Cats can suffer from stress and anxiety the same as any other pet. In this article, we will discuss the use of calm cat soft chews for managing stress and anxiety.
Studies show that 13.5% of the cat population shows at least one stress-related behavior. And the culprits behind that behavior are diverse – routine changes, unfamiliar environments, bath time, loud noises, vet visits, new pet family members, etc.
Understanding your stressed cat is critical. Keep reading as we will explain everything you need to know about anxiety in cats, from causes to practical stress management tips.
What Causes Cat Anxiety?
To make things simpler, we should start by defining the three different levels of stress in cats. According to PetMD, stress can manifest in the form of:
- Phobia – “a persistent and excessive fear of a specific stimulus, such as a thunderstorm.”
- Fear – “the instinctive feeling of apprehension resulting from a situation, person, or object that appears to present an external threat (whether real or perceived).”
- Anxiety – “the anticipation of future dangers from unknown or imagined origins that result in normal body reactions associated with fear.”
With that being covered, it is time we review several sources of stress in cats.
As creatures of habit, cats thrive on routine and structure. If you start picking up new shifts at work and come back at different hours, your cat will probably be stressed even if its own personal schedule remains the same.
Coming back later from work or leaving home in the first place can be a severe stress trigger in some cats. Separation anxiety is increasingly common in cats and accounts for 10-20% of the cases when vets refer their feline patients to behaviorists.
New Pets and Sharing Resources
Plus, one study determined that more than half of cats have to share a litter box with other cats, and over a quarter of cats do not have their own food bowls. Sharing vital resources is a severe stress trigger.
If you are thinking about redecorating the living room, do not count on your cat’s support. Once again, cats are not fans of change and can feel stressed even if there are slight changes in their environment.
While you may find your favorite citrus-scented candle is relaxing, it is definitely unsettling for your cat. As natural hunters, cats have powerful noses (based on a study more potent than dogs) that certain smells can adversely trigger.
Loud noises like thunderstorms, fireworks, and smoke detectors going off can alarm and stress your cat. Unlike dogs that tend to go hyper, noise-phobias in cats usually manifest with “hiding and cowering behaviors.”
Changes in the Inner Circle
Family members leaving and having unfamiliar guests over are objective causes of stress in cats. To be more precise, according to a review, the single most common source of stress in cats was a visit from a stranger.
New Pet Family Members
Bringing a new pet home can be nerve-wracking for your cat. Cats are territorial, and the new pet will be seen as an invader occupying their space, resources, and of course, your love and attention.
The Owner’s Anxiety
Based on an exciting study, cats can mirror your moods and behaviors. In more practical terms, this means that your anxiety can make your cat stressed out. This is because, contrary to popular belief, cats can be empathetic too.
Basically, any pain-causing medical issue has the potential to cause stress. Physical pain can either trigger or exacerbate current anxiety issues. This includes infectious diseases, toxic conditions, and even age-related changes like arthritis or cat dementia.
How to Help Cats with Anxiety
There are various ways of helping your cat cope with anxiety, from desensitization and limited stress exposure to training and anti-stress products.
Create a Safe Space
Every cat needs to have its personal safe area to zone out and spend time without being disturbed.
Provide Playtime and Enrichment
It is less likely for your cat to feel stressed if engaged in fun and entertaining activities.
Make a Schedule and Stick to it
As mentioned, cats thrive on structure, and the best way to ensure this is doing things on a schedule.
Use Anti-Anxiety Products
There are different anti-anxiety products, including:
o Thundershirts for cats – Provide gentle but constant pressure, which reportedly has a calming effect
o Cat calming collars – These collars are infused with synthetic pheromones mimicking the ones the mother cat naturally produces to calm her kittens
o Calming pheromone diffusers – The concept is the same as with collars, but in this case, the pheromones come in the form of diffusers
o Calming cat foods and treats – Feature natural ingredients with calming and relaxing features.
How Not to Help Your Cat with Anxiety?
Knowing what not to do is just as important as knowing what to do. When it comes to helping your anxious cat, the number one thing you must never do is share your anti-anxiety medications. Human meds do not work the same in pets, and some can be highly toxic to cats.
The Benefits of Cat Calming Treats
As the pet market for supplements grows, so does the number of natural choices for managing your anxious cat. The use of calming cat treats is associated with several benefits:
- Reducing stress during anxiety-triggering situations – One time stressors like fireworks, having a guest over, car drives, or vet visits
- Managing general anxiety or nervousness – Having a new pet member and remodeling the home have more long-lasting stress-triggering effects
- Reducing behavioral problems – Since most behavior-related issues stem from stress and anxiety
- Offering support for upset tummies – Many cat calming treats feature ingredients that are tummy-friendly and can soothe stomach upsets
- Establishing positive reinforcement – Treats are powerful tools when practicing positive reinforcement training and techniques.
What to Look for in Cat Calming Treats
Finding the proper calming treats for your cat can be easy – you just need to know what to look for. Here are some things to consider before making the purchase:
The first thing you need to check is the active ingredient used in the treats. By active ingredient, we mean the component responsible for the calming effect. To ensure calmness, some treat formulas combine various ingredients.
High-quality calming treats should not contain GMO ingredients and cheap fillers or potential allergens like soy, corn, or gluten.
Cats are notorious for their fussy eating habits. Even the most efficient calming treats will not work if your cat refuses them. To avoid this issue, look for calming treats featuring cat-friendly flavors like salmon, chicken, or malt.
Strength and Feeding Frequency
Different treats come in various strength forms. It is essential that you know whether one treat will keep your cat stress-free all day long.
Entrusting your cat’s wellbeing to products from reputable brands is critical. Good manufacturing practices and positive reviews are good ways of determining whether the brand is trustworthy.
How do Calming Cat Treats Work?
Cat calming treats usually contain one or more calmness-promoting ingredients. To give you a better insight into the working mechanism of calming cat treats, we will review our Honest Paws Calm Cat Soft Chews ingredients.
Chamomile Flower Powder
Chamomile promotes relaxation and relieves stress. In fact, the active components in chamomile interact with the same parts of the brain as conventional anti-anxiety drugs (without the side effects, of course).
Passion fruit is an old calming herb with a mild sedative effect. It also has a beneficial impact on sleep and can be used for managing stomach ulcers. For boosted calming efficacy, it is often paired with other herbs.
CBD (cannabidiol) supports long-term health and is considered a potential treatment for anxiety disorders. CBD works by interacting with the endocannabinoid system (ECS). Anxiety management is one of the many benefits associated with CBD use in cats.
When it comes to calmness and relaxation, silvervine is twice as potent as the famous catnip. According to a study, the silvervine’s effect on the cat is described as a “positive reaction that has often been interpreted as extreme pleasure.”
When to Give Your Cat Calming Treats
The answer depends on what makes your cat stressed and anxious. Generally speaking, you can use calming cat treats on an as-needed basis or regularly.
For example, if you are planning a trip to the vet’s office and your cat is scared from both the car ride and her vet, it is time to reach for the jar of cat calming treats.
On the other hand, if your cat has separation anxiety and you work 9 to 5, you should consider using the calming treats on a daily basis.
Our Final Thoughts
Using calming cat treats is one of the most practical ways of keeping your cat’s stress at bay. They are a natural and therefore much safer alternative to conventional anti-anxiety medications.
Plus, being available in the form of treats, they are straightforward to use – dose and administer. Not to mention that rewarding your cat with delicious treats is your cat’s definition of quality time.