The Hiss and How: Tackling Fear and Anxiety in Cats

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Are you confused about why your cat hisses and howls at times? Well, one of the most prominent reasons behind it might be anxiety and fear! Cats can develop anxiety due to various reasons, such as illness, physical pain, trauma, excessive socialization, and separation. The common signs of anxiety and fear in felines such as aggression, decreased appetite, rapid heart rate, hiding away, etc. However, such emotional complications can be managed through anxiety medications, positive behaviors, building a cat-friendly environment, etc. This article discusses how to tackle fear and anxiety in felines. Hence, get to reading now!

Signs of Anxiety and Fear in Cats

Are you confused about how to understand if your cat is undergoing anxiety and fear? Read the content provided below to get detailed insights on the depicting anxiety and fear in cats:

  • Aggression

One of the most significant signs depicting that your cat is suffering from anxiety and depression is aggression. If you suddenly notice your cat getting aggressive towards you or other pets in the house, making hiss and howl sounds, the reason most likely behind it might be anxiety. When felines are anxious or frightened, they exhibit aggression in various forms in response to the negative emotions.

  • Decreased Appetite

Cats can significantly suffer from a lack of appetite if they are anxious about something or frightened. If you find your feline friend skipping meals every now or then or eating minimal quantities of food, it could be an indication of anxiety and fear residing within them.

  • Faster Heartbeat

When cats get anxious, they experience a faster heart rate. So, if you ever find your cat lying down with an immensely moving chest, check their heartbeat and comfort them as much as possible to bring their heartbeat back to a normal pace.

  • Fur Standing Up

Felines often express their distress, negative emotions, and fear through their fur standing up. Hence, if your pet cat’s fur suddenly stands up, it might be due to their anxiety.

  • Hiding Away

Cats like to avoid confrontation. Whenever they feel threatened or distressed, they seek shelter in hiding places. If you watch your cat hiding away in various spots of the house, it might be a clear indication that your pet is having trouble managing its anxiety and fear.

  • Refusing to Make Eye Contact

Cats are highly affectionate with their owners and love to get their attention. However, when a cat suffers from anxiety, it might show reluctance to make eye contact even with its owner. So, if your cat does the same, you should take the necessary precautions to manage its anxiety and fear.

Health Impact of Anxiety in Cats

Not only in humans but anxiety and fear can have significant health impacts on cats as well. So, timely intervention is necessary to keep your feline safe and sound for the long run. Here’s a list of health issues in cats due to anxiety and fear:

Health IssuesHow Does It Affect Cats?
Feline Lower Urinary Tract DiseaseIt affects the reproductive tract and urinary bladder in the cat.
Upper Respiratory InfectionsIt can lead to breathing difficulties in cats
Obsessive-Compulsive DisorderIt can lead to behavioral problems in cats, such as excessive meowing, chewing, etc.

How to Make Your Anxious and Afraid Cat Feel Better?

Here’s what you can do to reduce anxiety and fear in your feline companions:

1. Identify and Remove Stress Triggers

The first thing you should do is to identify the triggers causing stress in your cat. Various factors might be responsible for inducing fear and distress in your cat. For instance, different cats react differently to various stimuli. Some might show anxiety when introduced to new people or pets; some might develop anxiety due to being left alone. Hence, you will first need to identify the trigger. To find out the trigger responsible for this, recollect the recent lifestyle changes your cat has undergone, and you will easily be able to find out the actual reason behind your cat’s anxiousness. Once you find out the reasons responsible, try eliminating them if possible. Otherwise, try to make your cat feel safe and secure, helping them to overcome their fear efficiently.

2. Do Not Punish Your Feline Friend

Induce positive behavior in your cat. Positive behavior reinforcement can be an excellent method to overcome negative and anxious behavior in cats. Whenever you find them emotionally troubled, you can reassure them to change their ideals regarding stress and anxiety. Always extend your supporting hand to your feline companion to help them easily overcome their problems instead of publishing them. Punishing an anxious cat might have far more severe implications for your cat than you can ever think of! Any violent reaction you show to your cat’s negative behavior, such as yelling or threatening them with objects, can lead to more anxiety and fear. It will be much more difficult for them to recover in such situations. So, instead of publishing your cat, you can offer them comforting pets on the head, treats, etc.

3. Provide Anxiety Medications to Your Cat

Anxiety and fear in cats can be efficiently managed in cats through the implementation of medications. This method is best suited for felines experiencing extreme anxiety and restlessness. However, medications should only be supervised by trained medical professionals. So, if you feel your cat needs medical help to cope with these issues, always consult a renowned veterinarian before providing any medications to your pet.

4. Build a Cat-Friendly Environment

If you find your cat having trouble getting along with its existing environment, you can always work to change its environment into a safe, cat-friendly space. To build a stress-free environment for your cat, provide plenty of toys, games, and comfy blankets to make it feel comfortable.

If you are looking forward to buying the best mattresses for your cat, you can try MidWest Homes Pet Plush Bed. With an incredibly soft foam-like texture, your cat can experience utmost comfort sleeping on it. Try to keep other pets or new house members away from the safe space for a while, as this can help your pet calm down gradually and get accustomed to the house environment.


Take help from this article to control your feline companions’ stress, anxiety, and fear efficiently. If you still encounter trouble managing your cat’s anxiousness, seek medical help at the earliest.

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