Stress In Cats
How To Reduce Stress In Cats
Estimated Read Time: 4 minutes
Summary: In this blog, we learn all about stress in cats. We’ll find out what the signs of stress in cats are, how to help reduce stress in cats, and why stress in cats can be very serious…
Everyone, including our pets, will experience bouts of stress throughout their lifetime. But stress responses aren’t always a negative thing - they keep us and our animals safe. Stress can tell us when to run or hide from scary or unsafe things, for example. But, periods of stress in the long term can be incredibly detrimental to animals and humans alike when it comes to their mental and physical wellbeing.
In regards to our purring pals, when they’re stressed out it can be tricky for us humans to notice. Unlike dogs, cats are arguably more subtle when they’re not feeling themselves. But, it’s important as their pet parents that we know what to look for as stress has been identified and acknowledged as a trigger for most cat behavioral problems…
What Are The Signs Of Stress In Cats?
If a cat is experiencing stress, they will often display multiple signs. These can include:
- Diarrhea, involuntary urination, and/or other digestive troubles
- Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs)
- Loss of appetite
- Issues with their skin
- General poor physical condition
- Tense, hunched body posture
- Skin twitching/rippling
- Frequent lip licking/swallowing
- Flattened ears
- Dilated pupils
- Reluctance to venture outside
- Increased scratching of furniture or other destructive behavior
- Excessive grooming
- Frequent vocalizations (yowling, growling, plaintive meowing)
- Frequently seeming very alert/on guard
- Aggressive behavior (hissing, growling, shaking, drooling)
- Hiding for a long time
- Decrease in time spent playing
- Holding their tail very close to their body
- Displacement activity (repetitive unexplained, strange behavior)
- Unwilling to interact with you or visitors
Petlab Co. Pro Tip: If you have a male cat that is experiencing urinary issues or struggling to go, they need to see a vet as a matter of urgency.
What Causes Stress In Cats?
Despite the fact that cats can be very adaptable, they can be quite sensitive so there can be many reasons for cats to become stressed. Some will be better at managing stress than others, however common triggers for stress in cats include:
- A significant change in the smell of their home
- Territorial threats (the arrival of a new pet, housemate, or baby)
- Moving house
- Building work
- Neighboring cats exploring your garden or home
- Being stroked or picked up more frequently than they would like
How To Reduce Stress In Cats
If you suspect your cat is experiencing stress, it’s time to get them assessed by a vet. Long-term stress can make our feline friends very unwell, but also the signs of stress in cats can be symptoms of other conditions too. So, it’s worth getting them checked out.
If you think you can pinpoint the reason they’re stressed, then research thoroughly and specifically how to help with those stress-inducing life transitions like how to help move your cat to a new house and how to introduce cats to each other.
Maintain routine where possible: cats are creatures of habit. Feed them at the same time every day, and if there are multiple cats in the house, feed them in separate bowls in separate locations. Try and be fairly predictable with your own behavior around a cat that’s susceptible to stress too.
If your cat is an indoor cat, make sure there’s ample entertainment for them and safe spaces for them to take a time out in. If your cat is an outdoor cat, consider installing a cat flap so they can choose when to be out and work out for themselves when they feel safest outside, particularly if other cats roam the neighborhood.
You can also consider having your cat see an animal behaviorist after you’ve obtained a diagnosis from your vet. Make sure the behaviorist you approach is qualified, registered with reputable bodies, kind and ethical. A behaviorist can be a great way of ensuring tailored advice specific to your cat’s needs and issues.