Is My Cat Stressed? – 10 Signs Of Stress

Most people know that cats can be a bit high-strung, but many don’t realize just how much stress cats can experience. In fact, there are a few key ways in which stress manifests itself in cats. Stress can lead to some serious health problems in cats, so it’s important to nip it in the bud!

  1. Growing aggressiveness
  2. Increased anxiety
  3. Frequent meowing
  4. Compulsive licking
  5. Incontinence and uncleanliness
  6. Claw marking
  7. Development of infectious diseases
  8. Eating disorders
  9. The appearance of OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder)
  10. Refusal to be petted

Cats are creatures of habit, and when their routine is disrupted, they can become stressed. In fact, there are a few key ways in which stress manifests itself in cats. If you’re worried that your cat is feeling overwhelmed, read on to learn more about how to spot the signs. Stress can lead to some serious health problems in cats, so it’s important to nip it in the bud!

How Does Stress Manifest In Cats?

Cats are amazing creatures, and each one has a unique personality. Some are shy and withdrawn, while others are chatty and outgoing. Regardless of their temperament, all cats can experience stress, and it can manifest in different ways. Several types of symptoms are observable, depending on your pet’s character:

1.     Growing Aggressiveness

If your kitty is used to being calm and docile, stress may cause him to become aggressive. In this case, he may start spitting or sputtering, biting, scratching, refusing contact or bristling for no apparent reason. His pupils are often dilated and fixed. The key to calming your stressed cat lies in understanding what’s causing his anxiety and then taking steps to help him feel more relaxed. Sometimes, simply providing a safe hiding spot or adding some new toys can make a world of difference.

2.     Increased Anxiety

If you’ve ever had a stressed-out cat, you know how anxious they can be. The slightest noise can send them into a tailspin of fear, and they may develop phobias that cause them to react in sudden and unexpected ways. This anxiety can lead to self-mutilation, as cats may bite or pull-out clumps of hair in an effort to relieve their stress.

In some cases, cats may also ingest foreign objects in an attempt to self-soothe. This can be extremely dangerous and even life-threatening, so it’s important to be aware of the signs of stress in your cat and take steps to help them relax and feel safe.

3.     Frequent Meowing

You’ve probably noticed that they make all sorts of different meows, from short and sweet to long and drawn-out. Each type of meow has a different meaning, and cats will use them to communicate their needs to their human companions. One important thing to keep in mind is that long, loud, low-pitched meows are often a sign of stress. If your cat is making this type of meow frequently, it’s important to take notice and see if there are any changes in their environment that may be causing them stress.

4.     Compulsive licking

If your cat starts compulsively licking her paws or other areas of her body, it may be a sign that she’s feeling stressed or depressed. This behavior can lead to a mass shedding of hair in the licked areas and irritation resulting in scabbing. If you suspect your cat is feeling stressed, try to provide her with plenty of opportunities to play and explore. You may also want to consult with your veterinarian about potential medical causes for her stress or depression.

5.     Incontinence and uncleanliness

If your cat is feeling stressed, there’s a good chance he will start acting out by urinating outside the litter box. This is because cats see their litter box as their own personal space, and when they’re feeling stressed, they want to mark their territory. If you notice your cat starting to urinate in places where you can see him, it’s a good idea to take him to the vet to see if there’s anything wrong.

In some cases, stress can be caused by a medical condition, so it’s always best to rule that out first. Once you’ve ruled out any medical issues, you can start working on ways to reduce your cat’s stress levels. This may involve changing his litter box, adding more toys or scratching posts, or simply spending more time with him. By reducing your cat’s stress levels, you’ll also be helping to keep your home clean and free of unwanted urine stains.

6.     Claw marking

When a cat feels stressed or disturbed, they may start to scratch large pieces of furniture or walls. This is their way of trying to mark their surroundings and feel in control again. Often, the scratching is done vertically, as this gives them a better view of their territory.

If you have a cat that is starting to scratch things in your home, there are a few things you can do to help them feel more comfortable. Try moving their litter box to a quieter location, providing them with more hiding spots, and increasing the amount of vertical space for them to explore.

7.     Development of infectious diseases

Being a cat owner comes with a lot of joy, but also a lot of responsibility. One important thing to keep in mind is that cats are susceptible to stress-related illnesses. When cats are stressed, their bodies secrete hormones that disrupt the proper functioning of white blood cells.

These cells are responsible for protecting the body from infection, so when they’re not working properly, the cat becomes more vulnerable to developing illnesses. If these illnesses recur, it’s likely due to chronic stress. To help your cat stay healthy and happy, it’s important to create a low-stress environment and to be aware of the signs of stress.

