Friday, March 24, 2023

What To Do If My Cat Is Stressed

Understanding Stress In Cats

Is Your Cat Stressed?

To understand why cats are so prone to stress, its important to remember how they evolved. Cats are highly reactive because they are simultaneously predators looking for prey and prey to other animals as well, says Danielle Gunn-Moore, Ph.D., chair of feline medicine at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland.

When a cat is threatened by something unpleasant or potentially dangerous in her environment, this naturally triggers a flood of the stress hormone cortisol as part of her short-term stress response. This is called the fight-or-flight response, explains Dr. Bruce Kornreich, Ph.D., director of the Cornell Feline Health Center.

However, it doesnt just take a growling dog to scare your cat. Any sudden shift in your cats environmenteven a clean litter box thats not placed to your cats liking could cause cat stress and anxiety. Over time, if left untreated, chronic stress could lead to health issues like urinary tract problems, weight loss, and infections .

What Happens If A Cat Gets Too Stressed

Severe or relentless stress may cause compromised welfare, stress-associated diseases like FIC, compromised immunity, Gastrointestinal conditions, Skin disorders, behavioural problems and even obesity therefore its vital to reduce causes of distress as soon as its detected.

CA Tony Buffington, J. L. . Clinical evaluation of multimodal environmental modification in the management of cats with idiopathic cystitis. Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery, 8, 261-268. Retrieved September 27, 2021, from doi:10.1016/j.jfms.2006.02.002

Care, I. C. . Stress in cats. Retrieved September 15, 2021, from ICatCare:

Care, I. C. . Advanced Feline Behaviour for Vet Professionals, Module 5 Creating a Cat Friendly Home Part 2. UK. Retrieved September 20, 2021

Gary Landsberg, B. M. . Therapeutic effects of an alpha-casozepine and L-tryptophan supplemented diet on fear and anxiety in the cat. Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery, 6, 594-602. Retrieved September 22, 2021, from

Heath, I. R. . Feline Behavioral Health and Welfare. St Louis, MO: Elsevier. Retrieved September 23, 2021

Marta Amat, T. C. . Stress in owned cats: behavioural changes and welfare implications. Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery, 18, 577-586. Retrieved September 25, 2021, from DOI: 10.1177/1098612X15590867

Addition Or Subtraction To The Social Circle

If you adopt another pet, improper introduction can stress out your cat. A new human say, a baby, or guests, or a new significant other can stress your cat out as well. Similarly, the loss of family member in the case of death, or even a child heading off to college changes your cats social circle in a stressful way.

What you can do: Since these adjustments are unavoidable, help your cat by adding more play and exercise to his or her day. Now would be the ideal time to try out leash walking with your pet he or she will be allowed to explore the outdoors. As with people, a safe change of scenery can be a big help.

Also Check: Does Stress Cause Asthma Attacks

How To Treat Stress In Cats

Helping your cat release stress could include multimodal environmental modification, establishing routine and harmony, play therapy, using pheromones and massages.

Successful treatment strategies should include either prevention and/or reduction of stimulus.

Multimodal Environmental Modification and Environmental Enrichment

The aim of MEMO and EE is to introduce gradual changes within the house by increasing novelty, exploration without invoking fear or anxiety.

Supply escape routes and safe paths through the home by creating shelving, furniture or modify walls to incorporate an inside cat door to permit kitty escape from other pets, likewise create safe havens where the cat feels comfortable with all its resources, far from potential stressors.

Create secure places with the help of cardboard boxes, tunnels and cat carriers along with high vantage points with bookcases, cat playgrounds and observation platforms to reinforce your cats control over its environment.

For cats kept exclusively indoors introduce food dispensing puzzle feeders to stimulate hunting along with foraging behaviour whilst playing calming music in the background.

Lastly, in multi-cat households supply the right distribution of resources like food plus water bowls, litter trays and resting areas to avoid disputes.

A Change In Your Work Life

Is My Cat Stressed?

If you get a new job, change shifts, or start getting home later than usual, your cat could start to pick up on these changes and get nervous. The reason is simplecats like for life to go according to schedule, and any change can trigger stress.

How to help: If possible, ease your cat into your new schedule by making gradual adjustments, or help her ride out the transition process by making sure she has access to a place where she feels safe and lots of playtime when you are home, says Gunn-Moore.

