What Should I Do If I Think My Cat Is Stressed
If you think your cat is stressed, its best to contact your vet for advice. They can check for any medical causes of their symptoms and recommend ways to help them.
Its also a good idea to contact an ABTC certified behaviourist, especially if they seem to be stressed all the time, theyre showing aggressive behaviour or you think the stress is impacting on their quality of life. Find out more about helping an anxious cat.
How To Recognize Stress In Cats
There are a number of behaviors to be aware of when it comes to recognizing stress in cats. Find out what can cause stress in cats and how this can be combated.
Has your cat been acting strange? Has it been hiding at the sound of the doorbell, or acting cautious and upset with family members or houseguests? Maybe your cat has been urinating or defecating outside of the litter box. These behaviors can all be signs that your cat is stressed.
What causes stress and anxiety in cats?
One way to determine whether your cat is stressed is to look at a situation from their point of view. While having a houseguest might be exciting for the owner, it’s a new smell, a new person and a disruption in routine for the cat. Other common causes of stress for cats include new pets, new babies, remodeling, construction, storms, or general changes to their routine.
How to recognize stress in cats
Cats exhibit stress in a variety of ways. They may have skin, bladder and/or gastrointestinal issues. They may also urinate outside their litter box, vocalize excessively with growls or hissing, act aggressively toward people or other animals, or groom obsessively. Some cats have even been known to lick themselves bald from stress.
Helping prevent or alleviate stress in cats
Visit Your Vet
Our Dogs Can Pick Up On Our Stress So Its Important To Be Aware Of How Were Feeling When Were Around Them Heres A Comprehensive Look At How To Relieve Emotional Stress In Ourselves And Our Canine Companions
None of us is a stranger to stress. It affects many levels of our lives, and it also affects our dogs. The first of this two-part article focused on the emotional aspect of stress, and how our own stress affects our dogs. Now that you have become a little more familiar with the mechanisms of stress, we can look at how to relieve emotional stress in both ourselves and our dogs.
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Don’t Forget The Cuddle Time
Attention from their owners is something that most cats enjoy. Spending some time with your cat on a daily basis, whether it is cuddling or some other activity, can also be a great stress reducer for most cats. This time will also allow you the time to observe your cats behavior for any changes.
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Valerian Chamomile And Other Calming Herbs
Many herbs that are popular stress relievers for pet parents are gaining popularity for pets themselves. Before you make that leap, though, talk to your veterinarian about whether the product youre considering is safe.
In some cases, the oil form of herbs can be toxicwhich means essential oils and raw plants are definitely out. Teas and tinctures can also be problematic because the active compounds can be too concentrated. What seems just right for you may be way too much for your felines liver to handle. Its just better to be safe than sorry.
Most of all, be patient with your cat as you try these different options. The last thing you want to do is cause your feline friend even more stress by getting angry and frustrated. Stay open and positive, and youll find the anxiety solution that works for your cat.
This 7 Natural Ways to Ease Cat Anxiety article has been reviewed and approved by Veterinarian Emily Wilkinson, DVM, and was co-written with Emily Parker, who runs the all-things-cats website, Catological.com. Parkers mission is to help cat parents love their kitties better. Shes had lots of practice walking the talk, as she spends a lot of her time loving and caring for her rescue kitties, Gus and Louis . She likes to explore her city to find new coffee shops and always hopes to run into an outdoor kitty or two.
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Help Them To Handle Changes Before They Happen
Cats are creatures of habit. Routine is important to them, so anything that disrupts this can leave them feeling stressed. Whether youre planning to move house, have building work completed or welcome a new baby into your home, preparing your cat for the changes reduces the risk of stress. During house moves and improvements, cats are often much better temporarily staying in a cattery to keep them calm. With new babies, you can get your cat prepared for their new arrival with our advice guide, which includes getting them familiar with baby sounds and how to make the nursery off-limits. Visit for a month-by-month guide.
Make Sure Your Cat Stays Away From Male Cats
Do not allow your cat to go out while she is in the heat to prevent cat pregnancy. Keep her calm and prevent her from going out as it will result in mating with male cats. She will try and escape if she finds out the presence of any male cat nearby and can even attract it towards her. So, it will be a proper way to put on the blinders and shut down the doors and windows to protect her from mating.
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Owning An Anxious Cat
As much as you may love your cat, there is no doubting the fact that owning an anxious and stressed cat can be extremely upsetting, as well as troublesome. However, cats are no different to human beings. They are equally as capable of suffering from anxiety and stress. Bad behaviour is often their only way of telling you that something is wrong.
