Just like humans, one of the most important problems cats have to deal with is anxiety. Anxiety is something you can do a lot about! However, firstly you have to recognize it in every case! That’s why I gathered 10 signs that our cat is anxious and I am going to present them to you right away! If you do point them out, I will show you how to tackle them!
Does my cat have anxiety?
1. Severe hair loss
Cats that are going through stressful situations usually show an expected reaction of increased hair loss. When the cat is anxious, various muscles stay stretched and tense for a long time and in those muscles, there are hair follicles. With the contraction of the muscles, many hairs are expelled from those follicles. That’s a normal reaction and cannot be avoided when the cat is deeply concerned.
2. Excessive grooming
Cats that are stressed begin to excessively groom their bodies – they lick persistently and intensely different parts of their bodies and sometimes they even scratch them or bite them. To make sure that it is caused by anxiety, rule out all the medical reasons such as allergies to foods, fleas, psoriasis (the latter two require the deworming of the cat), etc. Excessive grooming may lead to irritations and infections, so it is important to watch it carefully.
3. Gastrointestinal problems
Anxiety can be the cause of some gastrointestinal problems such as nausea, vomiting or diarrhea and constipation. Again, if your cat suffers from such symptoms, first you have to rule out any medical reasons that may lead to them! If there is no pathological reason then you can safely conclude that these gastrointestinal issues are signs of stress.
Sometimes anxiety makes cats not eat at all.
When cats experience great anxiety, it is not uncommon for them to move away from the source of such feeling and try to hide in a safe place. Many cats will lie down under the bed or even in the bathtub or shower in an effort to reduce the stress they feel.
5. Increased aggression
In contrast to those cats that hide when they experience stressful situations, some cats react by displaying intense aggression – towards other animals or people. These cats will not hesitate to use their nails and teeth if they feel stressed, so you must be careful.
6. Peeing outside the sandbox
When a cat pees outside its sandbox it is very likely that it is anxious (again we have to rule out any possible medical reasons, such as stone, diabetes and kidney disease). In this case, your cat is usually stressed because of a change in its environment, such as when a new child or pet becomes a member of the family or even when you change the place of the sandbox or the material of the sandbox or even when you change your cat’s staple food.
7. Body language indications
Sometimes the position and the mobility of the tail, the position of the ears and the degree of dilation of the eyes are characteristic indicators of a cat being anxious. If the tail is hanging low and the cat moves it abruptly back and forth, if the ears look like they are pinned to the head of the cat and are turned down and back and if the eyes are wide open and the pupils are dilated (this happens due to a spontaneous hormonal reaction to stressful situations), your cat may be intensely anxious.
By observing when these behaviors occur you can often decipher the root of stress.
8. Heavy breathing
An extremely anxious cat will often show signs of strenuous effort to breathe. This is often due to an increased heart rate. A normal cat breathes 20 to 30 times per minute. Breathing with an open mouth along with shortness of breath is an indication of an urgent medical issue and the cat must be examined immediately by a vet!
To summarize, I should mention that in any case, if you come across any of the above symptoms, you should contact your vet and make sure it is not a medical issue! Then you can work out a plan with your vet in order to relieve your cat’s stress.