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Managing stress in cats

Believe it or not, cats are very prone to becoming stressed and can show this in many ways.

Often, we as humans will not notice this until they show their stress in physical ways, either by becoming ill or showing unwanted behaviours.

Cats are solitary and territorial animals and while many adapt well to a life of luxury as our pets, some do not and become anxious when their environments are not suitable for them, for example, if there are other cats or other pets in their space. This can even extend to other cats being in their vicinity, for example on “their” garden wall or in a neighbouring garden.

Some of the physical signs that cats may show if they are stressed are urinary tract disease, chronic flu signs or even vomiting or diarrhea. It is, of course, necessary to rule out any other medical disease associated with these symptoms before ascertaining that they are stress related so please take your cat to a vet for a checkup if they are exhibiting any of these signs.


One very common problem that we deal with here at GVC is cats that show “inappropriate” urination or defecation, ie if they are peeing or pooping outside their litter boxes. Whilst there can be many reasons for this, stress is certainly a very common one and we have solved many cases by identifying and eliminating stressors.

Cats are very protective about what they consider their essential resources, for example food, water and litter, and therefore increasing the availability of these will help to reduce stress and anxiety. You may want to provide more, larger litter boxes and try different types of litter.

“Feliway” is a synthetic cat pheromone which encourages play and feelings of contentment and wellbeing in cats and can be used either as a plug-in diffuser or a spray which you can use in specific areas.

“Zylkene” is a natural supplement that comes in form of capsules and contains amino acids that act as anxiolytics. We recommend this either on a daily basis or for particularly stressful periods such as boarding, air travel and moving house.

The Royal Canin “Calm” food contains the same amino acids as Zylkene in a very palatable diet.

GVC’s Dr Katrin Jahn is in the process of specializing in Veterinary Behaviour Medicine and is available for Behaviour Appointments and Consultations. Please contact for more information.