Stress in Cats

Stress. It’s something most of us deal with on a regular basis. Whether it’s work-related, due to health issues, family problems, or because of financial concerns, there are so many opportunities for stress to set up camp in our lives.

When you think of what your cat goes through during the day do you ever thing of the possibility that she could also be affected by stress? If she’s lounging in a sunny window right now it’s probably hard to imagine that anything in her life could cause stress, but surprisingly, there are many events that can result in stress to your cat.

What Causes Stress in Cats?

Just as with people, there are some cats who are more easily stressed than others. You may have a cat who is rather timid and fearful normally and so even small stress triggers can leave her vulnerable. Things that you may assume are so minor that your cat shouldn’t even notice can create stress such as:

having new carpet installed

loud music being played

dirty litter box conditions

change in food brand

change in litter brand or type


new furniture

being denied access to particular hiding places

appearance of a strange cat in the yard

a barking dog

visitors in the home

repairs being done in the home

black cat on chair

Photo: Pam Johnson-Bennett

Big stress triggers are easier to identify because they’re usually things that would affect our stress level as well, such as:


death in the family

moving to a new home

major renovation

new baby



addition of an additional cat or dog into the home

natural disaster


What happens in some cases though is that we get caught up in dealing with our own stress crisis that we don’t see how it’s also affecting the cat.


Signs of Stress in Cats

Cats don’t all show the same signs when it comes to stress and they can be easy to overlook. You might attribute your cat’s change in behavior to something else or the stress effects might happen so gradually that you aren’t even aware that there is a change in how your cat behaves. If your cat tends to hide on a regular basis, it can be easy to not notice that her stress level has increased. Signs of stress may include:

One comment

  1. very useful information been really worried about my cat shes had flees and thats stressed her terrible

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