Six signs your cat is stressed

There are reasons for sudden behavior changes in cats, so here are some signs to watch out for.
By Pets Team
Published on Wednesday, 08 October 2014

Here are six signs of a stressed kitty:

1. Appetite changes

A stressed cat will either stop eating, eat less, or eat more than usual. Like some humans, cats will overeat in response to tension.

2. Hiding

A stressed cat who feels her world is out of control will have the tendency to hide. Her natural response is to take refuge in a safe and quiet place.

3. Aggression

Aggression is pretty common in agitated cats. This could be fear-based when a cat feels cornered and feels he has no other recourse but to strike out. It could also be a redirected aggression where the original object of the aggression (such as a feral cat hanging out in the backyard) is not reachable, so the feline goes for the next nearest object, whether that object is another cat, a pet, or a human family member to vent.

4. Inappropriate elimination

A cat which is stressed by intruders such as cats in the neighborhood will often urine mark by the doors and windows where she sees or smells the offending feline. If a cat’s litter box isn’t safe from dogs or small children, she may react by defecating and urinating in a place that has better camouflage.

5. Excessive grooming

This condition is referred to as psychogenic alopecia. When a cat is under stress, he may groom himself as a self-comforting tool. Cats tend to overgroom their bellies and their front legs, resulting in bald patches.

6. Excessive vocalization

A cat which feels anxious may respond by excessive meowing. This is particularly true for the more chatty breeds like the SiameseTonkinese and Oriental. The talking may take on a desperate tone or even be quite loud, and if your cats are anything like mine, they love to sing their songs of angst late at night.

If your cat is showing any of these signs, don’t just assume it’s stress and treat the problem based on that assumption. Cats can be stressed by pain and physical illness as well as by emotional turmoil and change in home life. If your cat’s behavior changes, take her to the vet to ensure that she’s physically well before you begin stress reduction techniques. 

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