Get Rouken Glen Vets’ guide to feline dental care

Rouken Glen Vets is spreading the word that February is Dental Awareness Month and a time to focus on what aspects of your cat’s oral health is going well, and what could be improved. This article explores the significance of feline dental health, when and how to clean a cat’s teeth, and why it matters for your beloved furry friend.

You can always bring your cat to see our friendly nurses who will show you how to brush your cat’s teeth. Call us on 0141 620 2580 or book online:

Book a teeth cleaning demo with our nurses

Why feline dental health matters

Caring for your cat’s dental health is an essential aspect of responsible pet ownership. While many cat owners in Giffnock are aware of the importance of regular grooming and veterinary check-ups, dental care can sometimes be overlooked. Our Vet Richard Black is sharing why feline dental care is so important below.

Proper dental care for cats is vital for several reasons:

  • Preventing dental disease: Just like people, cats are prone to dental issues like gum disease, tooth decay, and tartar buildup. Neglecting dental care can lead to pain, discomfort, and potentially severe health problems.
  • Promoting overall health: Dental problems can impact your cat’s overall health, potentially affecting their heart, liver, and kidneys. Maintaining good oral hygiene can contribute to a longer and healthier life.
  • Improved quality of life: Cats with healthy teeth and gums are more likely to enjoy eating, playing, and interacting with their owners. Dental pain can lead to a reduced quality of life. Call us on 0141 620 2580 if your cat is struggling to do any of these activities.

Should you clean a cat’s teeth?

Cleaning a cat’s teeth at home can be beneficial, but it may not be necessary for all cats. It can also be tricky if your cat isn’t too happy about it…

Things to consider:

  1. Regular dental check-ups: Nose-to-tail annual vet health checks at Rouken Glen Vets include dental examinations. You can also book bi-annual oral health reviews with our nurses, and interims vet checks if you have any concerns. By scheduling regular appointments, our team can assess your cat’s oral health and recommend appropriate care.
  2. Get advice from your cat’s dentist: If our vets (or vet dentists for cats as we’re sometimes known) recommends at-home dental care, they can provide guidance on the best methods and products.
  3. Professional dental cleanings: In some cases, and especially in cats over 3 years of age, an examination and professional dental cleaning under general anaesthetic may be necessary to address existing dental problems. If your cat needs this level of treatment, they will be in the best hands with our caring team in Giffnock.

At-home dental care for cats:

  • Brushing: Brushing your cat’s teeth with a cat-specific toothbrush and toothpaste can help prevent tartar buildup. Start slowly and make it a positive experience for your cat. Our Giffnock nurses can show you how – contact us to book a demo.
  • Cat dental chews & toys: Providing dental chews or toys designed to promote oral health can help reduce plaque and tartar. Our nurses can give you some examples to try.
  • Dental diets for cats: Some cat food brands offer dental diets designed to support oral health. Our vets and nurses can help you find an appropriate dental diet for your cat’s needs.
  • Regular observation: Our Vet Richard Black also advises paying attention to your cat’s oral health. Look for signs of dental problems, such as bad breath, swollen gums, difficulty eating, or a reluctance to being stroked around their face. Call us on 0141 620 2580 if you are concerned.

In support of Dental Awareness Month, the take-away from our article is that dental care is a crucial aspect of your cat’s overall health and wellbeing. While you can take steps to clean your cat’s teeth at home, it’s essential to consult with our veterinary team for guidance and stay on top of regular dental check-ups. By prioritising feline dental health, you can help to ensure a longer, happier, and healthier life for your beloved cat.

Book a teeth cleaning demo or dental health check

Can Seasonal Affective Disorder affect cats in East Renfrewshire?

The vets at Rouken Glen Vets in East Renfrewshire want pet owners to understand Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) and how it could relate to their feline friends. If, after reading our article you think your cat could be affected by seasonal changes, book a health check with one of our cat-loving vets.

Book a New Year health check for your cat

What is Seasonal Affective Disorder?

