Anxiety in cats is quite a common problem. A range of factors contribute to the disorder, but the root cause is often the cat’s past experiences. There are many prescription drugs that aim to treat anxiety in cats. However, many pet owners prefer to use natural remedies like CBD oil for cat anxiety.
Additionally, there are several herbs that can produce calming effects in felines, but many pet owners agree that CBD works the most effectively. The reason for this being the presence of the endocannabinoid system (ECS) in the body of all mammals (including cats). This system of receptors and channels flows cannabinoids through every major organ system, helping well-being in numerous ways. CBD is a natural, non-toxic compound that has many therapeutic effects, one of which is calming anxiety.
If you’ve been wondering how to use CBD oil for cat anxiety, here are some important things you should know:
What Is Feline Anxiety?
Anxiety is the body’s natural response to fear or stress. It is what prepares the body to take evasive action if need be. This is known as the fight or flight response. The fight or flight response is an essential part of what helps keep humans and animals from harm. But, when that response is regularly triggered by an imagined danger, it becomes what is known as an anxiety disorder.
When we, or cats, feel anxious, our bodies prepare for fight or flight. It increases the heart rate, produces adrenaline, and gets the muscles ready for action. When we are in danger, these reactions help to get us out of trouble fast. When we are not, it affects our ability to live a normal life. Severe anxiety disorders can be very debilitating, both for cats and for humans.
What Are The Behavioral Symptoms Of Cat Anxiety?
Unfortunately, a cat cannot tell us it is feeling anxious. However, a cat with anxiety will display some noticeable behavioral symptoms. Here are some of the most common symptoms of feline anxiety:
- Tiredness and lethargy
- Hiding away
- Aggressive behavior
- Soiling in the home
- Vomiting and diarrhea
- Excessive or loud meowing
- Loss of appetite and weight
- Furniture or carpet scratching
- Increased dependency on humans
- Restlessness and increased vigilance
- Excessive grooming
- Idling still (not moving)
Separation Anxiety in Cats
Separation anxiety, specifically, is the most common type of anxiety in cats. Cat separation anxiety is a condition where a cat displays the symptoms of anxiety when they are separated from their owners. Separation anxiety is more commonly associated with dogs. People tend to think that cats are independent creatures. They don’t worry if their owners are there or not. The truth is that cats do form a very close bond with their owners. They are also very aware of changes in their environment.
When a cat’s attachment to its owner becomes dysfunctional, separation anxiety can become severe. This can lead to behavioral problems. A cat with separation anxiety may become very clingy.
In addition to displaying common anxiety behavioral traits, a cat with separation anxiety may also show signs of distress when the owner is leaving or preparing to leave. They will want to be with their owner all the time and will often follow their owner from room to room. They may try to get between the door and the owner if they believe the owner is about to leave.
Over exuberant greetings upon their owner returning home may be another tell-tale sign of a cat having separation anxiety. Cat separation anxiety is unpleasant for the cat, and it can cause problems at home for the owner too. Although, there are some preventative measures to help decrease the onset of a cat’s separation anxiety.
Tips To Prevent Separation Anxiety In Cats
As well as natural remedies like CBD oil for cat separation anxiety, there are also some simple steps that you take at home to ease your cat’s anxiety. Here are a few of the things that you can do to make your cat less anxious when you leave it alone.
Give Your Cat More Playtime
Boredom is often where separation anxiety in cats begins. If you play with your cat more often when you are at home, you can encourage your pet to play more on its own when you are away. Try introducing new toys for your cat and encourage your pet to play with them.
Cat Trees & Scratching Post
Making your cat’s environment more interesting will also help. If you put a cat tree by a window, your cat will be able to entertain itself watching what is going outside. Scratching posts will occupy your cat’s time, and they will also stop your pet from scratching your furniture.
You can also work on desensitizing your cat to your leaving the home. There will often be a trigger for cat starting to become anxious. It could be you picking up your car keys, putting on your shoes, or fetching your coat. If you look like you are preparing to leave a few times a day, but you don’t leave, your cat will gradually become less sensitive to these triggers.
Don’t Make A Fuss Of Your Cat Right Before You Leave
If your cat shows signs of anxiety as you are preparing to leave, ignore it. That might seem cruel, but if make a fuss of your cat, you are reinforcing their anxious behavior.
