How can I tell if my cat is anxious?

Cats can exhibit a variety of behaviors and body language that may indicate anxiety. Here are some signs to look for:

1. Hiding: An anxious cat may hide more often, spending extended periods of time under furniture or in confined spaces.
2. Vocalization: Increased or unusual vocalizations, such as excessive meowing, yowling, or growling, can be a sign of anxiety.
3. Aggression: If your cat is suddenly more aggressive or irritable, it may be experiencing anxiety.
4. Over-grooming: Excessive grooming or licking can be a self-soothing behavior in response to anxiety.
5. Appetite changes: An anxious cat may eat less, eat more, or display a sudden change in food preferences.
6. Elimination issues: Anxiety can cause cats to urinate or defecate outside of their litter box, even if they've been well-trained.
7. Restlessness or pacing: An anxious cat might pace around or be unable to settle in one place for long.
8. Dilated pupils: Anxious cats may have dilated pupils, which can indicate they are on high alert.
9. Body language: A cat experiencing anxiety may display a lowered or arched back, flattened ears, and a puffed-up tail.
10. Increased startle response: An anxious cat might be more easily startled by sudden noises or movements.

If you believe your cat is exhibiting signs of anxiety, it's essential to consult a veterinarian to rule out any underlying medical issues. A vet can also recommend appropriate steps to manage your cat's anxiety, which may include behavior modification, environmental changes, or medication.