Cats are wonderful companions that bring joy and comfort to our lives. However, just like humans, cats can experience stress too. As pet owners, it’s important to recognise when our cats are feeling stressed. It’s unlikely that you are intentionally trying to stress out your cat, but some of your habits or behaviours could be causing them tension. If we can identify the potential causes, then we can help them feel more comfortable and relaxed. Of course, there will be some unavoidable causes of stress, such as moving with a cat, but for day-to-day living, we can do our best to make their life as stress-free as possible.
This usually occurs during playtime or while petting. Your cat may be fine one moment, and then aggressively swiping at or biting you the next. Although cats do enjoy a loving stroke, there can be too much of a good thing and the only indicator your cat can give you to stop, is through aggression. It doesn’t mean that they disliked the petting, just that their sensitivity threshold had been reached. Keep an eye out for a fast-moving whip-like motion of the tail, growling, or dilated pupils. These are all signs that your cat could be overstimulated.
Cats need to have a quiet, restful place where they can get away from it all if things are getting a bit much. If your cat doesn’t have somewhere to retreat when things are getting too noisy or overwhelming, they may become stressed and anxious.
Cats are creatures of habit. As such, they thrive on routine and predictability. You may notice that they dislike changes in feeding times or work schedules, or if you relocate their litter box. Try to establish a consistent routine for your cat and stick to it as much as possible. This can be particularly difficult when it comes to cat travel as that will disrupt even the strictest of schedules.
Using punishment when your cat misbehaves isn’t going to work. Your cat is unable to understand that their behaviour is wrong and won’t know what the solution you are hoping for is. Punishment is likely to seem random to your cat, or worse, they could associate punishments with unrelated elements such as certain people or other pets being the cause. This could lead your cat to being unnecessarily stressed or wary of certain people or situations. You’d be better off taking a look at what is causing the unwanted behaviour in the first place.
Although the internet is strewn with millions of videos of people pranking their cats, it is not advised to copy this behaviour. While you may get a quick laugh out of making them jump, your cat is likely to feel unsafe and distressed by these acts.
Cats are supremely clean animals. If their litter box is too dirty, they may become stressed, or avoid using it altogether. Not to mention that a dirty litter box poses great health risks to both cats and humans. Make sure you clean your cat’s litter box regularly and provide a box that is appropriate for their size.
Although dozing all day seems like a dreamy situation to most humans, sleeping all day isn’t a cat’s normal behaviour. Cats are natural hunters. If your cat does not have ample opportunity to exercise their hunting instincts they may begin to display distressing behaviours such as scratching furniture. You could invest in some food puzzles to make mealtimes more interesting, or allow them to discover food that you’ve placed around the house for them on their own.
In conclusion, cats can experience stress just like humans, and as pet owners, it’s our responsibility to ensure our cats are happy and comfortable. By identifying the potential causes of stress in cats and taking steps to address them, we can help our feline friends lead happy and stress-free lives.
Fri Jun 9 2023