How To Know Your Cat Might Be Stressed: Signs

When a cat is stressed and anxious, it reflects heavily in their behavior. You may own a coolest fluffy cat breed but, it is distressing to watch a cat go through a myriad of emotions that come with a variety of physical and verbal cues. The worst bit about figuring out the cause of your cat’s stress is the fact that there are different triggers to such reactions and emotions. While you may need a vet to evaluate the cause of your cat’s stress and anxiety, it counts for you to identify that he/she is stressed. There can be many reasons why your cat is stressed such as environmental changes, diet change, etc. But first, it is necessary to know that is your cat really stressed? Here are several signs to look out for:

Excessive Shedding

Hair loss in both humans and animals is a vital pointer to consider when evaluating stress and anxiety. When it comes to shedding in animals, it is normal. However, you want to look out for any signs of excessive shedding that communicates a problem. Ideally, the hair follicles are attached to the muscles of the cat, and when he/she is stressed, then some of its muscles are tensed and activated during times of stress, releasing some telogen hairs. 

Tail Position

Animals with tails are very communicative with these parts of their bodies. For the cat’s anatomy, the tail happens to be the most expressive part of their body. When under a lot of anxiety and stressed, notice that, many times, your cat positions its tail in a low position and then flicks it quickly back and forth. If this goes on for a while, you must be careful when petting your cat because they most likely will display aggressive or defensive activity.


Other than the tail position, be very keen to listen to your cat. These feline pets can resolve to vocalization as a way to display their displeasure, more especially when exposed to the stressing stimuli. You will notice more vocalization more than usual, in the forms of meowing, growling, hissing or a high-pitched yowling. Sometimes, you may find that your cat is a silent one, but vocalizes each time someone pets his or touches him. This should also be a sign to worry about concerning anxiety and stress.


When anxiety strikes so heavily, it is common for one to experience signs of withdrawal. For cats, they find it very easy to hide when under stress. This is a way to which they remove themselves from the stressful situation, attempting to sneak in a location where they feel safer than before. When you notice your pet in obscured areas like under a bed, behind couches, among other spaces, it may be that the cat if feeling fearful and trying to withdraw from the stressful situation.


Aggression is not an uncommon behavior among pets. However, for a well-trained cat, it should be alarming when they start getting aggressive. When a cat is stressed and anxious, it is possible that they will start acting up in aggressive behaviors. For example, be keen to highlight the use of their claws and their razor-sharp teeth to attach anyone, and that should include other animals in your household too. For this sign, you need to consult a vet as soon as possible, so you can contain the behavior and prevent any misdirected aggression.

Ear Positioning

The ears are another active part of a cat. When in stress or pain, it is common for the feline pets to pin their ears back flat on their heads. This to them is a warning they send to other animals as a distress signal, and it should also be an indicator to pet owners.

Pupil Dilation

When the eyes of cats, and any other animal for that matter, widen, and their pupils dilate, it is often an indicator of pain or stress. The dilation of the pupil is more or less a fight response of a body, one that is secondary to the hormonal response, through different situations.

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