Friday, March 17, 2023

How To Make Your Cat Less Stressed

Wash Your Cat’s Carrier After Each Vet Visit It Helps With Their Stress

How to Make Car Rides Less Stressful for Your Cat (Ask a Cat Behaviorist)

When you do actually take your cat to the vet, its always a good idea to wash their carrier afterwards. This can help by getting the smells of the vets office out of and off the carrier and the padding or blankets inside. Those smell memories alone can stress your cat and make it more difficult to get them into the carrier the next time. Here are some veterinarian-recommended cleaning products.

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Stressed You Might Be Stressing Your Cat As Well

We all know about studies showing that sharing life with a pet has beneficial effects on human health. Even a few minutes of petting a cat or dog can lower blood pressure and release mood-enhancing endorphins. A University of Minnesota study found that cat companionship may reduce the risk of heart attack for people by 30 percent.

Cats can help us stress less, but what do we do for them? If were stressed, our cats can get stressed right alongside us, even to the point of affecting their health. Because of their deep bond, people and pets often mirror each others physical and emotional states.

Cats are sensitive creatures and affected by stress in similar ways humans are, says Lynn Bahr, DVM, owner of Dezi & Roo, a company dedicated to designing and producing products that make cats happy. And, just like people, stress lowers their bodies defenses, increases their chances of becoming ill, and negatively affects their physical and mental wellbeing.

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.

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How To Reduce Stress In Cats

This article was co-authored by Brian Bourquin, DVM. Brian Bourquin, better known as Dr. B to his clients, is a Veterinarian and the Owner of Boston Veterinary Clinic, a pet health care and veterinary clinic with three locations, South End/Bay Village, the Seaport, and Brookline, Massachusetts. Boston Veterinary Clinic specializes in primary veterinary care, including wellness and preventative care, sick and emergency care, soft-tissue surgery, dentistry. The clinic also provides specialty services in behavior, nutrition, and alternative pain management therapies using acupuncture, and therapeutic laser treatments. Boston Veterinary Clinic is an AAHA accredited hospital and Bostons first Fear Free Certified Clinic. Brian has over 19 years of veterinary experience and earned his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from Cornell University.There are 7 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page.wikiHow marks an article as reader-approved once it receives enough positive feedback. In this case, several readers have written to tell us that this article was helpful to them, earning it our reader-approved status. This article has been viewed 290,184 times.

How To Minimize Your Cat’s Stress When Moving

How To Make Taking Your Cat to the Vet Less Stressful and ...

Cats are territorial animals, and changes in their home can cause stress. Whether you’re moving with your cat across the country or moving nearby with lots of renovations, cats really need to have some semblance of control over their surroundings. When that changes, they get stressed out.

Moving homes can be challenging for cats. They become quite attached to their environment. Each room and each piece of furniture is marked with their scent as a way to establish their territory. Just moving furniture around, redecorating, or adding new pieces can stress some cats because you’re changing the territory she knows so well. This is even more stressful when you’re changing environments entirely and can result in scratching, urine spraying, and other stress-related behaviors.

Also Check: Where Does Stress Come From

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.

Putting Love In This Hate

Ok, so your cat doesn’t like getting inside their carrier. But before you label your cat stubborn, consider for a moment that the only time you pull the carrier out of storage is when you’re heading to the vet’s office.

And chances are those visits are not for routine wellness care , but for when they are “off” or sick.

It’s hard to imagine any of us wanting to get inside of our cars if getting behind the wheel every time meant a trip to the dentist!

…that quick “carrier to car ride to vet visit” is typically when theyre already not feeling well

So it’s really not surprising they don’t like their carrier, and that your carrier dance usually involves a struggle with your cat being placed in facing backwards, and you with scratches on both arms. Sound familiar?

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Stress In The Older Cat

Stress is a big factor in managing the health of a senior cat, or any cat with a serious physical condition. Cats with weakened immune systems, such as FIV or FeLV patients, do not thrive under stress.