SAD is a type of depression that typically occurs during the autumn and winter months when there is less natural sunlight. The disorder is believed to be related to changes in light exposure and can result in symptoms such as a low mood, fatigue, and changes in sleep patterns.

Whilst SAD is primarily a human condition, some cat owners have observed changes in their pets’ behaviour during the winter months, which may be related to changes in daylight and weather conditions. If you are concerned about your cat’s change in behaviour, which could also indicate other conditions, it’s wise to contact Rouken Glen Vets for further advice and to book a health check.

Book a New Year cat health check

Things to consider

These changes in your feline’s behaviour are not necessarily a direct manifestation of Seasonal Affective Disorder as it occurs in humans, but they could be influenced by seasonal factors. Here are some considerations for cat owners living in East Renfrewshire.

1. Light exposure

Cats may spend more time indoors during the winter due to weather conditions. This will result in reduced exposure to natural daylight. This change in light exposure could potentially affect their behaviour and mood.

2. Activity levels

Similar to the point above, cold weather can limit outdoor activities for cats. Reduced exercise and mental stimulation during the winter can lead to changes in your cat’s behaviour, potentially including restlessness or decreased energy levels. Our vets and nurses often see cats’ weight increasing over the winter months due to lack of exercise, which can in turn affect their ability to move more.

3. Temperature and comfort

Cats may experience discomfort in colder temperatures, especially if they are not acclimated to it. This discomfort could affect their overall mood and behaviour.

4. Owner’s behaviour

Changes in an owner’s routine due to Seasonal Affective Disorder or other factors can also indirectly affect a cat’s behaviour. For example, if the owner is less active or less engaged with their cat during the winter months, their cat will respond accordingly.

5. Pre-existing conditions

Some cats may have pre-existing medical or behavioural conditions that make them more susceptible to changes in their environment. These conditions can be exacerbated by seasonal changes. Feline arthritis is a condition that is particularly problematic when it’s cold and will greatly affect a cat’s mood and willingness to engage or move around.

How you can support your cat

It is essential for cat owners to monitor their pet’s behaviour throughout the year and to make adjustments as needed to ensure their wellbeing. If their behaviour changes significantly, it’s a good idea to consult with Rouken Glen Vets’ team about a New Year health check. This can help determine the underlying causes of your pet’s behavioural changes and our vets can provide personalised guidance on how to address seasonal related factors.

Book a New Year cat check-up

Top advice for East Renfrewshire cat owners on choosing a cattery for your 2024 holiday

If you are planning a holiday in the New Year, Rouken Glen Vets has some top tips to help you find the perfect cattery. We know leaving your cat can be daunting, but with these questions, we will help you find your cat the most perfect holiday home in East Renfrewshire.

Download our Top Cat Travel Tips

The team at Rouken Glen Vets suggest that you work through these questions below to find out everything you need to know about prospective holiday care for your cat.

Cattery: medical requirements

Vaccinations and parasite treatment

Work out what the cattery will need from you when it comes to your cat being vaccinated and up-to-date with their flea, tick and worming treatment. If you are unsure as to when your cat had their most recent vaccinations, our team can help.

Contact us about your cat’s vaccination schedule

Your cat’s medical care

Enquire about the cattery’s process for dealing with a veterinary emergency and who their local vet is.

Cattery: services, security and facilities available

It’s always a good idea to visit prospective catteries before choosing one as you’ll only get a sense of certain aspects in person – Rouken Glen Vets’ team have listed some of these below.

Security measures

Ask about what security measures are in place to protect your cat. Check windows and doors to make sure they are escape-proof and ask about their fire safety measures.

Hygiene

Pay special attention to the cleanliness of the cattery. The sleeping areas, litter boxes, and common spaces should be clean and odour-free.

Specialised feeding

Discuss your cat’s dietary requirements before booking and make sure the cattery has the facilities to accommodate any particular needs your cat may have. If your cat has a specialised diet from Rouken Glen Vets and you are running low, give us a call on 0141 620 2580 or visit our website to re-order.

