Name: Remember Me: Password Please register to participate in our discussions with 2 million other members - it's free and quick! Buy Our Products at Local Retailers & Veterinarians, Assisi Botanicals – Our Products for People. Hello and welcome to TCS. As soon as we began packing, he started peeing outside the litter box, was aggressive toward my other cat during meal times, and became super clingy, which I later learned are all symptoms of anxiety in cats. While the vet was never able to determine what caused my cat's anxiety, Teddy's symptoms started the first time we moved. If you have a kitten younger than 14 weeks and they have not been properly handled and socialized with enough human contact, it can cause anxiety and fearful behaviors. Orphaned kittens are also more prone to anxiety. My new kitten is causing my existing cat to be stressed/upset. If your feline friend is trying to get your attention with excessive meowing, and you're not sure what kitty wants, they might be trying to tell you that they're feeling dark and twisty. "If your cat has become excessively chatty in their meow language then this definitely means they are trying to tell you something," iHeart Cats explained. Cats experience great joy when they are able to do what they are created to do, such as hunt and stalk their prey. In fact, not only do cats help (but they just happen to have extra super healing powers) but also other pets can help with those suffering from depression or anxiety. This is something I personally have experience with: My cat Teddy used to suffer from severe anxiety to the point that he was on a low-dose anxiety medication for a few years. An Absence of Joy. Cats experience extreme fear and anxiety when a situation becomes too much for them to … Eliminating the cause of the stress or helping your cat handle the situation is the key to relieving the anxiety. Kitten starts to interact with littermates and can walk fairly well. If one of those crucial elements are missing, you've got an unhappy cat. If your cat’s anxiety is new or severe, make an appointment with your vet to discuss possible causes and treatment options. Sometimes kittens that are experiencing underlying health issues can feel anxious. Can stress cause a cat to vomit? However, kittens that have not been socialized well could become timid and even reclusive. She constantly cries and wants my attention which is understandable as she is a baby but it is becoming way too much for me. Cats with separation anxiety have an illness, no different than diabetes or kidney disease. It’s a good idea to remember that cats are relatively solitary creatures. Create a safe space for kitty that's all their own so your cat can retreat when it begins to feel anxious or overwhelmed. If the new pet is not introduced correctly, your cat may become anxious over this major change. Stress and anxiety can have debilitating effects on a human's health. Why Do Cats Have Anxiety? i let the kitten run around, and i held on to the big guy. Also, a lack of regular play and stimulation with people can leave your cat feeling anxious and bored. A sad cat alters their normal behavior. A cat tree and puzzle feeder are good ideas too. Kittens who are taken from their mother too soon are more likely to display symptoms of cat separation anxiety. Since a cat can’t come right out and say something hurts, or they feel bad, they could express their feelings with clingy behavior or fearful antics like hiding. If you can find and resolve any underlying any health issues, you could also resolve their anxiety. It’s necessary to seek medical attention for your cat if they are in this condition because prolonged anxiety can definitely have an affect on their mental well-being in the long term. That makes it challenging to bring a new kitten home and introduce them to each other. It’s easy to think your cat is just misbehaving or being spiteful when they do this, however that’s inaccurate. Certain breeds may be more geared to anxiety and a nervous nature than others. Diarrhea and constipation are common reactions to stress. A psychological trigger may be to blame, like a traumatic experience, lack of proper socialization or a history of abuse or neglect. More often than not, their response to a real or perceived threat is to flee and/or hide, rather than fight. Just like people, cats have physiological responses to outside stressors, and how well a kitten adjusts to those things just depends on their nature, how they have been raised and socialized, and genetics. Because of this close attachment, cats commonly develop separation anxiety when left alone by their owners. The worrying associated with anxiety disorders is disproportionate to the events that trigger it … Anxiety is a condition that causes obsessive thinking, along with feelings of tension, restlessness, and the inability to set aside a worry or fear. Orphaned kitties can also have problems. Many different things can cause cat anxiety. Amy Marder is a Clinical Assistant Professor at the Tufts University School of Veterinary Medicine, and is the owner of New England Behavior Associates in Lexington, Massachusetts. Remember to give your kitty lots of love and attention, as they enjoy spending time with you, and they view the love and attention as ‘safe’. Genetics, as well as cat depression, can also play a role in feline separation anxiety. It may not be as obvious as with a dog, since cats don’t bark and howl. In general, cats don't like to be startled. "Anxiety is the anticipation of future dangers from unknown or imagined origins that result in normal body reactions (known as physiologic reactions) associated with fear; most common visible behaviors are elimination (urination and/or passage of bowel movements), destruction, and excessive vocalization (barking, crying)," PetMD explained on its website. If any of these things are missing in a cat’s day to day routine, it can trigger a stress response. Disclaimer: These statements have not been evaluated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Dealing with a feral kitten can be difficult to overcome. One of the most common symptoms of an anxiety disorder is excessive worrying. Typically, cats have the reputation of being very independent. Kitten making my anxiety worse! Like previously mentioned, cats are creatures of habit. Practice leaving your little cuddle buddy in a room that is safe and stocked with a litter box and food and water for short periods of time, and gradually increase the times when you see they are adjusting well. 2020 Bustle Digital Group. This can cause their owners great anxiety … Some effective ways to help treat your cat’s