Strange as it may sound, a stressed cat is not at all uncommon. What’s worse is that we can sometimes inadvertently be the cause of their stress. Fortunately, we can also help our cats manage their stress appropriately and limit the potential stressors in their lives. Let’s take a look how…
What are the Signs of Stress in Cats
The anxiety and fear associated with stress affects your cat similar to the way it affects people, though cats tend to hide it well. Underneath that façade, however, your cat may be suffering. Each cat may eventually react to stress differently. Some cats will have more “accidents” – suddenly forgetting his or her housebreaking skills and using your home as a personal litter box. A stressed cat may also mild to severe bouts of:
Anorexia – Suddenly losing interest in food.
Isolation – Avoiding interaction with people and/or other pets.
Excessive Grooming – Licking spots on their body raw or bald.
Aggression – These aggressive actions may be towards people or other animals.
Illnesses – Chronic stress in cats can suppress their immune response, causing a broad range of ailments including cystitis.
What Causes Stress in Cats?
The cause of stress can be as various as the signs of stress. Quite often, though, the stress is precipitated by a change in your cat’s environment. These changes may not be immediately obvious to you, but some cats are extremely sensitive to them. Here are just a few possible causes of stress for cats:
- Dirty litter box conditions
- Recent move to a new home
- New household pet
- New furniture or flooring in the home
- Friends of family visiting
- Loud noises (e.g., nearby construction, thunderstorms, someone learning how to play a new instrument)
How Should You Address Stress in Cats?
If your cat’s behavior changes suddenly in any way, schedule an appointment with your veterinarian. He or she can rule out any underlying medical issues as well as make suggestions to help lower your cat's stress level. This may include such things as more frequent litter box cleanings, medication or therapeutic diets and setting up more areas in your home for your cat to perch, play and scratch. Stress in a very serious concern and one that should be addressed immediately.