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Stressed cat behavior
Stressed cat behavior

Cats do not express their emotions openly like other species do, they often tend to hide their mood rather than show it clearly. It therefore becomes necessary for each owner to learn to recognize the signs that can indicate a state of anxiety and stress in their cat in order to be able to help him in the best way. So let's see how to recognize the behavior of a stressed cat and possible causes.

Types of stress

Cats regulate it stress in a physiological way above all through the sympathetic nervous system, the hypothalamus, pituitary and adrenal glands. These organs control the release of hormones which serve to identify and deal with sudden and short-term stressful situations, such as those associated with the natural lifestyle of the species. These sudden situations are identified as acute stress. This response system, however, is less effective in the case of stressful situations that last over time. Repeated and long-lasting stressful situations are identified as chronic stress. The latter type significantly affects the development of behavioral problems and diseases related to stress.

Recognize the signs related to acute and chronic stress

Signs of acute stress

Acute stress can be caused by one event or one unexpected threat and it is relatively easy to recognize. Obvious signs of acute stress can be:

  • State of immobility
  • Crouching and shaking body, hidden stomach and bent paws
  • Rapid, labored breathing
  • Tail hidden between the legs
  • Head down
  • Eyes dilated
  • Ears flattened backwards
  • Vibrissae attached to the muzzle
  • Demonstration of aggression if approached
  • Involuntary urination or defecation
  • The cat may hiss, growl, tremble or drool

Signs of chronic stress

Chronic stress is more difficult to recognize as it can develop over a long period of time and show more discrete signals, such as changes in daily routine.

Chronic stress signals can be:

  • Loss of interest in food, hair care or the fulfillment of physiological needs
  • Extreme lethargy
  • Tendency to hide
  • Tendency to become more "clingy" or more detached
  • Tendency to defensive aggression towards people or cats
  • Extreme state of vigilance
  • Lack of interest in physical activity and play
  • Changes in behavior and daily habits
  • Marking of the domestic territory through urine
  • Obsessive and continuous care of the hair
  • Obsessive behaviors out of the ordinary
  • Increased facial rubbing on various surfaces
  • Weight loss
  • Apathy
  • Alopecia (hair loss)

What can be the causes of stress in a cat?

Potentials causes of stress in your cat may be related to hers interaction with people and the surrounding environment. Stress, however, can also be caused by conflictual relationship towards specimens of the same species. If your cat, for example, shares spaces, objects and habits of daily life with another cat with whom he does not get along, over time he can develop a form of chronic stress. The same could happen if you live in a neighborhood that is heavily populated by cats.

It is also possible that some owners may unintentionally cause stress for their kitty. In fact, they can be physically intrusive and in need of more contact than that tolerated by the cat. Others can destabilize their four-legged friends by behaving unpredictably.

L' surrounding environment it can also be stressful for your pet. Being confined within confined spaces or have a restricted access places of interest such as hiding places, bowls or litter boxes can be very stressful for your kitty.

The development of an anxious state can also be related to change in his habits and his daily routine. Cats can often feel destabilized by the introduction of a new animal into the home, the arrival of a newborn, the constant presence of strangers, or a move. All these factors are not to be underestimated, it is therefore always recommended that any change in the cat's daily life is introduced gradually.

What to do to relieve or prevent stress in cats

To prevent or treat your cat's stress, create one routine daily, avoid, or slowly and gradually introduce any change. The more predictable the family environment and habits of the cat, the safer your cat will feel. Remember to enrich your cat's home environment with games and pastimes, spend time with him, be reassuring and give him your unconditional love.

At the same time, you can resort to some natural remedies, commercially available, to help your cat react more relaxed to stressful situations. Two examples of natural remedies to combat stress are: pheromones they food supplements.

Pheromones exist on the market in 3 variants, room spray, room diffuser and collar. These release a pleasant fragrance which helps the cat to relax.

Food supplements help to decrease the anxious state of the cat, they are totally natural, they have no contraindications or side effects.

When any abnormal situation or symptom of malaise occurs, it is always advisable to contact your own veterinarian of trust before intervening in any other way.