Fears, Phobias, and Anxieties in Cats
SSRIs like fluoxetine and sertraline have been successfully used to treat a number of anxiety-related behavior problems, such as fearful avoidance of the litter box, fear of other cats in the household or aggression toward other cats. SSRIs are also useful in reducing compulsive behaviors, such as excessive grooming.
In the event that the vet decides to simply halt the use of the drugs, there will be a period during which the cat must be weaned off the drugs. If this is not done, there can be additional side effects including aggression and worsened anxiety. To accomplish this, the vet will usually instruct the owner to gradually reduce the dosage that is being given to the cat over a period of weeks. This will give the cat's body ample time to adjust to the lessened effects.
Anxiety in cats manifests from the anticipation of future dangers from unknown or imagined origins. This results in normal body reactions associated with fear, most commonly urination and/or passage of bowel movements, destruction, excessive vocalization, and even fear-based aggression in some cats. Anxiety in cats can have many causes, including illness, emotional or physical traumatic experiences, and aging factors associated with nervous system changes, including infections and viruses. Common anxiety triggers include excessive noises such as thunderstorms, as well as when left alone. Most cat anxieties develop at the onset of social maturity from 12 to 36 months of age. Old age separation anxiety of unknown cause may be a variant of a decline in thinking, learning, and memory in senior cats. Feral cats that are deprived of social and environmental exposure until 14 weeks of age may become habitually fearful of contact.All cats treated with any anxiety medications should have a physical exam and blood panels done prior to starting treatment, especially with long-term medications. These cats should also have periodic blood work done to monitor liver and kidney function, since cats can be sensitive to these medications.Several often effective natural remedies can be tried to help ease anxiety in cats. The contains calming pheromones to reduce anxiety and fear. is also a versatile product that is made from a combination of flower essences that often help to reduce anxiety in cats. Herbal products made from catnip and valerian root can also be helpful in calming cats. Tranquility Blend, by Animal Apothacary, has long been a favorite of veterinarians, which is also easy to administer to cats. Another recommended product is called Nutricalm, by Rx Vitamins. You may also want to try , which contains a natural pheromone that helps ease anxiety.This is not only a sign of separation anxiety, but also depression. If you kitty is fixed, it is important not to ignore this. This isn’t general marking, but scattered spraying over certain items like towels, blankets, shoes, ect. They aren’t looking to keep other cats away, but actually to attract you back. This is why peeing on your items is the most obvious target for them. You may also notice diarrhea, which is from your kitty tensing and getting worked up. All humans with anxiety have some form of digestive distress.Over 40 million people in the United States alone suffer from some form of anxiety (including myself) that can not only make a person’s lifestyle greatly change, but have one living in fear of the what if’s. While there has been many years spent on dogs with studies proving dogs can not only suffer from GAD, separation anxiety but also OCD and panic attacks, little has been done for cats. Many just assume because cats are not pack animals, they can’t suffer from separation anxiety. This is far from true. Do you have a cat whom you suspect to suffer from separation anxiety? in cats can be challenging, and sometimes can be tough to recognize. Cats have all different forms of separation anxiety, ranging from very mild to all-out crazy and destructive. But what causes a cat to hate being alone, especially if the change in behavior comes out of nowhere? These causes of separation anxiety might surprise you.