Cats and Stress
We all experience stress from time to time however stress in cats is important to notice because of the serious effects that prolonged stress has on cats. When cats are stressed, they tend to mark their territory more. This could be done by scratching, spraying, and urinating in inappropriate places. Felines also become more vocal, hide in different places, or spend more time outdoors.
Cause of Stress in Cats
Changes are a constant in our lives but unlike humans, cats handle changes negatively. Change is the number one factor of stress in cats. There are many situations that could increase stress in a cat.
- Conflict with another: In 2004, the University of Edinburgh identified that conflict with another animal in the household could be a stress factor.
- New Addition to the household: Whether the new addition to the household is another pet or a new member of the family, if introductions are not properly handled it could lead to stress in cats. This is due to the change in their environment.
- Absence of family member: Cat owners will already know that cats build strong attachments to other people and sometimes even other pets. If that person or other pet is missing they will grieve the loss and this could lead to prolong stress.
- Changes in their environment: Some cats could become stress due to small changes such as a different brand of cat litter or their cat food while other times it could be the obvious changes such as remodeling your house.
Stress in Cats
If stress in cats is acute then it could lead to health problems such as developing feline idiopathic cystitis. Over time, the immune system becomes less effective due to the body dealing with the effects of prolonged stress.
Reducing Stress in cats
If possible, try to reduce or remove the stress causing triggers otherwise felines require a lot of attention. If this is not possible, then provide a secure place for your cat to go to be away from the stress factor. Another way to reduce feline stress is by using a feline stress relief spray. It mimics natural occurring pheromones that help calm and reassure cats.
Signs of Stress in Cats
If your cat is showing the following signs, they could be experience stress.
- Aggression: Usually occurs when cats have no other way to escape or express their stress.
- Urine Marks: Feline Urine spraying is a primary method cats use to mark their territory.
- Scratch Marks: Only vertical scratch marks are considered as a sign of stress. These scratch marks are located in a visible area such as the doorways and windows. This is an indication of a cat being unsettled or stressed.
Other signs of Stress include:
- Loss of appetite
- Pulling out fur
- Excessive Meowing
- Hiding usually under the bed, behind the curtains and etc.