How To Help Your Stressed Cat
Thankfully there are a number of things you can do to help your cat if it is stressed. If you can figure out the source of the stress, the best thing to do is to eliminate that source but that isn’t always possible. You can’t get rid of a family member or new pet or stop construction because your cat is stressed about it but that doesn’t mean you can’t still help your cat.
Sprays, wipes, and diffusers containing pheromones are good starting points for helping to manage anxiety in your feline friend. Products like what Feliwayâ¢ makes can be used continuously and long term or as needed. They help cats feel calm and safe but may need to be used alongside something else if they don’t help by themselves.
Supplements and special diets are the next steps in helping your stressed cat. Various ingredients like L-theanine, milk whey proteins, magnolia, and phelodendron extracts have research showing they may help a stressed cat and can be found in items like Zylkeneâ¢ and even special cat foods like Royal Canin’s Calmâ¢ diet.
If necessary, stressed cats may need a combination of pheromones, supplements, diets, and even medications. Fluoxetine, gabapentin, amitryptilline, and other prescription items may be recommended by your veterinarian for stress cases that cannot be addressed with other modalities. Depending on the situation, these may need to be given temporarily or long term but if you can help your cat feel less stress than whatever you need to do is worth it.
Check For Health And Behavior Causes
Cats that do not feel good can react with anxious behavior. Kitties have evolved to be great pretenders and never let on that they feel bad. Stoic cats with hidden aches show only subtle signs, if at all. A hurt paw may not cause a limp but instead prompts the cat to hide or become clingy, for example. Resolving an underlying health issue often relieves anxious behaviors.
For a cat, the unknown equals danger. Wild kitties that failed to honor this truth were taken out of the gene pool, while properly cautious cats survived to breed and passed on this caution gene to future generations. Being cautious and hiding are survival instincts, so your cat may naturally be a little more anxious than others.
Let Them Eat In Peace
Keep your cats food, water and litter tray somewhere quiet and out of the way. Although not a big deal for humans, fridges, dryers and washing machines make a lot of noise and can be off-putting for cats when they are trying to eat. Similarly, cats can find it difficult to relax when their litter tray is kept in a major thoroughfare such as a hallway or kitchen. Having to pass or step over your cat can startle it during its more private moments, resulting in a more stressed or anxious feline.
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Cat Stress Symptoms And Relief
Whether you’re getting a new piece of furniture, going on a vacation, or having family over to visit, a little change of scenery can be just what you need. But from your cat’s point of view, these traditionally “fun” activities can bring new stress. And that stress can lead to destructive behaviors as cats try to adjust to the change. Here’s how you can help your cat navigate unexpected changes and deal with all that stress successfully.
Maintain Your Cats Health
A healthy cat is a happy cat, and a happy cat is a stress-free cat. By keeping your cat healthy, you can help reduce the stress in their life. A healthy diet and regular exercise are essential for all cats, especially those prone to anxiety.
Cats who are allowed to roam outdoors have less stress than those kept indoors, as they can explore and hunt. If you keep your cat indoors, ensure they have plenty of toys and climbing opportunities to keep them active and stimulated.
Regular vet check-ups are also important for stress management in cats. If you notice your cat is excessively grooming or seems withdrawn, make an appointment with your vet to rule out any medical causes.
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Make Sure Their Litter Is ‘up To Scratch’
Always ensure you have enough litter trays, and that they are kept clean. Cats need to feel they have a clean toilet space all to themselves. They can become very stressed if they have to share with a dominant cat, or if their litter tray is soiled. Some cats are more particular about their privacy when they are going about their business, and may prefer a hooded litter box.
How many litter trays is ‘enough’? A good rule of thumb is to provide one litter tray per cat, and then one extra. So, for a 1-cat household, provide 2 litter trays. For a 3-cat household, provide 4 litter trays .
More About Stress In Cats
Just like us, cats are equipped to deal with and recover from situations that cause acute stress for example, being chased up a fence by a dog.
Longer-term challenges, however, such as not getting on with another cat in the household, are much tricker for cats to cope with and these can cause chronic stress.
Chronic stress can lead to behavioural and health problems that might even result in cats needing to be rehomed. So, what sort of things can make cats feel stressed? How can you recognize the signs of stress in your cat and what can you do to prevent it?
