Why Is My Cat Stressed? Things To Consider
Have you noticed that your furry friend is not quite themselves recently? Cats can be very sensitive creatures! Sometimes, if something changes in their environment, they can become anxious or worried, and start acting a little differently.
There are lots of reasons that your cat might feel stressed or worried; and in response your pet will often experience a natural ‘fight or flight’ reaction. This is a normal response for cats when they perceive something to be threatening or stressful - causing them to want to fight (so you may see aggressive behaviours), or flee (and hide if they can’t flee)!
Normally any stress response will be short-lived. Once the perceived threat ends, your kitty’s stress will reduce and go back to normal! However, it’s important to uncover what might be troubling your kitty so that you can help them feel more relaxed and at home.
How To Tell If Your Cat Is Stressed
You may be able to tell that your puss is not purrfectly happy with a simple glance! If their ears are flat back on their head, if they have dilated pupils, or they crouch down and vocalise these are all indicators that something isn’t quite right.
More drastic body language could be fleeing, looking for exits and escapes, hiding, growling and hissing. Other signs include hiding, a loss of appetite or over-eating, vocalising more often or with a different pitch, spraying urine, scratching furniture and other items, showing a change in personality or behaving aggressively.
5 Reasons Your Cat May Be Feeling Stressed
If you think your pet is stressed, it’s important to try and find out why.
1. Check That Your Cat Is Healthy
It may not be immediately obvious if your kitty is unwell, but if they feel ill, it could be causing them stress. You should take your cat to the vet to rule out any illness, ensure your cat is healthy and not experiencing any pain - especially if they have lost their appetite. A vet visit will be able to reassure you - and help you understand any other causes of kitty stress!
2. Have There Been Any Changes Your Kitty Doesn’t Like?
Cats are undeniably creatures of habit! They can feel unsettled if something changes around the home - for example, if you’ve moved the furniture, you’re undergoing renovations or you’ve introduced something new into their environment. If possible, you should try and make changes around the house slowly to give your kitty some time to adjust. Any unfamiliar new pets or visitors may cause kitty stress, so ensure new introductions are made gradually. Your pet may also feel uncomfortable if there are changes to their routine, so it’s best to make sure that you stick to this as much as possible; keep mealtimes regular to avoid your kitty turning their nose up at their food!
3. Is Your Cat In A Kitty Conflict?
Another cat may be causing your kitty to feel stressed. If you have multiple kitties, make sure one is not blocking the other’s resources, and that both cats have access to their own food and water bowls, litter box, and scratching post. Where you place these resources is also key to ensure that your cat is happy to use them. Place the litter box away from food bowls and clean it regularly. It’s also best to locate your cat’s resources somewhere quiet so that they are not disturbed.
If you don’t have other pets, you should consider the possibility that neighbourhood cats may be coming by the house and scaring your kitty! If your cat spots another cat through the window then you should pull the curtains to help your kitty feel more secure - also ensure that there’s no way for a neighbourhood cat to enter your home.
4. Is There Somewhere Your Cat Can Retreat To?
While excessive hiding may be a sign that your kitty is feeling stressed, hiding is a natural behaviour. It’s important that your pet has somewhere to go if they need some alone time! This can help them feel calm and secure so it’s a good idea to make sure that there are some comfy cat-friendly shelves and perches around the house. A climbing tree is also a good idea; your cat can retreat up there to observe your home from up high and have some thinking space!
5. Loud Noises Are Not A Cat’s Best Friend
Cats have sensitive hearing so they may be disturbed by loud noises such as fireworks. They may also find some noisy household appliances stressful or could even be upset if the humans in their life are making too much noise. Consider how you use appliances such as hairdryers, tumble dryers and vacuum cleaners and try not to use these right next to your purrrfect pal.
Don’t panic if your cat seems to be a bit stressed; try and get to the bottom of what’s upsetting them and remove the source if you can. Always speak to your vet and consider seeking a professional behaviour specialist if your cat continues to show signs of stress; long-term stress can be emotionally and physically draining for cats. Consider using a FELIWAY CLASSIC Diffuser to create a relaxing environment in your home. Thanks to the “happy messages” it releases, FELIWAY provides constant comfort to your cat, and can alleviate stress, and help nurture your relationship.
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