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What causes stress in cats?

While GI or urinary issues are noticeable, cats are likely also experiencing stress hiding in plain sight. There are multiple factors that can cause stress.

  • Changes in the home environment
  • Inconsistency in routine
  • Underlying health condition or pain

Be sure to monitor your cat’s behavior and note any changes to discuss with your vet if you suspect your cat is stressed.

A black cat standing on the bed

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A grey cat sites on a matching grey color carpet

What are the hidden signs of stress?

Even when the signs are visible, it’s easy to overlook a pet’s hidden stress. Urinary signs are the most noticeable of hidden stress signs, so you might be wondering if your cat is stress peeing or if stress can cause urinary problems. If you notice any of these signs, it’s important to make an appointment with your veterinarian.

  • Urinary issues
  • Panting or excessive meowing
  • Shivering or cowering
  • Hiding or trying to escape
  • Destructive behavior
  • Excessive biting or scratching

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Managing your pet’s stress

If you suspect your cat is stressed, the first step should be a visit to your veterinarian. They can provide you with guidance and information about how to manage stress in cats. Along with information, they may recommend nutrition or medication to help manage your cat’s stress.


Providing your cat with consistency can help alleviate some stress. Making sure their litter box is clean and that they have access to plenty of fresh water can help reduce a cat’s stress urination. If you’re looking to calm your stressed cat at home, here are 10 tips to help manage your cat’s stress.

A pet parent plays with her cat


In addition to behavioral and environmental accommodations, a vet may prescribe medication to help manage your cat’s stress. If you are looking for medications to give your cat, consult with your vet first. Over-the-counter medications should only be used as recommended by your vet.

A veterinarian examines a brown cat


With the right ingredient blend, your cat’s food can help reduce a cat’s stress. Vets may recommend Hill’s Prescription Diet or Science Diet to help manage signs of stress long-term to improve the quality of life for cats.

A small cat eats cat food from a bowl

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A brown cat looks up

Finding the right nutrition to help reduce stress

A veterinarian may recommend therapeutic nutrition as part of a comprehensive plan to help manage a cat’s stress. Hill’s Prescription Diet stress varieties share the same ingredients to make a visible difference in pets experiencing stress.

Proven stress-reducing ingredients

  • L-tryptophan acts as a mood balancing ingredient to enhance a stressed cat’s mood
  • Milk protein hydrolysate decreases fearfulness & increases contact with people1
  • Omega-3 fatty acids & antioxidants help support the body’s response to stress

1Beata et al. J Vet Behavior 2007;2:40-46

Ask your vet for a recommendation

Prescription Diet foods offer therapeutic nutrition for a range of health issues — including cats with signs of stress. They’re clinically tested and developed by a team of PhD nutritionists and veterinarians, so you can rest assured your pet is receiving premium nutrition backed by science.

If your cat has signs of stress, schedule an appointment with your vet and ask how Prescription Diet or Science Diet can help.