Tips for dealing with your cats depression and anxiety issues

While most cats are well adjusted felines, there are some that have issues. Some kitties are nervous or highly sensitive, others are overly quiet and exhibit signs of depression. What is an owner to do?

How do you know?

Some of the ways an owner knows their cat has a mental concern is by abnormal behavior. A cat that hides a lot, or is wary of people it should know and trust, clearly has anxiety concerns. A cat who, for no medical reason, is urinating inappropriately is also showing signs of anxiety. A depressed cat will lay about and show no interest in play or receiving affection. Of the two, anxiety is far more common.

Causes and Solutions

You cannot treat a problem without knowing the cause. There are several causes of anxiety or depression in cats. Medication is often suggested as a solution, but should be used as a last resort as typically the side effects of medication may outweigh the benefits.

The most common cause of anxiety is if the pet is not spayed or neutered. This leads to sexual, and hormonal issues. An intact male cat will be constantly worried about the presence of other cats. Spraying and aggressive behavior are both common behaviors in this case. Spaying or neutering is generally the best solution for this problem. Occasionally a neutered pet will spray (always rule out medial reasons first) and there are stress relieving formulas you can purchase from a pet supply store to help calm a cat in this situation. As well the removal of any wandering stray pets from your area is a good idea too.

The second most common cause of anxiety in cats is declawing. This surgery does show behavioral changes in many cats. Often it increases their “flight or fight” response, meaning they become over sensitive to situations and may either flea or bite in response to a situation that may not even have escalated to require such a response. A declawed cat may even be so anxious that it will attack a dog who has not even provoked it or made itself into a threat. Declawed cats often become nervous biters. Since this surgery cannot be reversed, the best thing an owner can do is accept the behavior, or try using some of the stress relieving formulas as mentioned above.

Diet can play a huge role in creating a depressed or anxious pet. A cat with food allergies might exhibit some behavioral problems. Food coloring does not benefit a food and can cause problems for pets, the foods that have multi colored pieces are usually the ones with the most food

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