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10 Top Tips for Calming Your Anxious Cat
CatsHealth

10 Top Tips for Calming Your Anxious Cat

Critter Culture Staff
Updated Jan 17, 2023

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If you have an overly anxious cat, you may be wondering if there are any options for you to help comfort them.

Anxious kitties can have a lot of nervous energy, which can be distressing if your cat is in a new and unfamiliar situation or environment. Fortunately, there are many great ways of calming your cat that only require a few items.

1

Provide a safe space

Tabby cat sleeping on a bed Linda Raymond/ Getty Images

One of the most important ways to help calm your cat is to provide them with a safe space that feels comfortable and protected. If you have an indoor feline, this could mean a covered bed or a designated area in a closet.

For outdoor cats, covered houses are a great way to provide a safe space away from the elements or other animals. Be sure that your area is accessible to your kitty and feels secure.

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2

Desensitize them to loud noises

A kitten crouches, looking up tentatively at an old black dog who lies on a comfortable leather couch. The dog looks down at the cat. Catherine Falls Commercial/ Getty Images

If your cat is frightened by loud, sudden noises, desensitization training may be a good idea. Desensitization training is a method that helps animals become calmer around the things that make them anxious.

Doorbells, dogs barking, or car horns can cause instinctive anxiety in felines. Regularly exposing your pet to these sounds will help to reduce their stress and make them more relaxed.

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3

Don't smother them

woman on bed cuddling cat David Trood/ Getty Images

Overly anxious cats need to know you're there to comfort them when they need it, but it's equally important not to smother them. Unlike dogs, many felines aren't overly affectionate, and physical touch can be counterproductive to calming a kitty.

Sometimes, your presence can be enough for your pet to recognize that you're there and they're okay. Try slowly approaching your cat and sitting quietly next to them for a while — chances are, you'll notice them start to calm themselves shortly after.

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4

Use essential oils

A cat sleeping on a massage table while taking spa treatments. Olya Smolyak/ Getty Images

Lavender, sandalwood, and sage are the best essential oils for reducing stress and anxiety and improving mood. Lemon and catnip have been shown to perk up even the most fearful felines.

Use these essential oils on your cat's bedding, toys, and fur. Be sure to speak with your veterinarian before putting oils directly on your pet's skin in case they have allergies.

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5

Let them mark their space

cat inside rubbing face on couch bombermoon/ Getty Images

Cats use scent glands to mark their territory by rubbing against things around them, including their bedding, walls, and even their owners.

Letting them mark their space creates an environment that's safe for them, creating a more calm and relaxed pet.

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6

Try anti-anxiety treats

Adult Female Pet Owner Feeding Her Siberian Cat. CasarsaGuru/ Getty Images

Another great way to give your nervous cat some peace, and calm their anxiousness, is to try out anti-anxiety treats. Many great options on the market are acceptable to give your feline.

Most of these treats feature magnolia, thiamine, whey protein, and Phellodendron extracts. These nutrients are safe and have been shown to reduce stress and anxiety in kitties of all ages. Try different combinations of treats to find one that works effectively for your pet.

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7

Use a white noise machine

cats sleeping next to a speaker Roman Alyabev / EyeEm/ Getty Images

Studies have shown that these inexpensive machines can help relax an overly-anxious pet and allow them to sleep better and longer.

Because a feline's sleep cycle is critical to its well-being, adding a white noise machine is good for your pet's mental and physical health. Try to find a white noise machine that features many different sounds, so you have several options to try to help your cat.

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8

Have lots of playtime

Cat lying on the floor catching cat toy on a stick. miniseries/ Getty Images

Providing your cat with quality time is essential to keeping them calm and stress-free. Daily, rigorous activity with stimulating toys will tire them out, so they'll have less pent-up energy to spend being stressed and anxious.

Toys like teaser balls, motion toys, ball tracks, and activity mats are great toys that provide critical stimulation for felines.

Another great option is to choose toys that are filled with catnip. Catnip is safe to use and can help calm your nervous cat.

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9

Go slowly

 woman giving treats to her cat Pekic/ Getty Images

Not only are cats easily startled by loud noises, but quick and unexpected movements can also cause their stress level to increase.

When you're around a cat already experiencing a high level of anxiety, move slowly so that you don't heighten its stress levels. The goal is to approach in a non-threatening way. Keep your pace slow and your footsteps quiet when moving toward them. Maintaining eye contact with your pet as you get close can also help.

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10

Talk to your veterinarian

doctor veterinarian at vet clinic is examining cute cat while his owner is standing nearby and holding pet on hands. Vasyl Dolmatov/ Getty Images

If you have an overly anxious, nervous, or stressed cat and traditional methods of calming them haven't worked, it may be time to speak with your veterinarian. Sometimes, your pet may have an underlying health issue, such as diabetes, hyperthyroidism, or obsessive-compulsive disorder, which can cause anxiety.

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