Understanding Cat Behavior

This blog discusses warning signs that may indicate a cat is in distress and provides ways to help them. Signs of distress in cats include hiding, aggression, vocalization changes, appetite or grooming changes, restlessness or pacing, litter box issues, and changes in body posture. The blog suggests creating a safe space, avoiding triggering situations, providing comfort and reassurance, engaging in play and exercise, consulting with a veterinarian or behaviorist, providing environmental enrichment, considering pheromone therapy, and avoiding punishment. It emphasizes that every cat is unique, and it's important to seek professional guidance if needed. The blog also mentions that Brook Farm Veterinary Center offers toys and pheromone products in their office.

Here are some warning signs your cat might be in distress and some of the ways you can help them.

Cats can show various warning signs when they are in distress, so it's important for cat owners to be vigilant and observant to these signs.

Here are some common signs that your cat may be in distress:

Hiding or Avoidance: 

Cats tend to hide in unusual places or avoid interactions with their owners or other pets when they are stressed or anxious.

Aggression or Defensive behavior: 

Cats can become aggressive, hiss, growl, swat, or bite when they are feeling threatened or distressed.


Cats may meow, yowl, or make other vocalizations more frequently or in a different tone than usual when they are distressed.

Changes in appetite or Grooming habits: 

Cats may lose interest in food, neglect grooming, or over-groom themselves when they are stressed.

Restlessness or Pacing: 

Cats may exhibit restlessness, pacing, or repetitive movements when they are anxious or distressed.

Litter box issues: 

Cats may avoid using their litter box, start to show signs of discomfort while using it, or eliminate outside the litter box when they are stressed.

Changes in body posture: 

Cats may exhibit changes in their body posture, such as crouching low, arching their back, or puffing up their fur, as a sign of distress.

If you notice any of these signs in your cat, it's important to stay calm and take the following steps to help them. Here are some ways you can support your cat when they are in distress.

Create a safe space: 

Provide your cat with a safe and quiet area where they can retreat to when they are feeling stressed. This can be a separate room of your home or a cozy hiding spot with their bed, toys, and litter box.

Avoid triggering situations:

Identify and avoid any triggers that may be causing your cat distress. For example, if loud noises or new visitors stress your cat, try to minimize or eliminate those stressors from their environment.

Provide comfort and reassurance: 

 A great way to give your cat reassurance and comfort is to give them lots of love and attention. Spend time with your cat, offer gentle pets, and speak to them in a calm and soothing tone. Just a few minutes throughout the day  to show them they are loved and cared for will go a long way. 

Play and exercise:

Engage your cat in play and exercise to help reduce their stress and anxiety. Playtime can help distract them and release any pent-up energy. At Brook Farm Veterinary Center we carry an assortment of toys in the office which are available for purchase or you can shop your local pet store for cat specific toys too. 

Consult with a veterinarian at Brook Farm Veterinary Center or behaviorist: 

If your cat's distress persists or worsens, it’s time to consult with your veterinarian or a qualified animal behaviorist. They will be able to help identify the underlying cause of your cat's distress and provide tailored recommendations for managing it, which may include behavior modification techniques, medication, or other interventions.

Provide environmental enrichment:

Offer your cat a stimulating environment with opportunities for climbing, scratching, hiding, and exploring. This can help reduce boredom and stress and may bring your cat joy.

Consider pheromone therapy: 

Pheromone products, such as synthetic feline facial pheromones, can help create a calming effect on cats and reduce their stress levels. Pheromones are chemical substances that animals, including cats, naturally produce and release into their environment. These substances serve as communication signals that can influence the behavior and emotions of other animals of the same species. Pheromones play a crucial role in animal communication and can affect various aspects of their behavior, including mating, territory marking, and social bonding. It's important to note that while pheromones can be a helpful tool in managing anxiety in cats, they are not a substitute for proper veterinary care or behavior modification techniques. It's always best to consult with a qualified veterinarian or a certified animal behaviorist to determine the most appropriate and effective approach for managing anxiety in your cat. Contact us and we can recommend some great brands to you and we also carry them in the office as well.

Avoid punishment: 

Avoid using any sort of punishment or forceful methods to deal with a distressed cat, as it can exacerbate their stress and anxiety. Instead, use positive reinforcement or reward-based training techniques to encourage desired behaviors.

Remember, every cat is unique, and what works for one cat may not work for another.  If you're unsure about how to help your cat when they are in distress, and you’ve tried the methods above, please give us a call at 845)878-4833. We would be happy to provide valuable guidance and support to help your cat feel their best.

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