When you see your cat lounging in a puddle of sunlight without a care in the world, it may be hard to believe it could ever be stressed. Nevertheless, your feline friend can suffer from stress, and you might not recognize the condition when you see it. Here are some tips on how to spot stress in your cat and what to do about it.
How to Tell If Your Cat Is Stressed
If you find yourself wondering where your cat is and searching under the bed or in the back of the linen closet, you may be seeing signs of stress in your cat. Other cats make their stress known by yowling or meowing insistently for attention or perhaps avoiding the litter box and making messes around the house. Even over-grooming can be a sign of feline stress.
Even incidents that seem minor or ordinary to you can cause stress to a young or timid cat. The loud monster that you know as the vacuum cleaner, a dirty litter box, rearranged furniture, or a barking dog outside can all stress your cat.
How to Help Your Stressed Cat
One of the key ways to help your stressed cat cope with invasions to its daily routine is to provide him with a safe place, even if it is just a box your pet can curl up in. Make sure this place does not have any strange smells, since a cat’s sense of smell is so much more sensitive than a person’s nose. Some cats feel less stressed if they can retreat to a high spot, from which they can survey everything happening. When your cat is in its safe space, leave it alone unless the cat invites interaction.
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Reducing sensory stimuli can help some cats. For instance, a large water bowl that does not touch the cat’s whiskers when it drinks can help. Some cats find the scent of lavender calming. If your cat doesn’t respond to any of these simple changes around the home, or if it starts to show physical responses such as aggressive behavior or stress-induced anorexia, check with your veterinarian, who can prescribe medications to help combat the effects of stress.
Some cats have personalities that are more sensitive to stress than others. Avoid punishing your cat for any behaviors it shows due to stress, but instead, seek to alleviate its stress by calming the cat’s environment and following the helpful tips shown here.
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