Provide Distractions For Your Cat
Make sure that your cat has plenty to do while you are out. You could leave new toys for your cat to play with or leave a puzzle feeder to occupy your cat. Make sure that your cat can get to a window they can see out of. Leaving the TV or radio playing while you are gone can also help.
Other Types Of Feline Anxiety
Cats can experience the same types of anxieties that humans do. You can classify cat anxiety into several broad types:
A phobia is an excessive fear of an outside stimulus such as thunder, fireworks, vacuum cleaners or other loud noises. A cat will display an immediately excessive response to a phobic situation. Once the establishes a phobia any event that simulates the fear, even the memory of it could be enough stimulation to create an anxious response.
Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
Generalized anxiety is a fear of multiple things. This can manifest itself in cats as general nervousness which appears to have no specific trigger. A cat with GAD can display anxious symptoms no matter the situation. To the owner, a cat with GAD may always seem unenthusiastic, unhappy, or downright miserable. However, this is how the cat displays or deals with its constant anxious feelings.
Mild fears will often cause a cat to tremble, hide, or show signs of wanting to escape a situation. As with generalized anxiety, there may be no obvious trigger for the fear.
Panic is a sudden display of fear. Similar to phobias, a cat may actively attempt to escape a situation or run away and hide. Panic may also make a cat become vicious in its attempt to escape. In extreme circumstances, a cat may experience a full-blown panic attack and can even have a seizure in response to the situation.
What Are the Causes Of Cat Anxiety?
The causes of cat anxiety are not fully understood. Anxiety and stress in cats are as complicated as they are in humans. There are a variety of physical, environmental and psychological factors that may lead to feline anxiety. Here are some of the issues that may cause anxiety in cats:
A cat that has not had much social exposure as a kitten is likely to be more prone to anxiety. That’s why it is important to expose a kitten to social interaction with humans and other animals at an early age. It is a good idea to monitor social interactions while the cat is young to make sure the experience is positive. Negative experiences can create future anxieties for a young cat.
Weaned Too Early
Kittens who are taken from their mother too soon are more likely to display symptoms of cat separation anxiety. Orphaned kittens are also more prone to anxiety. Kittens shouldn’t be removed from their cat family for at least eight weeks after birth.
Highly strung breeds, like Burmese and Siamese cats, are more likely to develop cat separation anxiety. You can’t change a cat’s genetics. But, mental stimulation and exercise can help avoid anxiety in cats that are predisposed to the condition.
Lack Of Stimuli
If a cat is bored, it will become more attached to its owner. It will see the owner as of the only way to relieve the boredom. So, when the owner is away, it won’t know what to do to occupy its time.
Changes In Environment
A change in environment can trigger anxiety in cats. Moving to a new home, the death of a family member, or the addition of a new pet in the home could make your cat feel uncomfortable.
Spaying and Neutering
Spaying and neutering may play a role in a cat developing anxiety. Some studies have shown that cats that are spayed or neutered at a young age are less confident than those that were not.
Your Own Anxiety
Cats are far more perceptive than most people give them credit for. If you are feeling anxious or upset, the cat will sense this. The more anxious that you appear to be, the more anxious your cat will become. If you find yourself experiencing anxiety you may want to try some CBD oil for human use.
Traumatic events in the cat’s life can cause anxiety such as suffering from abuse as a kitten or going to a shelter.
Other Underlying Health Problems
A cat’s separation anxiety may be a result of another health issue. If they are feeling unwell, they will want their owner to be around them. If your cat suddenly develops separation anxiety, it would be advisable to take your pet to a vet for a check-up.
Natural Treatment Remedies For Cat Anxiety
If your cat suffers from anxiety, there are several things that your vet may recommend. There are steps that you can take at home to minimize your pet’s anxiety. In severe cases, your vet may prescribe anti-anxiety medication. Besides CBD oil, there are also several natural remedies that you can use to treat pet anxiety. Here are some of the common natural treatment options people use to treat cat separation anxiety.
It might seem counterintuitive to give your cat an herb that you know will excite it. But, many owners use catnip as a natural treatment for cat anxiety. To use it for separation anxiety try giving your cat some catnip fifteen minutes before you go out. All the excitement will wear your pet out and it should be calm by the time you leave.