Some cats are more likely to suffer from stress than others are. Genetic reasons probably contribute to this, but there are certainly environmental causes, too, such as lack of early socialisation.
Acute stress can be brought about by taking your cat away from home, perhaps for a visit to the vet or to stay in a boarding cattery. While a cat who is acutely stressed often appears very upset at the time, the effects shouldnt be long-lived as long as they have time to settle peacefully back home afterwards.
Other pets can make cats worried, too. While many cats and dogs get on well , some cats find the arrival of a new puppy, for instance, difficult to cope with.
Some cats may suffer from chronic stress if they are bored and frustrated by lack of opportunities to fulfil their behavioural needs.
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What If I Don’t Think I Can Keep My Cat Any Longer
We know that sometimes peoples circumstances change. Giving up your cat is a really difficult decision and it can help to speak to someone about it. If you can no longer look after your pet, our Rehoming Team is always happy to talk to you about your circumstances. Contact your nearest Blue Cross rehoming centre to talk to one of the team or find out more about giving up a pet.
Signs Of Cats Feeling Stressed And What You Can Do About It
Just like humans, cats are prone to stress although it might be tricky to tell if your cat is feeling unsettled.
Cats are subtle in their body language, so youll need to keep an eye on them to ensure they are happy.
If you notice any of the signs of cat stress or a change in their behaviour, first arrange a visit to the vet, so they can rule out any medical causes for your cats change in behaviour.
If stress is the problem, read on for our top five tips for reducing your cats stress, so you can make sure youve got a calm kitty.
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What Can We Do
It should be our daily goal to decrease the fear that animals feel in our shelters. Drs. Kate Hurley and Julie Levy at the Million Cat Challenge, a joint project of the UC Davis and University of Florida shelter medicine programs, say that making sure each cat has the right amount of space is the most important thing a shelter can do to prevent stress and stress related diseases such as upper respiratory infections : Our research showed not meeting this space requirement was one of the biggest risk factors for respiratory disease in shelter cats. That space requirement is:
- Individually-housed cats each require a minimum of at least 8.5 square feet of clear floor space.
- Cats in group housing need at least 18 square feet per cat, plus places to hide. And again: vertical space doesnt count!
Laura K. Frazier, BA, RVT, and owner of www.advocatsconsulting.com as well as previous owner of Meow Town in Martinez, Georgia, shares some additional recommendations:
From my own experience, Ive found that hanging dried lavender from the cage can be calming. Keep cats in a room separate from dogs so they dont have to see or hear them. Consider giving them Cat TVvideos of fish or birds flying. Better yet, place cages so they face a window. Offer a variety of toys, especially problem-solving toys that deliver treats.
You will find that just a few simple changes can improve a cats physical environment and mental health. The result is a happier, healthier, more adoptable cat.
Practice Proper Cat Carrier Etiquette
Yes, there is proper etiquette that should be followed when carrying your cat in their carrier! When you transport your cat, you should support the carrier from the bottom, with one side resting against your chest verses by the handle. Your cat does not want to go on a roller coaster ride! Carrying the carrier in this manner helps your cat to feel more stable and secure. Carrying a carrier from the bottom is also safer and prevents the carrier from falling apart and the cat accidentally getting loose.
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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. Kornreich himself?Learn more here about membership
Cat Stress Relief: Tips And Tricks
In order to provide your cat stress relief, Kornreich recommends pet parents do the following:
- Establish a schedule and try to adhere to it.
- Remove known stressors from your home.
- Avoid sudden changes in your cats environment.
If you cant remove a stressor , consider keeping them in separate rooms and then gradually reintroducing them in a neutral space, which can sometimes help ease cats into a better relationship, says Kornreich.
Beyond this, make sure to provide plenty of environmental stimulationsuch as interactive toys and puzzle feedersto prevent boredom and offer your cat a place to climb and hide away, like a comfortable basket on a shelf, says Collier.
If youre concerned about a stressed-out cat in your household, remember that chronic stress can lead to health issues over time. In order to figure out the best cat stress relief solution for your situation, call your veterinarian and consider asking for a referral to a cat behavior consultant.
Sometimes, pheromone sprays and diffusers as well as prescription medications can help treat more serious cases of cat stress.
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Create A Chill Out Zone
Just as teens retreat to their bedrooms, and adults to their homes, cats need a place they know is theirs, where they are safe, calm and away from the daily feline grind.
