Cats love routine, and while it might seem like they have an easy life from the outside, they’re sensitive little souls who can easily become anxious. Anything out of the ordinary has the potential to make your cat feel stressed. Anything from using a different cat litter to adding a new pet to the family can trigger anxiety for your cat.
The good news is that there are plenty of things that you can do to help your anxious cat feel calm again. We’ll go over eight proven ways to help calm an anxious cat.
How Do I Know if My Cat Is Anxious?
The best thing to do is to look for changes in your cat’s behavior. Signs that your cat might be feeling anxious include:
- Open-mouthed breathing
- Compulsive or excessive grooming
- More vocal than normal
- Destructive behavior
- Hiding from people
- Not using their litter tray
- Decreased appetite
- More attention-seeking than usual
The 8 Ways to Calm an Anxious Cat
1. Use synthetic pheromones
There are many different products on the market that use a synthetic version of the pheromone found on cat’s faces. Cats use this to mark their territory, including people! So, being able to smell this can have a calming effect on them.
It can be useful if you’re preparing for a house move or know that there’s a local fireworks display coming up or even a thunderstorm forecast for a few days. You can choose from diffusers, sprays, wipes, or even a pheromone collar and use whichever suits your cat best.
All of these have a limited lifespan, with collars lasting around a month before they need to be replaced. Any product that releases pheromones will be most effective if it’s used before your cat actually needs calming down. So, if you know there’s an event coming up that has the potential to make your cat anxious, start using the pheromones at least two weeks beforehand. Or, if they seem to work particularly well for your cat, you can use them all the time.
- We reviewed the best pheromone diffuser: check out our top picks here!
2. Try natural remedies
There’s a whole host of natural remedies available for anxious cats. Bach Rescue Remedy is one of the best-known ones. This includes a homeopathic blend of floral essences designed to reduce anxiety and stress in pets. It can be added to your cat’s food or water or placed directly in their mouth.
Natura Petz Organics supplement includes a blend of calming herbs in a tasty turkey-flavored capsule. These capsules are designed to lower your cat’s blood pressure, relax their muscles, and help them feel less anxious.
3. Use calming cat treats
Cat treats are cheap, so they can be a good way to see if you can help your cat without breaking the bank. There are plenty of different treats designed to calm your cat.
Pet Naturals of Vermont offer calming cat chews that aren’t a sedative but help your cat manage their anxiety better.
Naturvet Quiet Moments Calming Aid cat chews contain melatonin, thiamine, and L-Tryptophan to help reduce tension and stress.
- Related Read: 6 Best Cat Calming Treats
4. Add enrichment
If your cat lives indoors and doesn’t have much enrichment, then they may feel anxious. Try adding things like cat trees or high shelves for your cat to perch on and covered igloo beds where they can hide and feel safe.
You can also do things to add fun to your cat’s mealtimes. Using food puzzles or food toys that encourage hunting and hiding your cat’s food in small portions around the house can all help encourage your cat’s hunting instincts, which in turn, can release stress and anxiety.
Make sure your cat has a good variety of toys to play with, ad rotate these so your cat doesn’t have them all available at the same time.
5. Reduce competition for resources
If you have a multi-cat household, some cats can end up competing with each other for resources, especially if they didn’t grow up together or don’t feel like they have enough space to spread out into different areas of the house.
If it seems like your cats are fighting over food, beds, their litter tray, or even your lap, then your cats might not be getting along as well as you might have hoped. The signs of resource competition and tension between different cats can sometimes be subtle, so you may not notice them at first.
Make sure you spread those key resources out so there is always somewhere each cat can go for food or rest without having to compete with another cat.
6. Improve your cat’s litter box
If your cat is stressed from living with another cat nearby that they don’t get along with, this can lead to them urinating outside their litter box as a way to mark their territory. By spreading a variety of different litter boxes through your house and keeping them clean, you can help your cat to feel less anxious if they don’t like sharing their box with other cats.
A general rule is for there to be one more litter box than there are cats in the house.
- We reviewed the best cat litters for multiple cats- see our top picks here!
7. Be patient
As you make changes to your cat’s environment, you might not see a change in your cat’s behavior right away. Stay patient and keep your house as calm as possible. Try a few of our tips in combination, and you might find that one suits your cat better than another.
Try not to make massive changes, like combining a complete furniture rearrangement with bringing home a new cat tree, as this might make your cat even more anxious.
If you do know that you have a big life event coming up, try to prepare your cat in advance by popping a pheromone collar on them right away or stocking up on herbal remedies and new toys.
8. Visit your veterinarian
If it feels like you’ve tried various methods and your cat still seems anxious, it might be a good time to see your cat’s veterinarian. They may prescribe your cat medication or refer you to a cat behavior specialist who can recommend specific ways to help your cat further.
- You might also like: 12 Proven Ways to Calm Your Cat in the Car
Featured Image Credit: g3gg0, pixabay