Although our pet cats don’t have to worry about finding shelter or food, they are very prone, like humans, to the evil of our century: stress.
What is the origin of stress in felines? What are the solutions to help them? We take stock of this anti-stress issue!
What are the causes of stress in cats?
Stress in your companion can be caused by many factors. Even though our mustached friends don’t take the subway and enjoy the house or the outdoors all day, they are prone to stress.
The causes are generally environmental, here are some of the most common:
- Your cat is bored and lacks activities, he finds the time long
- He feels neglected because you are less present than before
- He must share his territory with a newcomer, whether it is a human or an animal
- It undergoes unexpected changes and loses its bearings, especially if you move
- It was transported by car or plane, to go to the vet or to travel
- He was scolded, maybe a little too loud, and panics as soon as he hears you
Whatever the reason, your cat isn’t freaking out and her stress is real. He can quickly become fearful or anxious and enter a vicious circle. It is important to help your cat deal with stress as quickly as possible.
For that, it is important to know how to spot the first signs of stress as soon as they appear …
What are the symptoms of a stressed cat?
When stress is temporary, its manifestations can escape you. But when it is installed, one or more signs appear and should alert you. They usually translate to the physical level.
Here are the main symptoms of stress in cats:
- He is too calm and hides in a corner (under the bed, in a bookcase) and always remains on his guard
- He urinates in inappropriate places or scratches your sofa or furniture even though he was well educated before
- He develops eating disorders, no longer eats or on the contrary gorges himself until he makes himself vomit
- He becomes aggressive, if you approach him he may spit, bite or scratch and seems hostile to your intervention
- He pulls out his hair, scratches or bites compulsively, to the point of self-harm
If you notice any of these symptoms, it is necessary to consult your veterinarian to rule out other causes such as illness. This is when the diagnosis of stress is made.
When stress becomes chronic, your cat’s immune defenses weaken and he becomes susceptible to disease and infection. It is becoming urgent to help him to fight effectively against stress to preserve his health.
How to help your cat to become Zen?
For starters, identifying the cause of stress can be a big help in taking the right actions. Sometimes, it doesn’t take much for your cat to regain his serenity and zest for life.
The first steps to take depending on the stressor
Pregnancy or arrival of a child
Cats sense hormonal changes or may be jealous of the baby’s arrival. And for good reason, they feel abandoned because you simply care less about them in this particular time of transition for you.
In this case, the best is to pamper your cat, take time for him, respond to his requests, talk to him, pet him. In short, love is a powerful medicine and your cat needs your attention to feel reassured and secure.
Arrival of a new animal or a stranger
You have adopted a kitten, a puppy or just met a new companion. Your cat is on his territory, and even if he is used to your presence, a new arrival can quickly disturb him.
It is therefore important to show him your affection so that he does not feel abandoned, to the detriment of another person. If it is the arrival of a new animal that disturbs them, be sure to delimit their living spaces first.
Your cat is nonetheless an insatiable curious, so be patient and don’t let go of your attention. You can entice him into the game, chances are he will eventually crack up and want to jump on that wicker mouse or that pink ball running through the living room.
The absence of his master
Your job is holding you back longer than usual or your business trips are preventing you from coming home. You visit your friends too frequently. In short, your cat is bored and feels abandoned.
Show her your presence when you are there to make up for lost time. And when you have to be away, think about its comfort to compensate for its loneliness: cat tree, toys and scratching posts will make its days shorter and more pleasant.
Moving and transport
If there is one stage in life that a cat hates above all else, it is moving or traveling outside the home. If you add to that the stress of a trip to the vet, it gives your companion a cocktail of anxiety.
In these cases, only your presence can reassure him. Do not hesitate to get in touch with him, to caress him, to relieve his stress, even if it will not be perfect, it will already be a great help for your cat.
If there has been a move, gradually get your cat used to their new surroundings. Piece by piece and without letting it go outside for at least 6 weeks. Remember to recreate his environment and make his things available quickly (basket, cat tree, toys, etc.).
Treating stress when it isn’t enough to soothe your cat
Despite your best efforts and a sufficiently long adaptation time, your cat is still stressed. Of course, continue to take care of him, to speak quietly and to show as much understanding as possible. Create a routine and keep it, don’t make changes on the spur of the moment and leave your feline’s things in their place: bowls, toys, basket, etc.
However, do not neglect outside help, sometimes a helping hand can help you calm your cat’s anxiety quickly …
Buy anti-stress products reserved for the feline population
You will find anti-stress products for your hairball at the vet or pet store. Initially, favor natural treatments, in the form of diffusers or sprays containing pheromones.
Food supplements and medicalized anti-stress kibbles can also give good results. These solutions should be tried before considering a long and expensive veterinary treatment.
Consult a veterinarian
If, despite all our advice, the symptoms do not decrease or increase in their frequency and intensity, do not hesitate to consult a veterinarian. He will be able to guide you and give you the best leads to effectively combat your cat’s stress.
If necessary, he will refer you to a behaviorist veterinarian. Your cat is unique and requires the use of a tailor-made method, adapted to his personality, to release him durably from his state of stress.