Set aside a corner in your home and place a few of your cats favourite toys, blankets and some climbing equipment. Make sure this area is away from anything too loud for the cat, such as the TV, stereo, fridge or washing machine. Remember, nobody likes to feel trapped, especially cats, so make sure they can access this area whenever they need to.
Whats The Best Music For Reducing Cats Stress Levels
New research finds that cat-specific music, which speaks to the felines preferred tempo and vocal range, is best at reducing the animals stress levels.
Music benefits humans health in a variety of ways. Reducing pain, anxiety, and lowering stress levels are just some of the ways in which music is good for us.
Brain studies have even shown that music can help in the treatment of brain seizures and aid recovery after a stroke. Music can also help improve a persons memory.
But does music benefit the health of animals in the same way as humans? More and more research has focused on this in recent years particularly on the stress-reducing effects of music in dogs.
Now, new research appearing in the Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery focuses on the stress-lowering effects of music in cats.
But the new paper does not just inquire about any type of music instead, building on previous studies, the authors of the new paper assessed the effect of cat-specific musical sounds on the felines stress levels.
Amanda Hampton, from the School of Veterinary Medicine at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, is the first author of the paper.
, which had shown that felines are responsive and remain responsive to the sound of music even when they are under general anesthesia, for example.
Other research has examined the specific types of music that cats respond to and found that classical music is more likely to induce relaxation than pop music or heavy metal.
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Spend Quality Time With Your Cat
Spending some ‘one-on-one’ time, sitting quietly with your cat, can help reassure him. Gently stroking your cat, from head to tail, will also help to relax him. Making a fuss of your cat or rewarding him with a treat, when faced with a stressful situation, can also help change his perception from a negative to a positive outlook.
Also, make sure that your cat is getting enough exercise and mental stimulation. As Barney is reluctant to go outside now, I tend to let him out while I potter around in the garden. My presence helps him to build up his confidence and he is beginning to become more independent.
Encourage your cat to play with a variety of cat toys. Neko Flies cat toys are very popular but there are plenty of others to choose from. You should also try and rotate the toys every few days so that your cat does not become bored. You can also purchase cat toys that contain catnip. Just be careful to monitor your cat’s reaction to catnip as it may stimulate aggression in male cats.
Cats love your undivided attention.
Recognise The Signs Of Stress In Cats
1. An unhappy cat will often twitch the end of their tail as a warning sign, just before stress sets in. Their claws may also come out in self-defence.
2. If your cat feels unsafe or threatened, they are likely to hide and crouch down to make themselves seem as small as possible. That way they will feel less visible to any potential dangers.
3. A stressed cat may mark their territory by spraying while standing with their tail quivering in the air.
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Decrease Stressful Sounds And Sights Outside
Cats can pick up on their owner’s stress, so, if possible, try not to show that you’re feeling stressed about your cat’s actions. You can diminish some triggers by closing the blinds at night so your cat won’t see feral cats outside. If your cat likes a specific noise, like the TV or music, then play it when there’s a sound that might stress your cat, like the lawn mower.
Why Is My Cat So Stressed When I Take Her To The Veterinary Clinic
Cats are very attached to their home territory, and most of our pet cats live a very sheltered life with a very predictable routine that does not involve travelling away from home. For most cats, a visit to the veterinarian is an overwhelming experience. The cat is taken out of its familiar home environment, usually roughly pushed into a carrier, put into a noisy car, driven to the veterinary clinic, taken into the reception area where there are intense smells from many other pets and people. They are then taken into an examination room where an unfamiliar person examines them and administers various treatments. Any one of these things can be stressful, and when they are all combined together, its no wonder that your cat is frightened or stressed.
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It All Starts At Home
A successful trip to the vet starts at home with training your cat to like the carrier. The first step is choosing the right carrier for your cat. The carrier you choose for your cat should be large enough for the cat to stand in and turn around and should have easy access to exit and entry ways. A carrier with both top and front openings, or one with a large round opening, will help you get your cat in and out of the carrier more easily. The carrier should have the ability to be taken apart, since this is how cats should be removed from their carriers verses pulling them out and since this allows them to be examined in the bottom of their carrier if they are fearful. Lastly, the carrier should be secure and sturdy.