This is How Your Cat Shows You That It is Stressed

You actually know immediately if something is wrong with your cat and it is stressed – but sometimes its behavior puzzles you. Here you can find out which signs indicate that your kitty is experiencing a lot of stress.

Cats have a reputation for being mysterious, and not without good reason: Sometimes they’re just hard to see through. But when you look at their behavior, a lot suddenly makes sense.

Fortunately, there are experts like Dr. Kelly Ballantine, who bring light into the dark. The co-author of the book “Decoding your cat” explains the signs that your cat may be stressed.

Your Cat Hides a Lot During the Day

When your cat feels stressed, they instinctively seek refuge – these can be hidden places under tables, chairs, or couches. But cats also love high hiding places, such as on cupboards, because they keep an eye on their surroundings.

If your cat pulls back every now and then, that’s perfectly normal. For example, maybe she doesn’t like it when you vacuum or new people come to visit.

However, if your cat spends most of the day in hiding, this is an alarm signal – then it could also be that your cat is not only stressed but maybe even sick.

Another sign of a cat that is stressed is when it curls up, eyes wide, and ears back.

Purring in Strange Situations

Yes, purring is actually a good sign that your kitty feels relaxed and at ease – but you should still pay attention if she suddenly purrs in strange situations. For example, when she is at the vet or is not cuddling with you.

Kittens signal to their mothers by purring that they need milk or warmth – so maybe your cat is trying to tell you something too. Check to see if your velvet paw still has enough food and water. And give her an extra loving caress if she longs for affection.

If Your Cat is Stressed, It Will Meow a Lot

In addition to purring, meowing can also be a sign of stress – at least if your kitty calls in more often than usual. “Meowing is a learned behavior that cats use to demand attention,” explains Dr. Ballantine across from The Dodo magazine. So to some extent, it’s normal.

However, if your cat meows a lot when it doesn’t seem to need food or attention, you should take it to the vet. Because that could be an early sign of problems that are only just developing and should therefore be identified quickly.

Your Cat No Longer Uses the Litter Box

Your kitty is actually house trained – but suddenly she doesn’t want to go to the litter box anymore? Then the litter box is probably too dirty or in a place that will scare your cat. But it could also be a sign of stress. Especially if you suddenly find traces of urine on vertical surfaces such as furniture or walls. This shows that your cat is marking its territory – a stress reaction when its environment changes, for example when a new pet moves in. Then it is advisable to put a second litter box in a quiet place where your cat feels safe.

You Suddenly Find Vomit and Hairballs Around the House

Granted, most kitties occasionally cough up hairballs is normal. But if this suddenly increases, you can help your cat groom it, for example brushing it. The kitty will no longer swallow as much hair when she is grooming herself.

On the other hand, vomit is a warning signal: It could be that your cat is stressed – for example, because you have adjusted its bowl, given new food or something fundamentally changes. This often causes your cat to eat too quickly and vomit. To avoid this, you can distribute small portions of food in several places. Toys that contain food can also slow down your cat while eating.

As always, if you suspect that there may be more than stress behind your cat’s behavior, you should seek advice from your vet.

Mary Allen

Written by Mary Allen

Hello, I'm Mary! I've cared for many pet species including dogs, cats, guinea pigs, fish, and bearded dragons. I also have ten pets of my own currently. I've written many topics in this space including how-tos, informational articles, care guides, breed guides, and more.

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