May 22, 2023

Top Tips: How to handle cat anxiety and stress

Written by the team at our Tauranga clinic

Cats are adaptable creatures but sometimes a change in lifestyle or being confronted by certain situations can put them under stress. It can be difficult for cat owners to identify stress and anxiety if they are unaware of the signs to look for. Signs can include spraying in the house or lack of using litter trays, change in mood, hiding, lack of appetence, vomiting, excessive vocalisation and sometimes even aggression.

Cat anxiety can stem from multiple reasons. New cats in the neighbourhood, travelling in the car, separation anxiety, moving house or new pets in the family can create stress. It is crucial for cat owners to try and identify the cause of the stress and implement the best cat calming method. In most cases a simple change in your cat’s environment or routine can be the key to soothing their anxieties.

It’s important to note that some cats naturally have higher stress levels than others despite their environment.  These cats require a little extra care but can be managed.

We have compiled a list of our top tips to help curb your cats stress and anxiety.


Feliway is an excellent product particularly in situations where you may have recently moved into a new home, introduction of other cats or even just daily use in multi cat households. Feliway uses a synthetic copy of feline facial pheromones which provides the same comforting effect as the natural pheromone’s that cats leave around their environment when they feel safe. It comes in a plug-in diffuser form which is perfect for constant calming and comfort at home, there is also the option of a target spray for calming on the go. Here at Tauranga Vets, we use Feliway in our cat hospital to help make our patients feel more at ease during their stay with us!

Royal Canin “Calm” Biscuits

When faced with a new situation that makes us feel uneasy, the body naturally responds with an increase of adrenaline and cortisol hormones which can affect many organs such as the heart, digestive system and brain. Royal Canin have created a diet specific in aiding stress and anxiety and the uncomfortable physical and behavioural signs caused from it. It contains amino acids found in cat mother’s milk that helps settle and calm young animals after feeding and boosts serotonin levels which in turn helps regulate mood, appetite and sleep.  The calm food has very successful results but takes a committed effort as it does not take an immediate effect.

Microchip Cat Doors

Microchip cat doors allow cat owners to control which cats can come and leave their home. Often new cats move into the neighbourhood and can sometimes invite themselves into your home! Having a microchip cat door ensures that only your pets have access into the house and will stop unwanted intruders into your pets’ safe space helping them feel more relaxed and at ease.  An added benefit of these doors is curfew mode – this allows you to control times of day your cat can go outside keeping them safe at night.

Travel tips

When travelling in the car with your cat it is important to ensure they are confined in a travel safe cage to start with. A simple placement of a blanket or towel over the cage can help cats feel more secure in their cage while they are travelling or waiting. Cats tend to hide when they are uncertain or anxious so this can help them feel like they are safely hidden away.

Separation anxiety

For pets suffering from separation anxiety, creating a more diverse environment can help to keep your cat mentally stimulated while you’re out of the house. Cat perches can provide visually stimulating views of the house and a selection of toys can help to keep them busy while you’re out of the house.

If you are struggling with stress and anxiety in your pet, please contact the friendly team at Tauranga Vets. You may require multiple cat calming methods and it is best to contact a veterinary professional to help decide which method is most appropriate for your cats needs.

Cat Friendly accredited – Silver

In 2020 Tauranga Vets became Cat Friendly accredited – Silver. Established in 2012, the programme recognises that because of their unique nature and needs, taking cats to the veterinary clinic can be very stressful, both for cats and their owners. This programme is designed to help address these issues by creating more cat friendly veterinary clinics and so reducing the stress for cats and making veterinary visits easier for cat owners as well.