What Causes Stress In Cats
There are many factors that can cause stress in cats and moving, renovating, getting new furniture or moving furniture are some of them.
There are many things that can cause stress in cats. Cats like routine. They like to know what to expect, and they definitely dont like surprises. Most stress in cats is caused by changes in routine, strange cats wandering into their territory, a lack of resources, sickness, boredom, pain, and lack of socialization.
In specific, sources of stress can include:
- A dirty litterbox, moving the litterbox, changing the litter, changing the tray, too many cats in one box
- Moving, renovating, getting new furniture or moving furniture
- Changing food abruptly
- Stray cats in the neighborhood, conflict with a cat in the household, adding a new pet to the household, being bullied by another cat, mirrors
- Human visitors or new people in the house, new baby, children
- Lack of socialization when cat was a kitten
- Heavy scents
- Lack of resources for all the cats
- Lack of scratching opportunities
Therapeutic Massage And Bodyworks
Massage and Bodywork techniques offers health benefits for humans and equally to pets. Tellington Touch, Acupressure and Acupuncture are found to alleviate stress, enhance circulation, improve immune function, promote healing moreover help the body to release endorphins. Its also a beautiful way to help a pet parent de-stress after a hectic day at work.
How To Know If A Cat Is Stressed
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 10 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been viewed 86,366 times.
Are you stressing over whether or not your cat is stressed? It’s easy to tell when a cat is reacting to a stressful momentit arches its back, flattens its ears, hisses or growls, even urinates on the spot.XResearch source But chronic stress isn’t so easy to pinpoint. If you are wondering if a change in your household has negatively affected the family cat, follow these steps for diagnosing the problem.
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How To Calm Cat Anxiety And Stress: Symptoms And Relief
Cats are usually independent creatures, so their day-to-day life should not change overly even if your routine changes for example, because you stop or start working from home. However, some cats might feel stressed by changes in routine, so its important to know the signs of a distressed cat and how you can help them.
When circumstances in your home change, it is important to stick to normal routines with your cat as much as possible and be aware that a change in your behaviour can have an impact on them.
Animal behaviourist Inga MacKellar shares her advice:
Inga also tells us the signs to look out for if your cat is feeling anxious, and how you can help them. Here are some tips on using your body language and surroundings to ease your pet’s distress.
Increasing The Cat Bond
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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A Change In Your Work Life
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.
Changes In Eating Habits
Okay, so this one can be closely linked to a human trait. When you are stressed, do you ease your frustration by overindulging yourself with food, or are you one that avoids food as a way to handle your stress? Your cat is the same as you when it comes to managing their stress in this aspect. A cat can choose to overeat or undereat as a means to cope, and as the person who is filling their food bowl daily, you will be able to see this sign your cat is stressed loud and clear.
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Is Your Cat Freaking Out
Stress can make anyone a little crazy, even our cats. The tricky part is while the anxiety and fear associated with stress affects our cats in much the same way it does us, most cats tend to hide and mask their inner turmoil. Even worse, stress can be an indication that your cat has a health issue. According to Patricia B. McConnell, Ph.D., a certified applied animal behaviorist, chronic stress can even “suppress the immune response, causing a broad range of illnesses.” Here are some signs of stress you’ll want to watch out for in your cat, especially if they occur suddenly.
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.
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Seasonal And Temperature Changes
Although your cat may live inside, he or she is still very in tune with the weather, the sun and the outdoors. Changes in the seasons and temperature differences can significantly affect your cat’s overall stress levels. For example, when we adjust for Daylight Savings Time, a cat’s internal clock gets out of whack.
What you can do: If you live in a northern climate, increase the frequency of playtime during winter since birds have migrated south, there are fewer things for your cat to watch out the window! Also, make sure your cat has blankets to snuggle in for warmth. On hot days, make sure your cat has plenty of fresh water and cool hideouts to rest in. Note that while you may enjoy fans, some cats might not like the noise and the way the breeze feels on their fur.
Over Handling Of Cats
Cats can enjoy being stroked, but every cat is different. Some like being stroked a lot. For others it will be strictly on their terms only!
Being stroked or picked up when its not wanted or enjoyed is stressful for them. And although many cats will enjoy the company of younger members of the household, some very young children can be overly enthusiastic when it comes to stroking cats and this persistent attention can be very stressful.
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How Do You Treat Anxiety In Cats
Treatment for behavior disorders like cat anxiety often involves a combination of management of your cats environment, giving supplements or medications for cat anxiety, and trying behavior modification. Any underlying medical conditions need to be treated as well.
If left untreated, these disorders are likely to progress. Most treatment options will be long-term, possibly years, depending on the number and intensity of symptoms and how long the condition has been going on. The minimum treatment averages four to six months.
