Veazie Veterinary Clinic
1522 State Street, Veazie, ME
(207) 941-8840
feline anxiety levels

Feline Anxiety Levels

At Veazie Veterinary Clinic, we aim to make the veterinary visit as stress-free for your cat as possible. Like humans, each cat is an individual and has his or her own unique personality. The Feline Anxiety Level Scoring System is designed to help staff better understand your cat and his or her unique needs.

Depending on your cat’s anxiety level, most physical examinations and minor procedures can be accomplished without requiring any sedation. Our goal is to make every vet visit as stress-free as possible. If your cat has an increased level of anxiety here, we may suggest sedation in order to best examine your cat.

What is the Feline Anxiety Level Scoring System?

This scoring system measures your cat’s anxiety in the veterinary exam room. Knowing your cat’s anxiety level can help staff determine how to best handle your cat during his or her examination. For example, if your cat is extremely apprehensive at the veterinary office, we can adjust accordingly to your cat’s needs. Conversely, if your cat is laid-back and carefree, we can infer that no involved handling is needed. Cat-friendly handling decreases stress, ensures that your visit runs smoothly and enables a thorough veterinary examination.


Level 1: The nature of a level one cat is very low to no anxiety. This best describes a cat that is calm, relaxed and at ease in the veterinary clinic, during physical examinations, and during minor procedures. CLICK HERE to see a level 1 cat video.

How Might Your Cat Act if He/She is a Level One?
  • Immediately comes out of carrier
  • Tail and ears are upright
  • Rubbing on exam tables and cabinets
  • Potentially purring
  • Exploring

Level 2: A level two describes a cat that may have slight anxiety while at the veterinary clinic and during his or her physical examination. They display some comfort while being alert to their surroundings. CLICK HERE to see a level 2 cat video.

How Might Your Cat Act if He/She is a Level Two?
  • Laying on his/her sternum with paws tucked
  • Ears are upright
  • Likely will be immobile, like a statue, hoping no one notices them!
  • Probably not purring

Level 3: A cat who has level three anxiety is apprehensive. They will often find a hiding spot and are not pleased about being away from their home environment. They are anxious during the physical evaluation and may require some sedation for a thorough examination and minor procedures. CLICK HERE to see a level 3 cat video.

How Might Your Cat Act if He/She is a Level Three?
  • Hiding in the back of the carrier
  • Crouching, cowering and leaning away from the doctor or staff
  • Ears are back and/or down
  • May be growling, hissing or swatting if approached too hastily
  • Tail is tucked

Level 4: A level four cat comprises all of the behaviors of a level three cat. However, a level four cat will act more offensively due to anxiety. They may feel threatened and will commonly attack. A cat with level four anxiety will likely require sedation for a thorough physical examination and for minor procedures. CLICK HERE to see a level 4 cat video.

How Might Your Cat Act if He/She is a Level Four?
  • Ears are back and/or down
  • Tail is tucked
  • Growling, hissing, swatting, charging, batting and biting
  • Hiding in carrier
  • Crouching, cowering and leaning away from the doctor or staff