Cat-people understand that felines can be complex creatures, with habits and emotions that are often incomprehensible. Why did your cat suddenly dash up the stairs, meowing as if being chased by a Doberman, even though nothing was in sight? Why does your neighbor’s cat love you, but your cousin’s cat won’t enter a room if you are in it?
With cat-level curiosity, we often wonder what is going on with our whiskered friends. Could it be anxiety? This condition can be tricky to identify. If you suspect it in your cat, a trip to the cat vet in Egg Harbor Township, NJ is a good idea.
To discover if your cat is suffering from this issue, look for the following signs that are common symptoms of cat anxiety.
Signs your cat is anxious
- Lesions: Anxiety can cause cats to lick and bite at themselves to the point of injury. Lesions on their body could indicate a problem with anxiety.
- Diarrhea: Stress can cause problems with the nervous system, affecting their digestive track. Irritable bowel syndrome or inflammatory bowel disease can result.
- Panic: If a cat exhibits escape behavior without reasonable cause, it could be anxious.
- Harmful motor behavior: This is often related to panic behavior. A cat who demonstrates out-of-context and potentially injurious activity, such as clawing or biting to the point of breaking teeth or hurting its paws, the cat might have anxiety issues.
- Mild fear indicators: A cat suffering from anxiety may not hit full panic mode. Milder symptoms include trembling, hiding, withdrawal, and reduced activity.
Why is your cat anxious?
If a cat is dealing with anxiety, this issue can be caused by a variety of factors, from age to trauma. Following are some of the most common causes of anxiety in cats.
- Physical ailments: Illness or painful conditions easily creates, increases, or contributes to anxiety in cats.
- Aging: As cats get older, their nervous system changes. With these changes—and deteriorating health as they get older—they may develop anxiety.
- Poisoning: Toxic conditions, such as lead poisoning, affect not only the cat’s health but his behavior. Exposure to harmful toxins can cause anxiety, among other issues.
- Disease: Viral infections that affect the central nervous system cause health issues and can create anxiety.
- Trauma: If a cat undergoes a traumatic experience, the resulting fear may turn into anxious behavior following the trauma.
- Kitten care: If cats are not exposed to social and environmental interaction until after 14 weeks of age, they may fail to develop healthy interaction patterns and become fearful of contact.
- Abuse: If a cat has been abused or neglected, it can easily develop anxiety behaviors.
- Separation: Abandonment, multiple owners, or moving can cause separation anxiety in cats.
How to care for your anxious kitty
First, if you suspect your cat is dealing with anxiety, have them checked out by your cat vet in Egg Harbor Township, NJ. The vet will be able to rule out other potential health issues and give you further instructions.
If anxiety is diagnosed, medication is available to help with this condition. Behavior modification techniques can also be used to help alleviate anxiety and eliminate anxiety-related actions. Effective behavior modification techniques for anxiety include desensitization and counter-conditioning. Contact your vet for specific tips to implement these methods.