Stress in Cats


Our pets can be very sensitive, and changes to behaviour or environment that may seem small to us may cause upset to them.

Cats are particularly sensitive, something that we understand and work to mitigate when your pet visits our practice, as proven by our Gold Standard Cat Friendly status.

Cats evolved as a largely solitary species, so they are excellent at masking signs of distress or pain. Stress in our cats can lead them to become physically unwell, as well as mentally.



Common stress signs in cats include:



- Gut upsets e.g. vomiting or diarrhoea

- Overgrooming of coat leading to bald patches

- Flu-like symptoms (runny nose or eyes)

- Pica (eating inappropriate things e.g. litter)

- Poor appetite

- Increased sleeping/lethargy

- Increased thirst

- Sudden change in weight – loss or gain

- Poor coat condition

- Changes in toilet habits, including signs of cystitis



- Changes in routines

- Toileting outside of litter tray/normal areas

- Urine spraying on furniture

- Increased furniture scratching

- Changes in aggression – to people or other pets

- Increased vocalisation

- Increased interactions with people (increased dependency)

- Reduction in interactions with people (withdrawal)

- Increased startle drive – jumps at every sudden movement

- Increased hiding around the house

- Lack of interest in play


It is really important to pay attention to any changes in your cat, and if change occurs to get them checked by a vet, in case there is anything else underlying. We can suggest ways to relieve tension in the home e.g. using pheromone plug-ins (feliway/pet remedy), or products to reduce anxiety. If required, we can arrange an appropriate referral to a registered behaviourist.