Did you know that cats can suffer from stress and anxiety just like humans? Fortunately for us, there are many over-the-counter calming aids available to help manage occasional, and mild to moderate cases – today we’ll be looking at 10 such options. Check out our top picks for the best calming aid options for cats with anxiety and stress below.
Signs of Stress and Anxiety in Cats
Cats can exhibit stress in a multitude of ways and for a variety of reasons. Some common behavioral signs of stress and anxiety in cats can include;
- Inappropriate urination or spraying
- Pooping outside of the litter box
- Excessive grooming
- Excessive vocalization
- Unwanted scratching
- Appetite change
- Fighting with other cats
In some cats these behavioral signs will be obvious, in others, they are more subtle.
To best manage your cat’s stress and anxiety levels, it’s really important that you recognize the signs when they occur, as well as identify potential triggers so that you can minimize exposure and ultimately develop a plan to overcome them.
In the meantime, there are products that can help…
Best Calming Aid Options for Cats
Check out our top picks for the best over-the-counter calming aid options for cats with occasional, and mild to moderate stress and anxiety below;
Used and recommended by Vets and animal welfare groups worldwide, FELIWAY is a synthetic copy of the feline facial pheromone, the pheromone that cats leave naturally when they feel safe and secure in their environment.
When used in areas of your home where your cat spends most of its time, the FELIWAY classic diffuser can provide a constant calming effect, and help to alleviate/minimize the effects of stress and anxiety symptoms in some cats.
One FELIWAY diffuser lasts for approximately 30-days and covers an area of up to 70m².
Similar to FELIWAY, the Sentry Calming Collar for cats also uses synthetic pheromones to promote a sense of calm in your cat’s environment. It is activated by the heat from your cat’s neck/body and provides 30-days of constant calming relief.
Each collar also features a slip-away buckle that loosens when pressure is applied unexpectedly.
Pet Naturals Calming Treats contain a proprietary ‘Colostrum Calming Complex Biopeptide’ blend + L-Theanine and Thiamine to support a healthy nervous system and better cognitive function in times of stress.
For best results, treats should be administered 30-minutes before a stressful event and can provide up to 4-hours of calming relief.
Similar to the FELIWAY diffuser outlined above, FELIWAY Classic Spray uses the synthetic feline facial pheromone to provide a calming effect in your cat’s immediate environment. Unlike the diffuser, however, the spray provides temporary relief only and is best used during stressful events and situations, such as thunderstorms, vet visits, and travel.
For best results, spray in your cat’s environment or carrier 15-minutes prior to a stressful situation. Allow the spray to fully dry before allowing your cat to re-enter the environment.
Each application lasts up to 4-5 hours. If using in your home, daily application is recommended.
Trusted by vets and pet owners to safely reduce occasional animal stress and tension without sedatives, Bach Rescue Remedy Pet is given orally with food/water as needed and contains 5 natural flower essences that help to promote a sense of calm, focus, and emotional wellbeing in your pet.
This homeopathic remedy is ideally suited for use during stressful events and situations and can be readministered as often needed.
Whilst there is a human-equivalent available, be sure to use the pet version only as it is alcohol-free.
Ideal for providing temporary relief during times of stress, the ThunderShirt for cats uses gentle calming pressure to promote a sense of calm and security in your cat – very similar to that of swaddling an infant!
The attractive, durable fabric is also fur-resistant and machine washable.
Preloaded with calming, special frequency modified music for cats, this Bluetooth speaker is clinically proven and veterinarian-approved to help alleviate stress-related behaviors in cats.
Small, and ultra-portable, the calming music will play continuously and wirelessly for up to 5-10 hours on a full charge or can be connected to a power supply for 24/7 use.
Designed to ease loneliness, fear, and separation anxiety in cats and kittens, the Snuggle Kitty behavioral toy recreates intimacy with physical warmth (via a disposable warmer), and a “real-feel” heartbeat, that is battery-powered and lasts up to 2 weeks with continuous 24/7 use.
Similar to the FELIWAY Spray solution outlined above, FELIWAY wipes offer short-term calming relief in the form of a convenient spot/wipe synthetic pheromone solution.
Ideal for use in cat carriers and on pet bedding during stressful situations, each wipe can provide up to 4-5 hours of calming relief within your cat’s environment.
Not to be used directly on your cat.
Refillable catnip toys like this one from Kong are great for promoting a temporary sense of calm and relaxation in cats – the trick is to give it to them 15-minutes prior to a stressful event.
While their immediate response to the catnip may be euphoric engaging play, the end result is usually a calmer cat that is both worn-out and relaxed!
For more information about calming herbs for cats, check out this informative article by PetMD.
In addition to the above, never under-estimate the value of environmental enrichment in your cat’s life (i.e. providing them with healthy outlets to exhibit normal and typical feline behavior, such as cat trees, play, perches, and puzzles feeders), as these can improve emotional wellbeing significantly, ultimately resulting in less stress and fewer problem behaviors.
For cats with prolonged or very severe stress and anxiety, it’s always best to speak with your vet first in the first instance, as prescription anxiety medication may be the best course of action.
Are you a dog parent, too?
If so, you may like to check out a similar read for dogs over on our sister site, Hey, Djangles;