Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the USA, affecting 40 million people. That’s 18% of the population. Animals, too, are affected by anxiety. Animals are also susceptible to anxiety.
Anxiety is one of the most prevalent psychological conditions seen in cats. So, what are the leading causes of anxiety in cats? And more importantly, how helpful is CBD for cats anxiety symptoms and what are the treatment options? Keep reading to find out.
How Common Is Anxiety Among Cats?
Anxiety is the most frequently encountered psychological issue in cats. It can manifest as excessive vocalization, elimination outside the litter box, aggression, or avoidance. In a study of 2,335 cats, it was found that 16.4% of them suffered from anxiety. This data makes anxiety one of the most commonplace psychological problems seen in cats.
Common Symptom of Anxiety in Cats
There are several common symptoms of anxiety in cats. These include:
–Excessive Vocalization: This can manifest as meowing, yowling, or howling.
–Elimination Outside the Litter Box: This is usually due to stress and anxiety. Cats may urinate or feces outside the litter box to relieve tension.
–Aggression: Aggressive behavior is often a result of anxiety. Cats may lash out to protect themselves from perceived threats.
–Avoidance: Avoidant behavior is another common symptom of anxiety. Cats may hide or refuse to interact with other people or animals.
If your cat is showing any of these signs, it’s critical to visit the doctor immediately. You can begin looking for treatment options for your cat once you’ve ruled out a medical cause.
What Are the Primary Causes of Anxiety in Cats?
Various factors can contribute to anxiety in cats. The most common include:
- Genetic disposition
Some cats are more anxious than others. If your cat has a family history of anxiety, it’s more likely to have it. This may be due to genetics or because of the cat’s circumstances.
For example, a study of Siamese cats found that those with a particular gene variant were significantly more likely to be anxious than other cats without it.
- Lack of socialization
Cats who lack socialization are also more prone to anxiety. Socialization is essential for all animals, but it’s especially crucial for cats. Kittens who aren’t adequately socialized may become anxious adults.
Make sure your cat has plenty of opportunities to socialize with other cats, whether through play, grooming, or simply spending time together.
- Changes in routine
Cats are creatures of habit, and they appreciate predictability. Any changes in their routine – such as a new pet in the house, a move to a new home, or even just a difference in the furniture – can cause anxiety. If you’re going to make any changes in your cat’s environment, do it slowly and gradually so they can get used to it.
- Life experiences
Some cats may also develop anxiety as a result of traumatic life experiences. This could be anything from being abandoned or neglected to being physically or emotionally abused.
If your cat has experienced a traumatic event, it’s essential to provide them with plenty of love and support. Make sure they have a safe, pleasant place to live and enough toys and activities to keep them entertained.
- Fear of abandonment
Many cats develop anxiety when their owners leave them alone for extended periods. This is often referred to as fear of abandonment. Cats who experience this type of anxiety may become destructive, vocalize frequently, or even urinate and defecate on the floor.
The best way to overcome your cat’s phobia is to make sure they get enough attention and love when you’re at home, as well as a secure, pleasant place to stay while you’re gone. You may want to give them some of your clothing so they can smell your scent.
- Scared of loud noises
Cats are more sensitive to sound than humans are, so loud noises or storms can be frightening. Loud sounds might cause them to become anxious and worried, resulting in problems like vomiting or diarrhea.
- Fear of unfamiliar environments
Many cats are hesitant to try new things or go to new places because they’re afraid of unfamiliar environments. It can be caused by various factors, including fear of loud noises or unfamiliar smells. If your cat is used to staying indoors, taking them for a walk outside can be an anxiety-inducing experience.
Different Ways to Treat Anxiety in Cats
There are different ways to treat anxiety in cats. The best approach depends on the individual cat and the severity of their anxiety. Some standard treatment options include:
Pheromone therapy uses synthetic pheromones to help calm and relax cats. Pheromones are naturally produced chemicals produced by animals to communicate with each other. Cats have pheromones in their urine, and these pheromones can help them feel safe and secure.
The therapy is available in various forms, including sprays, collars, and diffusers. You can find pheromone products at most pet stores or online.
Cannabidiol (CBD) oil is a natural, plant-based substance that has been clinically proven to help with a variety of ailments in people and animals. CBD products work by interacting with the body’s endocannabinoid system, which is responsible for maintaining balance and harmony in the body.
CBD oil is effective in reducing anxiety, pain, and inflammation. It’s available in various forms, including tinctures, capsules, and treats. You can find products at most health food stores or online with CBD for cats with anxiety symptoms and administer the right dosage for better results.
A veterinarian can prescribe anti-anxiety medication to help manage a cat’s anxiety. The most common type of anti-anxiety medication for cats is called buspirone, and it’s similar to the anti-anxiety medication given to humans.
Buspirone helps reduce anxiety by increasing the levels of serotonin in the brain. It’s important to note that anti-anxiety medication should only be used as a last resort, and it’s best to consult with a veterinarian before giving your cat any medication.
If you think your cat suffers from anxiety, it’s essential to consult with a veterinarian. They will be able to help you identify the cause of your cat’s stress and recommend the best course of treatment.