Our furry friends, dogs and cats alike, can become anxious or stressed rather easily. With just a change of an environment or an adjustment to a new household, a pet can become stressed. For instance, cats are not partial to change, something as small as moving a litter box can cause stress or a change in behavior. Likewise, it is important to understand how our cats are affected by their environment. By learning and understanding cat stress we can better know what to watch for when they are stressed and how we can help them. We sat down with our Trupanion pet program team to discuss the importance of understanding cat stress and best practices for our feline friends.
Understanding cat stress and how to help
What is the importance of understanding cat stress?
Understanding cat stress can be beneficial for the health of your cat. Also, it is important for the emotional health of your family as a whole. To bring to light, if a cat is stressed, there is a good chance the family is stressed as well. In addition, “A lot of stress for cats is caused by their environment, so reducing your own stress can help reduce your cat’s stress, so you are both happier,” shares in-house animal behaviorist, Camille Barrios, UW-A.A.B.
Understanding cat stress and cat behavior
If you believe your cat to be stressed, it is essential to be able to see the signs, if your cat needs help. Consider the following signals your cat may be exhibiting:
- Excessive grooming
- Inappropriate urination (for example – outside of the litter box)
- Excessive scratching and vocalization
- Decrease in appetite
- Digestive issues (for instance: diarrhea and constipation)
Also, if you find your cat is isolating themselves, hiding, or sleeping excessively they could be trying to get away from what is stressing them out. Consider when this behavior change took place, and keep a journal to track their patterns or activity. Essentially, this is an effective way to track your cat’s behavior and a tool for discussing treatment with your veterinarian.
How to help your stressed cat
Besides spending quality time with your cat, take the time to bond. For instance, you could take a cat-nap together. Additionally, a little play always helps, consider some mentally and physically stimulating toys. Another option, cats need space, so make some place for them to retreat to. Certainly, the cuddle time and snuggles are much appreciated, but don’t overwhelm them if they are feeling uneasy. Consider taking it day by day and let your cat lead the interaction.
Cat stress and anxiety
In addition, give your cat some space, and seek care if you are noticing excessive stress signals. In fact, the best course of action to help your stressed cat is to seek veterinary care. Certainly, if you find your cat exhibits stress and anxiety chronically – even after a daily schedule or regimen- “Your veterinarian might need to look into a possible underlying medical condition,” points out Barrios.
Understanding cat stress: Beneficial for the whole family
Understanding cat stress can help identify what is causing your cat’s stress and provide a more positive home environment. Also, by understanding the negative effects stress can have on your pet, it can help you identify triggers and seek veterinary care when needed. Certainly, without a doubt, a happy and healthy cat makes for a purrfect family member.