Also Check: Is Stress Eating An Eating Disorder

Emotional Stressors In Cats

Most of the environmental changes resulted in emotional stress in cats. One way of understanding this is that environmental changes are the cause and emotional stress the effect. There are other emotional stressors, including:

  • Fear. Fires, earthquakes, hurricanes, and tornados are classic examples of fear-resulting stressors. Although many of these environmental stressors cannot be predicted, it is still essential to have a plan for dealing with an emergency before it happens by preparing your cats for disaster. Predictable fear-associated stressors, such as noisy festivities like Halloween, 4th of July, New Year Eve, can be planned for ahead of time. Keep cats confined to an interior room on such occasions, with low lights and soft music playing. Fear also is sometimes exhibited when one cat is being “picked on” by another. A classic example of the factor is the cat that is “trapped” in a closely confined litter box by another cat. The end result, of course, is litter box avoidance. You can help ameliorate this situation by giving the “victim cat” its own uncovered litter box with plenty of opportunities for escape.

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.

Don’t Miss: Can Stress Cause Eczema Flare Ups

Is Your Cat Anxious All The Time

Cats sleep well, so if the cat is at a faster pace than it sleeps, it indicates that the kitten is worried. For animals that sleep up to 16 hours on almost every day, restless cats are not a sign of anxiety that is hard to find, says iHeartCats. What you can do about it Search: Are your cats always worried?

Your Cats Social Interaction

8 Signs Your Cat Is Stressed

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.

Recommended Reading: What Vitamins Should I Take For Stress And Anxiety

How To Help A Stressed Cat: 4 Tricks According To An Expert

In the same way, how we interact with our pets and how we choose to manage them might inadvertently be causing them stress, too.

Those of us who own pets probably enjoyed their company in the depths of the pandemic. Not only are pets potentially good for our physical health, but they also benefit our mental wellbeing. Indeed, they may have even been a way of coping with pandemic-fueled mental health problems.

But this is still an emerging area of research, so the impacts of pet ownership on human health arenât always clear cut. Recent research suggests that having to care for a pet during the pandemic could actually have compromised our quality of life â including how satisfied we are with our health, lifestyle, and relationships.

In the same way, how we interact with our pets and how we choose to manage them might inadvertently be causing them stress, too. While some family pets may have enjoyed their owners spending a lot more time with them than usual, there have been reports that some cats were less enamored with these changes to their routine â even reportedly becoming sick from the stress of their owners being home all the time. So how do these dynamics work, and is there anything we pet owners can do to minimize them?

Affectionate but independent â Those of us less enamored with domestic cats might see them as a bit aloof, or cold and calculating. We might assume that cats are less interested in us or aware of our feelings compared to dogs, for example.

How To Have A Happy Cat

We all want our cats to be happy and healthy, so now that you are aware of the different signs of stress in cats, you can monitor things effectively.

Spend lots of time with your cat , make sure you acknowledge her often, feed her good food, and provide all those other essentials your cat needs.

Thanks for visiting us here at Meow Lovers, and be sure to leave a note down below if you have any comments or questions!

Read Also: Can Stress Cause High Blood Pressure

Moving With Your Cat Long Distance Or Across The Country

Of course, some special circumstances require extra planning. If you’re moving a long distance or even across the country , you need to take extra precautions.

If you have to travel on a plane with your cat, you need to decide on flying together in the cabin versus checking your cat into the plane’s cargo area. If at all possible, travel together in the cabin, but be sure to check with your airline for their specific requirements. Make sure your cat’s weight and carrier size meet the airline’s specifications. The K& H Lookout Pet Carrier is potentially a good option because the small size meets some requirements. You will need other travel supplies, vaccination records, and a harness in case you have to take your cat out of the carrier for the X-ray screening.

If you’re traveling with your cat in a car, it’s a little easier but still requires some planning ahead. Find a good carrier, like the Travel Safety Carrier that secures to the seat and keeps your cat from moving while you drive. Take short trips at first to help your kitty get used to the drive. Pack travel supplies like a small litter box and portable water and food dishes, along with a harness.

Signs Of Separation Anxiety In Cats And What To Do About Them

What to do if my cat is stressed

Weve all seen the memes since this COVID-19 pandemic started about dogs who have had enough of you walking them, thank you very much. And in turn, the cat memes are all about them wondering when we are going back to work and giving them their much needed personal space back. We get it. Dogs tend to be goofy and friendly while cats are, ahem, a bit more discerning about their company. The truth is, though, cats have plenty of different personality types, and many of them do experience separation anxiety. This is particularly true of cats who were orphaned. And with many of you going back to work if you havent gone back already, its a good idea to know the signs of separation anxiety in cats.

Don’t Miss: Can Stress Elevate Blood Sugar

What To Do About A Stressed And Anxious Cat

If you notice any of the signs of major stress in your pussy, consult your vet.

As already mentioned, this is to make sure that there are no major health concerns. Once you get the all-clear, its time to look for some ways to help your cat and alleviate its stress.

Firstly, if there is a single obvious problem, you need to resolve that. Have you gone away on holiday for 2 weeks and left a house sitter looking after your cat? Hopefully, things get better upon your return.

Did you forget to change the litter box for a month? Change the litter box!

