Cats like routine and are creatures of habit! They like to know that their litter tray is accessible and will be changed regularly, when to expect food and drink, and they like to know that they can retreat to their favourite hiding spot when they want to!
So if anything changes that will disrupt their daily routine, they could become anxious. There are both physical and behavioural signs to watch out for to know if your cat is anxious. These include urine spraying around the house, excessive hissing or yowling or showing displeasure towards other pets.
But, as prevention is better than cure, here are some common causes of anxiety in cats and ways to avoid them.
Common Causes of Kitty Anxiety: 6 Ways to Help your Cat
This can be a major source of anxiety for your cat. Imagine - your whole life and routine disturbed, and everything packed into a box without your say so! Take a look at more tips for moving with your cat here.
Territory and scent form a huge part of a cat's life, so try to think ahead when you start to pack. Make sure your cat's favourite blanket or cushion is available at all times. You may consider putting it inside a cat carrier to encourage your cat to use this before you travel to your new home so that they will feel confident inside the carrier before travelling.
About a week before you move, put all of your cat's resources - bed, food & drink bowls, favourite toys and litter tray in a kitty safe haven (a separate room is good); this will protect them from the disruption that is going on in the rest of the house. Once you have your cat settled in their carrier ready to move house, move their possessions and keep them together.
When you get to your new home, set up a new safe haven (in a separate room if possible) for your feline friend, with all of its possessions (and their familiar smells) and leave them to settle on their own terms. Make sure they have plenty to eat and drink as well as a clean litter box. This will allow you to get on with unpacking and moving into your new home.
Importantly, if the previous owner has had cats, make sure you clean your house thoroughly to get rid of the other cat's scent as this can be another cause for anxiety for your kitty.
You can also use a FELIWAY Optimum Diffuser in your new home to help your cat feel secure and stay serene. FELIWAY Optimum uses a Feline Pheromone Complex to help cats with more signs of stress in more situations.
2. Changes around the home
Be aware that changes in your home, like new furniture or redecorating can be stressful for cats. To help your kitty adapt to these changes, a FELIWAY Optimum Diffuser plugged into the room before, during and after changes are made will help to keep your cat calm and comfortable. Make changes slowly so that they can adjust slowly.
3. New baby arrival
Having a new baby in your home is very exciting, but it can be stressful for your kitty when a lot of changes are being made around the house in readiness for your new arrival.
Again, planning ahead is important to ensure your cat will acclimatise to the new arrival. Make sure all the new furniture and other baby items are in place well before the baby arrives. This will give kitty time to explore them and get used to new scents so they will be less anxious. Make introductions gradually, but never leave the cat and baby in a room alone.
4. Travelling with your cat
This can often be stressful and make your cat anxious, particularly if your cat is a house cat and likes to stay in its own environment all the time. But there will be times when they need to travel with you, like visits to the vet.
Make sure you use the right cat carrier for your journey; get your cat used to the carrier at least a few days before you travel by leaving it open with some favourite toys and snacks inside to entice them in. Once they are used to going in and out on their own, it will be less stressful for them when you are travelling.
5. New cat on the block
Cats are territorial and can get very anxious if they discover there's another cat intruding on their territory. From a kitty's point of view, having another cat in the home can be quite stressful!
Introduce new cats in the home slowly, and make sure that each cat has their own resources that they can get to easily - beds, food bowls, toys and litter trays. But put aside some time just for them, to reassure them that all is OK and they will still get the attention they deserve.
Using a FELIWAY Optimum Diffuser will reduce conflict between cats and help prevent fighting, chasing, blocking or staring. Playing calming music can also help but you may have to play a few tunes to find the right genre for your kitty!
6. Unusual Noises
We know that cats have sensitive hearing so any new sounds or noises in the home or outside can be scary for them. Unexplained noises, like a new toy or a vacuum cleaner can send them scooting under the sofa. Outside noises like fireworks, or a noisy car can also make your cat anxious.
From your cat's perspective, as long as there are plenty of high perches to jump on to or a nice safe haven where they feel safe, they will stay there until they feel confident to reappear.
To help your cat with anxiety, it's important that you try to keep a normal routine as much as possible, provide a safe haven that they can escape to as well as all the resources they need - and be patient at all times. With a little planning, you can minimise your cat's anxiety and with the help of FELIWAY, you will be able to provide the support they need to feel calm.