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Pet Bucket Blog

Dealing with Anxiety in Cats

 by jaime on 22 Jun 2014 |
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Many people think that all cats are confident and self-assured, but experienced cat owners know better. Cats can suffer from anxiety, depression and other mental health issues just like dogs, and it is up to their owners to get them the help they need. If your cat displays signs of anxiety, like sudden mood changes, unwarranted aggression, hiding or lethargy, you need to identify the source of the problem and work to resolve it.
Identify the source
Before you can solve an anxiety problem in your cat, you first need to determine what makes it anxious. Few cats are anxious for no reason; most cats display anxiety in response to a specific stimulus. Identifying that stimulus is half the battle when dealing with an anxiety problem in your pet.
If you have other pets in the house, their interactions with your cat could be causing stress and anxiety. Take the time to watch your cat with your other pets. Does your cat leave the room when the dog comes in? Does it hide from your other cat or show aggression?
Human family members can also be the source of anxiety in cats. Young children in particular may play too roughly or disturb the cat while it is sleeping. Setting boundaries and teaching your kids to play nicely with the kitty can go a long way toward solving the problem.
Work slowly to resolve it
Once you have identified the source of the anxiety, you can work on solving the problem and making your cat feel better. If your cat is scared of the dog, slowly introducing the two can break the tension and help your cat get over its fear. If other cats are the problem, setting up a neutral meeting place to introduce the two and let them work out their issues can be helpful.
Seek help when you need it
If the self-help approach does not work, seeking the help of a professional is always a good idea. Your first stop should be the veterinarian's office. A thorough exam is a good idea for a number of reasons. First of all, the anxiety could be caused by an underlying physical problem. If your cat is anxious and you cannot easily determine the reason, a trip to the vet is definitely in order.
In addition, veterinarians have access to a number of calming supplements and drugs that can help your cat deal with its anxiety issues. Herbal remedies can be very helpful for treating anxiety in cats, especially anxiety that is triggered by specific events.
If your cat gets anxious when a thunderstorm is looming, adding a bit of calming medicine to its food when severe weather is imminent can stop the anxiety before it starts. If your cat hates the vet, a few calming herbs the morning of your appointment can do wonders.
Dealing with anxiety in cats can be a difficult process, but being an informed and observant owner can go a long way. Watching your cat closely can help you identify anxiety problems early, while reading about the problem can help you develop a treatment plan that results in a happier and healthier cat.

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