Did you know that just like us, our feline companions can experience bouts of stress and anxiety? These feelings are not healthy and can cause your cat to experience a variety of negative physical and behavioral changes. Below, a Woodland vet shares some of the more common causes of feline stress and some of the available treatment options.
In almost all cases, the major cause of stress in cats can be summed up in one word: change. Cat’s are creatures of habit and are notorious for resisting change of any kind. Significant changes, such as relocation to a new home, can cause a more profound reaction in your pet. Some of the more common “life changes” that may cause your cat to become stressed include:
- Introduction to or conflict among other cats in the household. Adjusting to a new feline can be a big change for a cat. Additionally, there is often stress in multi-cat households when cats become territorial or combative with one another.
- Absence or loss of companion (human or animal). Just like humans, cats grieve loss. Whether a member of the family moved away, changed their work schedule, or someone has passed on, be they two-legged or four-legged, your cat may be experiencing feelings of stress over the loss.
- New addition to the family. Cats are often territorial and protective over their own environment. Bringing home a new baby, with all of its new noises and smells – not to mention the extra attention the baby will be getting – can make a cat feel uneasy.
- Changes in home environment. Again, as any Woodland vet will tell you, most cats simply do not like change. Rearranging or purchasing new furniture or even something as simple as switching to a new brand of litter can send a stress-prone cat into a tizzy.
What Does Stress Do to a Cat?
Stress is just as harmful in pets as it is in humans. It can cause suppression of the immune system, which, over time, can make your cat more susceptible to illness. It can even lead to full blown depression, which causes a variety of physical manifestations. Your Woodland vet can help you determine whether your cat is experiencing feelings of stress and anxiety.
Stress isn’t something that can be treated medically. There are, however, plenty of things you can do to help reduce your cat’s stress level. Discuss the situation with your Woodland vet. He or she can help you get to the bottom of what’s causing the stress so that you can address it. In some cases, a specialist may even be recommended. Together you can work toward helping your cat overcome the stress they’re feeling and become happier, healthier and more balanced.