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the four f's

How does your cat show stress? Here are four behaviors that signal your cat is stressed.


If your cat runs out of a room,
it’s clear they’re uncomfortable with a situation. Escaping is an obvious sign your cat is under stress. But even subtle reactions, like moving behind you or under a table, can signal stress.


If your cat runs out of a room,
If you’ve ever seen your cat do their best impression of a statue, you’ve witnessed a fear reaction! When afraid, your cat might stand very still, or lay down with limbs and paws tucked in tightly. Or your cat may try to move away, as if in slow motion.


If your cat runs out of a room,
If your cat is aggressive, growling, hissing, swatting, or biting, they’re likely communicating fear. It may seem as if they’re prone to fighting. However, what they’re trying to do is put some distance between themselves and the danger, whether it’s perceived or real.


If your cat runs out of a room,
This is perhaps the most common sign of stress in cats. It’s the cat equivalent to a human biting their nails or twirling their hair when they’re nervous. An anxious, fidgety cat might lick their lips, yawn, or continuously scan the room. However, this isn’t normal, calm cat behavior!

Here are the most common signs of cat anxiety:

• Eliminating outside the litter box
• Excessive grooming
• Hair loss
• Aggression and/or territorialism
• Fighting with other cats in the home
• Passive aggressive behavior, like stalking
or blocking other cats

Other signs of cat anxiety include:

• Scratching furniture, walls, or door frames
• Hiding
• Trying to escape
• Changes in appetite
• Changes in activity level
• Freezing
• Trembling
• Pacing or restlessness
• Increased vocalization
• Ears back
• Tail back against the body
• Hair standing up
• Difficulty urinating
• Changes in urination frequency
• Sneezing
• Congestion
• Dull or thinning coat
• Vomiting
• Diarrhea
• Pica (eating non-food items)
• Lethargy/excessive sleeping
• Increased dependency

If you’ve seen any of these signs of anxiety in your cat, they should be taken seriously. Although many are subtle, they may be your cat’s way of expressing stress or anxiety. Take special note of any new signs, as these are a strong indicator that your cat is unhappy.