No matter the temperament of your cat, it is likely that they’ll experience stress at some time in their life. While stress may appear randomly in cats, it’s important to recognise that it comes as a response to stimuli. Such stimuli can be experienced both internally and externally, affecting your cat’s behaviour negatively if it is experienced for a long period of time.
Here are 8 causes of stress in cats and what you can do to help prevent them:
1. Visiting The Veterinarian
Cats are creatures that like to stay in their comfort zone, so a visit to the vets is sure to cause stress for most pets. This is especially true for felines.
Tip: Try to get your cat used to spending time in their carrier prior to visiting the vet. Try leaving them inside or by placing their favourite toy inside.
2. A New Family Member
The arrival of a new pet, guest or baby in a household can affect your cat’s behaviour in the form of avoidance or, in extreme cases, depression.
Tip: Positive association with the new member of the household should always be encouraged. Distraction techniques, such as regular attention and synthetic pheromones, are also likely to help.
3. Moving House
Due to their territorial nature, moving house can be a very stressful ordeal for any cat. Cats will spread their scent around their home by rubbing themselves up against furniture, so can become very distressed when they relocate due to uncertainty about their new environment.
Tip: Synthetic pheromones help reduce the stress experienced by a cat and can be placed in a new home to imitate familiar scents.
4. Laser Pointer Toys
A popular toy choice amongst many cat owners, very few people are aware of the stress that a laser pointer can inflict upon a cat. Overuse of this type of toy can cause frustration for a cat who naturally has a desire to hunt and catch prey, which they’re unable to fulfil with a laser pointer.
Tip: Try to use other toys, such as the fishing rod type, more regularly rather than a laser pointer, as they encourage more natural behavioural patterns.
5. Loud Noise
Cats naturally have very sensitive hearing. In fact, even noises inaudible to us can be extremely loud to a feline. Repeated loud noises can really harm a cat’s wellbeing and are likely to cause stress.
Tip: Minimise any loud noises in the cat’s environment, avoid shouting as well as avoid collars with bells.
6. Change In Diet
Cats have a highly senstitive sense of taste due to a larger number of taste buds found on their tongue. A sudden change in diet can result in vocal distress, the scattering of the food across the floor and even urination outside of the litter box.
Tip: Ensure your cat is fed a highly nutritious diet and, if you plan on changing their food type, introduce the new food gradually to avoid such behaviours.
7. An Inability To Scratch
Cats instinctively need to scratch to trim their claws and mark their territory, which is crucial in the feline world. Without a scratching post, felines will resort to using a sofa to scratch.
Tip: Ensure you have at least one scratching post available for your cat and never use claw covers as this can cause extreme distress and discomfort.
8. Irregular Mental Stimulation
While cats are renowned for their independent nature, few people recognise that felines require regular mental stimulation to keep them happy.
Tip: Try teaching your cat some tricks to keep them mentally stimulated or invest in a few good quality interactive toys, such as treat puzzles.
Work full time and looking for regular pet care? Perhaps Tailster can help! We have a range of vetted carers across the UK, available to care for your pet as and when you require. For more information, click here.