Different factors can cause stress in cats. Cats can become attached to their home territory and a predictable routine, any changes in their environment can lead to stress.
Common Causes of Stress in Cats and How To Relive It
Travelling With Cats
Whether it be by land or air, unfamiliar, travelling in an confined environment can be stressful to your otherwise relaxed kitty.
- Avoid feeding your cat the morning of the trip as they can get car sick.
- Use a crate and put a light blanket over it until you get to your destination.
- Put their favourite blanket in the crate with them.
- Remember to provide them with water in their crate throughout the journey.
Veterinary, Grooming and Cattery Visits
Many cats get frightened when being handled by different people.
- Use a secure carrier to keep your cat safe from being bothered by other curious pets in the vet office.
- Stay calm. Stress can be contagious, and if you are anxious, your feline friend can pick up on it.
- Use a soothing voice that can help them relax.
- Bring a familiar object like toys and blankets during vet visits.
New Family Members (human and cat)
Having a new pet or a newborn baby in the home can cause stress in cats. The sudden introduction of the latest addition to your home may not work. This particular situation calls for understanding and patience as cats will come around at their own pace.
- Plan ahead. Play tapes of baby sound months before the arrival to acclimate your cat to the new sounds.
- Hold the baby or new person and pet the cat with your hands, so they get familiar with the scent.
- Read: Introducing A New Cat To The Family
Holidays are a particularly stressful time for cats. Fireworks, loud music, doorbells and even a loud laugh can make even the most relaxed cat anxious and stressed.
- Confine your cat in a “white noise room” where you can turn on the fan, TV or other normal distracting sounds.
- Some cats will find a sanctuary spot while all the noise is going on in the background. It’s best to leave them be as not all cats are going to be comforted by being held if they are frightened.
- On the other hand, some cats would love to have some quiet alone time with you while you are gently petting them.
Changes in Daily Routine
Cats love to stick to their routine, so any changes such as a new job or your new work schedule (which in turn affect their schedule) can be a stressor.
- A week before starting work, leave a few hours for the day, gradually increasing the periods.
- Leave plenty of toys laying around so they won’t get bored while you’re out.
- Upon your return, make time to play with your pet cat.
Moving to a New Residence
Due to rapid and overall change in both environment and routine, moving to a new residence can be extremely stressful to cats. To help them cope, you can actively take steps to cause as little disruption as possible.
- Bring all your cat’s favourite belongings such as a blanket, toys, litter box, food, and bed in the new residence. If you can manage to have help, have one person go to the new home and set up the “safe room” with all your cat’s favourite objects.
- Keep your feline closed off in the “safe room” while the rest of the house is moved.
- You can use diffusers and sprays such as Feliways to help calm your cat.
Signs of Stress in Cats
Although not always apparent, their stress may manifest in many forms. If you pay very close attention, there will be some changes in their demeanour that may coincide with changes occurring around them.
Look out for these signs:
- Urinating Outside the Litter Box
- Aggression Toward People or Other Animals
- Decrease in Appetite
- Extra Clinginess
- Over-grooming often focused on the legs or belly and sometimes to the point of creating bald spots.
Stress in cats should never be ignored.
As in humans, not only can it affect their existing physical conditions, it can also lead to problems with their behaviour. If you suspect that your cat is going through stress, and even after you’ve proactively taken actions, doesn’t get better, consult your vet immediately. They may prescribe anti-anxiety medication to help break the stress cycle but remember to never give your cat any without the vet’s approval.
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