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What causes cat stress?

What causes cat stress?

Cats feel a lot better when they feel in control of their environment. Anything that interrupts their feeling of control can make cats unhappy. Over time this can raise your cat stress level and lead to anxiety. Does your cat scratch? spray? or hide?

Common causes of cat stress include: 

  • Loud noises 
  • Cat conflict
  • Visiting a vet
  • Cattery stay
  • Visitors at home
  • New Cat Introductions
  • Travel
  • Moving Home

Cat's can be very discreet when it comes to showing if they are unhappy, take a look at these unhappy cat signs to watch out for. 

To feel in control, cats will carefully mark their home with "happy messages" (or pheromones). This happens each time a cat rubs its face against furniture or nuzzles against your legs.


Discover more about each of the common causes of cat stress: 

Loud noises 

For most cats, loud and unexpected noises would come top in a list of things that make them unhappy.
Their super senses are quick to pick up on the strange sounds that accompany things like fireworks, which can cause them to bolt for safety. Take a look at these blogs for our expert advice to help your kitty cope with fireworks stress.

Cat conflict

Cats are naturally solitary hunters but they can live with friends, especially if they have grown up together from kittens. However, cats living together often actually just tolerate each other and signs of conflict can be very subtle, such as staring at each other, blocking the pathway of other cats and hiding away.

Visiting a vet

Unfortunately for cats, going to the vets can sometimes mean uncomfortable procedures happening...an injection, trimming fur, nail clipping etc. Even just travelling to the vets can be extremely stressful for a cat! From choosing the best cat carrier and not making it a battle to get your cat into, there are a few things you can do to help, read our expert tips for taking your cat to the vet.


Cats are individuals; they have their own likes and dislikes. Generally, cats dislike changes within their environment. Leaving their home can be intimidating; everything they know changes, and they do not know that you’ll be back to pick them up. Some cats are more sensitive to this and a change of routine from their owner can cause a lot of discontent.

Other cats are much more adaptable, will tolerate it better and begin to feel more relaxed and comfortable in their new environment after a short period. Find out more expert advice and discover if a cattery stay is best for your cat.


Cats love routine and don’t like things being changed around the house. So sometimes they can become stressed and nervous, especially when new people, that they don't know very well, visit their home. 

Some guests will naturally want to pet or pick up your cat which can increase your cat's anxiety and cause them to escape to their favourite hiding place. This article explains from a cat's point of view, why your cat doesn't like visitors!

New cat

If you’re welcoming a new cat to the family it's important to take the introductions slowly. Cats can take time to get used to each other, so start by allowing them to get to know each other from their scent before they actually meet. Gradually increase the amount of time they spend with each other and follow our top tips to make sure all your feline friends get to know each other and become buddies, and therefore avoid cat rivalry

We recommend using a FELIWAY OPTIMUM Diffuser when introducing a new cat into you home. If conflict between the kitties does arise then it’s time for a bit of FELIWAY Friends. The calming ‘harmony messages’ released by the diffuser will allow your cats to relax in each other’s company and make for one happy home.


Many cats find travelling an unpleasant experience. They don’t enjoy being taken out of their warm, familiar home and being exposed to strange sights, smells and sounds. Take a look at our expert advice to make travelling with your cata calmer experience for you both!

Moving home

Entering a new home without their familiar “happy messages” can be confusing and scary for cats. Add to this the process of moving; seeing you pack up your stuff — which is their stuff too — and put it into boxes, lots of strange people coming in and out of their home, no attention from you for a couple of days…and you’re left with one very unhappy kitty.

Some cats will settle quickly and saunter around confidently within the first few days. Others may take a bit longer to become accustomed to their new surroundings. Take a look at these top tips to help when moving home with your cat.

Things that may disturb your cat

How do you know if your cat is stressed? Many things can disturb your cat's need of stability, and lead to cat stress. 

For instance, every time you move furniture, bring in new furniture, do a major housecleaning, renovate your house, do some DYI work at home. This can remove the 'happy messages' left by your cat, and then they don't feel at home anymore.

When this happens your cats become disorientated, and show signs like hiding, scratching, excessive grooming or peeing: in your cat's language, it's a sign of cat stress.

Other things that may affect your cat happiness are access to food (read more here to help a cat who isn't eating), heat, water, litter, attention and competition in the household with other cats, as well as visitors to the household.

FELIWAY Optimum is the best FELIWAY solution to help solve all common signs of stress for enhanced serenity.

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