funny evil gray striped catYou may have to fight the urge to laugh when the words “stress” and “cat” are used in the same sentence. What could our feline friends possibly have to worry about? They have warm beds, an abundance of toys, and limitless food at their beck and call.

Stress in cats is a real issue, though, and Beverly Hills Veterinary Associates wants to make sure that your cat isn’t one of those who are affected.

Identifying Stress in Cats

A stressed cat is an unhappy one. Our kitty friends aren’t always good about letting us know what they need, but if you watch closely, you can easily identify a happy, content cat from an anxious, worried one. Your cat may be stressed if he or she:

  • Has changes in grooming habits
  • Sleeps more than usual
  • Spends a lot of his or her time hiding
  • Has abnormal urination or defecation habits
  • Begins to eliminate outside of the litter box
  • Shows unusual signs of aggression
  • Is no longer as playful or friendly
  • Grooms excessively

Triggers for Trouble

In a way, domestication is stressful in and of itself. We took a solitary, outdoor hunter indoors to live amongst our pack. There are, however, many other things about life that may be stressful for the typical cat.

Cats are extremely sensitive to their surroundings, and even the slightest change may lead to trouble. Some common triggers for stress in cats include:

Combating Problems

Sometimes stress is unavoidable for cats. After all, you are probably not going to delay having children or moving to accept that big promotion because your cat doth protest. You can better support your cat, though, by employing some basic principles to ease stress.

Provide all basic resources – Besides food and water, cats have some other basic needs. A clean litter box and a place to scratch are important. Cats also thrive with a perch of some kind and plenty of toys to play with.

Create a cat refuge – All cats should have access to an area that is theirs and theirs alone. Your cat refuge should contain the basics, including food, water, a litter box, a scratching surface, vertical space, and toys. This is a place where he or she can retreat, so it should be a safe area where other animals and young children cannot gain access.

Use pheromones – Products like Feliway contain pheromones designed to increase your cat’s sense of well-being. Sprays, collars, and wall diffusers may be used to help your cat feel at ease.

Keep kitty healthy – Discomfort and illness can certainly lead to stress in cats. Keep regular wellness visits and monitor your pet’s health to keep him or her happy.

While cats may not be stressed by the same things that we find stressful as humans, stress can be a very real factor in their lives. We as pet owners can help reduce stress for our cat companions by providing good care and doing our part to recognize the needs of the feline species.