Cats experience stress and anxiety just like humans. They thrive on routine and don’t like it when changes uproot their comfy, predictable lives. They may also experience heightened anxiety with common stressors like a vet visit, moving, losing a loved one, or even a new pet.
If you’re concerned your cat might be stressed, here are 10 signs that could indicate a visit to the vet is in order.
- Lethargy or excessive sleeping – Cats love to sleep. But a cat who starts sleeping more than normal or who becomes less active may be experiencing stress or a hidden medical condition.
- Pulling out fur – Stress can cause cats to overgroom and you may start to notice bald patches or thinning areas. Since this can also be a sign of allergies or other skin conditions, it’s important to consult with your veterinarian.
- Change in appetite – Cats typically eat the same amount of food around the same time each day. If you notice a change in your cat’s appetite, it could be stress or even illness and it’s time to call your vet.
- Urinating outside litterbox – An unhappy cat only has a few ways in which to communicate its discomfort and will may even manifest in destructive behaviors. One of the first signs can be going to the bathroom in a place other than their litter tray.
- Fighting with other pets – If your cat normally gets along with your other pets and suddenly becomes more aggressive, this may be due to stress. Cats are sensitive, and if they feel threatened, this can manifest as aggression.
- Attacking humans – If your cat is normally quite gentle and she begins to play rough, she may need more stimulation. A lack of physical and mental activity can lead to stress in cats. Get out the wand toy and play!
- Hiding – It’s normal for cats to hide occasionally, but if your cat is hiding more than normal, he may be feeling a little out of sorts. Don’t force him out of hiding—this could lead to more stress—instead try to coax him out with a favorite toy or treat.
- Loss of interest in play – Cats should be interested in play. If they’re not, try a few different types of toys until you find the right one. If they’re still not interested, it might be due to stress or anxiety.
- Any significant change in behavior – One way to root out stress early on is to pay attention to your cat’s regular routine. If you notice any differences or sudden changes, you could be dealing with an anxious or sick kitty and you need to consult with your vet.
- Chronic illness – Over time, stress can lead to chronic illness so it’s important to stay on top of your cat’s check ups and ask your veterinarian if they think stress could be a factor.