5 Things Your Cat Does When They’re Stressed

By November 27, 2019 Uncategorized

5 Things Your Cat Does When They're Stressed | Bickford Park Animal Hospital | Toronto Veterinary Clinic & Pet Care

Cats are intelligent creatures, as prone to stress and anxiety as we humans.

That might seem strange at first. After all, your cat lives in the safest environment they could possibly be. There are no predators in your home.

But your cat is working on their evolved traits. They react to things based on this programming.

Because they’re both predators and prey in the wild, their senses serve to find them food as well as keep them safe.

There are times, though, that they get stressed. This anxiety is hard for them to shake.

It’s not good to leave them to deal with their anxiety. They need your help. So consider taking them to a cat wellness vet.

What’s causing your cat’s stress? Let’s talk about that now.

What’s Stressing Your Cat Out?

Once you notice your cat is behaving strangely, spend some time trying to figure out what the problem is.

A cat left stressed for long periods of time will start acting out. These are unmissable, and usually unpleasant, signals that they need your help.

For instance, cats have a very sharp sense of smell – up to fifteen times more perceptive than yours.

Smells around the house can bother them. These include essential oils, household cleaning products, garbage, or aerosols such as hairspray.

Another smell that bothers them is the urine of another cat. If they smell this, they feel like there’s an invader in their territory. This can put them on edge.

The smell of dogs is extremely anxiety-provoking for cats, especially if your cat isn’t used to them. This is because dogs are one of their natural predators.

Another super cat sense that can cause your kitty stress is their sharp hearing.

This evolved to help them pick up the sound of a mouse rusting in the grass meters away. It’s great in the wild, but consider how difficult it could be for them to handle the sound of breaking glass.

If you’ve ever heard your cat whine after you sneeze near them, this is why.

As well, they can hear different pitches. One study found the upper range of a cat’s hearing is 85 kHz. By comparison, the upper range of a human’s hearing is commonly accepted as about 20 kHz. So they hear a lot that we don’t. The high whine of a lightbulb or computer that doesn’t reach your ears could be driving them up the walls.

For this reason, it’s important to make sure their litter box is in a quieter spot – they need that to be a safe zone.

Here are some of the signs your cat is stressed.

how to tell your cat is stressed out | Bickford Park Animal Hospital | Toronto Veterinary Clinic & Pet Care

1. They’re Isolating Themselves

Although cats have a reputation for being aloof, they are social animals. When your cat isolates themselves for long periods of time, it’s because they’re unhappy.

Spend some time playing with them, letting them hunt toys with you, or cuddling together in the sun.

2. They’re Obsessively Grooming

Cats are very clean animals, but when you see spots they’ve licked bare of fur, it could be more than just a feline skin condition. It could be a sign anxiety is getting the better of them.

This is a good time to visit your vet, as you’ll need their experience to understand the behaviour. Your vet will also check the condition of their coat.

3. They’re Urinating Outside The Litter Box

It’s not necessarily a weak bladder or an ‘accident’ when you discover your cat has used your duvet for their potty.

Cats sometimes use behaviour like this to send a message. You might read that message as that they’re mad at you, but that’s not always true. What they’re really trying to do is find somewhere they feel safe and comfortable to relieve themselves.

Make sure their litter box is far from noisy machinery such as the water heater or the furnace. If this doesn’t help, talk to us.

4. They’re Aggressive Toward Animals Or People

If your cat becomes aggressive toward other pets or humans, that’s a clear sign that they’re in distress.

Usually, it means that they don’t feel comfortable with their personal boundaries. Often it means they don’t feel they have a good place they can retreat to.

Try to put aside a space for them that is exclusively theirs, and ensure it’s darker, well-nestled, soft, and quiet.

5. They’re Not Eating As Much

If cats stop eating, there’s something up.

Cats are very good at regulating their food intake. They’re always mindful about ensuring they get enough food to sustain their active lifestyle.

There’s a reason why the saying is “corporate fat cat”, not “corporate fat dog”.

If they suddenly stop emptying their bowl, be sure to get them over to Bickford Park Animal Hospital for a check-up.

It may a medical condition, environmental concerns, or something else. Whatever it is, though, we’ll work to get to the bottom of it.

Call Bickford Park Animal Hospital

No one likes seeing their family cat stressed out and misbehaving. It’s difficult to watch something you love suffer so.

Don’t let your cat down. Investigate their situation, see if you can improve it, and if that doesn’t work, bring in the experts.

If you’re reading this because you don’t know where to turn next, call Bickford Park Animal Hospital.

Book an appointment to sit down with your pet. We’ll help you get to the root of the stress so you can bring relief to your kitty.

In yours and your pet’s health,

Dr. Helen Foster, DVM
Bickford Park Animal Hospital
807 Bloor St W,
Toronto, ON M6G 1L8


Bickford Park Animal Hospital is a veterinary clinic in Toronto, located across from Christie Pits park, committed to the highest level of caring and treatment for cats and dogs.