Noise and stress levels

You need to be sure that the noise levels in the cattery will not be too distressing for your cat. Enquire about what measures the cattery has in place to minimise the noise and stress levels for your cat. You may also be able to get a feel for this during a visit.

Accommodation options

Your chosen cattery may have various different accommodation options available – are they suitable for your cat?

Individual care

Ask whether the cattery offers cats individual playtime, care and fuss.

Concerned about getting your cat to the cattery? Take a look at our 21 tips for transporting your cat.

External research

Reputation and reviews

Our Giffnock team recommend paying attention to reviews and testimonials to understand what other cat owners have experienced with your chosen cattery before booking.

Booking policies and prices

Understand the cattery’s booking policies, the deposit, and payment terms available.

Licences and insurance

Check the cattery has the necessary licences to meet industry standards. The cattery will also need appropriate insurance so it would be worth asking about what cover they have in place.

How do you feel?

Communication is key

Ask the cattery how they will communicate with you and if you’re happy with this. Lots of catteries can offer daily pictures and updates so work out what you’re comfortable with.

Visiting

Plan to visit the cattery ahead of your cat’s booking to visibly assess the facilities, cleanliness, and mannerisms of the staff who will be caring for your pet.

Gut feeling

Using the points above will help you to develop some feelings towards the cattery. If you are unsure or have doubts about certain aspects listed above, keep searching.

The last thing you want whilst on holiday is to feel worried that your cat isn’t being cared for to the standards you expect. Remember, thorough research and early planning is key to choosing the right temporary home for your cat in East Renfrewshire. The team at Rouken Glen Vets will be able to suggest potential catteries in the local area. Contact us on 0141 620 2580 for more information.

Rouken Glen Vets is encouraging cat owners to download our cat travel tips, a handy checklist to use when taking and picking your cat up from their stay at the cattery, and in fact for any journey in the car your feline friend needs to take.

Download our Top Cat Travel Tips

Cat owners: 7 dangers to be aware of this Christmas

Our team at Rouken Glen Vets see a rise in the number of feline emergencies we treat around Christmas time. It’s inevitable – there are plenty more toxic foods (although delicious for humans!) available for cats to nibble on, as well as wrapping materials to ingest and seasonal risks that could leave them feeling under the weather.

So, cat owners, ahead of the festivities, why not curl up with your cat and have a read of Rouken Glen Vets’ advice on common cat emergencies and what you need to be aware of.

Contact us for emergency advice

1. Toxic foods

The Christmas festivities bring lots of chocolate and alcohol – both of which are toxic to cats. There are various other foods, such as grapes, raisins, onions, garlic, and certain spices that are also harmful and can lead to poisoning. If you think your cat has ingested something toxic, it’s important that you contact Rouken Glen Vets straight away as they need to be treated as a veterinary emergency.

2. Decorations

Cats often love playing with Christmas trees and house decorations but be aware that accidental ingestion of these items can lead to intestinal blockages or choking – both of which can be fatal. Tinsel, ribbons, bows and mini baubles are common decorations that cats like to play with.

3. Open flames and electricity

As naturally inquisitive creatures, your cat will want to investigate new candles or electricity cables. Both can lead to burns that will need treating. Also, electrical shocks and fire damage are both serious risks that could also affect your family’s safety. Make sure your cat isn’t left alone where they can access anything dangerous.

4. Christmas plants

Your Christmas tree could be a risk to our feline friends. They love to climb them, potentially tipping them over and injuring themselves. There are also toxic plants to watch out for, such as holly, mistletoe, lilies, and poinsettias. Again, do not hesitate to contact us on 0141 620 2580 if your cat has ingested a poisonous plant. And remember to keep an eye on your cat when they’re near your tree and secure the tree to a wall if you can.

5. Antifreeze exposure

During the colder months, you might choose to use antifreeze to help defrost the windows on your car. Rouken Glen Vets wants cat owners to be aware that even a small amount of antifreeze (which tastes oddly sweet to cats) is toxic to cats if ingested. Maybe stick to the old-fashioned ice scraping to keep our feline friends safe.