Of course, your cat may always have been timid, or had an anxious or stress-prone personality. Alternatively, a change may have been brought about by a specific incident, trauma or life-event. There are also many other instances which can trigger stress in a cat such as: physical ill health, change in diet or being separated from its owner for prolonged periods of time.
Fortunately, there are simple steps that you can take to reduce your cat’s anxiety.
An anxious cat can be extremely distressing for its owner.
Your Cats Social Interaction
Never force your cat to interact. Let kitty set the pace of how much he wants to engage. Dont insist on holding or petting your cat if he doesnt want it. If he doesnt mind being held, always put him down before he starts to struggle. Keep the experience positive. You can give him incentives to be more sociable, such as offering a treat or playtime, but always let it be his choice of whether to accept or decline.
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Helping Cure Your Cat’s Anxiety
It may be strange to think that your cat might suffer from anxiety. However, a stressed out cat is much more common than youd think. Even worse, stress and anxiety can affect your cats health negatively, manifesting itself in a variety of ways including illnesses like cystitis and inappropriate elimination.
If your cats behavior changes suddenly in any way, schedule an appointment with your veterinarian. He or she can rule out any underlying medical issues as well as make suggestions to help lower your cat’s stress level. But why wait? Here are some basic cat needs, and tips for creating a stress-free environment in your home today.
How To Train Your Cat To Be Less Anxious
Amy Shojai, CABC, is an animal behavior expert and award-winning writer with over 25 years of hands-on experience training and caring for cats and dogs. She has written 27 books on animal care, been named CWA Friskies Writer of the Year, and appeared on Animal Planet as a pet expert.
The Spruce / J. R. Bee
The typical anxious cat hides, urinates inappropriately, increases scratching, and/or vocalizes excessively. Some cats are naturally anxious while others can suddenly feel anxiety due to an underlying cause.
Anxiety in cats can arise from many different issues. Veterinarians and behavior specialists look at the cats physical and emotional health, as well as instinct traits to help figure out whats going on and find solutions. You can apply the H.I.S.S. test to discuss and figure out ways to reduce your feline’s anxiety.
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What Is The Best Type Of Carrier
Individual cats may have specific preferences for a carrier, but some options are better than others. Although cardboard cat carriers are inexpensive and disposable, they should only be used as a temporary form of transport because a determined cat can break out of them in no time. Durable options for transporting your cat range from soft-sided carriers, to wire crates, to hard plastic carriers with wire doors. Whatever the type of permanent carrier you choose, it should be easy to clean and you should be able to get your cat in and out of it without a struggle. Purchase a carrier that fits your cats size. If you have several cats, provide each one of them with their own carrier.
The ideal carrier is strong, lightweight, and waterproof, with a large opening to allow easy access to the cat, and an easy to remove top with quick release fasteners. If you have a carrier with a removable top, your cat may be able to remain nestled in the bottom of the carrier while your veterinarian performs some parts of the routine physical examination. And if your cat needs to stay in the hospital for any reason, the bottom part of the carrier can be put into the hospital cage to provide a familiar and comforting bed.
Designate A Safe Room
When you first move, its important to gradually let your cat get familiar with your new home instead of just bringing your cat in and setting them loose to explore. Pick one room where you can set your cat up with everything they need. This will allow them to slowly acclimate to your new home. If possible, try to get your cat set up in their safe room before the movers arrive. While the moving is taking place, put signs on the door asking people to stay out this will prevent movers, friends, or family from opening the door and accidentally letting your cat out.
Give your cat time to acclimate first to one room, and then slowly to the rest of the house. And instead of buying all new things for your cat that match your new homes aesthetic, Dr. Ramos encourages cat owners to bring the things theyre most familiar with into the new home, like their cat post, bedding, food and water bowls, and the same litter box.
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In Other Words The Literal Simple Act Of Petting Your Cat Can Lower Your Stress Levels So Much That It Might Even Protect You From Long
Plus, according to Chelsea Hudson, a therapist at Cityscape Counseling in Chicago, petting your cat doesn’t just biologically calm your nervous system. “Simply interacting with your cat can invoke strong feelings of connection,” she tells Elite Daily, “which lowers stress because intimate connection leads one to feeling less alone and better able to cope with stress.”
Hudson also points out that cats are loyal creatures who provide unconditional love, and can help moderate stress levels by providing a safe escape to receive love and loyalty in spite of external stressors. “Taking care of a cat gives people a sense of purpose and also acts as a distraction to one’s own problems,” she explains. “Both ‘finding purpose’ and distraction are common stress-reduction techniques.”
