What are the symptoms of a stressed cat?

Cats are the cutest animal ever. They are also long known as an independent hunter. But have you imagined whether you little kitty ever feels unhappy, sad, depressed or worse, stressed? Unfortunately, they do. Like human, a stress is really troublesome for cats, it could lead to more severe health impacts. Therefore, in this article, we are going to tell everything you should know about feline stress: causes, symptoms and how to treat it. Let’s deep dive into the matter and figure out how to keep your kittens mentally good.

Causes of cat stress

There are a lot of reasons that can make a cat feel annoyed, disturbed, anxious or frustrated. Here are several common explanations for stress in a cat:

  • Too much competition: Let say, you keep many cats in your house, which likely increases the chance that they will fight each other to seize the dominating position. Cats have strong instincts, but if they have to worry too much over competition for food, toys, territory, master’s care… they might become stressed.
  • Often changes of habitat: If you have moved around too often into new homes, your cat’s living environment changes accordingly. It will take them some time to get familiar with, which means your kittens may feel unease for a while. When it happens too many times, your cats may fall into stress over adapting to a new home. 
  • New or strange cats intruding on their territory: Though nowadays, domesticated cats are more used to being socialized and living in a group, they still need time to accept unfamiliar cats to their land. They will stay guarded, or sometimes even start a fight when they feel their territory is being threatened. This may make your kitty unsettled and get unexpected wounds as well.
  • Home redecoration, construction, noise: Cats are pretty sensitive, especially with sounds and noises. Therefore, any events taking place with loud noises, even parties or gatherings, may piss our furry friend off. 
  • Strange visitors or guests: Actually, not only strangers but even familiar friends of the masters are not always welcomed by kitties. In fact, many breeds may become nervous and more alerted when they sense the presence of other people. That explains cat stress when there is too much guest visiting. 
  • Improper cat handling: From diet, toys, how you play and pet them, inappropriate care would result in unsatisfaction. Unless you watch carefully and notice the signs, over a period of time, your cat may fall apart from you and suffer from mental problems.

Symptoms of a stressed cat

From what we have talked about causes of cat stress, it is often rooted in behavioral or environmental changes that cats cannot adapt to. Hence, most of the easily recognizable signs you can detect when your cat has a stress are their abnormal behavior, such as:

  • All of the sudden, you notice they make irregular acts different from their usual routine or habit, e.g. refuse to eat or sleep at normal times
  • Pee or poop in wrong places outside of their tray, incontinent spraying urine on household furniture
  • Scratch or tear up everything in the rooms
  • Easily become aggressive and violent towards human, visitors, or other cats
  • Keep meowing all-day
  • Become excessively dependent on masters, or abnormally detach themselves from masters and things around 
  • Withdraw themselves and often hide somewhere, for instance in a box, behind the curtain, or under the sofa
  • Become excessively inactive, reluctant to move, and refuse to play with their owners and other cats
  • Look gloomy all the time

You can also tell if your cat is having a stress by his gesture:

  • Look jitter or crouched even if no one is around
  • Often rotate their ears backward or downwards, which says they are anxious or scared
  • Their eyes are open up wide and they are staring at something uncertain
  • Shake or rub their head incontinently
  • The skin on their back is rippled and twitched
  • Excessively shallow their tongue on the nose


As said, a cat with mental suffering may have to face other physical consequences, based on which you can observe to tell if your kittens are having depression. Currently, there are a number of calming aids for cats that help a distressed cat become calm again. Hope you see this post as helpful! If you have any comments, let’s share with us and we’ll discuss more next time!

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