8.     Eating disorders

One of the most noticeable things about stress is how it can affect our appetite. Some of us lose our appetite and can’t seem to eat, while others find ourselves eating compulsively and then vomiting everything right away. Cats are no different. In fact, they may be even more susceptible to stress-induced eating disorders.

When cats are under stress, they may either lose their appetite and refuse to eat, or they may become compulsive eaters and vomit everything right away. Either way, it’s important to keep an eye on your cat’s eating habits and make sure that they’re getting the nutrition they need.

9.     The Appearance Of OCD (Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder)

A cat’s emotions can have a big impact on its behavior. When a cat is feeling fearful or stressed, it may develop habits such as hyperactive behavior, repetitive gestures, or staying still for long periods of time. These behaviors can be frustrating for owners, but it’s important to remember that they’re often the cat’s way of dealing with its feelings.

If you think your cat is displaying signs of stress, talk to your veterinarian about ways to help your feline friend feel more relaxed and comfortable. With a little patience and understanding, you can help your stressed-out cat get back to its happy self.

10.  Refusal to be petted

When a cat is feeling stressed, she will often try to avoid contact with people or other animals. If you try to pet her when she’s in this state, she may become aggressive and warn you by pointing her ears back. This is because she’s feeling threatened and wants to protect herself. If you’re able to identify when your cat is feeling stressed, you can help her to feel more comfortable by giving her some space and letting her approach you on her own terms.

What Causes Stress In Cats?

When cats are stressed out, they might hiss, hide, or stop using the litter box. As a result, it can be tough to figure out what’s causing their distress. However, it’s important to take the time to identify the source of your cat’s stress, because only then can you begin to resolve it.

There are a number of potential causes of stress in cats, including changes in their environment, health problems, and even interactions with other pets. By being attuned to your cat’s behavior and taking steps to address their needs, you can help them feel more relaxed and content.

The causes can be numerous and very varied, here are the most frequent:

  1. The cohabitation between several cats
  2. The arrival of a new animal or a baby in the household
  3. Receiving guests
  4. Change of territory
  5. A change in diet
  6. Poor food distribution
  7. Transportation by car
  8. Illness

1.     The Cohabitation Between Several Cats

Cats like to have their own territory and habits. If they are not accustomed to it, they do not appreciate cohabitation with other individuals. This can be a problem when two cats meet for the first time. They may hiss and growl at each other, even if they have been raised together.

It is important to give them time to adjust to each other’s presence and let them work out their own hierarchy. Once they have established their dominance, they will usually be able to live together in peace. However, if you have a cat that is particularly aggressive or territorial, it may be best to keep them separate.

2.     The Arrival Of a New Animal Or A Baby In The Household

Cats are lovely creatures, but they can also be very territorial. If a new “intruder” enters their territory and settles there, the cat may feel disturbed. The best way to deal with this situation is to slowly introduce the new arrival to the cat’s territory. Start by letting the cat sniff and explore the new arrival, and then let them play together under supervision.

3.     Receiving Guests

how will your feline friend react to having visitors in their territory? For some cats, the presence of guests can be disruptive and stressful. They may become isolated or aggressive as they try to defend their turf. If your cat starts acting out when company comes over, there are a few things you can do to help them adjust.

For example, you can provide them with a safe space, such as a room where they can go to escape the commotion. You can also give them extra attention and affection before and after your guests arrive.

4.     Change Of Territory

Your cat is a very territorial creature. He likes to know exactly where his boundaries are and how everything in his space is arranged. This helps him feel safe and secure. So, when there are changes to his territory, it can upset him and cause him stress.

For example, if you move house or have someone looking after him while you’re away, he may become anxious because everything is new to him and he doesn’t know where he should be or what he should be doing. Similarly, if there’s any construction or rearrangement going on in your home, it will disturb his sense of order and make him feel stressed.

5.     A Change In Diet

Cats can be very picky eaters. While some cats will happily try new foods, others can be very set in their ways, sticking to the same diet for years. This can be frustrating for owners who want to give their cats a variety of healthy foods, but it’s important to remember that cats appreciate regularity in their diet. Thinking that you’re pleasing him by varying his menus is a mistake; on the contrary, it reinforces his anxiety.

Give him a quality food, mainly in the form of kibble, and don’t change it if it suits him. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with giving your cat the occasional treat but stick to a consistent diet for the best results.

6.     Poor Food Distribution

Cats are known for their hearty appetites! While it’s tempting to just leave a big bowl of food out for your kitty, it’s actually better for her to eat several small meals throughout the day. This way, she won’t get too full – or too hungry. Cats can become stressed if they’re afraid of running out of food, so it’s important to keep their tummies happy by feeding them on a regular schedule.

