Saturday, December 3, 2022

How To Help Cat With Stress

Are There Any Other Tips To Reduce My Cats Stress Levels During The Veterinary Visit

Cat Stress: What You Need to Know!

Unless otherwise directed by your veterinarian, do not feed your cat for several hours before her appointment to reduce the chance for vomiting or letting the bowels or bladder go during the trip.

If you have a kitten, train her to use a cat carrier as a haven early on .

Unlike dogs, who often associate car trips with fun destinations such as the park or trail, few cats go in the car for a pleasant adventure. You can teach your cat to relax in the car by taking short trips that have a positive outcome. For example, put your cat in the carrier, give her one of her favorite treats or toys, and take a short drive that ends up back home. During the entire process, speak to her in a calm and reassuring voice.

For some cats, a Thundershirt®, which swaddles the cat much like swaddling an infant, may reduce anxiety.

One of the most effective ways to decrease your cats anxiety level is to remain calm and relaxed during the visit. Speak to your cat in a calm and soothing voice and reassure her by petting her on her head or stroking her in her favorite spot.

Contributors: Tammy Hunter, DVM Cheryl Yuill, DVM, MSc, CVH

Avoid Sudden Changes In Environment

Cats typically do not care for change. In fact, changes in environment or routine can be quite stressful for your cat. Trying to keep changes to a minimum in your cats environment and keeping your cats daily routine constant can be useful in preventing or alleviating stress and anxiety.

Image:Lucky Business/Shutterstock

Diagnosing Anxiety In Cats

Your veterinarian will diagnose anxiety based on your description of your cats behavior, and potentially after running diagnostic tests such as bloodwork and urine tests to rule out any medical causes of your cats behavior.

The most helpful thing you can do is provide your vet with as much information as possible when it comes to the behavioral changes and symptoms youve noticed. This will allow your vet to help narrow down the actual trigger for your cats anxiety and prepare a treatment plan for them.

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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 Feliway 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 Zylkene and even special cat foods like Royal Canin’s Calm 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.

Set Up Your Surroundings

How to help your cat cope with stress

1. Create safe hiding spaces for your cat by using their basket or a couple of boxes that they can retreat to when stressed. Your cat is likely to prefer somewhere higher up the darker and cosier the spot, the safer they will feel.

2. Let them interact with you on their own terms. Cats need to feel in control of their surroundings, so take your cues from your pet and avoid stroking or playing with them if you notice any of the body language signals mentioned above.

3. Installing a cat flap can also be a great way to ensure your cat feels more in control, as they will be able to come and go as they need to. You could opt for a high-tech version that recognises your pet’s microchip or a lockable one if you’d prefer to keep your pet indoors at night.

Inga says: Remember, each pet is different and many factors can come into play when handling a stressed cat. It’s most important that you try to keep calm, and then approach your pet according to their needs and level of stress.

If your cat’s anxious behaviour persists even when they are away from stressful situations, consider asking your vet to refer you to a qualified animal behaviourist who will be able to help you come up with long-lasting solutions.

Do you have any practical tips for helping cats with anxiety issues? Tell us on social media using the tag #PethoodStories.

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My Cat Doesnt Like The Car Ride Do You Have Any Suggestions For Reducing That Stress

Safety is the most important consideration when transporting your cat the carrier needs to be secure and it needs to be placed within the vehicle in a position that holds it securely in place should you have to brake suddenly. Never consider travelling with your cat loose in the car.

To reduce the stress of the car ride, spray your car interior with a couple of squirts of Feliway® 30 minutes to 1 hour before you are leaving. Bring a blanket or large towel with you, and once the carrier is secured in the car, cover it with the towel to reduce visual stimulation.

Once you start driving, try to avoid any sudden braking, acceleration, or sharp turns. Tune the radio to a soothing station and make sure the heater or air conditioner does not blow directly into the carrier.

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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How To Calm A Stressed Cat Down

Is your Cat showing signs of being stressed out?

