Is your Cat Happy? Stress in Cats.
Have you ever wondered if your cat is happy, loves you, and is enjoying his or her life with you?
We love our cats and want to provide them with the best care possible. We want them to be happy, healthy, and enjoy their life with us. Our cats give us so much joy and love, they deserve to be happy and to feel loved.
A stressed cat, is unhappy. Although stress can cause so many health and behavioral issues, stress in a cat is natural. It is impossible to completely remove all of your cats stress. Some stress is necessary for survival. If your cat believes that there is an immediate threat, stress is necessary for your cat to asses the situation and act accordingly, this is often called the fight or flight response. Fear from the threat motivates your cat to act. This kind of stress is short-lived and does not cause the car harm. However, when stress is long-lived and your cat is constantly experiencing fear and stress, health and behavioral issues will occur. It is up to you, to recognize when your cat is experiences stress and reduce it.
You can recognize stress by watching your cat's body language and behaviours. A cat that is stressed or scared, may hold its ears laid back flat, have dilated pupils, and the cat may be crouched low to the ground. The cat may also growl. These behaviours are often seen when the cat is in a unusual situation, such as the vets office or if the cat meets an unfamiliar dog or another cat. The cat will return to normal when stresser has left or the cat realizes that he or she is safe. However, if stress is constant, your cat will show the stress differently. Constant stress is worrisome.
To notice when a cat is experiencing stress consistently, you need to pay close attention. Chronic stress is often subtle and can be easily missed. Chronic stress occurs when the cat is in a constant state of uncertainty. You need to pay attention to your cats movements and behaviour. Behaviour patterns and body language provide many clues to how your cat is feeling. Watch for any changes and learn to read your cat.
If your cat is stressed, you will notice that your cat has been acting differently, possibly misusing the litter box, making potty mistakes on your bed or couch, hiding under the bed, in the corner, or up high, or not wanting to eat or play. If your cat is stressed and you need to discover what the cause of the stress is, so that you can do something about it.
What can cause stress:
-household changes, furniture changes
-household renovations or repairs
-new family members
-dirty litter box conditions
-change in food brand
-change in litter brand
-denied access to particular hiding places or parts of the home
-appearance of a strange cat in the yard
-a barking dog
-visitors in the home
-change of schedule
How to Recognize Stress:
-loss of appetite
-less interaction with family members
-hiding, isolates from others
-change in the relationship with companion cats
-elimination outside of the litter box
-change is sleep habits
-constipation or diarrhea
How to Reduce Stress:
-Provide good quality nutrition
-Play with your cat daily
-Build your cats confidence
-Provide Enrichment Activities
-Maintain good litter box hygiene
-Socialize your cat
-Introduce new pets in a gradual, positive way
-Make gradual changes instead of abrupt changes
-Provide adequate resources to reduce competition and guarding behaviors between cats
-Provide your cat with its own personal space, bed, bowl, scratching post, litter box
-Train your cat to be comfortable with a cat carrier
If your cat is displaying unwanted behaviours, such as littler box misuse, shyness, or aggression, often stress is the cause. Once medical issues are ruled out by your vet, you may want to speak to a cat behaviourist. Cherished Companions offers some help. Visit the link below or the "Training" tab on the Cherished Companions website.
Does your Cat Love You?