Signs Your Cat is Stressed and What to Do About It
Cats can be relaxed characters or more high maintenance and prone to stress. Sometimes you may have one who appears to be unable to relax, is full of energy and always playing, play-fighting or seeking outdoor adventures. If yours is the high-energy type, then a GPS for cats will ensure you can easily locate him if he wanders away from home.
Having a pet who cannot seem to relax doesn't necessarily mean he's stressed, but how do you know?
Whether yours is a couch potato or a real live wire, here are 5 signs that your cat is stressed:
1. Changing Eating Pattern
If your feline is a finicky eater already, then it might be hard to spot if he suddenly loses his appetite. But if he's normally enthusiastic about his food, then it will be obvious if he stops eating. Either way, if he unexpectedly starts to lose or gain a noticeable amount of weight, he's definitely in need of some attention.
2. Toileting Accidents
Has your cat suddenly stopped asking to go outside for urination and defecation? Or perhaps he has been using an indoor litter tray all his life but has started to soil inside the house. If he was formerly clean in the house but has begun to toilet indoors, he's probably indicating to you that everything is less than rosy in his world.
3. Hiding or Unusual Clinginess
Hiding away from you or leaving home is another pretty clear indication that your puss is unhappy about something. Don't forget that a GPS cat tracker is an easy way to keep tabs on yours if he does decide to move out. On the other hand, one who is normally a bit aloof or independent might become uncharacteristically clingy, wanting to always be with you and climbing into your lap. It might be flattering that your mister cool has become more affectionate, but if it's out of character, then it could be a sign of stress.
4. Excessive Grooming
It's normal for cats to spend a lot of time grooming themselves, and they're great at keeping their fur in top condition. However, they also use the licking action as a way to relieve stress. Therefore, if your feline friend is grooming himself to the point of creating bald spots, particularly on the belly or legs, then it's time to consider what might be troubling him.
5. Uncharacteristic Aggression
Some cats are not people-focused and would rather be left to their own devices. They're not shy about striking out if someone touches them uninvited. Others are happy to have physical affection from anyone who's offering, all day, every day. Sudden aggression from a cat who is normally happy-go-lucky is another indicator that there's something else going on.
What to Do if Your Cat is Stressed
If your guy is showing one of these five clear signs that he's feeling stressed, then the first thing you need to do is figure out what's causing the problem. Cats can be put out by the smallest change to their surroundings, so it might take a little detective work to uncover the reason he is acting out of character.
Causes of Cat Stress
Cats are incredibly sensitive creatures, and small problems can have a big impact. So when you're looking for the reasons why your furry companion is troubled, don't overlook the little things.
Some common reasons cats get stressed are:
- Changes at home like new furniture, new people or other pets.
- Losing familiar people and things.
- Remodelling or similarly noisy activity like parties or having an unfamiliar crowd of people over for Christmas.
- Territory conflicts, such as being intimidated by other animals, either inside or outside the home.
- Grooming appointments, cattery stays or visits to the vet.
How to Relieve Your Cat's Stress
When you have identified the cause of your pet's unease, it should be relatively easy to fix. Follow these simple steps to eliminate the stress triggers and help your friend feel more like his old self.
Ensure all his physical needs are being met. Keep the litter trays clean and fresh-smelling or provide ready access to outdoors via a flap.
Remove any competition from other animals. Provide plenty of water bowls and feed your animals separately so that your cat is not intimidated.
Offer lots of play and cuddle time. This is particularly important if there's unusual noise or commotion in the house.
Provide at least one scratching post. More than one is preferable; and if you have the space, erect a climbing frame with platforms for lounging safely out of reach of the hustle and bustle of the household.
Try cat pheromones. Normally available as a proprietary plug-in diffuser or spray, they can be an enormous help with calming cat stress.
Get your cat a health check. Many of the typical stress signs can also indicate a health problem, so it's always a good idea to get any unusual activity checked by a professional.
An unhappy cat might be prone to avoiding going home. So while you're putting his world right, track his movements with a Safer Pet cat GPS tracker for peace of mind that he can be safely located at any time.