The following advice has been put together by @vitalpetclub
Unfortunately, cats can be very pernickety creatures, which means that lots of different things can make them worry. Changes to your daily routine, new people coming into their house as well as encountering other cats – whether this is another pet who lives with them, or a feline they’ve come across in the garden – can all stress your cat out.
But don’t fret. Even though cats may become anxious for a variety of different reasons, there are lots of helpful ways to help to bring your cat’s stress levels right back down again and we’ll be going through these below.
Signs of stress in felines
Cats can be very secretive animals and will often hide away when they are feeling scared or unhappy which can make it very difficult for owners to identify when something isn’t right. On top of this, even if your moggie doesn’t hide away when they’re stressed, the other signs are often very subtle too.
That being said, it’s still important to always look out for signs of cat stress which can include:
- Flattening ears down
- Wide eyes and large pupils
- Running away and/or hiding
- Back-arching and tensing
- Not wanting affection or not wanting to play as normal
- Signs of aggression which can include yowling, hissing or trying to bite and scratch (these are defence mechanism behaviours that cats sometimes show when they feel threatened)
Cat pee and stress
If you notice your cat is peeing more frequently, is struggling to pee, or has started peeing blood (when the urine becomes pink-tinged or red) these can all be signs of stress.
The signs listed above can be associated with feline idiopathic cystitis (FIC), a painful urinary condition where the bladder becomes inflamed. The exact cause of FIC is unknow but there is thought to be a strong link between FIC and stress. If you spot any of the signs above, these can also indicate other serious medical problems, and either way you should contact your vet for advice.
Can cats have anxiety?
The answer is yes. Just like us hoomins, cats can experience feelings of anxiety and some individuals will be more prone to this than others.
It’s important to note that, unlike dogs, cats don’t tend to get attached to their owners in the same way and can cope better with a greater degree of independence, meaning you are far less likely to find a cat with separation anxiety.
How to make a cat less stressed
The important thing to remember is that, whilst change is a necessary fact of life, there are lots of things you can do to anticipate and alleviate situations that your moggie may find stressful.
For example, if you’re planning on having builders in the house, try to section off areas where your cat can be away from the noise and commotion, and provide plenty of hiding places (such as small carboard boxes placed up high) so your cat has their own space where they can feel safe. Or if you are introducing a new pet into the house, make sure you prepare and do your research to try and make the process as stress-free as possible for your existing moggie. You can find more information about introducing a new cat here.
There are also pheromone-releasing sprays and plugins which will release chemicals that can help your pet to feel content and relaxed. These products are not only are great for day-to-day use, they can also be used when you think your cat may be becoming stressed.
If you have done all of the above, and you’re still finding your cat is not quite right, or if they are actively showing signs of stress, be sure to speak with a veterinary professional for further advice.
Leaving your cat home alone
As we’ve mentioned previously, cats don’t rely on their owners in the same way dogs do. That being said, it’s still important to remember not to leave young cats and kittens unsupervised for long periods of time, as they may start to stray away from home or hurt themselves. And if you’ve been spending a lot of time at home with your feline, make sure you separate gradually when you start leaving your cat home alone again to try and avoid upsetting their daily routine- something they may find stressful.