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Signs of anxiety in cats to watch for – is your pet concerned?

Signs of anxiety in cats to watch for – is your pet concerned?

Cats are sensitive creatures! They like routine and don’t cope well with changes in their environment. It’s not always easy to spot if your cat is anxious or stressed, but it’s important to act fast if they are to limit ant physical or emotional distress symptoms - you may start to see stress behaviours like spraying, scratching or hiding if your pet is unhappy!

So, if you spot even small changes in your furry friend’s behaviour, or if they seem to be acting out of character, try to find the reason - the sooner you get to the root of the problem, the sooner your cat will return to their usual self!


If your cat has stopped eating, is behaving aggressively or spraying indoors, it could be a sign that they are stressed.

Physical signs of cat anxiety include:

  • Trembling or shaking
  • Rapid breathing
  • Licking their nose frequently
  • Excessive vocalisation such as growling, hissing or yowling
  • Dilated pupils
  • Crouching down frequently
  • Ears flat against their head
  • Rapid breathing
  • Lethargy and sleeping more than usual
  • Eating non-food items - such as plastic or wool
  • Over grooming, creating bald patches or sores on their coat
  • Diarrhoea and vomiting
  • Significant change in their weight (loss or gain)

Behavioural signs of cat anxiety include:

  • Urinating outside the litter tray
  • Urine spraying around the house
  • Excessive scratching of furniture
  • Aggressive behaviour towards you or other pets
  • Constant meowing
  • Pacing around the house, often accompanied by meowing
  • Easily spooked by noises or movement

If you are concerned about your cat, always check with your vet to rule out any illness that your feline friend may have contracted. Then, once you are sure that your pet has no physical condition, you can delve deeper into what causes cat stress.

cute kitten looking scared


Getting to the bottom of why your cat is anxious may be a little tricky! So ask yourself the following questions and maybe you can put your finger on it.

  1. Have you thought about their resources?Cats don’t like their food and drink bowls close to their litter trays! They’re clean animals and don’t like to use a litter tray that has not been ‘refreshed’; they also like to have their own individual space to escape to, like a high perch, away from any other pets. Have you got all the cat essentials you need for a happy cat?
  2. Have you moved home recently or had some building works done around the house? Cats like familiarity so any major changes could unsettle them and make them feel anxious.
  3. Have you brought home another pet? It may take a while for your cat to accept that they’re not the only one who will get attention in your home. You may have to work at helping your cat and dog to get along a bit better.
  4. Is there a new baby in the house? New smells and sounds around a home that has been calm and peaceful till now, could be unnerving your cat.
  5. Is there another cat on the block? If your cat is an outdoor cat, there may be a new feline intruder on their patch which is making them nervous.


Cats will pick up stress from you, so if you are feeling worried and tense, try to relax and you may find your cat follows suit. But if you are totally laid back, make sure your cat has a safe environment they can escape to, make sure their daily essentials (like food, litter tray etc.) are easily accessible, play some calming music and have some regular quiet play time set aside for them - remember cats like routine!

It’s always important to consider any underlying health conditions, so if tweaks to your normal routine with your cat don’t seem to be having an effect, get them checked out by your vet.

Try FELIWAY to reduce kitty anxiety. A FELIWAY Optimum Diffuser is an excellent way to help comfort cats at home. Leave it plugged in to help ensure that your cat is provided with the safe and secure messages at all times, so that they are ready for whatever life throws at them!


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