6. Stress-related illness/injury

Loud noises from fireworks, parties, or other festivities can startle cats, increasing their risk of injury, whilst the general hustle and bustle of the season can make them anxious. Monitor your cat for any signs of stress-related illnesses and any signs of anxiety, such as hiding behaviour and digestive issues. Contact us if you are worried about your cat’s behaviour or health on 0141 620 2580.

7. Accidental escapees!

Christmas is often a time for guests coming and going, making it easy for your indoor cat to escape outside. Keep them safe and ensure they are microchipped ahead of the festive season. The law has recently changed on cat microchipping and every cat over 20 weeks old must have a microchip implanted before 10th June 2024 – why not get organised ahead of this deadline? Book your cat’s microchip appointment at our Giffnock practice now?

To help prevent these feline emergencies, take time to create a safe and cat-friendly environment ahead of the holidays. The proactive approach will help to ensure a festive season that’s as stress-free as possible.

Contact us for more Cat-Friendly Advice

Richard shares common factors that contribute to feline heart disease

According to the veterinary team at Rouken Glen Vets, feline heart disease is relatively common in cats, especially as they age. It is estimated that around 10-15% of all cats may develop some form of heart disease during their lifetime. However, the prevalence of heart disease can vary based on several factors, including breed, age and overall health.

In this article, Veterinary Surgeon Richard Black explains these factors and the signs cat owners in East Renfrewshire should look out for. Early diagnosis is crucial to getting your cat the treatment they need.

Book a heart check-up

Heart disease risk factors in cats

Breed

Richard wants East Renfrewshire cat owners to know that unfortunately, no cat is immune to the risks of heart disease. However, certain cat breeds, such as Maine Coons and Ragdolls, have a higher predisposition to certain types of heart disease, like hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM). HCM is one of the most common forms of heart disease in cats and involves the thickening of the heart muscles, leading to impaired heart function.

HCM has been shown to be inherited in purebred cats like Maine Coons and Ragdolls, often by genetic mutation. Other predisposed breeds for HCM and heart disease include the British Shorthairs, Persian, and Sphynx. Male cats are slightly more commonly affected.

Spotting Heart Disease at home

Age

Age is another significant factor. As cats age, their risk of developing heart conditions increases. Feline heart disease tends to occur more frequently in middle-aged and older cats, typically around 5 to 10 years and older.

Health

There are several health conditions that can increase the likelihood of feline heart disease, some of these are listed below. Richard stresses that not all cats with the below health conditions will develop heart disease:

  1. Hypertension (High Blood Pressure): High blood pressure can strain the heart and blood vessels, leading to various heart problems, including hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) and heart failure.
  2. Hyperthyroidism: This condition occurs when the thyroid gland produces an excess of thyroid hormones. Untreated hyperthyroidism can lead to an increased heart rate and stress on the heart.
  3. Obesity: Overweight and obese cats are at a higher risk of developing heart disease due to the increased workload on their hearts.
  4. Diabetes: Cats with diabetes may be at a higher risk of developing heart disease due to the metabolic changes associated with the condition.
  5. Feline Heartworm Disease: Thankfully not found in the UK, feline heartworm disease can be a risk for cats travelling abroad. This parasitic infection (transmitted by mosquitos) can cause heart and lung damage, so Richard advises that precautions should be taken for cats who leave the UK or are adopted from overseas.
  6. Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD): Cats with CKD can develop secondary heart problems due to fluid imbalances and increased strain on the heart.
  7. Infections: Certain infections, like feline infectious peritonitis (FIP), can cause inflammation in the heart and lead to heart disease.
  8. Anaemia: Severe anaemia can reduce the oxygen-carrying capacity of the blood, placing additional stress on the heart.

If you have any concerns about your cat and feline heart disease, contact us to book a heart check-up with one of our veterinary surgeons.

Contact us to book a heart check-up

Signs of heart disease in cats

Heart disease in cats can be challenging to detect, especially in its early stages, as cats are known for hiding signs of illness. Richard recommends regular check-ups for cats of all ages (but especially cats over 5 years and those pre-disposed) at our Giffnock practice, as early detection and intervention can lead to better disease management and improved quality of life.

