Cats, like us, experience stress. A new home, a new pet, or change in routine can affect your cat. Your cat may express stress by running around more or hiding. Your cat may be less inclined to be pet or held. Stress may also indicate that your cat has an underlying health issue but stress can also create health issues if it is long lasting. If you have noticed your cat is acting a little differently, it could be stress related.
Here are some signs of stress to watch out for in your cat
- Not using the litter box – cats that urinate outside the litter box are trying to tell you something. Either the box is dirty which is a quick fix or there is something else going on. If the box is clean, it could be something else going on, from a change in the house to a health issue.
- Digestive problems – stress in cats may be apparent in their digestion of food. If your cat seems to have diarrhea or is constipated but the food has not changed, this is a sign of stress. Vomiting also may indicate that your cat is stressed.
- Excessive grooming – all cats groom but if you notice that your cat is grooming to the point where there are patches of missing fur or red spots, that is a sign of stress. Cats groom for cleanliness but also to self-soothe. Cats tend to overgroom when stressed and may create bald spots. If you start seeing raw or bald patches, consult a vet immediately.
- Excessive scratching – this is a tough one because your cat could have dry skin, fleas, or a valid itch. But if your cat is scratching more and grooming more, this can indicate stress. If you notice red spots, bald patches, and cut from your cat scratching, then there is something else going on.
- More meowing – some cats are talkers. If your cat is not a big talker and starts meowing more and it sounds panicked, sad, and unusually long bouts of howls and meows, your cat is may be trying to tell you something.
- Agression – a stressed or sick cat may become aggressive towards other animals in the house and you. If your cat is less inclined to being touched and lashes out, it’s time for a vet visit.