January 18, 2011

How to Relieve Cat Stress

Filed under: Cat Anxiety — Tags: — 1st Pet Naturals @ 1:45 am

Stress is an unpleasant aspect of life humans have to deal with, and it can also affect your cats.  Individuals can face stress due to work, bills, relationship and family worries, but what kind of things are causing cat stress? Well, first and foremost, cats do not take change well.  Changes that we humans consider minor can take their toll on our cats, and cause physical and behavioral effects in your cat.  For example, you may notice that your cat avoids the litter box, scratches persistently, withdraws from people, or does not want to do anything. These changes can have major effects on your feline’s health.
So how do we avoid stress on cats? One of the most important things you can do is to introduce changes slowly to your pet.  For example, there is a new baby on the way. You want your cat to be gentle with your baby so you decide to take action before the baby’s arrival. You can introduce your baby’s future blanket to your cat so your cat becomes familiar with its smell and the texture.  This way, when the cat first encounters the baby, they will recognize the scent of the blanket, and not become tense.  It may also be useful to introduce the cat to the “baby” (a doll).  This will help the cat become familiar with how the baby may move or what the baby may be in, which will reduce the chance of your cat getting overwhelmed or becoming physical with the baby.

Moving to a new residence can also cause cat stress.  One thing you can do to help eliminate stress on your cat while moving is to move your cat last.  Move everything to your new home first, and then lastly move your cat and its belongings. Once at the new residence, place the cat with all its belongings around them, so they know they are safe and home.

Another change that can have a negative effect on the well-being of your cat is a change in schedule.  After time, your pet develops a sense of schedule: they know when they will be fed, when you will play with them, when you will want to cuddle with them.  Time or ritual changes can be very overwhelming for your cat.  So what is the best way to help make schedule change easier for your cat?  Communicating with your cat is the answer!  Tell your cat that you will be back later that day so they won’t worry and will know you’re coming back for them.  It sounds awfully silly to think cats can understand you, but cats sometimes instinctively recognize your feelings. That’s why you may encounter your cat coming to sit on your lap when you are down.

So, the most effective way to ease stress in cats is to introduce them to changes gradually.   This way you and your cat can enjoy the changes together!  If you do notice your cat is acting strangely, and suspect it has to do with stress, try to figure out what is causing your pet stress.  Focus on its source, and then deal with that.  Ask yourself, why is my pet scratching people for no reason?  Why is my cat always hiding in a dark room?  Determine what the factor was for the extreme sudden change in their behavior and go from there. Then work with your cat so they see it’s not bad. Show them love and compassion so they know things will be alright, and there is nothing to worry about.

We have discussed some of the things you can do to keep your cat from getting stressed, but are there any medical options to treat anxiety disorders in our cats and help them cope with change?  Well, the answer is yes!  However, medical options should be your last resort for treating stress in your cat.

Disclaimer: 1st Pet Naturals is an education resource, and all information herein is strictly for educational purposes. It is not intended to diagnose, treat, prevent, or cure disease, nor is it meant to replace the (prescribed) treatment or recommendations of your veterinarian or healthcare provider. Always inform your veterinarian or healthcare provider of any products that your pet is taking, including herbal remedies and supplements.