Your Cats Social Interaction
Never force your cat to interact. Let kitty set the pace of how much he wants to engage. Dont insist on holding or petting your cat if he doesnt want it. If he doesnt mind being held, always put him down before he starts to struggle. Keep the experience positive. You can give him incentives to be more sociable, such as offering a treat or playtime, but always let it be his choice of whether to accept or decline.
Signs Of Stress In Cats
It can be difficult to identify whether your cats personality or behavioral changes are due to stress or an underlying health issue.
The signs of stress listed below are also common symptoms of other issues, so keep a close eye on your cat in order to rule out any more dangerous ailments. Ask yourself whether these symptoms started along with some change in your cats life. The introduction of a new pet, family member, or a change of location will usually coincide with the onset of your cats behavioral changes.
- Hiding. If your usually friendly cat has become a hermit and is constantly hiding under the bed, its possible that stress is the culprit. Oftentimes, a stressed out cat wants nothing more than to spend some time in seclusion.
- Inappropriate urination. If your cat is going outside of the litterbox, its a sign something is wrong. If FLUTD has been ruled out, your cat may simply be under a lot of stress.
- Is your cat just not as enthusiastic about mealtime as they once were? While a fairly common symptom of a stressed out cat, a decreased appetite can be dangerous if your cat isnt consuming enough food to keep them healthy.
- Excessive grooming. Your cat may even lose hair by licking themselves too much out of stress.
- Aggression. A stressed-out cat may sometimes become aggressive or defensive or both.
Cat Anxiety: Understanding Your Stressed Cat
You may tease someone for being a “scaredy-cat” or even get a chuckle when something startles your kitty and makes them jump. But a fearful, anxious cat is no joke. Cat anxiety can be a serious problem, especially if left untreated. If you think you might be dealing with a stressed cat, keep reading in order to understand what’s going on with your kitty and how you can help them.
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Review Your Cats Environment
Just as humans need peace and calm, when they are stressed, so do cats. Turn the television down and make sure that any other loud noise, especially shouting or screaming from young children, is kept to a minimum. Let your cat rest in a quiet location and make it as comfortable as possible for him.
As an absolute bare minimum, you should give your cat his own condo, so that he can hide away, whenever he wants to. Also, provide him with a suitable scratching post. In the UK, it is illegal to declaw your cat. Scratching is a means of relieving stress. Ensure your cat scratching post is stable and tall enough for your cat when fully stretched out. Many people make the mistake of buying cat posts that are actually too small for fully grown cats.
Also ensure that your has easy access to food, water and a litter tray. Cats tend not to like sharing litter trays, so make sure that you have enough to accommodate all of them.
It is not normally advisable to radically change your cat’s diet. However, when a cat is stressed, his food may be a little too rich for him to digest properly. Switching to a bland diet, for a short period of time, may help and there are several specialist dry cat foods which are specifically formulated for sensitive stomachs.
Addiionally, remember that if your cat does engage in inappropriate behaviour, do not shout or hit him. He cant help it and disciplining a cat like this will only serve to increase the intensity of his anxiety.
Are There Any Other Tips To Reduce My Cats Stress Levels During The Veterinary Visit
Unless otherwise directed by your veterinarian, do not feed your cat for several hours before her appointment to reduce the chance for vomiting or letting the bowels or bladder go during the trip.
If you have a kitten, train her to use a cat carrier as a haven early on .
Unlike dogs, who often associate car trips with fun destinations such as the park or trail, few cats go in the car for a pleasant adventure. You can teach your cat to relax in the car by taking short trips that have a positive outcome. For example, put your cat in the carrier, give her one of her favorite treats or toys, and take a short drive that ends up back home. During the entire process, speak to her in a calm and reassuring voice.
For some cats, a Thundershirt®, which swaddles the cat much like swaddling an infant, may reduce anxiety.
One of the most effective ways to decrease your cats anxiety level is to remain calm and relaxed during the visit. Speak to your cat in a calm and soothing voice and reassure her by petting her on her head or stroking her in her favorite spot.
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Use The Power Of Your Cats Nose
Scent swapping is a technique that can be used to help your senior cat get to know the newcomer before they even meet. Place a blanket with the new cats scent on it near your cats bed. You can also place toys or bedding that the new cat has used throughout the house for your cat to check out. If this isnt possible beforehand, no worries the technique can still be applied routinely as the cats get to know each other.
