There are many things that can stress out a cat, including YOU. Yep! Many times, we don’t even realize the things we do stress out our feline friends. You can help to avoid such stress triggers by simply understanding your cat’s basic nature and providing environmental enrichment.
Small Change for Us, Big Change For Cats
It’s a known fact even the slightest variation in routine can make your cat nervous. And if there is a major change? Whoa, Nelly! That could spell T-R-O-U-B-L-E, especially for very shy, high strung cats!
Our spokescat, Marty, recently suffered a urinary obstruction. Turns out stress is a major contributior to feline urinary illnesses.
New Home/New Pet
If you move to a new home or introduce a new pet into the household, be prepared for a stressed-out kitty. Why is this so?
According to Dr. Karen Becker at healthypets.mercola.com, cats tend to equate “unauthorized” changes in their environment to loss of control. When a cat feels out of control, anxiety ensues.
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6 Common Ways We Cause Our Cats Stress
Below are a few other ways you may be stressing out your cat. If you find yourself doing any of these, pull back on the throttle a bit to reduce anxiety in your feline friend.
Punishing Normal Feline Behavior
Do you punish your cat for behaving like a cat? If he is doing something you don’t want him to do, getting physical with him will only cause him to fear you. Sure, you can probably yell “no” and scare him off, but that is only temporary. If your cat is misbehaving, distract him with a toy or activity to show him what you want him to do instead.
Assume He Understands What You’re Saying
Do you assume your cat understands what you are saying to him? Cats (and other animals) rely heavily on body language for cues in communication. Talking to them is rather unproductive.
Grabbing Your Cat’s Head To Pet Him
Sure, it’s natural for us to approach a cat head on, but it is not natural for your cat. He will usually recoil in such instances. However, most of us will continue to grab the cat’s head and ruffle his fur. We doubt you’d enjoy that if someone did it to you!
Hugging/Kissing Your Cat
Sure, it’s so easy to do this, as they are cute and cuddly, but being natural predators, they will see your “restraint” of them in this manner as predatory behavior, with them being the prey. Not a good idea! Cats prefer to interact on THEIR terms, not yours!
Lack of Litter Box Maintenance
Cats are clean creatures by nature, so a dirty litter box is akin to a dirty bathroom for you. The litter box should be scooped at least once daily and dumped and thoroughly cleaned at least every week or every two weeks.
Leaving Cat Alone for Extended Periods of Time
Cats are fairly independent and far more able to spend long periods of time alone as opposed to a dog, but it is not a good idea to go out of town and leave your kitty unattended.
For example, she may gorge on all the kibble you left her in one sitting, proceed to throw it up as it was too much, and then have nothing left to eat until you return. Throw in an unattended, stinky litter box with that, and you have a recipe for stress!
Yes, there are many other ways to stress out your cat. Sometimes, it just cannot be avoided, but when you understand how your cat thrives best, you can reduce the occasions wherein he feels anxious. It’s all about learning his language!
If you know in advance a stressful event is coming up, introduce calming agents such as Rescue Remedy or Comfort Zone at least 7-14 days ahead of time. This will give them a chance to start working to provide a relaxing environment for your cat, and lessen his stress!