The effects of stress and worry can be very harmful to a person’s health. When this happens, keep cats inside in a room with soft lighting and soothing music.
It can not only exacerbate pre-existing medical diseases but also lead to a variety of problems that are commonly classed as behavioral, such as litter box avoidance, aggressive behavior, depressed symptoms, and withdrawal.
When behavioral issues suddenly appear, savvy cat owners rapidly learn to look first for signs of health problems, such as urinary tract infections with kitty litter box avoidance, and then for stress factors, such as changes in the environment.
Why Do Cats Get Nervous?
Cats have trouble adjusting to change. Even little changes in a cat’s environment might cause stress. Dreadful outcomes might result from major changes like moving or welcoming a newborn, a new partner, or an additional animal into the house. The following are some outside elements that could cause anxiety:
- Visits to animal hospitals Many cats worry and feel anxious when they go to the vet. It is necessary to carry your cat in a box, and until you get to the vet’s office, covering the container with a small blanket might help hide the route taken.
- Brand-new relatives (human or animal). Cats’ reactions to new family members might vary widely. By being aware of this and making measures in advance, the anxious caregiver can reduce the anxiety of an unexpected introduction while simultaneously reassuring the cat that it is still required. When introducing a new roommate or spouse, it is important to be understanding and patient. The newcomer must resist the urge to pressure the cat into adjusting quickly and instead allow the cat to do so at its own pace.
- Moving to a new residence To guarantee that your cat’s life is as unaffected as possible throughout the move, care must be taken. It is beneficial to keep your cat segregated in a room with a favorite “blankie,” toys, a litter box, food, and a bed while the rest of the house is being moved. Bring the cat and all of its belongings to the new home or apartment, then place the cat in a “safe room” while you unpack and arrange the rest of the furniture for the family. If your cat has its own possessions nearby, it will be easier for it to recognize this as its home. With help, a long-distance move is simpler to manage. To prepare the cat’s safe haven, send one person to the new home beforehand. The other will transport the cat in a container with a favorite toy or “blankie” whether they are traveling by plane, rail, or car.
- A change to the daily routine. When adjusting to a new job or other routine change, it’s also a good idea to plan ahead. A week before you begin working for progressively longer periods of time, start taking occasional rests. When you arrive back, set aside some time to play with your cat using some of their favorite toys.
- Noisy gatherings and events. Holidays are particularly stressful for cats, especially ones that highlight fireworks, like the Fourth of July. In huge gatherings with loud music, talking, and laughter, even the most sanguine cat will usually run for cover.
- The view from the window. Any discussion of external influences would be incomplete without mentioning re-directed hostility, an unexpected and usually baffling behavior that is more frequent than acknowledged. A house cat will frequently direct its aggression while sat on its favorite perch and gazing out the window. A strange cat, raccoon, or other animal is suddenly spotted wandering through the yard. Because it is frustrated that it cannot get outdoors to defend the territory, the cat will suddenly attack the nearest creature, whether it be another resident cat or a defenseless human. The best method to handle this type of hostility is to take efforts to prevent the foreign animal from continuing its investigation of your yard while keeping your cat away from the screen or obstructing the view in some other way. In an emergency, you might consider using a commercial cat repellent. The presence of new cats or rats in the yard may also cause general tension, which might result in behaviors like marking.
Emotional Stressors in Cats
The majority of environmental modifications resulted in cats experiencing emotional discomfort. One of two explanations for this is that either environmental changes or emotional stress are the root of the issue. The following are some more emotional stressors:
- Fear. Storms, fires, earthquakes, tornadoes, and other natural calamities are dreadful stressors. Having a plan for resolving an emergency and preparing your cats for disaster in advance is essential despite the fact that many of these environmental pressures are unanticipated. For predictable fear-related stresses, such as boisterous holidays like Halloween, the Fourth of July, and New Year’s Eve, one should plan ahead. Stress has similar affects on felines. Occasionally, a cat that is being “picked on” by another cat exhibits dread. The cat that gets repeatedly “caught” by another cat in a cramped litter box is a well-known illustration of the factor. Of course, the end result is litter box avoidance. Giving the “victim cat” a separate, open litter box with lots of exits will help to improve the situation.
An older cat with anxiety
Stress has a significant impact on the health of senior cats as well as cats with serious physical conditions. Stress does not benefit cats with weak immune systems, such as those with FIV or FeLV.
In a tranquil setting with few environmental disturbances, older cats and cats with chronic or terminal illnesses fare substantially better. Bringing home a new kitten or a loud dog would be incredibly foolish under these circumstances. In a hospital or hospice situation, tipping your toes and whispering are not necessary, but loud noises and erratic movement should be avoided, if at all possible. If there are children residing there, it would be advisable to have a conversation with them in order to prepare them for the inevitable event as well as to ask for their support in reducing the older feline patient’s stress.
How to lessen a cat’s tension
Take steps to ease your cat’s anxiety if you can find the stressor. By removing the stressor, you can put a stop to the cat’s anxiety. For example, you might change the litter box, close the blinds, or stop throwing loud parties in your home.
With the use of natural remedies like herbs, flower essences, or homeopathic medications, cats’ tension and anxiety can be eased. Consult your veterinarian before using any of these products, and only administer one treatment at a time.
Pheromone-containing sprays, collars, and plug-ins are also very good at reducing stress. By replicating the pheromones that cats use to mark their territory, these products provide cats a sense of security.
In extreme cases, your doctor might have to recommend an anti-anxiety medication to help your cat feel calmer and be more receptive to other methods of reducing stress.
One of the most important things you can do to ease your cat’s tension is to learn to manage your own stress. A hot bath, a glass of wine, or a cup of herbal tea may be all you need when you find yourself “telegraphing” your worry to your cat.
If you suspect your pet is sick, call your vet immediately. For health-related questions, always consult your veterinarian, as they have examined your family pet, know the pet’s health history, and may make the best recommendations for your pet.
Wondering about Struvite Crystals in Cats? Check it out on our latest post!