Monday, December 31, 2012

5 Signs Your Cat May Be Stressed

Cats don't like change.  They thrive on familiarity and consistency enjoying a regular routine in the environment they call home.  Any deviation from the norm can cause your kitty stress that will manifest itself in both physical and emotional ways.

First check for medical issues if you cat demonstrates any change in activity and behavior, or is acting unusual and out of character. If all is well physically, the problem could be related to stress.  A move to a new home, change in activity in the household like someone moving out of the home or a death of another pet, can trigger stress for your kitty.

Be aware of the following signs your kitty is feeling stress in their life.

1...Change in eating habits

If you live with cats you will notice they have set times to eat their meals.  Even those who have a filled bowl available at all times will develop an eating schedule that fits their needs. When a cat is stressed their eating patterns will change either by overeating or refusing food.  If you see your kitty visiting the food bowl more than usual or your normally good eater is leaving the bowl full, stress may be the issue.

2...Excessive Grooming

Cats are normally fanatical about keeping clean and if you share your household with a feline you are sure to have witnessed their daily grooming routine.  However, excessive grooming can kitty's attempt at stress relief. Constantly licking paws or licking and biting at one particular area of the body, with out a medical reason like skin irritation, could be is a warning sign of stress.

3...Hair Loss

If your kitty has had a significant change in their life you may notice bald spots developing on areas of their body.  This could be due to excessive licking/grooming or other repetitive behavior like rubbing their face or neck against rough surfaces.

4...Change in behavior

A normally outgoing kitty may  become reclusive and withdrawn as a reaction to stress they feel. Friendly cats my develop anti-social behavior and react uncharacteristically by hissing and biting. Any change in personality is a warning that your cat is feeling the stress of a change in their life.

5...Litter Box Issues

The litter box can tell you a lot about the emotional health of your cat.  A change in litter box habits or routine is a signal that something is not right in their world.  Refusing to use the box, "going" outside the box, or sitting in the box for extended periods of time are all warning signs of stress.

If the change in your cats behavior is determined to be from stress and not an underlying medical issue, there are ways to help your kitty through the rough times.  First try to re-establish your cat's routine to get back to normal as soon as possible, or create a new consistent and stable routine that they enjoy. Groom your kitty with a soft brush or grooming mitt for a calming massage many cats enjoy. Don't forget to interact and give your cat lots of attention during times of change. Gradually, they will adjust and settle into their new routine.

No comments:

Post a Comment