Stress is cats’ biggest enemy. It may be hard for you to imagine since cats are often found lounging comfortably on the couch, playing with their favorite toys or enjoying food you specially selected for them. However, cats are subject to various potential stress factors. They form their own habits and create their own territory. When their territory is violated or their habits have been interrupted, they face the risk of increasing their stress.
Being a creature of habit, cats get confused when the environment is changed or a new member has entered into the same habitat. Below are the most common stressors that can potentially put a cat under tremendous stress:
- New member in the family such as a cat, adult or baby
- Loss of a loved one such as a cat owner or another cat
- Change in owner’s schedule
- A unfamiliar outdoor cat
- Quick change in diet
- Abrupt change in litter
- Unsanitary litter box
- Relocating or renovating the home
- New furniture or rearrangement of furniture
- Lack of space, overcrowding
- Boarding or hospitalization
- Lack of human socialization or loneliness
- Tension or anger between human family members
- Staying with someone who is not fond of cats
- Natural disaster, severe weather, fire or other emergencies
Though cats are masters of hiding pain and discomfort, there are signs that show a cat that may be under stress:
- Spraying or inappropriate elimination such as urinating outside the litter box
- Isolation, hiding from everyone
- or becoming more demanding for attention
- Excessive scratching behavior
- Excessive vocalization
- Decrease in appetite
- Aggression towards a person or another cat in the same household
- Aviodance of certain locations of the house
- Insufficient grooming or excessive grooming
- Diarrhea, constipation or other digestive tract problem
The rule of thumb is that if you see change of behavior in your cat, it is likely that your cat is going through some sort of stress issue and needs your help to relieve their frustration that they have couped up inside. However, many medical illnesses also display similar symptoms so you should consult a veterinarian to rule out any medical cause.
Your keen observation will help detect behavioral problems in your cats and provide the right solution they need to resolve the underlining issues.
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Via: Cat vs. Cat by Pam Johnson-Bennett
Image: Blackangel (flickr)
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