What does PTSD in cats look like?

  • Date: December 31, 2021
  • Time to read: 4 min.

Symptoms of PTSD in Cats

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a psychological disorder that can affect both humans and animals. While PTSD is most commonly associated with people, it can also occur in cats. Cats, like humans, can experience PTSD symptoms when faced with a traumatic event or situation. Understanding what PTSD in cats looks like is important for recognizing the signs and seeking help for your pet.

What Causes PTSD in Cats?

PTSD in cats can be caused by a variety of different experiences, including abuse, abandonment, being in a shelter, or being in a loud, chaotic environment. Cats can also develop PTSD if they experience a traumatic event, such as being in a car accident or witnessing a traumatic event. It is important to note that cats can also develop PTSD if they are exposed to a traumatic situation multiple times.

Signs of PTSD in Cats

The signs of PTSD in cats can vary depending on the individual cat and their experience with the traumatic event. Some of the most common signs of PTSD in cats include:

  • Changes in behavior: Cats with PTSD may exhibit changes in behavior, such as becoming more aggressive or fearful. They may also become withdrawn or clingy.
  • Changes in appetite: Cats with PTSD may experience changes in appetite, such as eating more or less than usual.
  • Changes in sleeping patterns: Cats with PTSD may sleep more or less than usual, or have difficulty sleeping.
  • Changes in litter box habits: Cats with PTSD may start using the litter box less or more often than usual.
  • Changes in social behavior: Cats with PTSD may become more or less social than usual.
  • Changes in vocalizations: Cats with PTSD may meow more or less than usual.
  • Changes in grooming habits: Cats with PTSD may groom themselves more or less than usual.

If you notice any of these changes in your cat, it is important to take them to the vet for a checkup as soon as possible. Your vet can help diagnose the cause of the changes and provide you with the best course of action for your pet.

Treating PTSD in Cats

Treating PTSD in cats can be challenging, as cats do not respond to medication in the same way as humans do. However, there are some treatments that can help cats with PTSD.

  • Behavioral therapy: Behavioral therapy can help cats learn to cope with their fear and anxiety by teaching them new behaviors. Your vet may recommend a certified cat behaviorist to help you develop a plan of action.
  • Environmental enrichment: Creating a safe and secure environment for your cat can help reduce their anxiety and stress levels. Incorporating toys, scratching posts, and places to hide can help reduce your cat’s stress levels and make them feel more comfortable.
  • Calming supplements: There are calming supplements available that can help cats with PTSD. These supplements are thought to help reduce stress and anxiety levels in cats. Your vet can help you determine which supplement is best for your pet.
  • Medication: In some cases, your vet may recommend medication to help manage your cat’s symptoms. If your cat is prescribed medication, it is important to follow your vet’s instructions carefully.

PTSD in cats can be a difficult and challenging condition to manage, but it is important to seek help for your pet. If you think your cat may be suffering from PTSD, it is important to take them to the vet for a checkup as soon as possible. With the right treatment, cats with PTSD can still lead happy and healthy lives.

**Common Myths about PTSD in Cats**

Debunking the Misconceptions Surrounding Feline Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Myth 1: Cats can’t get PTSD – Cats are just as capable of developing PTSD as any other species. In fact, cats are particularly sensitive to traumatic events and may be more likely to develop PTSD than other animals.

Myth 2: Cats with PTSD will always display behavioral issues – Not all cats with PTSD will display signs of the disorder. Some cats may only have subtle changes in behavior and these may be difficult to detect.

Myth 3: Cats with PTSD can’t be treated – PTSD can be treated in cats, just like in any other animal. A combination of medications, as well as behavioral and environmental modifications, can help cats with PTSD manage their symptoms and lead a happy, healthy life.

Myth 4: Cat PTSD is a rare condition – Feline PTSD is more common than many people realize. Studies have shown that up to 20% of cats have experienced some form of trauma in their lifetime, making them vulnerable to developing PTSD.

Frequently Asked Questions

What does PTSD in cats look like?

PTSD in cats can manifest as a variety of behaviors, such as increased aggression, increased vocalization, increased fear, and changes in sleep patterns. Additionally, cats may also exhibit signs of withdrawal from their environment, excessive grooming, and reduced appetite or weight loss.

How can I help my cat with PTSD?

The most important thing you can do to help your cat with PTSD is to provide a safe and secure environment. You should provide plenty of hiding spaces, as well as interactive toys and activities to keep your cat engaged and reduce stress. Additionally, it is important to provide your cat with regular veterinary care, as well as medications and/or natural supplements that can help reduce symptoms. Finally, it is important to recognize any triggers that may be causing your cat’s PTSD and try to avoid them if possible.


Cats can suffer from PTSD just like humans, caused by traumatic events such as abuse, abandonment, or witnessing a traumatic event. Common signs of PTSD in cats include changes in behavior, appetite, sleeping patterns, litter box habits, social behavior, vocalizations, and grooming habits. Treatment may include behavioral therapy, environmental enrichment, calming supplements, and medication. It is important to seek help for cats with PTSD so that they can lead happy and healthy lives.

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