Whiskas imagery


Enter a keyword below to search for articles and products.

Stressed Cat: Anxious Cat Symptoms

Even cute, adorable kittens can occasionally get stressed. If you notice any signs of stress or unusual behaviour in your kitten, speak to your vet – they’ll give you good advice, and if necessary may refer your pet to an animal behaviourist for treatment.

However, it’s worth remembering that certain behaviours – like scratching and scent-marking – might be perfectly normal from your kitten's point of view but not so acceptable from yours!

Cat Stress Symptoms

Anxious Behaviour

If your kitten crouches low to the ground, with a tense body and dilated pupils, she may be feeling anxious. If so, she may also pant, and lick herself more than usual.

Aggressive and Destructive Behaviour

If your usually placid and affectionate kitten starts to bite and scratch, she may be bored. Remember, she's a hunter at heart and if her natural instincts aren't given enough stimulation she'll look for it in places she shouldn't. She might also behave like this if she thinks her territory’s being threatened.

Indoor Territory Marking

If there's been a change to your kitten’s normal routine, or if there’s a new cat in the home, you might find she starts spraying. Use a dilute disinfectant to remove the odour, and place a food bowl near where she’s sprayed. Above all, give your kitten lots of love and reassurance.

Indoor Soiling

If your kitten is otherwise healthy, indoor soiling could be a sign of stress. Cover the spot with tin foil or plastic to deter her, provide her with a clean litter tray and make sure she gets plenty of love and reassurance.

Nervous Grooming

If your kitten is feeling stressed, she might over-groom herself by continually licking and chewing one particular area of her coat. If she keeps doing this, it might lead to an uncomfortable skin condition, so it’s a good idea to speak to your vet for advice.

Chewing Wool

Yes, it’s true! Certain breeds of oriental cat – especially Siamese and Burmese – may obsessively chew wool. We don't understand exactly why they do this – they may be reverting to infant behaviour, or may even be a result of stress. If possible, try to discourage your kitten from doing this.

Causes of Stress in Cat

Just like humans, you little furry baby can become stressed too. And this stress usually manifests as behavioural changes such as litterbox avoidance or aggression. So, what causes stress in furry munchkins? Let’s find out!

  1. Moving house:

    One of the biggest causes of stress in cats is moving residences. Unfamiliar and new place can make your little furry friend anxious. Be very judicious when moving homes to keep your fur kiddo stress free.

  2. Loud noises:

    Most animals, including cats are scared of loud noises such as fire crackers and get really stressed.

  3. Vet visits:

    Nobody likes to get pricked and probed, including your cat. Which is why vet visits can lead to a very anxious cat.

  4. New family member:

     Felines are cautious animals and they don’t trust easily. Hence suddenly introducing a new member can be stressful for your fur baby. Take it slow and give them time to get used to this new addition.

  5. A change in routine:

    Are you starting a new job that would require you to stay away for long hours? Start acclimatising your fur baby slowly by leaving her alone for some time and increasing the duration gradually. Otherwise, your little munchkin will have a tough time adjusting.

  6. Being bullied:

    Indeed, you precious furry can be stressed out if she is being bullied or picked on by another pet at your home or outside. Do watch out for such triggers and remove them to keep your cat happy and healthy.

Cat Stress Treatment

To alleviate stress in your furry love, you need to find the trigger first. The best treatment would be to solve the trigger like it is mentioned above in case your cat is being picked on by another pet. However, in some cases, such as when loud noises cause the stress, you can’t remove the trigger. What you can do instead is try the following tips:

  1. Use calming products:

    There are certain products, namely calming collars, thundershirts, and pheromone diffusers, that can help soothe your anxious cat. Calming collars and diffusers both works much the same way. They give off pheromones that mimic the ones mother cats use to calm kittens. Hence your fur kiddo will hopefully calm down too. Thundershirts, on the other hand, are vests for felines that utilises gentle pressure to comfort furries. It is much like swaddling a human baby in blankets.

  2. Offer calming treats and food:

    There are certain cat food and treats available that contain anti-stress ingredients including tryptophan and alpha-casozepine. The former induces sleepiness while the latter calms the nerves of an anxious cat.

  3. Playtime –

    Playtime – There are nothing a little tender loving care and playtime wouldn’t cure. If all else fails, play with your furry munchkin to distract her. If they want to curl up near you, by all means, go ahead and cuddle with her to show her she is safe and protected. But don’t try to bring her out of her safe hiding place forcefully as that will only aggravate the anxiety levels in an already stressed cat.

When to see a veterinarian?

If you notice sudden changes in behaviour of your precious fur baby such as aggression in a normally friendly cat, overly clingy and not wanting to leave your side, litterbox avoidance, change in appetite or sleep patterns, and so on, which continues for long, it is time you see a vet.

Furries will experience short-term stress like when there are thunder and lightening or when a stranger comes visiting. But they usually bounce back when the trigger is not there anymore. If you see your fur kid not recovering and continuing to show cat stress symptoms, do not wait any longer since just like physical ailments, your cat needs treatment for anxiety and stress too.

FAQ for Cat Stress

What can I give my cat to reduce stress?

You can use stress relief products such as calming collars, pheromone diffusers, and thundershirts to calm your fur baby. Or you can also offer calming cat food and treats and use play as a distraction. If nothing works and the signs of stress in cats continues for long, take your furry to see a vet.

Does petting a cat relieve stress?

While petting a cat will relieve your stress, the same cannot be said for your furry baby. Of course, if your fur kid wants to curl up to you when stressed, give her all the cuddles, but usually, a stressed cat would like to be left alone and hide in a safe place when stressed.

Do cats purr when they are stressed?

Indeed, they do, since purring is not just a way of communicating contentment, affection, and happiness, but it is also a self-soothing technique. So yes, a stressed kitten might also purr.

What stresses out a cat?

Some of the most common causes of stress in cats are:
Change in routines
Home relocation
New member in the family
Loud noises
Vet visits
Getting bullied by other animals

For the latest on COVID-19, visit the official Government website: www.sacoronavirus.co.za
For the latest on COVID-19, visit the official Government website: www.sacoronavirus.co.za

Whiskas brand imagery