A Cat's Reaction to High Stress

Kitty's food dish may go left untouched in times of stress.
i Hemera Technologies/PhotoObjects.net/Getty Images

Stress: it takes its toll on humans and cats alike. Cats are particular about their environment and tend to be very sensitive to change. Moving, new additions to the family, loud noises and arguing within the home can all send your feline friend into a state of the stressed-out blues.


Stress can cause your feline friend to feel the need to hide and get away from other stimuli in her environment. Hiding under a bed or in any tight spot that people and other animals in the house can't get to will help to relieve the overwhelming stress and anxiety she is feeling. If you plan to move or have recently moved, Kitty needs something to hide under or a small bathroom that can be closed where she can be alone. Do not allow foot traffic from strangers and other animals, besides those whom she knows and gets along with. She may feel the need to hide for several hours before coming out. Keep water, food and her litter box close by.

Lack of Appetite

Rajah is generally all about her food, but her stress is causing her to have no interest whatsoever in that yummy cat chow waiting for her in her favorite dish. This is normal, but it's important not to let your cat go too long without eating. Consult your veterinarian, who may recommend you offer her tuna water. Cats who go too long without eating can be at risk for fatty liver disease.


Cats in extreme stress can exhibit panting, which can be alarming because normally cats don't pant! It turns out that dogs are not the only ones who pant. A ride in the car can result in panting, so make sure that your car is not too hot for Kitty and that she's getting enough air circulation. Drooling may accompany the panting. This can also happen in cats who experience seizures.


Surprise! Your feline has decided to use your bed, sofa or any other place she deems appropriate as her adopted litter box. Don't scold or be mad at Kitty. Instead, try to understand what she is going through. Although this "surprise" she has left behind for you is very frustrating, understand that stress in her environment, such as too many or new members in the household, can cause a stress reaction. Keep the litter box clean at all times, as your furry princess appreciates cleanliness and depends on it to maintain her health.

Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.

the nest