How Can You Tell If Your Cat Is Stressed?
5 July, 2017
Our cats can be stressed for a variety of reasons just as we get stressed. The hard part is to decipher if our cats are actually stressed because they tend to hide their inner conflict. Stress can also be an indication of a health issue. Here are some ways that you can tell if your cat is stressed.
What are the signs that you’re your cat is stressed?
The physical signs that your cat might be stressed are loss of appetite, over grooming, hiding out, sulking, increased sleeping, eliminating outside of the litter box and hissing or excessive meowing. Or your cat might act differently towards you, another pet or family member.
If your cat seems stressed, the first step is take your cat to your veterinarian
As always, if you notice anything different about your kitty, take your cat to your veterinarian to rule out any underlying medical problem. If your veterinarian says that all is well with your kitty and gives your cat a clean ‘bill of health’, than you know that something behavioral or a change is causing your cat stress.
Try to identify what is causing the stress
Even the smallest change at your home can cause a cat to be stressed. Some cats will feel stressed for an hour while others might sulk for a week. Your cat could be stressed for a number of small or big things. Did you just have your home painted? Change the carpet? Is the litter box dirty? Did you change your cat’s food? Or your cat’s bed?
There are also big factors or triggers that would increase your cat’s stress level. Did you add another cat? Baby? Move to a new home or any other big environmental changes?
Look around your home, keep an eye of your cat to see if there is anything you can sense that has changed. It shouldn’t be that difficult to know what triggers your cat’s fear or why the change occurred.
To minimize stress levels for your kitty, below are some recommendations to help:
1. If you have something that will change in your cat’s environment, try to prepare your cat for known upcoming changes so she won’t get too scared or confused.
2. Make sure your cat has safe hideaways and safe retreats for when she doesn’t want to be bothered. They also like a place to jump onto to feel safe when there are a lot of people around.
3. Always keep your cat’s litter box clean and make sure the set-up is appealing (type of litter, type of box, location, number of boxes). Don’t move it or change it unless there is an issue.
4. Play with your kitty on a daily basis to build confidence and help your cat develop a positive association with you or with certain areas of the home.
5. Cats don’t like change so try to keep changes to a minimum. This applies to even the simplest things such as brands of litter, food or even the food bowl itself. If a change must take place, do a gradual transition, especially food and/or litter.
6. Have toys, treats, and interactive games for your kitty to keep your cat happy and entertained. The happier your cat is, the less stressed he or she will be.
7. Although cats are very independent, if you decide to go away, even for a day, have a neighbor or friend come by to take care of your cat, especially if you have only one cat. If you leave your cat alone for a few days, he will be sad and stressed out.
As always, you know your cat best so give your kitty extra comfort, love and play time while you figure out what is causing your kitty stress.
If your cat is manifesting his stress by pooping outside the litter box, read these tips to help! Cat Elimination Issues