What’s a stressor? Well, you know what they are in your life. Pressure at the workplace, heated discussions, family problems, time constraints, energy constraints…the list is long. Why? Even sweating it out in the hot sun or chilling it out in the cold winter night can be very stressful. What’s the result of all that stress? The big ” I” word – Illness.
If you take a quick look into your pet’s life, the same observations hold good. Of course, it’s more difficult to understand the dynamics and the politics of a cat family or a dog family…because you are only human.
What can stress your pets may be things you may never imagine…It could be the buzz of construction work coming through from the next door apartment or even that new, large, colorful (but frightening! Statue – for your pet) – that you may have unconsciously placed close to your pet’s regular sitting place. It could even be your cat’s name. Yes, a lot of people don’t think of it but cats can respond in different ways to their name. If you named your cat something like Anders Von Gulifer or Princess Edna Of Visdor you can bet that your cat will get angry with it sooner or later. Cats, as the majority of other pets like short and vocal names that are easy to pronounce and remember. There are online cat names portals such as Cat Names Unique where you have a lot of different categories of cat names to choose from.
There are some signs that you can watch out for and some measures that you can take to minimize the chances of this happening.
12 ways to minimize stress in your cat’s life
Give your cat personal space
This is very important because just like you, your cat also needs that little space around to feel comfortable in.
Give quality time and attention
However busy you may be, always take time off to be with your pets. Give them attention and tender, loving care and watch the difference.
Be consistent in your behavior
Always react in the same positive way with your cat. The tone that you use while talking to your cat is how your cat learns to identify your mood. So, always remember to use a pleasant tone of voice that is at once bright and cheerful.
Don’t scold or punish your cat
This cannot be overemphasised. That’s because however much you may be irritated, never allow that anger to reflect on you while you are with your pets. Scolding them unnecessarily can make a bad behavior worse. In fact, it can set a trend of stereotyped repetitive, destructive behavior patterns. This may vary from wool sucking to pica to even damaging furniture and walls and sometimes yes – even spraying all over the house.
Watch out for the bully cat
When you have a family of cats as pets, always remember there’s one going to be one big, male cat who’s going to be there – sometimes terrifying the little ones. Make sure that you give separate space to the smaller kittens and younger cats – far away from the bully cat.
Noise! You may not realize this. But noise can severely stress your cat simply because their levels of hearing are far more acute than yours. So, the sound of vehicular traffic which you may have barely noticed in your new apartment building can be very stressful for your cats.
Play a game everyday for at least 10 minutes
Games reduce stress like few things can. They help distract your pet while at the same time keeping your pet entertained.
Besides playing a game, always take care to make sure that each of your pets have their own toys to play with.
Avoid using strong perfumes
It’s important to make note of this because your cat has a wonderful sense of smell. Strong perfumes though pleasant to your nostrils can actually irritate your pet’s Watch out for it!
Check the nutrition
In adequate nutrition or a poorly balanced diet can be damaging to your cat’s health. Vitamin and mineral deficiencies can also cause stress. Consult with your veterinarian and make sure that you are giving your cat a well balanced diet.
Observe your cat for signs for stress
It’s very important to make a note of stress signs in your cat. Stress can show up in different forms. It may be seen as repetitive grooming done to an excess, or in a repetitive up and down pacing of the rooms. It can even be seen as patches of fur that look suscpiciously like a skin infection but are in fact patches of fur pulled off by your cat while you were away at work.
Measure cortisol levels
The cortisol levels always go high in a cat that’s very stressed. That’s one clear cut laboratory test to confirm your vet’s suspicion about stress. Of course, once diagnosed the second difficult problem begins and that is identifying the stressor.
Discourage your cat from wool sucking
Wool sucking can be dangerous for your cats. If left unchecked it can cause your cat to chew up everything from fur on the coat to carpets and even electric cords. Woolsucking often transforms into pica wherein even litter material and faeces may be eaten up.
Many times, the habit which begins in kittenhood stays uncorrected and continues to be a lifelong addiction with dangerous consequences. The Siamese, Burmese and Himalayan breeds of cats are especially prone to wool sucking. It appears to be an inherited condition.