They may not have to work, pay the rent, or deal with nasty social media posts, but cats get stressed out. However, when trying to figure out what makes a cat anxious, it's important to know there's not one specific cause.
Main reasons cats get stressed out
A significant cause of stressed-out cats is pet parents. Without realizing it, anxious humans can sometimes make their kitty frazzled. New food, a new family member (animal or human), different smells, and even different pieces of furniture can be anxiety-producing to a cat familiar with a routine.
Cats Protection, cited below, says, "Special attention should be given to your cat's litter box because his toiletry is his throne." So, keep that box clean and put it in a space where few people roam and loud noises, like children learning musical instruments, won't drive him batty.
"One stressor may not mean a lot, but a bunch stacked up can make for a very unhappy cat," says Danielle Bays, senior analyst for cat protection and policy at the Humane Society of the United States, cited below.
How to know when your cat is stressed
As the Humane Society of the United States reported, "Since cats lack the facial expressiveness of dogs and tend to display their likes and dislikes in subtle ways, it's easy to miss the clues."
Watch your feline closely. Is he acting differently than usual? If he's normally outgoing and curious and then becomes withdrawn and starts hiding when you enter a room, he may be experiencing stress. Remember, it's always best to seek veterinary help before symptoms become lousy habits. If your cat is stressed out and you ignore the signals, his behavior could escalate to peeing in your bed or shredding your draperies.
What can you do to help a stressed cat
Even though many cats have a reputation for being lazy, most enjoy being active. Food puzzles, scratching posts, access to catios (safe outdoor spaces for cats), and interactive toys can help your cat cope better. Or, if your cat is ordinarily reclusive, honor that and move on. Trying to make him friendly when he's not inclined might cause further stress.
Long-term stress can severely alter your cat's health. Fortunately, things can get better with your veterinary assistance and extra attention from you.
Quote to remember: "Who among us hasn't envied a cat's ability to ignore the cares of daily life and to relax completely?" - Karen Brademeyer