Is Your Cat Stressed? Signs to Look Out For
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Is Your Cat Stressed? Signs to Look Out For

Have you noticed your usually content cat seems a bit off lately? Subtle changes in your cat’s behavior or new physical symptoms can be indicators that something is causing your feline stress. Here we cover the main signs of stress in cats so you can identify problems and help your pet feel relaxed again.

Changes in Behavior

Stressed cats often act out of character. Look for these common behavioral signs:

  • Aggression – Previously friendly cats may start hissing, swatting or biting.
  • Excessive grooming – Cats may overgroom to self-soothe.
  • Hiding – Stressed cats spend more time hiding under beds and behind furniture.
  • Sleep changes – A stressed cat may have trouble sleeping or sleep more than usual.
  • Appetite changes – Some cats lose their appetite when stressed, while others overeat.
  • Avoiding litter box – Inappropriate urination/defecation outside the litter box can signal stress.

Physical Symptoms

Stress manifests physically in cats too:

  • Dilated pupils – An anxious cat will have overly dilated pupils.
  • Tension – You may see tense body language, twitching tail, ears back.
  • Excessive shedding – Stress can disrupt the hair growth cycle.
  • Skin issues – Stress may cause itchiness, bald patches, and excessive grooming.
  • Immune issues – Stress lowers immunity, so recurrent illnesses may develop.

Identifying the Source

Once you spot the signs, reflect on any recent changes or events that could be stressing your cat – like introducing a new pet, moving homes, construction noise, changes in routine, or new people living in the home. Cats are sensitive and territorial, so any disruption to their environment can cause anxiety.

Knowing the common signs of stress in cats helps you act quickly to identify and remove the stressor, or consult your vet on relieving your cat’s anxiety. A few adjustments could be all your cat needs to regain their content and relaxed demeanor.

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