Older cats and cats with a chronic and/or terminal disease do much better in a quiet setting, with a minimum of environmental changes. It would be very unwise to bring home a new kitten or a noisy dog under these circumstances. A hospital or hospice situation with tip-toeing and hushed voices is not necessary, but loud noises and sudden movement should be avoided, if possible. If there are children in the house, a discussion might be in order, not only to enlist their help in reducing stress to the older feline patient but also to help prepare them for what will inevitably come.

Increasing The Cat Bond

Tips for Dealing with Your Stressed Out Cat

Full acceptance may go quickly, or it may take a month or more for the cats to accept each other. To help them along with their newfound relationship and encourage bonding, teach the cats a few behaviors that are rewarded with special treats that they dont receive in their regular diet. A good place to start is with come. Call them by name or say, Here, kitty kitty. My Bob already knows this, so he always comes running when a treat is involved. I tried this with the new kitten nearby, and he followed Bob to the treat. I gave them each a treat on the floor, far enough apart to prevent potential arguing. This creates a positive experience while the cats are in close proximity to one another.

In the winter months, one tool that can help cats be better bonders is a shared heat source. There are heating pads specifically designed for cats that can bring strangers closer together when seeking warmth or distract them from arguments when two pads are placed side by side. A heated cat bed will provide continuous heat at a safe, low level.

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Other Signs Of A Stressed Cat

You may notice your cat sits differently, their facial expression changes or they exhibit strange behaviours.

  • Often crouching and looking tense indoors
  • Ears rotate backwards frequently or flatten downwards
  • Wide open eyes with very dilated pupils which makes their eyes look black
  • Staring at the floor with a fixed, glazed expression
  • Rapid frequent grooming that usually lasts around five seconds, starting and stopping quite suddenly
  • Frequent head shaking
  • Rippling, twitching skin on their back
  • Exaggerated swallowing and quick flicks of their tongue onto their nose

Top tip

One of the best ways to protect your cat against possible stress is to try to anticipate the sorts of things that might cause them stress in the first place . Once you have identified possible sources of stress, you can then manage the situation or environment in a way that helps reduce the chances of your cat suffering.

Getting Your Cat To The Vet Without All The Stress

Sometimes, the hardest part of getting a cat to the veterinary clinic is getting them in the carrier at home. Because of this cats often receive less care or miss checkups that are important for their health . Unlike dogs, cats will hide signs of illness until they are very sick which can make treating them more difficult and costly. Regular checkups and thorough physical exams are extremely important in detecting illnesses early before they become a bigger problem. As a cat friendly certified practice, we are here to help make your cats visit less stressful from getting in the carrier until your cat arrives safely back home. By reducing the stress of getting to the veterinarian, we can reduce the stress of the entire visit.

Also Check: How Much Stress Do I Have

Try A Different Type Of Carrier

This tip wont work for all cats, but some cats prefer feeling less restricted while theyre traveling. Of course, we wouldnt recommend leaving your cat loose in the car, but using something like the Cat-in-the-bag E-Z-Zip Cat Carrier can transform journeys into a more relaxed experience. Your cats head is free to look around, but their body is contained by a soft cotton bag. This carrier has a handle that you can secure to your cars seatbelt.

Offer Natural Anxiety Relief

How to Make a Vacation Tour with Your Cat Less Stressful ...

Another option is to use scent and natural remedies to relieve some of your kitty’s anxiety. Feliway is one popular choice that comes in diffuser or spray bottles. It is a synthetic feline facial pheromone that helps ease tension related to territorial and environmental stress.

Rescue Remedy, or one of the other more specific Bach Flower Remedies, can be particularly helpful for anxious cats. There is one specifically designed for pets, which can be found in many pet stores.

Do be careful about some aromatherapy products, especially if they are not pet-specific. A number of essential oils are potentially toxic to cats. These can cause health problemssome of which are very seriousand that may increase your cat’s anxiety.

Also Check: How Do You Reduce Anxiety And Stress

S To Getting Your Cat Used To Their Carrier Before Going To The Vet

Fortunately there are a few simple steps you can take to help make that a less stressful experience for you both.

Pro Tip:

Cat Crave treats are great for cat training. They’re low-cal and cats love them!

Available at:

Available at:

Note: Use these treats for cats that are over 1 year old, because it’s likely that their larger size and hardness may be too much for a younger cat.

