Cats Health Cards N°14. Cat anxiety in a closed environment



A cat that has been raised in a very challenging environment may not properly adapt to life in a much more restricted and impoverished space.

He can then develop some form of anxiety associated with behavioral disorders and begin to assault the inhabitants of the apartment to compensate for his need to hunt.


This situation is frequently encountered in cats that have been raised in the countryside and adopted by people living in apartments. Some anxiety can also appear in cats who will find themselves in an extremely quiet environment (cats adopted by elderly people or left alone all day)

Other events, which suddenly make the living environment of the hypostimulating cat, can also cause this kind of disturbance:

- Moving (cat going out and moving to an apartment, cat accustomed to the garden of the family villa and following one of the children in a studio ..)

- Death of another animal in the home with whom the cat played a lot,

- Resumption of work by owners after a long period of leave,

- Return to the apartment after a holiday in the countryside.

All these situations can be the cause of the anxiety of the cat in closed environment.



The cat, very little stimulated, adopts a predatory behavior. It attacks imaginary prey, in this case its owners.

Faced with any stimulation (distribution of the meal, return of the owners of the work ...), the cat "goes to the attack": it is placed on the lookout behind a door or at the top of a piece of furniture, slowly crawls towards its prey Then "captures" the ankle or the hands of his masters and bites them.

These hunting behaviors are particularly present in periods of semi-darkness (at dawn or dusk). They are even more common towards children who stimulate the cat by running into the apartment.

Other types of aggression can also occur during the manipulation of the cat and reflect its anxiety.

The animal comes to look for caresses but it excites little by little, its pupils dilate and it suddenly bites the person caressing him. It also supports very badly any care, any attempt of brushing ...



These animals, always at dawn or dusk, can present a real "quarter of an hour of madness":

The cat starts to run around the apartment in a disorderly way, jumps on the walls ...


At the beginning of the evolution, the cat that lives in hypostimulating medium will show various signs of anxiety:

- Diarrhea or marked salivation can be observed

- This cat may also present, at times, a wave of shaking the skin back and forth

- It happens that it attacks without reason to its tail

- Finally, problems of uncleanliness may arise.

Anxiety can then evolve into a form of "depression":

- The cat begins to lick constantly and insistently until tearing, for example, all the hair under the belly.

- The appearance of bulimia can also show the ill-being of the animal.


Certain behaviors of the owners must absolutely be avoided as they aggravate the anxiety of the cat:

- The master often thinks that the cat "takes revenge" on his return from work because he has been left alone all day. In no case is aggression behavior a sign of revenge, it just compensates for the need to hunt the cat.

It is therefore not necessary to punish the cat: this would only increase his anxiety and further degrade the relationship between cat and owner. Only "indirect" punishments can be used (without screaming or touching the cat: for example by throwing a spray of water at the pistol on the cat when the first signs of an attack appear)

- The cries of the masters during the aggressions increase the excitement of the cat as their reaction of flight:

You must remain as calm as possible and divert the cat's attention to something just before the attack. The master may, for example, have small balls on him and throw them to "make diversion" in case of aggression.

As a precaution, the doors of the rooms must always remain closed at night to avoid any attack of the masters having "stirred" in their sleep ...

It is then essential to enrich the living environment of the cat:

- The ideal would be, of course to let the cat out (even on a small terrace or balcony)

- When this is not possible, you must propose to the cat all kinds of hunting and exploration games with the setting up of mobiles, purchase of a cat tree in which will be arranged various hiding places, suspension Of feathers in various places of the apartment and why not the installation of an aquarium at home?

To prevent the cat from getting tired of its "new toys", it is interesting not to offer everything at the same time and to create a rotation between the different games.

- Finally, a self-service diet must be established and avoid attacks during food distributions. The croquettes will also allow the cat to have fun if they are hidden in various places of the apartment (under carpets, in hard to reach places ...)

At the beginning of evolution, this enrichment of the environment is often sufficient.

When disorders have evolved for a long time and the attacks have become particularly violent and unpredictable, or when the cat has entered depression, medical treatment must be associated with the enrichment of the environment. Your veterinarian will then offer you a medication that will reduce the stress of the cat and help to limit its impulsivity.


The anxiety of the cat in closed environment is frequent. It can occur after various modifications of the living environment of the cat and can lead to very important degradations of the relations between the master and his animal.

If you have recognized some of the behaviors of your cat while browsing this article, do not hesitate to speak to your veterinarian because the prognosis is greatly improved by a rapid management of the disorders.