Saturday, May 9, 2009

Cats and Stress

Cats may not have to deal with rush hour traffic, a
grouchy boss, or paying the bills - but they still
get stress, just like people.

Many times, a cat's behavior problems are a result of

You may be wondering, why would a cat get stress?

Cats are creatures of habit, and are very sensitive
to change. Cats are happiest when their lives revolve
around a set schedule and their environment stays the

Here are a few situations that can cause stress in
your cat:

A new member of the family, whether it's a dog, cat
or person.

A sudden change in their schedule.

This can happen if you get a new job with different
hours. Maybe you used to feed your cat in the
afternoon and evening but now you now fill the bowl
early in the morning instead. Cats may not be able to
read the clock on the wall - but they have an
internal clock that they revolve their life around.

New furniture, or the furniture in your house has
been rearranged.

Your cat spends a great deal of time marking your
house each day with friendly facial pheromones.

Those pheromones tell your cat this is a safe,
familiar place. When you remodel and get new
furniture, all of those familiar scents have
disappeared, and your cat has no idea what happened.

(Cats don't know that the environment is going to
change, and there's no way to warn them about it.
Imagine waking up one day in a completely different
house and not knowing where you are, how you got
there or where all of your stuff is)

Moving to a new home.

Same basic idea. Your cat doesn't understand the
reason for being in the new house. All your cat knows
is that it's a scary and unfamiliar place. This is
why many cats run away right after moving - they're
attempting to go back home.

Death of a family member.

Behaviorists and other experts disagree on whether or
not a cat can feel grief. (I personally believe they
do grieve) Regardless of whether or not they grieve
when a family member passes away, there is still a
change in their environment.

A member of the family that was once there is now
gone. On top of that, the rest of the family may be
acting differently because they are grieving, which
causes more stress because your cat doesn't
understand what's going on.


Many things can cause fear in your cat, from being
chased by your dog or being bullied by another cat in
the household -- to fireworks during a holiday,
construction being done on the house (or even at the
neighbors house), a loud party with lots of
strangers, or running out in the street and being
honked at by a big truck!

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