Is your cat stressed out?

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Even though they sleep 12-16 hours a day, cats can be stressed by a number of things, including moving to a new home, rearranging furniture, veterinary visits, travel, boarding, and other pets. Sometimes when they feel stress, they exhibit unwanted behaviors such as urine spraying, scratching and hiding. Since these stressors can usually be difficult to avoid, cat owners often look for solutions to keep their pets happy. Here are some tips we can share:

1. Set up hiding spaces. Cats appreciate a private place where they can retreat to feel safe when overwhelmed or threatened. Hiding places can be a box or even a carrier in which your cat can seek shelter.

2. Cats typically do not care for environmental change. Trying to keep changes to a minimum in your cat’s environment and keeping your cat’s daily routine constant can be useful in preventing or alleviating stress and anxiety.

3. When travelling, always keep cats in carriers and cover them with a towel or blanket to comfort them.

4. If you have multiple cats, make sure you have an adequate number of litterboxes (one for each cat is recommended)

5. Play with your cat every day. Cats love your attention. It is recommended to change out toys often to stimulate curiosity and interest. (This is cat-approved change)

6. Consult your veterinarian to see if pheromone products, which work chemically to relieve

Your cat is a territorial animal, and that means your home is their territory. Our modern, human, lifestyle can often conflict with our cats’ needs. Cats love large open spaces, being their own boss, calm, quiet environments with their own routine, quick
escape routes and a stable territory. Modern human lives often do not allow cats to have all these things they need.

Cats communicate through natural messages (pheromones) released in the air. When comfortable and happy, cats mark their territory as familiar by rubbing their face against corners, furniture, people, or other cats at home. This rubbing action releases natural ‘happy messages’ into their environment. These “happy messages” can reassure cats and can make them feel more comfortable. Pheromones, like Feliway, provide these natural feline “happy messages” to help reassure your cat as they adjust to the pace of modern life. These feline odorless messages are only perceived by other cats. People and dogs are not affected.

Whatever you do to help your cat feel good, I encourage you to have a conversation with your veterinarian if you suspect that your kitty suffers from stress. It’s important to rule out an underlying medical condition because disease-induced and stress-induced symptoms and behaviors can look the exact same.

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