08 Jan Is Your Cat Stressed Out?
Feline Stress and Anxiety
Before cats were taken into our homes, they lived very different lives. They roamed free and had lots of space available to them. What they ate, where they lived, and where they eliminated was all under their control. This allowed them to avoid interactions with other cats, dogs, and and people if they chose to. Escaping a threatening and stressful situation was also much easier when they controlled their environment.
Today our cats live in houses and apartments that may limit their ability to roam. They have little or no control over their resources. Access to the outdoors is restricted or not allowed. Living spaces are shared with other cats, dogs, and people. While changes have protected cats and improved their welfare, they also can cause stress and anxiety.
What are the behavior signs of stress and anxiety?
- When they are stressed, cats may mark their territory with urine (urine spraying)
- Stressed cats may also mark with their claws
- Cats that are stressed may also fight with other cats in their environment
- Lack of grooming or over-grooming (excessive licking of the body) may be a symptom of stress
- Persistent hiding or vomiting
What are some of the medical sign of stress and anxiety?
- Cystitis – Bladder inflammation that can cause urinary issues
- Alopecia – Partial to complete hair loss
- Anorexia – Consistently refusing to eat, which leads to drastic weight loss
- Obesity or poor body condition
What can be done to help diminish stress and anxiety?
- Add diffusers (Feliway) to diminish tension and the need to mark with urine and claws
- Create an environment that utilizes the space in a feline friendly way
- Have one food bowl for each cat in different locations
- Create places for cats to arrange themselves vertically with climbing towers and shelves
- Have litter boxes throughout the environment and at least one for each cat
- Create an environment that stimulates the cat mentally
- Offer a variety of toys that are rotated every few days
- Create “treasure hunts” or foraging that allows the cat to utilize their inner predator
- Create safe zones so cate that do not get along can avoid each other if they wish
- Make sure to spend time interacting with your cat through pay, petting, and just being nearby
If these steps do not help your pet with their stress and anxiety, please contact our office at 417.358.1300 or visit us at centralpetcare.com. You can take the cat out of the wild, but you can’t take all the wild out of the cat. Central Pet Care offers a wide range of veterinary services.