Some cats deal with stress very easily, whilst others are more high strung. I had a cat that was very timid and she would go running at the slightest noise or disturbance. She was a former feral kitten and we think that led to her being so sensitive. A cat that hasn't properly been socialized will also be prone to stress.
Signs that Your Cat is Stressed
- Hiding or being withdrawn. This is usually the first sign of stress. Cats that hide from you or other animals are scared of something.
- Extra attention. By contrast, some cats will want extra petting and cuddling when they are anxious. They are seeking reassurance from you to make them feel safe.
- Litterbox aversion. This is one of the most common symptoms. If your cat is avoiding the litterbox, he is trying to tell you that something is wrong.
- Excessive meowing. Your cat is literally trying to communicate that he is upset.
- Eating schedule changes. A cat that has little appetite or conversely, eats more than the usual is a sign of stress or depression.
- Scratching or excessive licking of fur to the point of bald spots.
- Aggressive behaviour. Being aggressive with humans or other animals is a sure sign that your cat is stressed out.
How to Reduce Your Cats StressCats hate change. Seriously. They love things to be reliable and have the same schedule. That goes for mealtime, playtime, sleeping, etc. They like to know you'll be home by a certain time and hang out with their according to a routine. It may sound boring but cats love a set schedule. It makes them feel secure and safe in their home. They will be less likely to feel anxious or act out.
Cats don't like sharing. They have the "what's mine is mine" attitude about their possessions. If you have multiple cats, make sure they each have their own food and water dishes, toys, litterboxes, scratching posts, etc. If you have issues of one cat bullying the other or taking possession of toys, try to put their things in a separate part of your home to avoid conflict. It will give the bullied cat a safe place to hang out and feel secure.
Just as in humans, stress can lead to health problems. The best way to keep your cat calm is too see things from their perspective. If they are hiding because they are afraid of another cat or dog, think how you would react in that same situation. If your cat is anxious, try to omit the cause of his stress and make him feel safe. This will keep him healthy and happy.