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Tips for Calming an Anxious Cat

Last week, we discussed ways to soothe your pup during a rainstorm – this week, we’re shifting gears to our feline friends. Not surprisingly, our dogs and cats handle and express their anxiety in completely different ways. While a dog may seek comfort or reassuring pats during a thunderstorm, a cat often prefers her own space and privacy. Whether your kitty is the life of the party or often found hiding under the bed, here are a few ways to keep her anxiety at bay…

Remember that cats are predators and are happiest when hunting. Don’t fret! This doesn’t mean you have to move to the country for your cat to live a fulfilling life. A recent New York Times article states that bringing some outdoor elements into your home can be just the thing to calm your cat’s nerves. Although this may sound a little extreme or time consuming, it doesn’t have to be. Try keeping some cat grass by a window, installing a small fish tank for your kitty to watch, or swapping out a food bowl for a puzzle feeder. Most importantly, keep your cat active with games and toys. Something as simple as a grocery bag (handles cut off) will provide your kitty with hours of entertainment.

Give your cat a box (any cardboard box will do). It remains true that cats love boxes, and it’s not just the fun they have in playing a sneaky game of hide and seek – it’s directly related to their deeply rooted instincts as both predator and prey. Letting them hide not only gives them a sense of invisibility – it calms their nerves. Next time your kitty dives under the bed or high on a shelf in the closet, let her be. When she’s ready, she’ll emerge on her own terms, ready for attention.

Temporarily cover your cat’s eyes. This tip might sound odd, but think of it this way: cats, like dogs, rely heavily on their sense of sight, smell, hearing, and touch. When one is eliminated, their instinct is to remain calm. While this trick may not make the most sense for long-term anxiety or stress, it could be just the thing to soothe your kitty during a trip. Going to the vet? Cover the carrier with a towel — it will instantly calm your feline.

Try a natural remedy. There are many, many natural and over-the-counter herbal-based formulas to help with cat anxiety. Feline pheromones like Comfort Zone and Feliway are also widely sold online and might be worth considering if you four-legged friend is often under stress. In some cases, medication is your best bet, and can be extremely affective if your pet suffers from severe anxiety.

Lastly, keep in mind that cats are puzzling creatures with behavior that is sometimes completely lost to us. By honoring their needs and giving them the space they desire, we can rest assured that they are living a safe, loving, and secure kitty life.