Lots of people drink chamomile tea to help them relax. The same calming effect that chamomile has on people will work on cats as well. However, instead of giving your cat tea you can scatter a few dried chamomile flowers around the home. Studies have shown that chamomile has a similar effect on the brain as anti-anxiety drugs.
Ancient Greeks and Romans would use the Valerian Root to help treat insomnia, nervousness, headaches, and stress. However, researchers are not fully clear as to how it works with stress and anxiety. They believe that it triggers a steady increase of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the brain. GABA creates a calming effect over the body. This is a similar reaction to how alprazolam (Xanax) or diazepam (Valium) work to decrease anxiety in humans.
Hops are another plant that will calm a cat’s anxiety. This is probably why it is the main ingredient in beer, but never give your pet any alcohol. Instead, simply leave some dried hop flowers spread throughout the home. The aroma will help your cat relax when you are not there.
Bach Rescue Remedy
Bach Rescue Remedy is a flower essence combination that will calm a cat down fast. It uses the flower essences of cherry plum, clematis, impatiens, rock rose and Star of Bethlehem. The human version of this anti-stress remedy contains brandy. Again, never give your pet alcohol! Manufacturers specifically make alcohol-free versions for pets. To use it simply place four drops into your cat’s water or food. Avoid placing drops directly in your cat’s mouth as doing this may increase your cat’s anxiety level.
What Is Cannabidiol (CBD) For Cats?
CBD is short for Cannabidiol. It is one of over 113 natural cannabinoids found in hemp. CBD interacts with the endocannabinoid system in humans and most other animals, including cats. When CBD interacts with the endocannabinoid system, it aids the process of homeostasis. This is the system in the body that maintains the balance of internal conditions that are needed to sustain life. This optimum healthy balance is known as homeostasis.
The effect that CBD has on the endocannabinoid system has many therapeutic benefits. Many pet owners use it to reduce inflammation, relieve pain, and create a calming effect for their pet.
How CBD Can Help Calm Anxiety In Cats
While recreational use of cannabis can cause anxiety, this anxiety comes from another cannabinoid called THC. THC also causes a high feeling associated with cannabis. It is now a fact that CBD has the opposite effect of THC and reduces anxiety. CBD has no mind-altering effects and does not get you or your cat “high”.
There have been many studies on the anti-anxiety effects of CBD. One study found that CBD reduces anxiety in people with generalized social anxiety. The study also explains that CBD shows “a comparable efficacy to ipsapirone (a 5-HT1AR agonist) or diazepam” for treating anxiety disorders. Both of these are common prescriptions for anti-anxiety.
Researchers believe that using CBD can initiate a temporary increase of serotonin in a cat’s brain. Serotonin is the essential hormone which balances our mood, sense of well-being, and happiness. A boost in serotonin can help improve your cat’s mood which in turn should alleviate anxious behaviors.
The benefits of CBD for cat anxiety have been shown in clinical studies on both human subjects and animals. Research is ongoing into the many therapeutic effects of CBD. The effectiveness of CBD for cats has also been confirmed by the vast amount of anecdotal evidence given by cat owners. If you have a cat, using CBD for your cat’s anxiety may be the best way to calm your cat and give it a better quality of life.
CBD Dosing Recommendations For Cat Anxiety
Anxiety in cats is a common problem, but many pet owners would prefer a natural remedy to anti-anxiety drugs which can cause side effects. That’s why so many pet owners now use CBD tincture oils or CBD cat treats for treating their cat’s anxiety. Presently, there are no official standard dosing guidelines in place. However, there are general recommended CBD dosage guidelines. If you wish to use any CBD product for your pet and wonder what is the general dosage size to administer, try using our easy-to-use CBD dosing chat.
When using CBD oil for cat anxiety we recommend you administer it about 30-60 minutes before the anxiety trigger is present. For example, if your cat has separation anxiety you can try giving it some CBD oil about 45 minutes before you leave so there is ample time for the CBD to take effect before you leave. Doing this should help calm the cat down when you are leaving and while you are gone.
Finally, when beginning to use CBD with your pet you should start out with the lower dosage size which is 0.25 mg of CBD per pound of body weight. For example, if your cat weighs 20 pounds the low dose would be 5mg of CBD (20 lbs x 0.25 = 5mgs of CBD). If you do not start to see a general decrease in anxious behavior within a week then gradually increase to a strong dose which is 0.5mg of CBD per pound of body weight.
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