Here are some other ideas for alleviating cat stress:

  • Use interactive toys playful cats may be less likely to experience stress
  • Play with your cat regularly make time to pet and play with your puss
  • Keep the noise down avoid playing loud music around your cat
  • Provide escape let your cat go to a room it feels safe when visitors are around
  • Keep litter boxes clean good for the health of your home too
  • Slowly initiate changes cats are pets of habit, so even small change may affect them drastically
  • You might also want to investigate CBD for anxious cats. Make sure you read up on the pros and cons of CDB oil for cats before you go down this road, but it is another option!

    Although there are a lot of things you can do at home to help manage and reduce stress in your cat, dont hesitate to take her to the vet for a good check-up as well.

    Signs Your Cat Is Stressed

    The anxiety and fear associated with stress affects your cat similar to the way it affects people, though cats tend to hide it well. Even worse, chronic stress “suppresses the immune response, causing a broad range of illnesses,” says Patricia B. McConnell, Ph.D., a certified applied animal behaviorist.

    Here are five common signs of stress in cats to help you identify it and seek help quickly.

    Recommended Reading: How To Lessen Stress And Anxiety

    How Can I Tell If My Cat Is Stressed

    Cats are notoriously good at hiding their emotions, but it isnt impossible to spot signs of feline anxiety. If your cat is displaying any of the behaviours listed below, you may find that the culprit is stress:

    • Unusual toileting behaviour. Many stressed cats express their anxieties by urinating outside the litter box , or worse still in your shoes or handbag.
    • Over-grooming. Cats groom themselves to self-soothe, so a cat thats over-grooming may be under stress. A sure sign of excessive grooming is bald or thin patches of fur, which can be anywhere they can reach, most typically on the belly, the inside of their legs or their sides.
    • More meow. You know your cat if theyre meowing and calling to you much more than usual, they could be trying to tell you something.
    • Excessive scratching. Cats often scratch themselves more than usual when theyre feeling stressed. If your cats up to date with their flea treatments, doesnt have an allergy and is still scratching like mad, this could be a sign of stress.
    • Cats arent always the most sociable creatures, but neither is it usual for them to be hiding themselves away all of the time.
    • Lack of appetite. Decreased appetite in cats can be indicative of many different issues, including stress. This is definitely not a sign to ignore.
    • Just like humans, cats can lash out when they are under stress, both at humans and other animals.

    Treatment With Natural Therapies

    Cat suffering from Stress or Anxiety? Cause of stress and what to do to help your cat

    Stress is a condition that responds particularly well to natural therapies. This gives you the opportunity to improve your cat’s quality of life in a way that is kind to their body.

    You can opt to give your cat various natural tranquilizers such as pheromones, as these allow them to feel the environment is under their control and territory. Other equally suitable options are Bach flowers and homeopathy.

    To successfully implement these natural therapies, we suggest you do it under the supervision of a holistic vet.

    If you want to read similar articles to What to Do if My Cat is Stressed, we recommend you visit our Behavioral problems category.

    Also Check: How Can You Tell If Your Cat Is Stressed

    Whats Your Cat Stressed About

    While youre juggling your bills, finding enough time to go to the gym, food prepping for the week, and staying calm in traffic, your cat is sitting by the window at home twitching her tail. So you may be wondering: What do cats have to worry about? Though your cat doesnt have to present to her boss or run to the post office before it closes, cats do experience their own kind of stress, which is a result of their anxiety and fear.

    Cats can experience stress if theres a changeto their routine, a dirty litter box, new additions to their home, loud musicor fireworks, and more. Most cats hide their stress, which may turn into a slewof health issues. Stress can compromise your cats immune system, making themmore vulnerable to illness, depression, and could even compound and createbehavioral issues. But were here to tell you how to spot if your cat isstressed and what to do to make sure shes back to her calm, happy self.

    Get Your New Home Ready

    If you have access to the new property before you move, it is helpful to plug in a Comfort Zone Calming Diffuser to make your cat feel more comfortable when she arrives. You want to set one up before you renovate or change the furniture around, even if you’re staying in the same house. The diffuser lasts for four weeks and helps your cat adjust to a changing environment.

    The diffuser releases a drug-free, odorless vapor that mimics the pheromones a cat releases to indicate an area is safe and secure. So by setting one up ahead of time, you’re signaling in your cat’s language that she can relax. This can help cut down on stress behaviors like spraying or destructive scratching.

    Putting some scents that are familiar to your cat in your new home ahead of time can help too. Favorite toys or a familiar-scented towel can cut down on stress.

    Many triggers can stress out your cat, such as moving, hearing loud noises, or having a new pet or new furniture in the house. Try to help your cat experience as few of these at one time as possible.

    You May Like: What Are The Best Essential Oils For Stress

    - Advertisement - spot_img
    Popular Articles
    Related news