Keep Your Car At A Comfortable Temperature
Keeping your cars interior at a comfortable temperature will make traveling feel better for your cat. Using the air conditioning or heater is a great way to make your cat as comfortable as possible. Keep bathroom stops short, and remember that the interior temperature of your car will quickly return to the ambient outside temperature once you turn your car off. If you do have to stop, make sure someone can stay with your cat.
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Minimizing Your Senior Cats Stress
Pay close attention to your senior cat and cater to her through this new period of adjustment. Direct most of your positive attention to your senior. Be sure to pet her and praise her often, washing your hands to remove the scent of the new cat beforehand. .
If your older cat is young enough to still be playful, play with her first or create playtime together using a feather wand when the cats are in close proximity. Place water dishes throughout the house, and supervise feeding time to be sure your senior cat is eating enough. Feeding healthy treats by hand can remind your old cat that she is special. Also, it is up to you as the top cat to teach the new cat her place in the household. If she is too pushy or playful with your senior cat, redirect her play toward you and your feather wand. This has worked with young Juice, whose playtime is now directed toward me and his toys and away from sleeping Bob.
Sometimes no matter how well youve prepared, things just wont go as planned. A new younger cat or kitten may always play too rough with your old cat and be a constant source of stress. Also, every cat is an individual, capable of deciding on her own about whom to like or dislike. Usually, given time, two cats learn to accept each other, but once in a while two individuals never learn to get along.
Training Your Cat To Come When Called
Cats are very trainable and it is easy to train them when called. This can prevent the need to chase them when it is time to load them into the carrier, thus reducing stress from the start. Using positive reinforcement, like a favorite treat, your cat can learn to come when you call her name. This video will walk you through the steps to begin the training. Be sure do the training sessions when you cat is relaxed, happy, and content.
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Helping Your Stressed Cat
The first thing you need to know in order to help your anxious cat is that you should never punish or scold them for their anxious behavior. This will only increase negative associations and fear and make things worse instead of better. The goal should be to help them feel safe and relaxed in their surroundings.
Once you’ve identified anxious behaviors in your cat, the first step is to make an appointment with your veterinarian to either diagnose or rule out any underlying health issues or toxins that might be causing your kitty stress. Because cats tend to hide their pain, this is not something that is likely to be obvious, and may require a thorough series of blood panels and other tests. If it turns out that your cat is suffering from pain or a medical issue, treating the issue may be all that’s required to eliminate the anxious behavior and help your kitty get back to their normal self.
On the other hand, if your vet rules out a physical problem as the cause, this may mean that the issue is psychological. If this is the case, your vet should be able to advise you on a course of treatment.
Try A Different Type Of Carrier
This tip wont work for all cats, but some cats prefer feeling less restricted while theyre traveling. Of course, we wouldnt recommend leaving your cat loose in the car, but using something like the Cat-in-the-bag E-Z-Zip Cat Carrier can transform journeys into a more relaxed experience. Your cats head is free to look around, but their body is contained by a soft cotton bag. This carrier has a handle that you can secure to your cars seatbelt.
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Moving With A Cat: Tips For Making It Less Stressful
Cats are not known for their affinity for change. Most cats are highly territorial creatures who prefer to spend their days in a familiar environment and are resistant to new routines. But unfortunately for our feline friends, occasionally we do have to move, and that means they have to move too.
Moving with a cat is all about minimizing stress where you can. How your cat reacts to the move has a lot to do with their individual temperament, but as their benevolent human, its your responsibility to mitigate the anxiety of the situation as much as possible. By putting in the time and effort to reduce your cats stress while moving, you can help ease the transition and lessen the likelihood of your feline companion developing fear- or anxiety-based behaviors in your new home.
Read through the tips below to learn how you can make moving with a cat less stressful for both your feline companion and yourself.
Review Your Cat’s Health
Last but not least, it is important to ensure that your vaccinations, flea and worming treatments, are all up to date. Check your cat over for any injuries and look in their ears for ear mites. Should you have any doubts whatsoever, about the health of your cat, then you should always visit your local veterinary surgeon, for a check-up. It may well be that blood tests are needed to assess if there is an underlying medical condition that is causing your cat’s anxiety.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the authors knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.