And, listen, while all of these positive benefits are specific to cats, if you’re simply not that into the feline friends of the world, there’s also research out there that demonstrates very similar advantages to having, and interacting with a dog â actually, like, eerily similar advantages: A 2017 study published in the journal Scientific Reports found that owning a dog is associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease. The researchers wrote that dogs may have this effect on us because they provide “social support and motivation for physical activity,” which in turn leads to those tangible, long-term health effects.
What Can I Do To Help Relieve Or Prevent Stress In My Cat
If you can provide care for your cat that respects its needs, both as a species and an individual, you stand the best chance of preventing or reducing chronic stress. Always remember things that stress your cat could be things that you dont find worrying at all.
Cats, being responsible for their own survival, are constantly risk assessing, looking for the presence of threat and danger in every new location or social encounter. They are therefore reassured greatly if their lives consist of familiar routines and a degree of predictability as they know, historically, that these are safe. Being predictable in your behaviour and creating daily routines is a great stress buster.
The number of cats you keep should be considered carefully, particularly if the local area already has a significant resident cat population as this can represent additional pressure.
The number of resources you provide for your cat within the home should always be sufficient to satisfy needs. A good formula to use in order to calculate the appropriate quantity is one per cat plus one extra, positioned in different locations. See our information on making your home cat friendly.
Its unrealistic to expect a life for your cat that has no potential stress triggers but appreciating what those triggers might be and keeping them to a minimum will reduce the likelihood of any problems developing as a result of chronic stress.
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How To Calm A Cat: Tips And Advice
Petting a cat has been shown to reduce stress and anxiety in humans , but what about when our whiskered friends are the ones feeling anxious?
While some cats are laidback and happy to roll with almost anything, others are easily frazzled by all sorts of situations and experiences. From trembling to hiding, skipping the litter box to excessive meowing, vomiting and even aggression, your cat may be showing you shes anxious more often than you realize.
Here are some tips and advice on how to calm a cat whos scared, stressed, or even just hyper.
Moving & Relocation With Your Cat: Tips & Suggestions
Cats develop strong bonds with their environment so house moves are potentially stressful. Planning ahead will ensure that the transition from one home to another goes smoothly. After all, this is a traumatic time for you and one less worry would be a good thing!
Moving out and moving in:
- If your cat is an anxious traveler, you may wish to speak to your veterinarian before the journey a mild sedative may be prescribed
- Feed your cat as normal but ensure the mealtime is at least three hours before traveling
- Transport your cat in a safe container, i.e., a cat basket or carrier
- Spray the inside of the cat carrier with synthetic feline facial pheromones an hour before you place your cat inside
- Place the carrier in a seat and secure with the seat belt, in the well behind the seat or wedged safely on the back seat so that it cannot move around
- Do not transport your cat in cargo space of a car or moving truck
- If it is a long journey, you may want to stop and offer water or a chance to eliminate, although most cats will not be interested
- If it is a hot day, make sure the car is well ventilated never leave the cat inside a hot car if you stop for a break
Helping your cat settle in:
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Pet Your Cat To Reduce Stress
Pet Your Cat to Reduce Stress!
| Cornell Feline Health Center – Member Blog
With the current COVID-19 situation, we are all going through a difficult time and such times can be stressful. It has been shown that stress can have negative effects on our physical and mental well-being, so finding ways of minimizing stress is in everyone’s best interest.
We have a simple solution to this problem for all cat owners…try petting your cat. Most of us have experienced the calming effect of interacting with our feline friends, and numerous studies suggest that interaction with cats and dogs can have beneficial physiologic and psychological effects on us.
Talk about a safe and effective therapy…no side effects and an appreciable benefit to your mood. We say win-win for both you and your cat.
In fact, a recent study that used university students as subjects found that petting cats and dogs for 10 minutes decreased the amount of cortisol in their saliva. These findings are consistent with the notion that interacting with cats and dogs decreases stress.
We know that these are trying times, but with people, cats, and dogs working together, we will all be OK.
Interested in becoming a member to receive weekly blog posts from Dr. Korneich himself?Learn more here about membership
Make Moving Day Less Stressful
On the day of the move, place your cat into an empty room and close the door. Leave food, bedding, a litter tray, and a piece of furniture under which he can hide. Place the cat carrier in the room with its door open. Make sure your movers know the door to the room must remain closed to prevent your pet from running away. This not only keeps your pet safe, but it keeps him away from big boxes and strangers that can leave him feeling uneasy.
Take the same type of approach when you arrive at your new home. If you can, try to unload one room first. You can place your cat here to rest and recover from the journey while you sort out the rest of the house. At the very least, you can put your cat in a bathroom with the door shut. Just make sure you have a litter box, water, food, and a comfy cat bed to help your cat feel less stressed by all the noise outside the closed door.
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