Cats are creatures of habit and if changes occur in their routine or environment, it can lead to stress for them and for you. Here are some factors you may or may not be aware of that may impact cat behavior due to stress:
- Moving into a new home
- A death in the family (may be human or another pet)
- House fire
- A new baby
There are many other more subtle changes that may cause major stress for your cat. Some of them are listed below:
- Change in food or litter
- Dirty litter box
- Putting food too close to litter box
- Litter box in noisy or busy location
- New carpet
- New furniture or rearranging existing furnishings
- Adding another pet
- No access to hiding places
- Ongoing loud noises
- Change in work schedule
Some factors, such as food or litter change, are easier to introduce gradually to minimize your cat’s stress. Whenever possible, make the changes as gradual as you can to give your cat the opportunity to adjust. The bigger the change, the longer it will normally take cats to adjust.
Playtime can be a good tension release, so incorporate as many play sessions into your cat’s day as possible. Consistency is important to cats, so keep his schedule the same for events like meal time.
Like us, cats sometimes need to get away from it all when the stress becomes too much, so provide as many quiet zones for your cat as possible.
Environmental enrichment will help keep your cat occupied when you can’t be around, so set up as much variety in his environment as possible.
This year, I’ve installed new carpet and gotten new furniture, but not all at the same time. I put Marty in my bedroom so he’d be away from the noise as much as possible. He’s adjusted to the carpet and is gradually getting more comfortable with the furniture. I continue to reassure him that it’s ok and invite him to come up to sit by me, which seems to be helping him.
Be patient with your cat and give him a chance to adjust to what’s new, he’ll love you for it!