5 Common Stress Triggers for Cats-Pawsome Couture®

5 Common Stress Triggers for Cats

Many cats can become easily afraid or anxious, and those cats that are feeling stressed often engage in negative behaviours, especially scratching and litter box issues.

To help your cats deal with fears, anxiety, and stress, the first step is understanding what causes those feelings.

Below are some of the most common stress triggers for cats:


Thunder and fireworks

The sharp, loud cracks, bright flashes of light through the air and the ground, and the strange sounds that accompany fireworks can cause cats to bolt for safety.

Cats have a very advanced sense of hearing and it's their survival instinct kicking in.

Assigning a safe spot for your cats, preferably in an area where they already spend a large amount of time can help them tolerate the bangs, fizzes and pops. Cats often feel more secure if they have a small, enclosed place to hide in when they are afraid.

You can also play with your cats to distract from the noise of thunder or fireworks.



In the wild, loud noises aren't a good sign and your cats would probably climb a tree. Get them a high perch to climb on when you clean the house, so they can watch from above without feeling endangered.

You can also lure your cats into another room or let them go out whilst you clean. However, the best way to help your cats is to teach them not to be afraid of the vacuum.

Put the vacuum in a visible place where your cats can see it. This will desensitise them to the sound and presence of the vacuum in a gradual, non-scary way.


High-frequency sounds

According to PetMD, high-frequency sounds, such as the whistle of a tea kettle, a child's squeal, and even our voices can cause cat anxiety.

Cats can hear a lot of sounds that we can't, such as fluorescent light bulbs, computer monitors, and dimmer switches. Including TVs, washing machines and dryers, try turning everything down a notch.


Intense scents

Cats love most flowers and plants and can interact with them without a problem. However, due to their strong sense of smell, they have problems with essential oils and heavily-scented cleaning agents.

Avoid using citrus-scented sprays or cleaners on their beds, food bowls, and litter boxes. Instead, opt for a mild, pet-friendly cleaner, preferably an unscented one.


Other cats/pets

Cats aren't irritated by the smells of their feline friends with which they come into regular contact with, but the smell of a new cat/pet at home could get on their nerves.

Remember that cats are very territorial creatures, and when you are bringing a new cat/pet home, it's best to assume your cats will be stressed.

Let your cats adjust to the scent of the new cat/pet from afar. Make sure all interactions are supervised and make them as positive as possible.

Also, be sure to add additional resources, such as litter boxes, scratching posts, food and water dishes, and toys, to your home.