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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Reasons Why Your Cat Might Be Stressed
Stress and anxiety can have debilitating effects on a human’s health. Stress in cats acts much the same way. Not only can it exacerbate existing physical conditions, but it can lead to a number of problems often considered behavioral, such as litter box avoidance, aggressive behavior, or depression and withdrawal.
Whenbehavioral problems suddenly appear, savvy cat owners soon learn to look first for signs of health problems, such as urinary tract infections with litter box avoidance, and next for stress factors, such as changes in the environment.
How Do Vets Determine The Cause Of Cat Anxiety
Your veterinarian will first want to rule out other conditions that might be contributing to your cat’s behavior, such as pain or thyroid disease.
This consists of a thorough physical exam, blood tests, and urine tests. Additional tests may be recommended depending on your cats results.
A thorough history is an essential part of establishing a diagnosis, and any videos you have of the behavior are also helpful. These will provide clues to the stimuli and situations that cause your cat to be anxious, if there is no medical cause found.
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What Are The Signs Of Stress In Cats
If your cat is feeling stressed, their behaviour may change. Some of these changes can happen suddenly and be very obvious, but others can develop gradually or be harder to spot.
Some signs your cat might be feeling stressed include:
- Hiding or staying out of the way all the time
- Avoiding certain places, other pets or people
- Poor coat quality
- Body language that shows they are worried
- Peeing in the wrong place, urine spraying or marking, blood in the urine
- Meowing or yowling more than normal
- Sudden changes in behaviour
- Aggression towards other pets or people
Many of these signs can be caused by medical problems as well as stress. So if you’re worried about your cat or they show a sudden change in behaviour, always contact your vet for advice first.
What To Do If You Suspect Your Cat Is Stressed
If you have been to the veterinarian to rule out medical causes of your cat’s behaviors and you are left suspecting that your cat is stressed, here are some things you can do:
- Increase interactive play with your cat. Allowing your kitty to exercise his hunter instincts by playing with a wand toy or one that mimics rodent behavior can help him let off steam and feel calmer.
- Give your cat more scratching posts. Scratching helps your cat release stress, so provide good quality scratching posts in prominent areas of the home. Marking his territory this way, in high-traffic areas of the house, will help your cat feel better.
- Consider using Feliway. This product is made to mimic the pheromone that cats produce when they’re feeling calm. When it is diffused or sprayed, cats often feel calmer.
- Be sure you have enough resources available. Cats become stressed when they feel that resources are scarce. This can become an issue, especially, in multi-cat households. Make sure you have enough food and water bowls, cat beds, scratching posts, and clean litter boxes, so your cats don’t have to compete for them.
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Give Your Cat Some Space
Cats are solitary creatures, so they dont like to be crowded by others that counts for other cats, other pets and even children or other family members. Ensuring your cat always has space to escape from the chaos is a good way to reduce their stress. A quiet spot, preferably somewhere high up, is ideal. Try a cardboard box on a sturdy shelf, for example.
How Do I Know If My Cat Is Stressed
Cats manifest the signs of stress in a variety ways, including behavioral problems and physical symptoms.
Physical symptoms can include:
- Litterbox issues, either going outside the litterbox, not going to the litterbox as often resulting in constipation, squatting for a longer time in the litterbox without producing urine, producing bloody urine, vocalizing while urination, or running away from the litterbox after using it
- Overgrooming, resulting in bald patches or rashes
- Worsening of symptoms in cats with chronic health problems, such as upper respiratory viruses
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Supply Water And Spare The Stress
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.
Vets Answer: What Does It Mean When A Cat Rubs On You
As cats cant use words, pet parents might find it challenging to figure out what feelings their fluff-tailed pets are trying to convey. Learning to interpret cat body language or actions is a fundamental part of kitten and cat care.
Whether theyre winding themselves through their humans legs or nudging their forehead against them, these motions are almost always a positive thing. What does it mean when a cat rubs against you? Thats one of the most common cat questions new cat parents ask. Here are a few things the act could mean.
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Use The Power Of Your Cats Nose
Scent swapping is a technique that can be used to help your senior cat get to know the newcomer before they even meet. Place a blanket with the new cats scent on it near your cats bed. You can also place toys or bedding that the new cat has used throughout the house for your cat to check out. If this isnt possible beforehand, no worries the technique can still be applied routinely as the cats get to know each other.
Don’t Trivialize Litter Boxes
Litter boxes are a necessity for all pet cats, but simply providing a litter box is not enough. Consideration needs to be given to the size of the litter box, the location, the type of litter used, and the daily care of the litter box. There are also many choices of litter available. Choose the one that your cat prefers. In general, heavily fragranced litters are not appreciated by most cats and should be avoided.
In a multi-cat household, there should be at least one litter box for each cat plus one extra. Litter boxes must be kept clean. They should be large enough for your cat to fit comfortably in the box and the boxes should be placed in quiet areas of the home where your cat will not be disturbed while using them.
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