anxiety include: Using Natural Supplements Like CBD. The anxiety and stress of the unknown is what typically causes cats to spray. This will help you understand her reasons for behaving or misbehaving. "Often this vocalization will sound very troubled, something like a distress call that they need you as they are desperately trying to get your undivided attention.". Much like dogs, cats have their own unique personalities, with quirks and idiosyncratic behaviors specific to them. And they will usually pepper that with eating, of course. Hi all, I think I just need to get some thoughts out of my head, and perhaps some reassurance. Think loud noises like thunderstorms and fireworks. Mackers81 PetForums Newbie. Veterinarians at The Cat Guide sums up a kitty's life perfectly: sleep, patrol, hunt, groom, and sleep. This is especially important if you have more than one cat, as sometimes other cats like to bully their compatriots. "For an animal that sleeps up to 16 hours on almost any given day, a restless cat shouldnât be a difficult sign of anxiety to spot," iHeart Cats noted. A new study found social media use, television viewing and computer use over a four-year period predicted more severe symptoms of anxiety and depression among adolescents. Be prepared to devote a good amount of time helping her adjust to this new life and to attend to her needs. Changing physical and environmental factors in the house can cause an increase of anxiety in your cat. There is no surefire way to predict which cats will develop separation anxiety. Introducing a new member to the house as well as something simple like not changing the cat litter often enough. This 101 guide helps you spot low mood in cats, understand the causes, and then support your fur-friend. But now, my anxiety is through the roof. Keeping your new kitten in a carrier or behind an expandable baby gate is a good way to supervise the first encounter. Kittens shouldn’t be separated from their feline family until they’re at least eight weeks old. If your cat becomes fearful to the point that they tremble on the regular, it might be time to consider that kitty is overly stimulated and needs a break. Many cat owners can tell you their cats can be pretty aloof but our evolving understanding of this remarkable species suggests they can form significant social bonds and some cats do seem to experience separation anxiety when apart from their owners. If there are no obvious reasons you can identify that could be causing your cat to feel anxious it’s a good idea for you to seek help from a cat behaviour counsellor. That's so it has lots of time with its mom and siblings to learn … Provide an environment for your feline that fosters their sense of adventure and curiosity, and satisfies their need to hunt and stalk prey. It depends on your cat, but if your kitten is suffering from mild fear, they may hide, withdraw, tremble, or not be as active as you might expect. When you play with them and allow them to satisfy those desires, it makes for a very happy cat, improving their health and well-being. I'm going through depressive mood swings and I can't seem to pin point why. A loss of appetite or destructive behavior could lead to illness or injury for your four-legged friend. Fear-based behavior is a bit more intense and can arise from anxiety if your kitten decides a threat is dangerous. Hi! Kitten Constipation Symptoms . What causes cat anxiety? 5. We’ll follow up with a 25% off coupon code! The problem is cat depression can be tricky to spot. Even if your cat usually does well under pressure, any new person in their environment may cause unrest. Most felines have a pretty well-developed survival instinct, even at a very young age and tend to err on the side of caution in their behavior. Determining the cause of your cat’s anxiety can be a difficult task, as cats cannot communicate to us what is bothering them. Cats can actually get depressed or develop anxiety disorders that are tough to fix, just like humans can. Treating anxiety in cats takes a lot of time and effort. It’s why an outside cat will race to the first tree they can find to escape danger. How to stop cats fighting new kitten? Hiding, excessive grooming, not eating, and aggressive actions such as hissing, growling, and even biting are just some of the classic symptoms of cat anxiety. Sometimes cats that are anxious might lose interest in playing or interacting with their humans. And it is why indoor cats will often sleep in high places like window seals, on top of the fridge, on the back of a chair or couch, perched on your dresser, and wherever else they can climb to for an afternoon snooze. i spent the night hugging and holding the big guy. These animals can be associated with “emotional support” animals (or dubbed ESA’s). Signs your cat has anxiety can include everything from peeing outside the litter box to excessive grooming. Additionally, it's important to get to know your cat so you can try to give him or her what they want. Your cat may yowl and pace, defecate in places he or she shouldn’t, or hide. Common symptoms of anxiety include: constant worry, excessive sweating, knots in your stomach, constantly questioning and re-questioning yourself and your decisions, racing thoughts, unwanted thoughts, and insomnia. If anxiety is the underlying cause of your cat's strange behavior, there are quite a few ways to reassure kitty. Stress, of course, is also a big factor in anxiety. Consider things like cat perches, cat trees, and cat furniture designed to offer them stimulation, as well as a ‘safe’ resting place. Kittens may not defecate every day, so the lack of feces in the litter box one day may not raise any red flags. Cats have earned a reputation for being independent, almost to the point of having little interest in human interaction. Anxiety triggers sensors in the mind that can cause your cat to feel stressed, nervous, and uneasy for no reason at all.". Similarly, many felines can become anxious when a historic trauma is triggered. It may not always be obvious if your cat is anxious, so get familiar with common signs of anxiety in cats if you’re not sure how your companion might be feeling. Fear is what triggers the fight or flight response and gives your kitten that rush of adrenaline. Signs of anxiety in cats. Some forums can only be seen by registered members. A kitten who is a… The tricky part is while the anxiety and fear associated with stress affects our cats in much the same way it does us, most cats tend to hide and mask their inner turmoil. If you think about it, you’re the new parent and sibling rolled into one. 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