7.     Transportation By Car

If your cat usually enjoys car rides but suddenly starts having difficulty with car travel, it may be due to motion sickness, or it may be associated with an unpleasant event, such as a visit to the vet. Cats are susceptible to motion sickness, just like humans, and it can be triggered by a change in routine or by stress.

If your cat is experiencing motion sickness, you may notice that he becomes anxious or agitated when the car is in motion, or he may vomit or have diarrhea. If you think your cat is suffering from motion sickness, talk to your veterinarian about ways to help him feel more comfortable during car trips.

However, if your cat’s aversion to car travel is sudden and unexplained, it may be associated with an unpleasant event. For example, if your cat had a bad experience at the vet’s office, he may start to associate car rides with that negative experience.

8.     Illness

In addition to external factors like changes in the home or routine, your cat’s stress can also be the result of illness or suffering. If you notice your cat exhibiting signs of stress, such as excessive grooming, hiding, or lethargy, it’s important to take them to the vet for a check-up.

Your vet will be able to rule out any medical causes and provide you with advice on how to help your cat relax. So if your cat seems stressed, don’t forget to ask your vet for advice.

What Are The Consequences Of Stress In Cats?

As any cat owner knows, our feline friends are creatures of habit. They like their routines and they don’t take well to change. So it’s not surprising that they sometimes get stressed out when something disturbs their usual way of life. This is perfectly natural and there’s no need to worry.

However, if you notice that your cat is frequently anxious or upset, it’s important to consult your vet. Stress can lead to serious health problems, so it’s important to get to the bottom of the issue as soon as possible.

The bladder is one of the organs that is most affected by stress, which is why cats often exhibit unclean behaviors when they’re feeling tense. Chronic stress can lead to the development of urinary disorders and the overproduction of cortisol in the body can make cats more susceptible to infections.

Stress is a very real and very dangerous condition for animals. Just like humans, animals can experience anxiety, fear, and even depression. When left unchecked, stress can lead to serious health problems such as heart disease, ulcers, and behavioral issues.

As a pet owner, it’s important to be aware of the signs of stress in your animal and take action to relieve it as soon as possible. There are several ways to relief stress in animals, from exercise and games to calming supplements and pheromone therapy. Finding the right solution will depend on your individual pet, but the most important thing is to act quickly to prevent the problem from getting worse.

How To Relieve Stress In Cats?

When you first notice the signs of stress in your cat, it’s important to consult with a veterinarian immediately. Only a professional can rule out any underlying medical conditions and develop a customized treatment plan. The most common symptoms of stress in cats include changes in eating or sleeping habits, excessive grooming, and increased vocalization.

If your cat is displaying any of these behaviors, don’t wait to seek help. A veterinarian can provide you with the resources you need to help your feline friend feel relaxed and comfortable again.

Once these are identified, you can work with your veterinarian or a behaviorist to put in place measures or treatments to help relieve the anxiety. This may include changes to the home environment, such as providing more hiding places or toys, or implementing a calming routine.

One possibility is to use natural food supplements or soothing pheromones. These can be implemented to help reduce your cat’s anxiety. If your veterinarian feels it’s necessary, he or she may prescribe medication. In addition, there are a few things you can do to help your cat feel more comfortable and reduce stress. For example, you can provide a safe space for your cat to hide, create a routine, and avoid using punishments.

What You Can Do

At the same time, we advise you to adopt the right gestures in order to reduce your pet’s stress, or at least not to make it worse.

  1. Give him several small rations of food a day, if the anxiety is food related. Be regular and always give him the same food, preferably of good quality, to cover his daily nutritional needs.
  2. Don’t punish him when he shows stress, so as not to aggravate it.
  3. Always have fresh water available for your cat to avoid possible urinary risks.
  4. Provide him with games, scratching posts, hiding places and high places to perch.
  5. Make time to play with your cat and spend time with him, whether he’s alone or stressed by the arrival of a new pet or baby.

It’s important to remember that these changes can be very stressful for your furry friend. When introducing your pet to a new situation, take it slow and be patient. Allow them time to adjust to their new surroundings and get comfortable. It’s also important to keep their routine as consistent as possible during times of change.


Nikol Toteva was born into a family with a Saint Bernard and spent her childhood on a farm surrounded by animals. Animals have always been a big part of her life. Her upbringing has created a special place in her heart for animals, which she enjoys writing about. She has worked as a writer in different industries for many years. Nikol has a degree in History and loves to spend time with her cat Napoléon.

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