Being a cat sometimes isn’t as easy as it looks, it’s not all naps, nibbles and strokes. There are a lot of things which could potentially cause stress in your cats life and as a responsible cat owner it is important to ensure that you are aware of how your cat is feeling so that you can take steps to fix any issues which may be causing stress in your pet’s life.
Identifying Stress in Your Cat
There are a number of key things you should watch out for to determine whether or not your cat is suffering from stress. These are:
- More Frequent Urination is common when a cat is suffering from stress so you should make sure you are aware of how often your cat typically urinates so that you can spot if they are using their litter tray more frequently.
- Be aware of any obvious signs of your cat struggling to pass urine comfortably as well as any spots of blood appearing in their urine (if your cat does have urinary problems try feeding them some cat food designed for urinary health).
- Bowel problems can also indicate that your cat is stressed, some cats will produce diarrhoea due to the stress upsetting their stomach.
- Pay attention to where your cat is defecating or urinating at, any urination or defecation outside of the litter tray is a strong indicator of stress.
- If your cat is meowing a lot more than usual or seems very keen to spend much more time with you than usual this is another indicator of stress.
- Changes in eating habits should be watched too.
Causes of Feline Stress and How to Deal With Them
Health problems, particularly one which cause obvious physical discomfort, will put your cat under a lot of stress. If you suspect that your cat may be suffering any sort of physical discomfort due to health problems immediately take it to the vet for a full professional assessment.
Loud Noises can cause stress for your cat. Particularly if these noises are persistent and your cat has no means of escaping from it. Ensure that your TV or music is not too loud, and if you are listening to something which may possibly be too loud for your cat ensure that the door is open so that your cat can freely leave the room. It is also a great idea to create a safe area for your cat to go to where it knows it can escape from any stressful situations such as lots of guest visiting, this area should ideally be off the ground, sheltered and quiet. Something simple like a cardboard box on a table in a bedroom would be sufficient.
Lack of stimulation, particularly if your cat is confined to a relatively small indoor space, can cause your cat to display signs of stress. Ways to help minimize this would be to hide toys and treats around your apartment which would allow your cat to enjoy the activity of hunting, you can also get interactive toys for your cat and it is also a good idea to spend at least 5 minutes a day playing with your cat.
Poor toilet facilities can also cause stress for cats, if your litter box is too small for your cat or if it is not cleaned regularly enough (if this is an issue we recommend you try a self cleaning litter tray as this will keep your tray much cleaner while requiring much less work from you).
Ensure that you have a good well aired litter box which is cleaned out on a daily basis and also ensure that you replace the litter at least once a week (more if you have multiple cats using the tray).
Aggressive Neighborhood Cats
If your cat is an outdoor cat they are likely to encounter other cats, cats can be fiercely territorial so sometimes you may get a cat which may be aggressive or violent towards your cat. This obviously causes a huge amount of stress for your cat and can leave them feeling intimidated and extremely wary. Even if they see neighboring cats looking at them through windows this can cause your cat to become stressed.
There is no quick easy fix for dealing with aggressive neighborhood cats however there are a lot of things you can do. First and foremost ensure that you have a smart catflap which only opens for your pet, the last thing you want is other cats being able to come into your home as this will make it extremely hard for your cat to relax if they are constantly worried about the possibility of another cat appearing.
Another thing you can do is to ensure that litter trays and scratching posts and things and places that your cat likes to frequent are kept out of view so that when you cat is using them they cannot be watched by other cats in the garden.
You should also wash doorways and all cat entry points to your home to remove the smell of other cats.
Finally to prevent cats from coming in your garden or near your home you can put chicken wire up on roofs and fences so that other cats will be unable to gain access to your garden and intimidate your cat, this may also prevent your own cat from leaving the garden which will also prevent them from encountering any aggressive cats or upsetting your neighbours by pooping in their flowerbed.
Hopefully the tips in this article will help your cat to relax and be able to feel completely comfortable in it’s own furry skin, if you have any more tips or any experience of dealing with a stressed cat please share them in the comments below.