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Can Cats Sense Their Human Companions’ Feelings of Anxiety?

Cats make great companions. They’re independent, yet affectionate, and they have a relaxed air about them that can be soothing. But what happens when our feline friends sense that we’re stressed out or anxious? Can cats sense anxiety too? Let’s take a look at what the experts say.

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Scientific Findings About Cats & Anxiety

Though there is no scientific evidence that has conclusively proven cats are able to sense anxiety in humans, many people believe cats have the ability to detect when their owners or other humans around them are experiencing feelings of anxiety. This potential power of detection has been credited to cats’ advanced senses such as smell, hearing, and sense of touch, which allow them to detect subtle behavior changes. 

For example, a study conducted by researchers at Washington State University observed that cats recognize the vocal cues used by humans when they display emotion. If a cat believes a human is nervous or anxious, it may show its concern by initiating contact with its owner or acting more affectionately. Though no research has definitively answered whether cats have this ability, the anecdotal evidence supports the idea that cats may be able to detect our emotions.

How is this Anxiety Detection Possible?

It has long been believed that cats possess some sort of communication skills, especially when it comes to scent. This hypothesis is increasingly being backed up by scientific research, which has discovered that cats are able to send and receive signals through chemical releasing compounds known as pheromones. By secreting a small amount of these pheromones, cats can deliver messages about fear and aggression. 

Furthermore, cats also communicate through body language like arching their backs or erecting their claws. When communicating with humans, they use a combination of scent and body language to make their point. As such, it is clear that felines do possess the capability of communicating with each other or even with humans if given the opportunity.

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Tips for Dealing with Anxious Moments

It can be difficult to stay composed when feeling extreme anxiety; however there are certain things you can do in order to manage your emotional state. For some people, aromatherapy may be useful; try using an essential oil spray or mist to create a calming filter around yourself. Just remember to always use additional caution when pets are around products that contain essential oils – safety first!

Additionally, if you have a pet, simply spending time with them can help to ground and soothe you; it has been proven that petting an animal helps reduce stress levels and bring relaxation. Other activities such as listening to music or engaging in breathing exercises could also be of aid when facing difficult times.

It is clear that cats can sense when humans are feeling anxious. While we may never truly know how cats pick up on these emotions, all of the evidence points to them being incredibly attuned to their human caregivers. The stories shared at the end of this post emphasize just how special the bond between cats and humans can be. 

To maintain these bonds and ensure your cat’s well-being, it is important to practice mindfulness during times of anxiety and provide your cat with both physical comfort and mental stimulation when needed. If your cat seems unsettled or out of sorts, using calming sprays or stroking its fur for a few moments can really help.

Ultimately, proving cats can sense our anxieties should not lead us to become closer with prejudice but rather as a reminder of how unique our connections with animals can be through trust and love. We hope that this article has introduced you to new ways of understanding your furry companion and provided you with some helpful tips on handling anxiety in pets.

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“Tails” from the ASP Cat Community

“Thank you so much for the quick response to my application. It’s made my worry about if my cat would be allowed to stay with me or not a lot better because I absolutely need to have him for my severe anxiety and PTSD. Now that I have this letter, I know I am covered. I can’t thank you enough!” -K

“The service I received from American Service Pets was fast and efficient. They were very helpful and genuinely care about us and our pets. The apartment building that I’ve been living in recently was sold and the new owners wanted us to get rid of our cats. There was no way I was getting rid of my two cats that I have had for twelve years. Not only are they a part of my family, but they give me so much emotional support and love. Thank you American Service Pets for helping me out.” -Tim E.

“I wanted the certification because I recently moved 1400 miles and have been having an extremely hard time feeling trapped in my misery. I was panicking and feeling buried realizing I couldn’t even think of visiting home because I would not leave my kitty to the care of others here – I need her with me. When I filled out the application, I was bawling realizing how she really is my support animal. This certification will help a lot in our life in general. It was simple and the service and user friendliness was amazing. I was recommended by someone else and will recommend again and again.” -Morgan

Our gratitude goes out to all of those who have shared personal stories about their experience with their kitty-friends; we invite anyone else who wishes to share their experiences too!

Additionally, if you are struggling with anxiety and have a feline friend who helps with your mental health support, you may be able to designate your cat as an emotional support animal. Simply fill out our brief online questionnaire to get started. Doctors will be standing by to review it and help qualified individuals get the paperwork they need to improve their quality of life!

ESA or PSA Certification?

The benefits of an Emotional Support Animal certification and a Psychiatric Service Dog certification are drastically different. Fortunately for you, American Service Pets’ network of active board certified doctors can help you find the right path to certification. To find out whether you need an ESA or PSD letter, take our easy, three-step Pet Owner Survey!


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