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Generic How to Tell If Your Cat Is Stressed-Out

April 2 2022

Cats are masters at hiding when they’re injured or sick. The same goes for when a cat is stressed. Like people, stress isn’t good for cats and chronic stress can even suppress your Kitty’s immune system response. This leaves her at risk for a wide range of illnesses. It may take a little detective work to know if your cat is stressed, but it can be done. In this post, a veterinarian goes over some common signs of stress in cats. 

Signs Your Cat Is Stressed

Excessive Grooming

While cats are well-known for their grooming habits and cleanliness, if she grooms too much, your cat may be feeling stressed if she grooms excessively. This is especially true if she focuses on certain areas, such as her belly or legs. And if she’s throwing up hairballs more than usual, this may be due to grooming too much. 

Of course, this behavior may point to another more serious health issue, so it’s always best to have Kitty checked out by a vet.

Keeps Missing the Litter Box

Marking their territory is something cats do to feel safe and secure. If Kitty starts to relieve herself outside of the litter box, she may be feeling stressed. However, other things can cause your cat to do this, such as a litter box that isn’t kept clean enough or a health issue. As a general rule, it’s always best to rule out medical problems beforehand so this is another instance where a vet visit may be in order. 

Unusual Scratching Behaviors

Scratching behaviors are another way cats mark their territory. However, cats that start scratching in areas that they normally wouldn’t, such as the walls or the furniture, may be trying to alleviate feelings of anxiety or stress by self-soothing. 


Much like when they’re sick, cats may withdraw or hide in an area where she feels more secure when she’s stressed. And if Kitty normally acts playful and curious, withdrawing is a telltale sign that something’s wrong. 

Aggressive Behaviors

When your cat goes from being a cozy cuddler to a furry ball of fury, stress may be the reason. This can take the form of sudden acts of aggression towards other cats or dogs in the household, or even you.

Again, if you notice these behaviors in your cat, be sure to rule out health problems before assigning stress as the cause. If you have more questions or want to schedule your cat for a checkup, please feel free to call us anytime.