Cats experience anxiety and get stressed out just like us human staffers. Unlike people, cats don’t have a lot of creative ways to express their feelings. Unfortunately, when cats suffer from stress and anxiety, they generally communicate it in a very clear way that can really turn humans upside down. They usually tell us by not using the cat litter box.
And since we can’t speak meow, and cats don’t talk, the challenge is to figure why our cats aren’t feeling right. Usually when a cat stops using her litter box, it’s a medical problem. But if it isn’t, one of causes high on my list is stress and anxiety.
What do cats get anxious about? Here’s a partial list:
Moving to a new home
Gaining a new household member, animal or human
You change jobs and start a new schedule
You bring new furniture into your home
Kitty’s favorite person moves out, and she misses that individual
Construction and/or remodeling of your home
Relocation of her cat litter box(es)
Change in type of cat litter
This list is not complete. Felines are complicated creatures, and almost anything can set them off.
If your cat suddenly stops using the litter box out of the blue, eliminate any medical causes first. If kitty gets a clean bill of health, examine the list above, and think about any recent changes you’ve made to your home. If it appears to be a coincidence, it probably isn’t.
This can be a tough problem to solve, but once you figure out the cause, you can start developing solutions. If the stress-inducing situation is temporary (such as the last three items on my list), they can be dealt with.
On the other hand, if the problem appears to be one of the first five, you’ll need plenty of patience and a strategy to get kitty right again.
Often, once kitty gets used to the change, she’ll calm down and start to use her litter box again. During her adjustment period, it may work to confine her to one room with her food, water, litter box, bedding, and toys. This limits the amount of damage done to your home, and as kitty realizes the changes mean her no harm, she’ll get back to her good cat litter box habits.
You can also help kitty calm down by purchasing synthetic feline hormones. These will reassure her that life is still OK. You can also administer homeopathic remedies that are completely natural and cause no side effects.
Many feline owners get an anti-anxiety prescription for kitty, but if your cat freaks out over being pilled, this will increase her stress. If this is the case, rely on the synthetic hormones and homeopathic remedies to solve this problem.
Consult with your vet on the best course of action to help your kitty quickly get over her stress and anxiety. Reassure your cat with lots of extra attention and love, and this too shall pass!