A nervous cat can overtake a household with an emotionally dramatic vibe. Cats do not always respond to direct training efforts, and I have found that it is easier to change a cat’s environment than to change the cat. Here are a few helpful ways to help ‘fraidy cats relax.
Cats have more complicated digestive systems than dogs and should only ingest treats specifically formulated for felines.
Composure Feline by VetriScience
VetriScience Composure Feline uses a blend of colostrum biopeptides (calming ingredients in mother’s milk), theanine, and thiamine to chill out an uptight cat. Safe for kittens.
Quiet Moments Calming Aid by NaturVet
A mixture of thiamine, chamomile, ginger, tryptophan, chamomile and melatonin is the perfect pre-bedtime snack for cats and kittens. Don’t use NaturVet Quiet Moments Calming Aid during the day because the melatonin will mess up your cat’s sleeping schedule.
Please do not diffuse essential oils in a house with pets or use essential oils directly on your pet. Almost all essential oils are toxic to animals in the air, ingested, and on fur or skin. There are many ignorant people and businesses trying to push essential oils into the pet market. Try a carefully formulated calming spray such as Nature’s Miracle Just For Cats Calming Spray.
Exercise and Stimulation
The lazy cat is a common cliche, but cats are born hunters and need more exercise than you think. Their sharp minds also welcome the mental challenge of hunting and play.
With patience, many cats actually adjust to and enjoy walking on a lead! Cats with Bengal or Egyptian Mau bloodlines seem to take it to quicker than other breeds. If you have both dogs and cats, take out a gentle and patient dog with your cat. The cat will feel safer and compelled to walk alongside the dog sibling.
Escape Proof Cat Harness by Expawlorer
Cats have to be walked in a harness like this one securely velcroed all the way around the cat’s body. Cats can and will get out of any harness that uses traditional straps. The Expawlorer Escape Proof Cat Harness comes in a variety of sizes and fun designs. Everyone will look at you when walking a cat, so you may as well do it in style.
Toys and Games
Not everyone has the patience to walk a cat nor will every cat tolerate the attempts. Indoor cats still need regular exercise and mental stimulation, though, so how do we provide it? Games and toys that utilize a cat’s desire to hunt and chase provide the best outlet for your feline.
Laser Pointer by YSAGI
While not safe for dogs (it can stimulate OCD behaviors in dogs), a laser pointer is the ultimate toy to wear out your cat. Simply sit back and shine the little red light from the YSAGI Laser Pointer on the floor or wall. When the cat approaches, dart like a bug or a butterfly. Your cat will be endlessly intrigued.
Cat Toy Pack by Youngever
I love this Youngever Cat Toy Pack because it has a variety of toys to satisfy every cat personality. Most of these toys are designed for autonomous play so your cat can entertain herself while you’re otherwise occupied.
Cats sleep much more than humans and prefer to catnap intermittently during the day. But too much sleep during the day leads to wild antics at night. I had one cat that liked to bring out his jingle ball toys and bounce them off the walls in a tiled bathroom (lots of fun echos!) around 3am every morning. By playing with him before work and after dinner, he slowly desisted from his evening escapades.
Over-the-counter melatonin is one of the easier ways to encourage sleeping in pets. Melatonin is a hormone produced by the pineal gland when the body is attempting to sleep. Animal rescues now use melatonin to help anxious or jet-lagged rescue animals. However animal usage of melatonin is fairly new, and the right dosage is a matter of trial and error.
It would be difficult to fatally overdose on melatonin, however caution should always be exercised. Melatonin should not be used long-term because the body will stop making its own melatonin and cause a dependency on the supplements. Side effects of a melatonin overdose include: headaches, dizziness, upset stomach, diarrhea, joint pain, anxiety, crankiness, and inability to sleep without melatonin.
The only type of melatonin safe for pets is a basic tablet completely free of xylitol and other artificial sweeteners. Xylitol and similar sweeteners are toxic to many animals. Xylitol will be listed on the ingredients list, and it is generally present in chewable or dissolvable tablets.
Dosage of this supplement is a tricky business, but the basic recommendation is 1mg for every 10 pounds. Usually the smallest tablets come in 1mg, so for a small 5 pound animal you would cut that tablet in half. If administering to a cat, crush up the tablet and mix it into food.
Melatonin 1mg Tablet by Nature’s Bounty
Nature’s Bounty Melatonin tablets are only 1mg and free of harmful additives. Quarter of a tablet for kittens, half a tablet for most cats, and a full tablet for a truly large cat such as a Maine Coon.
Some kittens have trouble adjusting from the warmth of sleeping with mom and litter to sleeping in their own beds. There are a few ways to replicate the warmth of comfort to help the baby animal adjust. Please do not skimp on any electrical heating device or use unknown brands. There are many Chinese, Russian, and Indian companies out there trying to make inexpensive copycat pet products, but the products are not regulated and can be extremely dangerous to your pet.
Hot Water Bottle by Samply
The most economical choice for providing heat to your pet. A hot water bottle with a knitted cover provides lasting warmth through the night, and sleeping against the soft cover is similar to snuggling up against the fur coats of mom and siblings. Just remember that they’re not microwaveable—heat up the water separately before filling the bottle.
Microwaveable Warmer by K&H
If you can afford to spend a little more, the microwaveable warmer is much more convenient than a hot water bottle. The K&H Microwavable Warmer is soft and squishy with a durable neoprene cover. 5 minutes of microwave time provides heat that lasts for 12 hours.
Thermo-Kitty Mat by K&H
The K&H Thermo-Kitty Mat has a dual thermostat wrapped in soft foam and a cozy washable cover. This bed only uses 6 watts of power and is MET listed for safety for your cat. My cats love to knead the micromink cover before settling in for a nap.
Electrical Heated Dome Bed by K&H
Some cats will not sleep out in the open because they feel unsafe without an enclosure. Fortunately the K&H Thermo-Mod Dream Pod is both covered and heated. Like all K&H electrical products, it is MET listed and safe for your cat. The bed cover can be machine washed and the outer shell is a rugged polyester denier.
Do you have a skittish kitty? What are your tips and tricks?