Most people believe that cats are generally stressed out.
The truth is that a cat’s normal state shouldn’t be stressed. She should be happy and relaxed! If kitties are constantly showing signs of stress and anxiety, we should do everything that we can to help them feel better.
How can you tell if your feline is stressed? Generally the signs are subtle. Oftentimes, it’s a slight change in behavior that may not even seem to be related to anxiety.
Some of the more common signals include:
NOTE: Understand and be aware that these signs and symptoms are symptomatic of other medical conditions as well, so don’t be too quick to assume you’re dealing with feline anxiety. Always check with your veterinarian if you are not sure.
Hypothetically, let’s say your kitty is exhibiting one or more of the above signs of anxiety. You’ve brought her in for a check-up and medically, everything checks out. What next?
First, try to pinpoint sources of the stress and eliminate them, if possible. Humans tend to view these changes through our own lens, so it’s important to remember that unexpected things can be at the root of your cat’s stress.
The most obvious reason is physical pain. Some other obvious reasons include changes in living conditions such as a divorce, family relocations, introduction of a new companion animal, or an arrival of a new baby. There are also smaller changes that trigger anxiety: new furniture, a neighbor’s dog barking, a dirty litter box, denial to access to their favorite location, a neighborhood tomcat, even music they don’t like! So there are many things big or small that can cause anxiety.
Boredom is a constant stressor for housecats so it's easy to provide lots of vertical space for exploration. Most all cats love being elevated. Home-built or store-bought cat trees are an easy solution. Puzzle feeders are also a good source of entertainment because the puzzle feeders appeal to their hunting instinct. Some people use pheromone diffusers or sprays that can have a calming effect on some facts.
Lastly, make sure your kitty is getting daily interaction and enrichment directly from you. Being a good kitty parent builds your kitty's confidence and forms deeper bonds and connections.
Believe it or not, many feline behaviorists recommend clicker training as a fantastic way to bond with your kitty. This gives kitty a sense of control over her environment and offers the promise of a yummy kitty treat. Cats can learn amazing tricks with clicker training. (See Video below that I grabbed off the internet. It's general but you can get the idea how easy it is to clicker train a cat.)
(I clicker trained my black Kitty named Naughty. Naughty learned how to weave through obstacles, jump over hay bales, run through a tube, crawl under a bar and much more. For a different blog post and speaking of clicker training, I also clicker trained my Indian Runner Ducks.)
Always set aside some one-on-one time bonding time with your cat in the space where she is most relaxed. Learn to bond every day at the same time because cats are true creatures of habit. Bond with no distractions which means leaving your phone in another room and turning off the TV. Brush, pet, sing, clicker train just do whatever pleases your cat the most. It’ll be good for both of you!
A happy cat will make you happy too! If you feel that your cat is suffering from stress or anxiety, try some of these suggestions to help them live a more “purr-fect” life.
One of the best ways to minimize the likelihood of chronic medical conditions is to feed your cat a high quality, appropriate diet.
We recommend two great cat food and kitty treat brands that you should check out:
(I would like to thank the fine people at Life's Abundance for providing some of this important information.)
Learn How to Clicker Train your Kitty