Can Cats Suffer From Anxiety?

Does your cat seem restless or is it becoming overly vocal? If you have experienced these behaviors with your cat and others listed below, it may have an issue with anxiety. It  can be a real problem as animals areanxiety cat also known to suffer from the pressures of daily life. We have only to look at zoo animals to understand the issues of anxiety in non-human species. It is something to be taken seriously for the health of your animal family member.

What Are the Signs ?

Below is a list of behaviors that your feline can exhibit if it has anxiety.

  • Hiding
  • Changes in appetite or weight
  • Excessive vocalizing
  • Changes in elimination habits
  • Compulsive behaviors or Excessive grooming
  • Aggression
  • Health changes
  • Lethargy
  • Depression
  • New destructive behaviors
  • Trembling
  • Restlessness

If you have ever had an anxious attack, you know how unpleasant it can be. Relating that scenario to you cat is helpful in trying to find the best way to treat the anxiety. Eliminating the cause of the anxiety is the key to helping your cat, and preventing more severe trauma. It can manifest as severe depression, and it can develop into behavioral problems.

What Are the Causes?

cat hidingSince your cat cannot communicate the problem, begin to investigate by making a list of what triggers anxiety in humans. The same things that stress you out could be the same for your feline. Like you, a cat can be prone to stress from changes in routine, uprooted situations, being left alone too long, or with the addition of a new animal family member, or the loss of one.

Although, it can be a long process to find out the root cause of the stress for your cat, your feline family member’s health should be a high priority. Some approaches to try include, using different toys for stimulation, and different diets for better nutrition. Maybe altering your activity schedule away from home is necessary as well. The following is a partial list of what the causes could be.

  • Separation from family members
  • No activity stimulation
  • Lack of exercise or play
  • Phobias
  • Inadequate diet
  • A hidden health problem
  • Inadequate living environment
  • Changes to the daily routine
  • Stress from another pet
  • Loss or addition of family member or cat

Ultimately, your cat’s well being rests in your ability to help it through its anxiety. Persistence is key to rule out any underlying cause. Medical intervention through your veterinarian may be needed such as a calming medication. However there are other products on the market that can be used to help calm your cat such as calming collars, calming mists, anti-anxiety supplements, calming cat chews, stress-relief coats, and natural remedies, such as catnip.

Like humans, some animals are naturally prone to stress and some have serious struggles with past traumas. These cats may need the assistance of a veterinary behaviorist or anti-anxiety medications prescribed by a veterinarian.

Be aware of behavioral changes in your feline to ensure that it is happy and healthy.

 

 

Alternatives to Declawing

Cats like to scratch. It’s part of their nature. But the scratching does not have to be destructive or forbidden. To avoid the issue of having your darling kitty damage your property, try these easily accessible provisions for your cat.

Scratching Post

A scratching post is the most basic of equipment any cat guardian should have in their home. These posts, which come in a variety of sizes and shapes can be found at any Walmart or pet store. The scratching post should be sturdy, not shaky, and tall enough so your cat can raise its paws above its head and stretch its body while digging its claws into the surface. It should also have a strong base that will not tip when it scratches. It’s also a good idea to place scratching posts in multiple locations of your home. Dangle a toy or sprinkle with catnip to get your kitty interested.

Scratching Cardboard

This is a simple product that is very affordable. It’s a corrugated cardboard on the floor in a horizontal position. It can come with a packet of catnip to entice. Great for the kitty that doesn’t like vertical posts for scratching. Or use it as a supplement to the scratching post.

cat stretch scratch

Double-Sided Tape

This double sided tape, is known as “Sticky Paws.” This special product has an adhesive that does not damage the furniture, but is a repellent to the cat’s sensitive paw pads.

Cover-Up

Make the object undesirable for scratching. This may be as simple as throwing a thick towel, fleece or blanket over the arm of the sofa. A cat will prefer woven upholstery because it is resistant and allows him or her a better grip.

Padding for the Paws

A replaceable soft plastic caps for the claws called “Soft Paws” may be a good solution. They adhere with a safe glue and last only up to a certain point. Please ask your veterinarian if he/she feels this is right for your pet.

Nail Trimming

Regular nail-trimming is another approach if your cat will tolerate it. This will keep the claws blunt and minimize the damage that the feline can do to fabrics, furniture, and fingers.

Giving Encouragement and Rewarding with Praise

To introduce your cat to any of the scratching alternatives, speak to your kitty in a pleasant, encouraging tone. For example, stand over the post and pat it, calling your cat by name. Try rubbing or scratching the post with your nails. Stroke your kitty’s back and follow through to the tail, applying slight pressure. This motion causes many kitties to raise their front paws to the post.

Or if you are going to trim you cat’s nails, approach kitty in a soothing, restful state. Practice with getting the cat used to having it’s paws touched before attempting clipping.

Giving your kitty lots of praise and love when she or he scratches in the approved areas and manner, will continue to solidify good scratching behavior, and will strengthen the bond that you both share.

There are a few individuals who will always declaw their cats, even though it is inhumane to the animal. Their own convenience and the safety of their belongings is their top priority, and whether or not it causes suffering to their cat, is not a significant concern. If this is the case, then cat ownership should not be a consideration for them.

Fortunately, there are cat owner’s who care about what is best for their feline companion. If you are one of these wonderful people, spread the word of the harmful long lasting pain and effects of this brutal procedure. Educate, not mutilate.


“The Association of Veterinarians for Animal Rights is opposed to cosmetic surgeries and to those performed to correct ‘vices.’ Declawing generally is unacceptable because the suffering and disfigurement it causes is not offset by any benefits to the cat. Declawing is done strictly to provide convenience for people.”
The Association of Veterinarians for Animal Rights (AVAR)

Declawing, the Reality of it All

When I was a little girl we had “Kouklo”. My Siamese cat. He was a beautiful dark, seal point, with a kink in his tail and he was blue eyed–not cross-eyed. I remember him like it was yesterday. Coming home from school my mother surprised me with this little kitten in a box. I was overjoyed and thus began my journey with my best friend.

