Stress and anxiety can have adverse effects on human health, and it is similar for cats. Not only does this state compromise a cat’s physical health, but it can also lead to behavioral problems such as urinating and defecating, becoming aggressive, depressed, and self-absorbed.
A fact you may not know: Cats Are Naturally Anxious
Suppose a cat develops a new behavioral problem. In that case, veteran cat owners will immediately suspect a health problem, such as a direct link between not peeing in the litter box and urinary tract disease, and then wonder if the behavior problem is due to stress change the environment.
What Kinds of Changes Make Cats Anxious?
Cats do not cope well with change, and even the most reasonable changes may make them feel uncomfortable. Significant environmental changes may cause a cat to feel broken, including moving, new family members (owner’s newborn baby, owner’s spouse, other animals), all of which can cause anxiety.
Many cats are scared and nervous on their way out to the doctor, so a small space where they can feel safe is significant. A well-designed cat bag or airline box is a viable solution, and remember to stuff a small blanket that they love to use daily inside.
2.New family members (both human and animal)
Be aware that the cat will not accept the new member immediately. It may have various reactions from mild to severe, and it is best to plan how to deal with this reaction. This will take a long time to break in and adapt to solve, do not try to make the cat accept the new family member immediately in a short time.
Prepare familiar blankets and cat bags for her during the move as well as when she goes out. When she arrives at her new home, try to separate safe space for her with things she is familiar with, it doesn’t need to be big; give her three days to a week to get acquainted with the whole new home slowly, don’t force her to accept the new environment.
If you have a sudden and drastic change in your work schedule, it can also be stressful for your cat – for example, if you don’t arrive home at the usual time, he will think you are lost or in danger outside. So if your cat’s behavior isn’t quite right, and at the same time, you’ve had a significant change in your schedule recently, connect the dots and give your cat a little time to digest it slowly.
5.Home environment, parties, and noise
Changes in the home environment can also be stressful for cats, such as a change in the orientation of the litter box, the disappearance of furniture corners that cats used to hide in, etc. It is also more difficult for them to take the “from something to nothing” changes in the home, such as the old mats they used to like being thrown away, but no new mats of similar materials are available. In short, most cats need time to accept and get used to the changes.
Gatherings can be stressful for cats, especially housebound cats, for long periods and do not see new people. A word of caution: Do not force the cat to “meet the guests”, but give it a small space where it can come and go freely and hide, and it will come out on its own if it wants to.
This is one of the most challenging types of stress for cats to deal with. When it feels frightened or afraid but cannot define the source, many cats will usually blame the nearest living creature with a long-standing daily grudge, such as another cat, the family dog, or one of the owners.
For example, a cat looks at its territory from a distance through the window glass at home (and may not have the opportunity to go outside). That is likely to take out its anger on the nearest person or animal if it finds another cat on what it thought was its territory. The most effective way to solve this problem is to chase away the cat that appears in its imaginary territory.
Fear is well understood. Cats fear loud noises, unfamiliar environments they cannot break free of, and hostile cats in hot pursuit.
2.Competition and Jealousy
If a litter of kittens grows up together, observe that a sense of order will slowly develop between cats living in a group. This sense of order will usually show itself when grooming and licking each other’s fur: usually, the cat with higher status will help the other cats groom more and express annoyance at the other cats’ attempts to groom their fur.
So if the relationship between two cats is irreconcilable, it is best to try to isolate, give them frequent opportunities for quick contact, and determine their hierarchical affiliation.
However, suppose two cats who are familiar with each other suddenly become tense. Some change in the external environment has likely caused this, and the owner needs to activate detective skills to identify the source of stress and eliminate it.
3.Cat separation anxiety
Cat has separation anxiety. Cats have a wide variety of personalities. Like people, some cats like their alone time, and they can set themselves up nicely when you are not home. Some cats, however, don’t like to be left alone by themselves, and they want to play with you. And some cats are not even a moment away from their dear you, and they feel overwhelmed with anxiety because you are away.
How to Reduce Anxiety in Cats?
For example, reducing noise, closing the curtains, a litter box in a corner, a high point in the home overlooking the entire area, a closed corner (safe house) for the cat to access only, etc., so that the cat feels safe, is a sure way to eliminate anxiety.
Use scents and pheromones that cats like
Certain scents (e.g., lavender) have a calming effect.
It is also believed that cat pheromones (the smell emitted by the glands in the cheeks and between the paws) may help reduce stress in cats, so products have been synthesized and developed, and you can search for “cat pheromones” as a keyword, which may be helpful.
Be a relaxed owner
Put yourself in a relaxed state – cats are susceptible to human emotions. If you are in a stressful state, likely, the cat will not be able to relax either (a tip: if you look at the cat and it licks its mouth frequently but does not leave, it means that it feels stressed but does not give up caring for you). So if you are stressed and depressed, take a hot bath, put on some soft music, try to relax, and your cat will be comforted by it (mutual comfort).