At our recent trade show we had an overwhelming amount of kitty parents approach us about cat anxiety. We know that cats can easily get stressed, but why do so many cats struggle with this issue? While some cats seem to be more skittish by nature, here are some eye-opening human behaviors that can increase cat anxiety.
Cat Anxiety Triggers
While most of us think of our cats as our children, they don’t understand punishment like humans do. Yelling “no” or pushing your cat away from the door only scares them and contributes to cat anxiety. They don’t know that what they’re doing is wrong. You can train your cat to stop misbehaving by distracting the undesirable behavior with a toy or something else positive. Then reward them with a treat or petting/brushing.
2. Insisting On ‘Lovins’
Cats work in their own time. They are the most fascinatingly independent creatures. If you reach for your cat’s head to pet and they recoil and walk away, don’t chase them. We may feel as if we need their ‘lovins’ – but insisting on getting it only adds to their stress levels. Instead, walk away and lay down. If your cats are like ours they will soon be coming to you for some lovins.
3. Being Anxious
Animals take on the energy of their guardians. Cats feel like they are taking care of us more than we are them. If we stay at a high level of stress ourselves, our cats feel that. We add to the cat anxiety by not controlling our own levels of stress. Sing a song, meditate or do something relaxing on your way home from a stressful day. It’ll help your babies more than you know.
4. Confining Your Cat For Kisses & Hugs
Have you ever picked up your cat and tried to love on his belly or face? Some cats like this, but most cats will try to escape from you when they feel confined. If you do this and your cat wants down – let him down. The first thing a predator does in the wild is restrain its prey. Cats are not as domesticated as you may think and this action, while purely out of love, can trigger their instincts and actually scare and stress out your cat.
5. Ignoring The Litterbox
Cats like to be clean and private – just like us. If your friend put their toilet in the middle of their kitchen, I’m sure you wouldn’t want to use it when you come over for parties. This goes for cats too. They like their litterbox in a quiet and private place. They also prefer a clean litter box. Please scoop the box at least once a day and make sure to completely empty and clean it weekly.
6. Getting Off Schedule
Routine is a cat’s best friend. I realize that many of us can’t always be on a set routine, but we can keep their feeding time on a schedule. This will reduce cat anxiety greatly. Dedicate a time of day to playing with your cats as well. The exercise will also help lessen stress levels for both you and your cat. 🙂
7. Feeding A Non Species-Specific Diet
It’s not just outward things that increase cat anxiety. Processed dry diets with by-products, corn, brewers rice, wheat gluten, corn gluten meal, wheat, etc. on the list of ingredients creates an internal stress that can lead to an even faster degradation of immunity health in cats than environmental stressors. In the words of Dr. Karen Becker, DVM, NMD “I could go on for days about all the problems associated with convenience pet foods, but I’ll just leave it that a processed dry diet such as this, especially when fed once or twice a day every day for weeks, months or years, will sooner or later create metabolic stress in the vast majority of cats.”