Recognizing anxiety disorder in cats: possible symptoms

When cats are very shy or extremely aggressive, very few owners think of an anxiety disorder. It is not always easy to distinguish certain character characteristics from real fear behavior. Look out for the following symptoms in your cat and seek advice from a cat psychologist if in doubt. Not every shy cat has an anxiety disorder - Shutterstock / Julie Vader

Is it already an anxiety disorder when cats hide in the far corner when visiting or hiss at every stranger who approaches them? Not necessarily, because fear of a specific stimulus only becomes a disorder when fear determines the entire behavior of the cat.

Body language of anxious cats

Cats who are afraid or afraid always behave in the same way: Depending on the cat personality, they react with flight or withdrawal or with aggression. The aggressive behavior is then not a sign of a "bitchy" or "strong character", but a form of defense by attack. Anxious or afraid cats usually put their ears flat on their heads, hunch over, buckle their fur, hiss, growl or scream. Some fur noses make themselves very small, crouch and bend their legs. Trembling, mouth breathing or lip licking are also possible. However, you can also recognize fear or fear by the cat suddenly running away and hiding.

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Fear or anxiety disorder? See the difference

If your cat is usually balanced, but is startled by a crying child or a New Year's Eve, for example, this is quite normal - in this case, she is only afraid. After a while the fright is over and the kitty calms down again. An anxiety disorder, on the other hand, can be recognized by the fact that the cat does not calm down again, but that its unsafe behavior becomes worse and worse and also occurs for no apparent reason. The threat the cat is experiencing is indefinite, and there appears to be no concrete reason for its behavior.

In the case of an anxiety disorder, the cat is overwhelmed by the supposed threat, fear determines her life and her perception. Some anxiety disorder cats develop behavioral problems such as uncleanliness because they no longer know what to do with themselves. Some withdraw, suffer from loss of appetite or no longer venture out of hiding. Then at the latest you should consider whether a cat psychologist can help you.