Behaviour Problems caused by Anxiety
Stress and anxiety in a cat often shows up in behaviours such as over-grooming, spraying, refusing to eat, over-eating, hiding away especially from noise and visitors or showing aggression.
The most common stressor for a cat is to feel that their territory is under threat. Territory is one of the most important issue for all cats.
For some cats, all they want is a safe territory without other cats, dogs etc coming in and out.
All cats that are used to humans from birth are happy to allow one or more humans to live in their territory. Humans provide shelter and food on a regular and reliable basis. Many cats also like the affection and attention or even a human to cuddle up to.
The behaviour that occurs as a stress reaction often depends on the personality of the cat. A naturally dominant cat will tend to go out to meet the neighbouring cats and fight. Cats who are not so dominant show their dominance by just spraying the aea or may hide away.
Bringing a new cat or kitten into the cat’s home will often bring on behaviours not seen before. One way or another there generally has to be a sorting out of territory. Some cats will simply begin spraying all over the place inside the house, and or being aggressive to the new cat and sometimes to the owner as well. If one cat gives way easily to the other, then they will often live peaceably together.
Over-grooming is another distressing behaviour for the cat owner. This is almost always a stress reaction. It can then become an addictive behaviour. When a cat grooms themselves, their body releases happy hormones which calms them. They can soon use this activity so much they lick themselves raw.
What can you do to help your cat when s/he is showing stress and anxiety behaviours?
Helping you cat to own some of its own territory:
- Do your best to keep wild or neighbouring cats and dogs from coming on to your cat’s territory and especially coming into your house.
- Build your cat its own special home box -Firstly decide if your cat likes to sleep under things (bed, shelf, chair, in dark corner) or up higher (on a bed, couch, shelf etc)
Then you can use a cardboard box or whatever that you can place in one or two places up high or down low according to the answer above.
Inside the box, place a clean rag or towel which has the cat’s own pheromones on it. This is the most important part. When the cat is relaxed and calm, gently rub the cloth around his/her mouth and whisker area. If your cat is restless, you may need to wait and do it for a few seconds several times, choosing his/her calmest moments.
- Buy Cat rescue remedy from our catalogue. Put it into their drinking water and food.
- Consult with Pat if you need more help.