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    How to reduce stress in cats

    Articlecat health and wellbeingThursday 20 June 2013
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    Cats can become very stressed and tense at times and this is no surprise. Cats were originally desert animals and of course their natural habitat is one of solitude and sparseness. Placing them in a busy city with roads and humans everywhere can be a huge change to an instinctive lifestyle that it would have been used to.
     
    Anxiety and stress are caused by three factors
    1. Physical stress – Sickness or pain.
    2. Psychological stress - Boredom, fear or death of an owner or loss of an animal friend. 
    3. Environmental stress – Moving to a new home, a new area. You could also include other cats intruding on their territory.
    Reducing stress in cats is possible. You can either remove the situation that is causing the stress or if this is not possible then help them to deal with the stress more effectively.
     
    The signs of stress:
    • Changes in grooming habits – Cats may now start to over groom themselves or under groom themselves. If you notice a large change then something may be wrong.
    • If your cat is meowing excessively then this is a problem. Any change in this sort of behaviour is a problem.
    • Hiding more and active withdrawn. It is well known that cats need their own space from time to time but if you think your moggie is hiding a lot more than usual then this spells a problem.
    • Depositing urine or faeces in the wrong place can also be a sign of stress. A cat is not happy in its environment which is why it is going outside of the litter tray or elsewhere.
    • If you notice any changes in eating habits or cats eating things aren’t edible like kitchen towels then this could be a problem and show either stress or illness.
     
    Reducing stress
    • To reduce physical stress Make sure your cat is in good shape. A clean and well looked after cat is usually a happy cat. Make sure that its toenails are clipped sufficiently if they have become too long. Make sure that if it has a flea problem then they are removed with appropriate medication.  You should also provide food and fresh water daily. These are the basic requirements of looking after a cat. Make sure that it has an appropriate diet including water.
    • To reduce Psychological stress Spend time with your cat. One of the reasons why they are getting stressed is because they are bored and they have nothing in their lives that is challenging enough.  Provide what vets refer to as “challenging play” to keep your cat’s mind stimulated. Play with it with a wide variety of toys and use them to its advantage
    • To reduce environmental stress you should try and aim to reduce the impact of your loud and busy lifestyle as much as possible. Try to reduce the noise of your television and music. When there are loud external sounds like fireworks then comfort your cat and try to take it to the quietest part of them home.
    Other techniques
    • The first thing to do if you notice your cat is stressed is check with a vet. Stress could be a symptom of any underlying health problems. If you are dealing with a sick cat then it is better that it cares the attention of a qualified vet rather than yourself.
    • Never tell your cat off. Unlike humans, animals do not break the rules just to annoy you. They are doing it because they are not happy in their environments or they desperately want something. Yelling and hitting your cat is only going to increase the stress that a cat faces.
    • Due to their nature, cats love to be on their own so provide a room or a space in the house where the cat can be alone and peaceful with itself. It may be best to make sure this room is dark so they can relax and sleep when they need to. Never prohibit the cat from entering here. It can be a great way to relieve stress. Providing a scratching post is also a good way to relieve stress. This is also acceptable and will not cause harm to nay of your furniture.
    • If your cat is still stressed even after the above recommendations then you may need to try for anti-anxiety medicine. Of course, you must seek the help of a vet and gain their advice before you go down this route as drugs for cats can be dangerous just like certain drugs are dangerous for humans.
    Photo: Splgum
     
    Source: Wikihow
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