There are however some symptoms of feline heart disease that you may be able to spot at home. Take a look at Rouken Glen Vets’ fact sheet: Heart Disease in Cats Symptoms

If you notice any signs or have concerns about your cat’s heart health, it’s crucial to contact us to book a check-up promptly.

Richard, or another of our vets, will perform a physical examination, listen for any abnormal heart sounds, and may recommend further tests, such as echocardiography, to evaluate your cat’s heart health.

Heart disease in cats symptoms to spot at home

Share our guide with other cat owners and help us to help other pets in East Renfrewshire.

Karen’s top tips for litter training your kitten

Our team of nurses know that, when it comes to emptying your kitten’s litter box, it isn’t a pleasant job. However, training your kitten to use the litter box correctly will save you a whole load of mess in the future!

Head Nurse Karen has put together their best advice on how to effectively train your kitten and enforce good habits for the rest of their life. Have a read of Karen’s tips and contact us for more advice.

You can also ask our veterinary nurses questions about kitten care and training on our Facebook page!

Ask your kitten questions on Facebook

Mimic their natural habitat

People often make the mistake of setting up a litter box so that it is aesthetically pleasing and fits the style of their home. However, your cat wants a litter box that best mimics their natural environment. In the wild, kittens learn to cover up their urine and faeces to avoid attracting predators. This is why soft, sandy and minimally scented litter is best. Head Nurse Karen also recommends to not use a litter box with a cover on top as your kitten could feel trapped.

Keeping it clean

Litter trays should be cleaned at least twice a day and washed at least once a month. Cats are very sensitive to smell and Karen wants owners to know that they may turn their nose up at heavily soiled litter boxes.

Multiple cat household

If you own more than one cat, you need to invest in a litter box for each of them, plus an additional box. So, if you own two cats, you need three litter boxes. If you own three cats, you need four litter boxes.

Karen recommends that you space these out in easily accessible areas and do not group them together as each cat needs to feel safe and secure when using their litter tray.

Our nursing team love talking to East Renfrewshire pet owners about kitten care so we recommend either asking them questions on our Facebook page, or contact our Giffnock team for more advice.

Enforcing good habits

As soon as your new kitten arrives, show them where their litter tray is. You may need to move this to an area your kitten feels comfortable in so keep an eye on them. Ensure this is away from their food and water bowls.

You need to place your kitten in their litter box after they have eaten, played and slept. Eventually they will learn to associate this time with going to the toilet and will take themselves to the litter box after each event.

Remember, litter training your kitten will not happen overnight. But persistence and patience are key to ensuring good, lifelong habits.

Thanks for reading our article on house-training your kitten, we hope you found the advice from our nursing team helpful.

Why not help others looking to get a new kitten by sharing our article?

And don’t forget to…

Ask your kitten questions on Facebook

Firework advice for cat owners in East Renfrewshire

Calling all cat owners in East Renfrewshire – firework season will soon be upon us, and early preparation is key to ensure that your cats stay calm. Our Vet Richard Black has put together the following advice to help keep your felines feeling happy. Have a read of our latest article and don’t hesitate to contact our team to discuss cat calming products.

Get our advice on calming products

Our Vet Richard Black knows that Bonfire night, Christmas and New Year’s Eve are all times of celebration, but pets can suffer from stress due to the loud noises and bright lights of fireworks. For any pets we see in the run-up to firework season, Rouken Glen Vets offers the following tips:

1. Create a safe space

Creating a cosy, safe space for your cat in a quiet room will help them to hide when they feel scared. Use their favourite toys, blankets, cushions – anything that they seem attached to and ensure they have close access to a litter box, food, and fresh water.

2. Pheromone diffusers

Use pheromone diffusers in the room where your cat will be staying to create a calm environment. The diffusers contain a synthetic pheromone that is similar to a cat’s facial pheromone – Feliway is the brand we recommend, and it is available in a diffuser or as a spray. Chat to Rouken Glen Vets’ reception team who will be able to advise you more on these.

