How to relieve cat stresson April 5, 2013 @ 10:55 am (Updated: 11:04 am - 4/5/13 )
If your cat is given a good bill of health from your veterinarian, make a list of recent changes in the household. Did you just return from vacation? Is there a new family member or pet? Simple changes in your cat's life like a new house guest, construction on your street or your neighbor's barking dog can cause stress for a sensitive feline.
Once you determine the potential source(s) of the stress, you'll want to work on eliminating that stress for your cat. Be practical and make sure your cat has a safe refuge - a hideaway cubby in her cat tree, a quiet room or even a cardboard box with soft bedding. Next, provide your cat with plenty of fresh water, and if you're having problems getting her to eat, give her a variety of dry and wet foods to entice her appetite.
How else can I reduce stress for my cat?
• Limit changes in the environment. If you know there will be disruptors - like a new home or a vacation, be sure to transition your cat slowly. Give her a quiet space, as mentioned above, and slowly introduce her to new stimuli, rewarding her each step of the way with treats, playtime and extra attention.
• Good old-fashioned exercise with a wand toy, laser light or stuffed mice will get your cat moving and endorphins pumping. This will help them be to relax and be less anxious.
• Use catnip. Observe your cat's behavior and if she exhibits any further signs of stress or aggression, discontinue. Catnip usually makes cats more playful or relaxed.
• Use Feliway, a synthetic copy of the feline facial pheromone - this is what they use to mark. You'll notice your cat might rub her cheeks against your hand, the side of the couch or the doors - she's depositing her scent and claiming you! The idea with Feliway is that when used, the cat is given a sense of familiarity, which helps them cope with scary situations. You can find this product at your local pet store in the form of a spray or diffuser.
Consider using Feliway in the following situations:
• Changing homes
• Moving furniture
• While on vacation
• When introducing a new pet
• When placed in the crate for travel or for veterinary visits
If you're struggling to make your cat happy, consult with a feline behaviorist. They can identify potential stressors, recommend natural remedies, and work with you to conquer your cat's anxiety.
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