Do you want to calm your Cat down or learn how to de-stress your Cat?

Then you might be wondering:

How do I calm my stressed Cat Down?

Not to worry.

Because in this article Im going to show you the different ways that you can use to calm your Stressed out Cat down.

First well talk about the signs of a stressed out Cat

Then Ill show you ways of helping your Cat feel relaxed and calm.

So lets dive in

Just as humans get stressed out, our little feline friend can get stressed out too.

Truth is, Cats can easily get stressed out and this can cause your Cat to urinate inappropriately.

And we Cat parents can agree this can be the most frustrating problem we can ever face!

So now if you find puddles on rugs or on furniture then that could be a result of a stressed out Cat.

Did you also know that stress can cause a physical condition too?

Its called interstitial cystitis which can occur in your Cat.

So what is interstitial cystitis?

Although it may not be completely understood, it appears to affect the nerves that is connected to the bladder which can make your Cat lose control hence the reason they may urinate other than the litter box.

So look:

First and foremost it is important to rule out any medical Conditions by visiting the Vets.

Now, lets see what are the signs of a Stressed out Cat

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Supply Water And Spare The Stress

How Cats Help With Anxiety and Depression

Water is one of the most important nutrients for your cat. However, many cats dont drink enough water and live on the verge of dehydration, which may contribute both to disease and undue stress. Encourage your cat to take in moisture by feeding a canned diet . Some cats also enjoy drinking from a flowing water supply, so water fountains and/or dripping faucets may be helpful for encouraging your cat to drink more water. Separate water stations may be necessary for multi-cat households.

Image:Nataliia Dvukhimenna/Shutterstock

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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.

Image:Hasloo Group Production Studio/Shutterstock

Understanding Your Cats Behavior

You probably already know that your cat is most comfortable with the familiar, and needs time to adjust to things, people, or places that are unfamiliar. When you bring your cat to visit the veterinarian, it is often difficult for her because the carrier, car, and the veterinary hospital are usually unfamiliar places and experiences.

Here are a few tips from our feline veterinarians:

  • Respect your cats need for time to become familiar with new situations, people, and places.
  • Leave the cat carrier out and open in your home so your cat can become familiar with it.
  • Consider taking your cat on short trips in the car so she can become familiar with it and hopefully learn that a car visit does not mean you are taking her to the veterinarians office.
  • Give your cat rewards to encourage positive behavior. For example, if your cat is sitting calmly in or near a carrier, give her a treat.
  • Your cat perceives the world through her senses. Weve broken down ways to help keep your cat calm corresponding to the way your cat experiences her environment.

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    Remove Litter Boxes From Confined Areas

    Ensure your cats litter boxes are placed appropriately. They should not be placed in a dead-end or corner where your cat could feel trapped there should be multiple access and entry points for them to feel comfortable. You should also have several litter boxes in multi-cat households. A good rule of thumb is to have one more litter box than the number of cats you have, and if you have a multi-level home, to have a litter box on each level.

    Helping A Stressed Cat

    3 Smart Ways Cats Can Help Us Relieve Stress

    If youre concerned about your cats behaviour and are struggling to reduce stress, you might be referred to a qualified behaviourist who can identify the underlying cause of the stress and design a tailored behavioural plan for your cat. Make sure the behaviourist belongs to a regulated body like the Animal Behaviour and Training Council. Theyll be able to focus on the issue with your cats behaviour and help them to manage.

    One way to help reduce stress is a plug-in pheromone diffuser like Feliway. You simply plug it in the room where your cat spends most of their time and it can help them to reduce their anxiety. However, it should be used in combination with medical and behavioural advice as it is one piece of the puzzle to help. It may not be that effective when used as a stand-alone treatment .

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    Treating The Occasional Stress Of The Cat

    To avoid serious forms of stress in cats , you must react quickly as soon as you have identified the cause of their condition.

