Do you have a scaredy-cat on your hands? Just like people, cats can suffer from different fears, phobias, and anxieties. Some of our feline friends are very anxious! Below, a Larimer County, CO vet discusses anxiety in cats.
Feline anxiety can manifest in many different ways. Fluffy may run and hide when approached. Your cat may also tremble, have digestive issues, or lick or bite herself obsessively. Some kitties can also become aggressive when they feel threatened or nervous. Have your vet examine your cat to rule out medical causes, as these things can also indicate health problems.
Cats can become anxious for a wide variety of reasons. Fluffy’s nervousness could stem from a bad experience she had in the past. Inadequate or improper socialization during kittenhood can also contribute to anxiety. Separation anxiety is also not uncommon in our feline friends, especially those that have been abandoned, re-homed, or neglected in the past. Of course, some cats are just naturally skittish.
Before you can help Fluffy conquer her fears, you’ll need to figure out what she’s frightened of. Watch your timid furball closely to see if you can identify any specific triggers. Making sure your cat feels safe is also important. Give your kitty hiding spots in every room, so she always has a place to go if she feels scared. We also recommend playing with your cat daily, using interactive toys. Vigorous play will burn off excess energy, and can help shy furballs gain confidence. In some cases, medication may be needed. If your cat is afraid of a specific person or thing, desensitization may help. Ultimately, the treatment that will work best will depend on the type and severity of your furry friend’s anxiety. Ask your vet for recommendations.
Never punish Fluffy for being frightened. You may only end up making her feel even more scared. Don’t coddle your kitty too much, though, as this may just reinforce her anxiety. Also, never corner your cat, as she may feel threatened and lash out in self-defense.
It can take time and patience, but with a proper diagnosis, a sound plan of action, and a little help from your vet, you can help Fluffy get over her fears.
Do you have questions about cat care? We can help! Contact us, your Larimer County, CO vet clinic, anytime.