Cat Anxiety: 8 Things You’re Doing That Stresses Your Cat Out

cat anxietyDon’t you wish you had the life of your cat?  If you asked your cat, they might tell you differently.  I know it’s hard to believe, but cat anxiety is a problem, and there are things that you do on a daily basis that stress your cat out.  Dr. Anna Coffin will reveal what is causing your cat anxiety and how to prevent it.

Stressed cats commonly develop a medical condition called cystitis.  Cystitis is inflammation of the bladder.  Cystitis a painful condition that causes your cat to urinate small amounts frequently, urinate blood, sometimes urinate outside the litterbox.  Treatment of this condition is best resolved by decreasing cat anxiety.  Your veterinarian can prescribe medication to help alleviate the pain.

Causes Of Cat Anxiety

  1. Punishing your cat: It’s alright to tell your cat “no” but you must also show your cat what you want it to do.  It is always best to reward for appropriate behavior and ignore unwanted behavior.  Swatting or hitting your cat, only causes more cat anxiety and teaches your cat to be afraid of you.
  2. Rubbing your cat’s head:  Every cat has a preference in the way they liked to be petted, but most cats do not like to have their head grabbed and rubbed.  Many cats prefer a few long strokes from head to tail or a gentle scratch around their chin and ears.  Some cats get irritated from extended petting so know your cat’s limitations.
  3. Hugging and kissing your cat: Restraining your cat for hugs and kisses causes anxiety because cats like to be able to freely move so that they can escape dangerous situations.
  4. A dirty litter box: What happens when you go to a public restroom, and the toilet hasn’t been flushed?  You move to the next stall.  Well, it’s no different for your cat.  Ideally, you should scoop your cat’s box every time you notice it has been soiled but once a day should be fine.  Anna Coffin recommends dumping the entire box once a week and washing with warm soapy water to eliminate smells absorbing into the plastic.
  5. Putting the litter box in an inconvenient location: It’s natural for us to want the litter box out of the way, but it’s important to make sure the box is easily accessible for your cat.  Don’t put it near noisy appliances or in a place where you cat has to run an obstacle course to get to it.
  6. Playing with your cat with your hands and toes: It’s natural for cats to grab at their prey so don’t offer your hands or toes if you don’t want to get bit.  Anna Coffin recommends using remote toys like fishing poles and feathers.  Teach your cat that hands are for loving and not biting!
  7. Using strong smelling cleaners or deodorizers: A cat’s sense of smell is much stronger than ours.  Anna Coffin recommends staying away from citrus scented products and any products containing alcohol.
  8. Bringing a new cat into the household: It’s alright to bring a new cat into your household, but it must be done  A proper introduction must be controlled and gradual.  Putting two cats together without the proper introduction can lead to a cat fight and cat anxiety for all cats in the household.  To prevent the transmission of disease, it’s important to take your new cat to your veterinarian first and quarantine at home for 7-10 days to monitor for any signs of illness.

You can help reduce cat anxiety in your house by eliminating these cat stressors.  There is a variety of other things that you can do to enrich your cat’s environment that can help reduce cat anxiety.  Help your cat lead and happy, healthy life.  Guthrie Pet Hospital is a certified Cat Friendly Practice.

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