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Scaredy Cat: Causes, Symptoms, And Treatment Of Anxiety In Cats

Cats, like humans, are sensitive to the world around them. This sensitivity, unfortunately, can lead to anxiety in your cat. While each cat's anxiety is different, below is a general rundown of common causes, classic symptoms, and usual treatment options.

What Causes Anxiety?

There are a number of things that can lead to anxiety in your feline, both long term anxiety and short term.

Illness, aging, abandonment, and trauma can all lead to your cat becoming anxious. Some anxieties can be overcome, especially if there is a time limited trigger, such as a minor illness, but other anxieties will stay with your cat for their entire life and will need special attention in order to keep it in line and ensure your cat lives a happy, normal life. Even if you are unsure of the cause of your cat's anxiety, understanding the symptoms and treatment options can be beneficial to your feline.  

What are the Symptoms of Feline Anxiety?

If your cat is anxious, you may notice a number of calming techniques that your cat uses, such as excessive licking or biting.

While the above symptoms are the most common, other symptoms include repetitive vocalizations and pacing. In acute situations, such as those caused by a recent trauma, your cat may try to escape from the home or become agitated. If your cat suffers from panic attacks, a more severe form of anxiety, you may notice more extreme behaviors, including self harm while trying to escape from the cause of their anxiety.

How Can Anxiety Be Treated?

When considering the treatment options, your cat's veterinarian will consider the cause of the anxiety, as well as the symptoms they're exhibiting on a regular basis.

If your cat suffers from general anxiety, it's likely that behavior modification will be recommended. This treatment usually involves the help of an animal behaviorist and will involve desensitizing your cat to their fears. If your cat suffers from more extreme anxiety, medications may be prescribed, either to be used daily or at times of need, such as during a panic attack. While behavior modification can still be used, and is quite helpful, the medications will help you to deal with the more immediate and dangerous situations. While each treatment is different, the main focus is to get your cat to a healthier, happier place and ensure they live a long life.

To learn more about anxiety in cats and how to best help your feline cope, consult with your veterinarian or a professional at an animal hospital.