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What Is The Best Type Of Carrier
Individual cats may have specific preferences for a carrier, but some options are better than others. Although cardboard cat carriers are inexpensive and disposable, they should only be used as a temporary form of transport because a determined cat can break out of them in no time. Durable options for transporting your cat range from soft-sided carriers, to wire crates, to hard plastic carriers with wire doors. Whatever the type of permanent carrier you choose, it should be easy to clean and you should be able to get your cat in and out of it without a struggle. Purchase a carrier that fits your cats size. If you have several cats, provide each one of them with their own carrier.
The ideal carrier is strong, lightweight, and waterproof, with a large opening to allow easy access to the cat, and an easy to remove top with quick release fasteners. If you have a carrier with a removable top, your cat may be able to remain nestled in the bottom of the carrier while your veterinarian performs some parts of the routine physical examination. And if your cat needs to stay in the hospital for any reason, the bottom part of the carrier can be put into the hospital cage to provide a familiar and comforting bed.
Before You Go To The Vet
Make the Carrier Less ScaryChances are, the only time your cat sees their carrier is when youre about to take them to the veterinarian. You can make the carrier less scary by setting it up like a safe place they can hang out in on a regular basis. To entice them into their carrier, make it a comfortable place they want to spend time by putting a blanket, a toy, and treats inside . You can also feed them inside the carrier to get them more acclimated to being in it. Just by seeing the carrier in their everyday environment, your cat will become more used to it and avoid the dread they feel when it mysteriously shows up out of the blue.
Keep Your Cat CalmCalming pheromones can help your cat calm themselves in their carrier. Simply spray a spritz or two in their carrier the night before the appointment and again on the day of the appointment to allow the pheromones to calm your cat.
Consider CatnipThis herb can relax your cat, helping them associate a trip to the vet something a lot more fun. Catnips effects typically only last for 515 minutes, but it doesnt affect all cats. Occasionally, cats will become agitated when they smell catnip, so its a good idea to give your cat a trial dose first to see how they react before you ever need it for a trip to the vet.
Get Your Cat Used to Being HandledPractice holding your cat and examining them from head to tail. This will help your cat feel less stressed when the vet or veterinary technician gives them an exam.
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How To Help Your Stressed Cat
Thankfully there are a number of things you can do to help your cat if it is stressed. If you can figure out the source of the stress, the best thing to do is to eliminate that source but that isn’t always possible. You can’t get rid of a family member or new pet or stop construction because your cat is stressed about it but that doesn’t mean you can’t still help your cat.
Sprays, wipes, and diffusers containing pheromones are good starting points for helping to manage anxiety in your feline friend. Products like what Feliway makes can be used continuously and long term or as needed. They help cats feel calm and safe but may need to be used alongside something else if they don’t help by themselves.
Supplements and special diets are the next steps in helping your stressed cat. Various ingredients like L-theanine, milk whey proteins, magnolia, and phelodendron extracts have research showing they may help a stressed cat and can be found in items like Zylkene and even special cat foods like Royal Canin’s Calm diet.
If necessary, stressed cats may need a combination of pheromones, supplements, diets, and even medications. Fluoxetine, gabapentin, amitryptilline, and other prescription items may be recommended by your veterinarian for stress cases that cannot be addressed with other modalities. Depending on the situation, these may need to be given temporarily or long term but if you can help your cat feel less stress than whatever you need to do is worth it.
Pet Your Cat To Reduce Stress
Pet Your Cat to Reduce Stress!
| Cornell Feline Health Center – Member Blog
With the current COVID-19 situation, we are all going through a difficult time and such times can be stressful. It has been shown that stress can have negative effects on our physical and mental well-being, so finding ways of minimizing stress is in everyone’s best interest.
We have a simple solution to this problem for all cat owners…try petting your cat. Most of us have experienced the calming effect of interacting with our feline friends, and numerous studies suggest that interaction with cats and dogs can have beneficial physiologic and psychological effects on us.
Talk about a safe and effective therapy…no side effects and an appreciable benefit to your mood. We say win-win for both you and your cat.
In fact, a recent study that used university students as subjects found that petting cats and dogs for 10 minutes decreased the amount of cortisol in their saliva. These findings are consistent with the notion that interacting with cats and dogs decreases stress.
We know that these are trying times, but with people, cats, and dogs working together, we will all be OK.
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