Cats can also have Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), reports Atlanta Pet Life. They can have it from abuse, abandonment, loss of an owner, and a life-threatening disaster.
Treating a cat with severe PTSD should be done under the supervision of a professional. A veterinary behaviourist can make an accurate evaluation to determine the best course of action to take. However, mild to moderate anxiety can be treated by providing a quiet retreat for your cats with a favourite toy and familiar scents that are comforting to them.
PTSD symptoms can include:
- Decreased appetite
- Destructive behaviour
- Fear of being alone
- Sleep disturbances
How to help:
- Speak and move slowly and calmly and avoid high-pitched sounds. This goes for everyone in the household. Do not shout at or around your cats. Cats are extremely sensitive to the tone of human voices.
- Do not make sustained direct eye contact.
- Watch for body language signals.
- Provide them with their own safe place where they can be alone when they feel like it. Make sure they have plenty of perches and nooks to hide. If your cats have a toy or blanket they tend to use when scared, place that in the safe space.
- Use affection, treats and toys to lure them out of hiding later. Spend some quiet time with your cats. Read a book or engage in some other quiet activity, and every few minutes put a treat near them. Frequent short sessions are preferable.
- Protect them from whatever they fear.
- Create opportunities for them to be successful and build confidence.
- Feed them a balanced, appropriate diet and make sure they get plenty of physical activity.
- Most importantly, do not force anything on them under any circumstances – allow them to take things at their own pace.
- Praise your cats, every improvement, let them know how good they are doing. Keep up with the positive reinforcement.