If you've adopted an anxious cat, you have your work cut out for you. Anxious cats need additional love and attention, especially in those early days. With care and attention, your cat should come around. Unfortunately, some cats are just naturally anxious. If your cat doesn't seem to calm down after a few weeks in their new environment, you'll need to take additional steps.
1. Offer a Scented Blanket
When you first bring your cat home, none of the odors will be familiar. Unfortunately, that lack of familiarity can increase the anxiety your new cat will experience during those first few days. To help alleviate the distress, offer a scented blanket. Rub a soft blanket on your skin and then place it in your cat's new bed. Your cat will learn to equate you with the comfort of their new blanket.
2. Isolate the Litter Box
Litter boxes can create a stressful situation for anxious cats, especially if they're located out in the open. If your cat appears apprehensive to use the litter box, move it to a quieter location. Your cat may need privacy before it will begin to use the litter box on a regular basis. If your cat continues to avoid the litter box, try a new litter. Your cat may not like the texture or odor of the current litter.
3. Give Them Advance Warning
If you have other cats in your home, take steps to reduce the anxiety they may cause the newest member of your feline family.
Place bells on the collars of all your cats. The bells provide enough noise to give your anxious cat enough time to get into hiding. This is an important step if any of your cats behave aggressively towards the newest member of their community. If you have dogs in your home, the bells work well for them as well.
4. Provide Plenty of Hiding Places
Cats that suffer from anxiety often spend most of their days in hiding. If you don't have adequate hiding spots for your new cat, it will experience increased anxiety and stress. Unfortunately, the increased anxiety can lead to health issues. If your new cat searches for places to hide, increase their options.
Leave a few closets open for your cat to escape into, or move the furniture out so that there's room to crawl through. The more hiding places your cat has, the easier it will be for it to escape when they're stressed out.
5. Let Them Come to You
If your new cat is anxious, don't make the first move. Instead, let your cat come to you. Sit down on the floor or in another comfortable spot, and wait for your cat to approach you. Slowly extend your hand so that your cat has the opportunity to catch your scent. You should also speak in a calm voice and have a treat readily available for your cat.
Avoid abrupt movements while your cat approaches you. Those movements could scare your cat and increase its anxiety level. You may need to repeat this several times before your cat feels safe to approach you on its own.
6. Add Natural Supplements
If your efforts fail to calm your anxious cat, talk to your veterinarian. Your cat may require specialized treatment to overcome their anxiety. Your veterinarian can provide you with natural remedies or prescription medication designed to help your cat relax and become part of the family.
If your new cat suffers from anxiety, use the tips provided here to alleviate its distress. For additional assistance with your cat's anxiety, contact us at Family Pet Clinic. We're here to help.