    You’ll need :

    • Protect your cat from situations that can generate stress
    • remove stress triggers,
    • soothe your cat and help him resist his fears better ,
    • create a safe and reassuring environment ,
    • spend more time with your 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

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    Stress Relief For Your Cat

    Signs of StressIn addition to hiding, cats who are stressed might over-groom, meow excessively, pace and seem restless, and even hiss. Do not punish your cat for these behaviors! It is unlikely to stop the behaviors in fact, it will probably only stress your cat more and cause the behaviors to intensify. It may also cause the cat to be distrustful of you.

    PheromonesTo make your cat feel more comfortable and secure in his cat safe zone, consider placing a Comfort Zone® with Feliway® diffuser in the room. The synthetic pheromone emitted helps ease stress in cats and helps them feel more secure.

    ToysOffer a variety of toys for your cat to play with. Play is a natural behavior in cats. If a cat is denied the opportunity to play regularly, they may become stressed as a result.

    Elevated PlacesOffer elevated places for your cat to perch. Like playing, perching is also a natural behavior in cats. Cat trees are a great place for a cat to perch. Bookcases, window sills, wall shelves, and atop refrigerators are also prime perching spots for many cats.

    Safe SpacesCats love their alone time. Many times when they feel overwhelmed they retreat to spaces where they feel more comfortable. Covered cat beds, under furniture, cardboard boxes, and cat trees are common places cats go for safety but observe your cat and find out what her preferences are.

    How Can You Tell If A Cat Is Stressed Out

    How cats help dealing with depression and stress?

    Since our cats cant tell us how they feel, its up to us to understand their behavior and offer help when they need it. Though every cat is different, there are a few common signs of stress in cats to look for.

    • Hiding away and avoiding other people or animals
    • Inappropriate urination, peeing outside of the box or around your home
    • Increased aggression toward people or animals in your home
    • Loss of appetite or refusing to come near their bowl
    • Overgrooming or increase in their normal grooming behavior
    • Increased vocalizing or howling
    • Urinating near windows where outside animals may be
    • Any other changes in their normal behavior

    If your cat is displaying any of the above behaviors, its possible that they are struggling with a new stressor in their life.

    Read Also: What Are Some Ways To Reduce Stress

    Moving With Multiple Cats

    When you’re moving with multiple cats, you need to make sure they don’t get so stressed that they take it out on each other. That means quickly setting up plenty of places that they can “claim” for themselves, such as window perches, cat trees, cat condos, and cat beds. Plug in a Comfort Zone Multi-Cat Calming Diffuser to help the cats feel secure. The calming diffuser releases a drug-free, odorless vapor that mimics cats’ natural calming pheromones. This helps your cats know the area is safe. Also, stick to their routine as much as possible, including mealtimes and playtimes.

    Try Not To Handle Them If Theyre Not Keen

    While many cats like to be stroked for a long period of time, others are happier to enjoy their own company. Some cats might be quick to tell you that theyre unhappy while others are more subtle in their behaviour. Pay attention to their body language and always make sure they have the freedom to move away from you when they wish.

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    Helping Your Stressed Cat

    The first thing you need to know in order to help your anxious cat is that you should never punish or scold them for their anxious behavior. This will only increase negative associations and fear and make things worse instead of better. The goal should be to help them feel safe and relaxed in their surroundings.

    Once you’ve identified anxious behaviors in your cat, the first step is to make an appointment with your veterinarian to either diagnose or rule out any underlying health issues or toxins that might be causing your kitty stress. Because cats tend to hide their pain, this is not something that is likely to be obvious, and may require a thorough series of blood panels and other tests. If it turns out that your cat is suffering from pain or a medical issue, treating the issue may be all that’s required to eliminate the anxious behavior and help your kitty get back to their normal self.

    On the other hand, if your vet rules out a physical problem as the cause, this may mean that the issue is psychological. If this is the case, your vet should be able to advise you on a course of treatment.

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