Mother was the one to keep things on track with the cat. The litter box, the food purchasing, the vet checks, the neutering and the declawing. I actually remember the day he came home from his declawing ordeal. Mother warned us to leave him alone because he was healing. I never gave it a second thought that this was wrong, but rather it was just part of the scheme of things, so that our indoor cat would not rip up the sofa or curtains, not that he ever showed any inclination to do so.

Today’s perspective on declawing a domestic house cat has brought about some heated discussions and different lines of thought. Is it the right thing to do?

Investigating this topic has brought me to the decision that declawing one’s house pet (cat or dog) is not right, nor is it humane. This perspective is now at the forefront of feline and canine care so that many veterinarians are not carrying out these surgeries any longer. It is old school and is considered unhealthy, and greatly inhumane for the cat. If you are being told by a veterinarian that this surgery is standard, or of no concern, you are being lied to.

Why are claws important to cats?

Declawing is pretty much an American thing. It is a surgical procedure people do for their own convenience without realizing what actually happens to their beloved cat. In England declawing is termed “inhumane” and “unnecessary mutilation.” In many European countries it is illegal.

The claws of a cat perform a number of vital functions. When it scratches different surfaces, a cat is creating a visual and scent identification mark for its territory. There is also a psychological comfort through kneading, helping the animal climb to safety or to secure a high vantage point. Also a cat’s claws help the it fully stretch his back and legs. A declawed cat never experiences the head-to-toe satisfaction of a full body stretch.

A pet owner’s decision to declaw their cat may be based on more myth than fact. Here are common reasons people choose to proceed:

  • To protect the furniture or other items in the house
  • Unwillingness or non-belief a cat cannot be trained to refrain or redirected from scratching
  • To stop the cat from scratching its owner, children or other humans
  • A friend or other family member’s cat is declawed and seems fine
  • Have always declawed family cats
  • The veterinarian has recommended it as a standard procedure
  • Misinformation or uninformed about the actual surgery and its brutality
  • A cat that uses its claws is demonstrating normal behavior

Facts About Declawing

Declawing is not like a manicure. It is serious surgery. Your cat’s claw is not a toenail. It is actually closely adhered to the bone. So closely adhered, that to remove the claw, the last bone of your the cat’s claw has to be removed. Declawing is actually an amputation of the last joint of your cat’s “toes”.

  • Declawing a cat is very painful.
  • Declawing is major surgery.
  • Declawing is illegal in 14 countries
  • Declawing has dangerous side effects for the cat
  • “Onchectomy” surgery amputates, (yes, “amputates”) the entire last joint toe (marder) of the paw
    This surgery is the equivalent to having the tips of a human finger cut off at the first joint below the fingernail.
  • The amputation is conducted by either a guillotine nail cutter or with a scalpel blade that dissects the two bones.
  • A surgical glue fills the hole left behind, with its bonding ability and is the paw is covered in bandages before the anesthesia has worn away. The layers of bandages are removed before going home.
  • The glue does not always remain intact so that painfully re-gluing is necessary without anesthesia;
  • The cat will have several days of walking difficulty.
  • Some cats are found to thrash around in their holding cage at the vets post-surgery due to excruciating pain. Some cats huddle in the corner, helpless in overwhelming pain.

Post-Surgery

  • Re-growth: A cat’s claw can re-grow years after surgery
  • Pain: The cat will endure lots of pain and/or phantom pain, in one or more of its toes, throughout its life.
  • Joint Stiffness or “Frozen Joints” because the tendons that control the toe joints retract post  surgery.
  • Litter box Problems: Declawed cats may have more litter box problems than clawed cats. Households with cats refusing to use the litter box may spend thousands of dollars replacing drywall, carpets, and sub-floors to repair urine damage.
  • Biting: Some declawed cats do seem to “notice” that their claws are missing, and turn to biting as a primary means of defense.
  • Change in personality: A friendly, delightful kitten may become a morose, fearful, or reclusive cat, never to recover its natural joy, grace, and love of exploration.
  • Death: There is always a small but real risk of death from any general anesthesia, as well as from bleeding or other surgical complications.

Watch the following video as Dr. Li, of Singapore, speaks out against cat declawing. Warning some parts of this video are graphic.

Countries that have Outlawed Cat Declawing or
Consider it Extremely Inhumane

  • England
  • Scotland
  • Wales
  • Italy
  • Austria
  • Switzerland
  • Norway
  • Sweden
  • Ireland
  • Denmark
  • Finland
  • Slovenia
  • Brazil
  • Australia
  • New Zealand
  • Serbia
  • Montenegro
  • Macedonia
  • Slovenia
  • France
  • Germany
  • Bosnia
  • Malta
  • Netherlands
  • Northern Ireland
  • Portugal
  • Belgium
  • Israel

There is plenty of information out there to educate one’s self on the brutality of declawing.
Watch the video below and follow the link.

The Paw Project – follow this link for more information.

Keeping Your Cat Healthy – Aiding In Its Need to Scratch

Except that your cat’s health is dependent on its need to scratch. Provide it with a proper sisal scratching post or box. Also on the market are claw caps and claw trimmers.

You must be willing to work with your cat to maintain healthy scratching activity.
1. Provide an irresistible scratching surface.
2. Praise your cat when he/she uses the appropriate surface and scold when claws are used inappropriately.
3. Trim your cat’s claws.

Read about helpful devices to aide in your cat’s necessity to scratch here.


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