3. Calming music

White noise or calming music helps to mask the sounds of the fireworks. Why not try classical music as this can be especially calming for cats!

4. Distract them with toys and treats

Provide your cat with interactive toys, puzzle feeders, and treats to keep them distracted and engaged. This will help them focus on something else rather than the loud noises outside.

5. Keep them indoors

Keeping your cat indoors more over firework season will prevent them from running away and getting lost. On an evening when fireworks are likely, make sure you check that all doors and windows are secure to prevent them escaping. It’s important to remember that keeping your cat indoors against their will for too long can have a negative effect on their wellbeing and health so you should let them out the following day. You can try encouraging them indoors earlier on a evening by making their feeding times earlier.

6. Chat to our team

If your cat is particularly anxious or stressed during firework season, talk to our vets at Rouken Glen Vets about medications or other options to help keep them relaxed. Always remember that what works for one cat, may not work for another. Each animal is unique, and their care should be tailored to them.

Contact our team today for more advice or to book a pre-firework season appointment for your cat. Alternatively, you can book an appointment online now.

Get more advice on calming products

Read Richard’s advice on why kittens should not have kittens

As any parent knows, there are many difficult responsibilities involved in raising offspring. To carry kittens, give birth and then care for the offspring, it requires female cats to be both physically and emotionally mature. Our Vet Richard’s advice on why kittens should not have kittens is listed below. Contact our team today to book your own kitten’s neutering procedure.

Book your kitten’s neutering

Four reasons why kittens shouldn’t have kittens:

1. Physical immaturity

Kittens are not physically mature enough to carry and give birth to healthy kittens. Their bodies are still developing, and pregnancy/birth can be physically demanding and dangerous for them. Richard says that unfortunately, many kittens can experience complications during pregnancy or birth. Examples of these are difficulty delivering, dangerous infections or even death. The best way to ensure your own kitten stays safe is to have them neutered by our team at Rouken Glen Vets.

2. Emotional immaturity

Kittens are emotionally immature and may not have the necessary maternal instincts to care for their offspring. They may not know how to nurse their kittens or keep them warm, clean, and safe. This can lead to malnourishment, sickness and even death for the kittens. Richard believes that neutering your kitten early on avoids unwanted pregnancies and allows your kitten to enjoy their young months, rather than risking their lives birthing offspring they may not know how to keep alive.

Contact our team today to find out when is the right time to neuter your kitten.

3. Cat overpopulation

Allowing kittens to have kittens can contribute to overpopulation, which can lead to a number of issues such as overcrowded animal shelters, euthanasia of healthy cats and the spread of feline diseases in East Renfrewshire.

4. Responsibility

Kittens are still learning and adapting to their environment and having kittens can be too overwhelming for them. They need time to adjust and focus on their own growth and development before taking on the responsibility of caring for another life. In conclusion, it’s best to “let kittens be kittens” and as part of responsible cat ownership, it’s important to neuter your kitten to prevent unwanted litters and ensure the health and wellbeing of your own pets.

To discuss pet neutering with Richard and Rouken Glen Vets’ team, contact us today.

Book your kitten’s neutering

Going away? Get our holiday checklists for your cat’s carer

If you are planning a holiday this year and your cat is being cared for by a pet sitter, have a read of this. Our Head Nurse Karen has created a list of the information you’ll need to provide to the sitter before you go on holiday. It is also worth giving them a copy of Rouken Glen Vets’ summer first aid tips for cats.

Download our summer cat first aid tips

Top tip…

If you are planning a holiday abroad and think you will be out of contact, it is worth letting us know who is caring for your cat whilst you’re away. That way, if your cat sitter rings for advice or an appointment, we already have your consent to proceed promptly with treatment. Chat to our reception team more about this.

Feeding and watering instructions

  • Clear instructions on what and how much to feed your cat, as well as how often.
  • Any special dietary requirements or allergies your cat may have.
  • Instructions on where your cat’s water bowls are and how often to refresh them.

