Depending on the personality of your finicky feline, there could be a primary contributor or an abundance of triggers, causing stress. One thing I know for sure is cat stress is not a rare instance. It happens more so than people realize. You know the saying “a cat is a creature of habit”, this statement is very true when it comes to most cats. They dispise change or disruption and are adamant about their daily routines. If you suspect your cat is stressed here are a few suggestions to what could be causing it.
Introducing A New Pet
Bringing a new pet into your home is no doubt the most common culprit. I added it anyway just in case for new cat owners and a friendly refresher for us seasoned owners.
All though cats are actually social and it is not uncommon for cats to bond, it most certainly won’t happen instantly or without lending stress to one or both cats.
Sickness or Injury
I know it has been said many times a cat is master of disguise when it comes to hiding any sickness or injury. This is an understatment. I have witnessed cats on several occaisions who are litterallly on the brink of death’s door find strength to attack a veterinarian (and me) while giving medical treatment. Unless it is an obvious injury or sickness you better believe you probably won’t know until your cat is extremely ill. In the meantime, your cat is feeling yucky or in pain and the stress just keeps growing. I’ve broken down some of the common issues I’ve personally encountered.
- Dental: Bad Teeth and Gums
This is the worst and hard to catch in early stages. This leads to a cat not eating enough and associating pain with their food – big stresser!
Most of us humans have dealt with a spell or two of this, therefore, we know it’s not fun and can be stressful. This is no different for our feiline companions. This is definitely difficult to determine in a multi cat home.
You’re probably thinking this should fall under dental. But an absess can ocurr in other places besides the mouth. For cats this can happen and usually does on or inside the ear or the bottom of a paw. My personal cat Binx actually had this happen to one of his paws. He started going outside with his best friend (our dog) Mason. At first we thought his behavior change must have something to do with hanging outside with the dog. By the time I realized his acting out came from the absess, his poor paw had swollen about 3 sizes and was full of infection.
A uti or better known as urinary tract infection is highly common among cats (male and female). Another issue we humans share with our cats.
- Cat Herpes Virus: Cold: Respiratory Infection
Another common sickness among cats. Cat herpes, colds and respiratory infections. The herpes virus is very contagious and sadly once your cat contracts it the virus tends to flare up every so often. Cat herpes virus is similar to a cold or respiratory infection with a few exceptions. Think about how cranky and unhappy you are when you have a cold or flu, your cat will show some cranky behvaior if sick with any of these.
- Joint Pain: Arthritis
This mostly affects older cats but in rare cases a younger cat can have these problems too. Perhaps they once had a broken leg or a surgery. Either way, joint pains will cause some unwanted behavior and is not easily spotted.
Lack of Stimulus
What do I mean by lack of stimulus? Toys. Not just any toys. A cat has natural insticnts to scratch, hunt and they like private space for sleeping and grooming. So having the proper toys and bedding is invaluable to avoiding and relieving stress in your cat.
A Change In Environment
Last but not least we come to the change in environment. There is a lot of information in this section and I’ve tried to break it down as best as I could. Some of these may or may not apply to all cats, again it may depend on individual personality and preferences. I’ve added the most common and of course issues I have experienced first hand.
- Placement of Food and Litter Box
Now this may seem odd or even petty but cats can be both! But I can honestly say I have experienced this with numerous kitties over the years. Certain cats get all worked up if they do not like where food or litter boxes are placed. Or if you move bowls and boxes around after having them in an established place for a long period. No, I’m not kidding!
- House Cleaning
Again, it sounds crazy I know. Whether you have a new cat, an older cat or an outdoor cat adjusting to indoor life you will most likely run into one or two that get out of sorts when you clean. Often the problem arises from the noise of using a vaccum or other electric floor cleaner. However, brooms, mops, strong cleaners, and moving items around can be a bad disruption. If you have pets (and kids!) then you probably do small daily clean up and heavy cleaning every couple days. Or at least that’s my routine. So, every couple days I’m bringing out the big guns (noisey bulky cleaners) and it simply tortures a select group of mine. They hate the noise, the movement and just everything about it.
- Rearranging Furniture
Remember – creature of habit, yep that’s right. I’ve had a handful of cats through the years who tolerate me rearranging the furniture. The others go completely balastic for days.
- Car Ride
Unlike dogs, there aren’t many cats who enjoy a car ride. Trips to the vet, appointments and other travel can cause an array of high anxiety.
- New Home or Renovations
Whether you’re moving into a new home, rennovating, or perhaps transitioning an outdoor cat to inside be sure to expect high levels of stress that last anywhere from two weeks to months.
- Outside Strays
Even if your feline is fixed the presence of strange and unaltered outside stray cats might cause slight issues with yours.
Us humans know how hectic and chaotic holidays become. Between house guests and parties the entire home is in uproar – not just our pets!
Avoid, Reduce & Eliminate
I hope this gives you all some pointers to help avoid, reduce and hopefully entirely eliminate stress related issues for your cat. Please know this is in no way an exhautive list. As there could be a plethora of triggers for someone else’s cat with no impact to yours or vice versa.