The most popular form of anxiety in cats is due to loud noises such as fireworks or thunderstorms, though they may also be anxious when it comes to meeting new people, or even a change in their daily routine. When cats are scared and anxious, their first reaction is flight. If your cat is anxious, you’ll probably notice that they:
– Hang around doors and windows, even scratch to get out
– They may physically tremble
– Stress may cause physical symptoms such as diarrhoea or loss of appetite
The most effective way to alleviate symptoms of stress in cats is by counter-conditioning them. If you notice they get particularly scared when around loud noises, try and simulate the situation and give them a cue such as sitting still. Whenever they listen to your cue, rather than react fearfully, give them plenty of treats as a reward.
Since we can’t read their facial expressions, often we find it difficult to recognise if birds are feeling stressed or anxious. Birds are very sensitive to environmental changes, so it’s important if there has been a change such as moving house, you keep an eye out eye on them. Common symptoms for a stressed bird can include:
– An increased amount of noise, such as screaming
– Eating less food
– Showing increased aggression towards their owner
Sometimes, a bird will adapt to the change in its own time, and these symptoms will slowly fade away. However, if there is no improvement, it’s important you help them settle in. Anxiety in birds (especially parrots) can develop into extreme self-harm behaviour (in some cases, they will pull all of their feathers out!). Make sure you give your birds plenty of engaging puzzles and toys throughout the day to keep them distracted. It’s also important to make sure they are eating a balanced diet. If a bird is given too many sugary foods (such as fruit) or even a high amount of carbs, this can increase their anxiety as they don’t have the opportunity to fly it off! Speak to your vet about how much food you should be giving them.