Litter box care

  • Clear instructions on how often to clean the litter box.
  • Where to find extra cat litter.
  • How to dispose of used cat litter.
  • Make sure the sitter knows the importance of keeping the litter box clean to ensure your cat’s health and wellbeing.

Medications and health concerns

  • Information on any medications your cat may need, including dosage amounts and instructions for administration. Try to make sure your pet has enough medication issued from Rouken Glen Vets so your pet sitter doesn’t run out whilst you are away.
  • Any health concerns or conditions your cat may have, including allergies or chronic illnesses.

Play and exercise needs

  • Instructions on how often to play with your cat.
  • What toys or activities your cat enjoys.

Emergency contact information

  • Your contact information.
  • Rouken Glen Vets’ contact information.
  • Any backup contacts in case of an emergency.
  • Information on any potential hazards in your home, such as electrical cords, poisonous plants, or open windows.

Be sure to include feeding and watering instructions, litter box care, medication and health concerns, play and exercise needs, and emergency contact information in your handover. By providing this information to your cat sitter, you can ensure that your cat receives the care they need day to day, as well as from Rouken Glen Vets if needed whilst you’re away, allowing you to enjoy a stress-free holiday.

Don’t forget to download our summer first aid tips for cats and share this page to help other cat owners!

Download our summer cat first aid tips

Signs and common causes of cat anxiety

Pet Anxiety Week is in May each year and the team at Rouken Glen Vets have some important advice for pet owners in East Renfrewshire on the topic.

What is anxiety?

Anxiety is a sense of unease because of worry or fear – a feeling we have all felt throughout our lives. Anxiety can be mild or severe and can manifest in most animals too, including our feline friends. In our article, Vet Richard Black shares their advice on dealing with an anxious cat and understanding what might be causing it.

If, after reading our article you would like some further advice for your cat, please do contact our Rouken Glen Road team.

Get reassuring help

What causes anxiety in cats?

Cats can be anxious due to many different factors including pain, illness, neglect, lack of socialisation, contact with new people, animals or situations, and trauma.

Anxiety can manifest in a variety of symptoms which Richard advises you can look out for at home. It is important to be able to spot signs of anxiety in your cat and recognise how they respond and what they need in those situations.

What are the signs of cat anxiety?

Any threats cats encounter can cause anxiety. Whether we think an experience is threatening or not is irrelevant as the cat will still feel as though they are in danger. When a cat feels threatened, they are likely to apply strategies to protect themselves. Here are some signs of anxiety Richard has seen:

  1. Hiding – The cat will attempt to remove themselves from the situation and seek out an area where they feel safe.
  2. Aggression – If the cat feels trapped, they may feel they need to attack to protect themselves.
  3. Restlessness – The cat may pace around, tremble, and increase grooming.
  4. Decreased appetite, affection and willingness to socialise – this symptom comes with the feeling of stress and potential involuntary defecation.
  5. Salivation, dilated pupils and flat ears – as a panic response.
  6. Increased respiratory rate if stressed.
  7. Holding their tail against their body as a defence mechanism.

Contact us for help with cat anxiety

How can cat anxiety be treated?

If you see signs of anxiety, try Richard’s tips below to help your cat:

  1. Try comforting them but remember not to reward fearful behaviour.
  2. Never punish your cat as this will only increase the anxiety and potentially cause aggressive behaviour.
  3. Do not cage or confine them.
  4. Provide a safe, protective environment for them i.e., less stresses, limit to familiar people.
  5. A vet may prescribe medication or treatment if there are underlying causes of pain.
  6. You may need professional advice on behaviour modification – including desensitisation and counterconditioning – talk to our team about this.

The best course of action is to try to prevent the anxiety to begin with. If you are adopting a kitten, allow them to be social and experience different environments so their confidence grows, and they can better deal with overwhelming situations.

If you require any advice regarding your cat’s anxiety and behaviour, do contact our vet practice in Giffnock and we will do our very best to help your cat through their issues.

Contact us about your cat

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