Signs Your Cat is Stressed Out

Signs Your Cat is Stressed Out

 Cats take on an aloof and carefree attitude by nature. They hide their pain and frustrations well and hide their stress even better. So how exactly can you tell your cat is stressed out?

Crouched and Tensed

 When your cat is stressed, they’re in a heightened state of being. They’re ready for anything. This can be exhausting, but one of the first things you can expect to see is that they begin crouching and tensing when they usually don’t. For example, your pet may get startled by a sudden sound outside, but if they’re tense and crouch down regularly, this may be a sign that they’re stressed out.

Their Ears Keep Moving

Back and forward, every little sound needs to be located and pinpointed for stressful cats because any sound could be a danger. This is a clear sign of anxiety and stress; constantly worrying about what’s going on around them indicates stress. Keep an eye on your cat’s ears; constant moving or even semi-regular movement concerning noise can be another sign of stress.

Excessive Grooming

Excessive grooming can be a sign of many things, mites and fleas being the most common issues. If you rule out both mites and fleas, stress is the next surefire reason they could be  grooming themselves excessively. Pets that are stressed out overgroom to the point that they chew off their fur often and regularly. This can leave their fur looking patchy and unkempt and lead to further distress, including sores and larger bald patches.


An anxious cat that’s stressed out is usually hyper-vigilant; they’re always ready to run, hide, jump and dive out of danger. Every little movement or noise is a potential hazard to them; if your cat is skittish and is frightened by every single noise or movement, they’re most likely stressed out by something. This hypervigilance should be pretty noticeable; your cat will seem jumpy and tense.

Overeating or Overdrinking

Another sign of stress is regular and obsessive eating, drinking, or both. This can elicit vomiting from overconsumption. Vomiting can also be a sign of stress, but this specific indicator is directly caused by overeating. This eating and drinking is done to soothe themselves but can cause further issues such as the vomiting and diarrhea. Vomiting can also be a sign of other problems, so if your pet starts vomiting regularly, you should bring them to us quickly to our Chandler, AZ veterinary office.

Large Pupils

As stress gets worse, cats begin to get defensive, and the first sign of that defensive nature is enlarged pupils. With big wide eyes that have almost no color visible, this is not only a massive sign of stress in your cat but your first warning. Large pupils can mean your pet is ready to lash out, either at a toy or at a source of stress. This is a significant sign of stress in your cat and usually means there is a substantial problem at play.


Stressed-out cats aren’t confident cats, they run from you, and they hide a lot. Under coffee tables, desks, beds, and more. They do this to get away from your feet or whatever stresses they’re being approached with regularly. The best way to help them step away from hiding would be to give them a place up and away from the floor. The tops of bookshelves or other taller sites are an excellent way for cats to escape the floor, making them more confident.


Excessive Meowing

If your cat suddenly becomes very vocal, this is another sign of stress and anxiety. This is only to pull your attention to the strain if you’ve invited a new baby into the home, or a new pet, if you’ve gotten an illness, or a loved one has passed recently, your best option is to r give them more attention  to help them through the change. If there isn’t a physical change in their lives to explain the vocalization increase, you should see us at our Chandler, AZ veterinary office.

Reluctance to Play

Stressed-out cats may not want to play at all; they may not want to run and swat at things as playing is usually something a comfortable and confident cat does. If your cat loses their confidence and gets stressed, they may not want to play as often, if they want to play at all.

If your pet is displaying any of these tendencies, they are very likely experiencing stress from something. Your best option is to reach out to our Chandler, AZ veterinary office so we can assess your pet and rule out any medical reasons for the behavior change. Every time your pets’ behavior changes drastically, you should reach out to us to ensure there isn’t something medically wrong with them. For more information on how to keep your pet relaxed, enriched, and comfortable in your home, feel free to schedule an appointment.

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