Easy Does It: Pet Anxiety
A kitchen overflowing with guests, loud claps of thunder, a change in routine due to a new job…all reasons for that creeping feeling of anxiety to take over. As for your sweet (and occasionally sassy) tuxedo cat, these situations may leave her feeling anxious too. Reaching for her favorite toy, you’re glad that you’ve learned some helpful tips to recognize and treat your furry friend’s anxiety.
Examples of anxiety triggers:
-Moving to a new home. Moving from one house or apartment to another involves a lot of logistics, and your cat can pick up on the changes.
-Loud noises. Cats have a significantly higher range of hearing than humans. A high-speed car chase in a movie could have her on edge and not seeming herself even in her own home. Her reaction to thunder and fireworks? She’ll head straight to the basement with her tail down.
-New baby or pet. The joy of introducing a new member of the family to your current pet can bring anxiety too. New smells, new sights, new things…new everything!
Tips to calm anxiety:
-Moving to a new home. Keep your kitty confined to a bathroom or smaller bedroom until she seems comfortable enough to explore her new abode. Make sure her creature comforts are nearby: food, water, litter box, toys and blankets. Visit her frequently, and allow play time in the new house in increments. Soon she’ll claim her napping spot and will let everyone in the house know!
-Loud noises. Try your best to reduce or remove the noise. Turn off the TV, or comfort your pet in a quieter room. A calmer atmosphere will benefit you both.
-New baby or pet. A curious baby will probably want to kiss and hug the family cat or dog, but let your pet approach the little guy on their time, and always supervise. A new furry buddy will require monitoring and gradual interaction too. Reassure your cat that she’ll continue to have your attention by spending quality time with her doing what she loves: being groomed, getting special treats, and playing with her favorite catnip toy.
Thinking of medication? Make an appointment with your veterinarian to discuss options. Tell the vet about your concerns and provide examples of how your cat has reacted to stressors. One option is fluoxetine, a medication equivalent to Prozac for humans. Fluoxetine can help ease separation anxiety and overall anxiety.
When you find out what works in easing anxiety in your cat, both of you will feel a little better.
By Carrie Cammauf