See the video below on how to use treats and a to train your kitty to love their carrier.

Play With Your Cat Regularly

Keep your cats mind stimulated and help reduce stress with exercise and interactive games. There are many types of toys available, so experiment and find out what type of toy your cat likes best. Some cats prefer toys with feathers that mimic a bird, while others prefer those that more closely resemble a mouse or small rodent. Laser pointers can be entertaining for some cats as well.

Spend at least 20-30 minutes a couple of times a day actively engaging your cat in play. Your cat will appreciate the time with you, get more exercise , and be less anxious.

Image:Aspen Photo/Shutterstock

Also Check: What Is Stress Management In Psychology

How To Stop Stress In Pets

The rise in some catsâ stress levels during the pandemic is likely due to the disruptions to their daily peace that weâve unwittingly caused. By being at home more, we have probably created a much busier, more chaotic environment than they are used to â and may be causing them more stress when we want to lavish them with attention.

Given that cats can recognize humans emotions, our elevated stress levels and desire to spend more time interacting with them have likely made matters worse. Some people may have also made other changes during the pandemic â such as redecorating, having a baby, or even getting another pet.

There are many things we can do to help cats better cope and be less stressed:

4. Provide cats with a predictable routine. This means keeping mealtimes, play, and interactions with them to a schedule where possible.

3. Give them a dedicated quiet room or area. And when theyâre in these areas, ensure theyâre never disturbed. You should also let your cat choose when they want to interact with you.

2. Create an enriching indoor and outdoor environment. To help your cat feel safe, provide them with lots of hiding options and places they can get up high. Place litter trays in separate areas from food and water bowls and locate all these resources in quieter areas of the home. Provide toys, climbing frames, food puzzles, and cat-friendly plants to help keep your cat physically and mentally stimulated.

Get Her Used To The Car

How To Know Your Cat is Stressed?

Once your cat starts going inside the crate by herself, youre ready to move the carrier out to the car. Leave the car door open and giver her a treat when putting her in the carrier.

Keep repeating the process of putting her in and taking her out of the carrier. Once she remains relaxed, you can shut and open the door. Keep talking to her softly and petting her to know that everything is okay.

Once she is calm and doesnt look scared, you can try turning on the engine and moving the car back and forth in the driveway.

Repeat this process for a few days until she gets used to being in the car and doesnt freak out when the engine turns on.

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Improve The Litter Box Experience

Anxious cats urinate outside of the box either with urine sprayed against vertical surfaces or by squatting to wet flat surfaces. This most commonly has territorial/marking aspects, with the cat using the scent to identify owned property, warn off other animals, or self-comfort with the cats familiar scent. Common targets for urine include property important to the cat: owner-scented objects such as the bed, near windows or other lookouts , or by doors .

To prevent a lot of this behavior, provide the best litter boxes possible and situate them throughout the home in a variety of locations instead of clustered in one area. The one-plus-one rule reduces anxiety because cats dont have to share.

It’s also important to keep all litter boxes clean. A dirty box will discourage proper elimination and can cause or enhance any anxious feelings.

Signs Of Stress In Cats

It can be difficult to identify whether your cats personality or behavioral changes are due to stress or an underlying health issue.

The signs of stress listed below are also common symptoms of other issues, so keep a close eye on your cat in order to rule out any more dangerous ailments. Ask yourself whether these symptoms started along with some change in your cats life. The introduction of a new pet, family member, or a change of location will usually coincide with the onset of your cats behavioral changes.

  • Hiding. If your usually friendly cat has become a hermit and is constantly hiding under the bed, its possible that stress is the culprit. Oftentimes, a stressed out cat wants nothing more than to spend some time in seclusion.
  • Inappropriate urination. If your cat is going outside of the litterbox, its a sign something is wrong. If FLUTD has been ruled out, your cat may simply be under a lot of stress.
  • Is your cat just not as enthusiastic about mealtime as they once were? While a fairly common symptom of a stressed out cat, a decreased appetite can be dangerous if your cat isnt consuming enough food to keep them healthy.
  • Excessive grooming. Your cat may even lose hair by licking themselves too much out of stress.
  • Aggression. A stressed-out cat may sometimes become aggressive or defensive or both.

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