Humans and cats alike experience stress at some point. Stress in cats manifests itself similarly to how it does in humans. For instance, the cat becomes withdrawn and depressed. Other cats will exhibit symptoms of aggressive behavior.
Common causes of stress
Cats are quite poor at handling change. The slightest change in their environment — such as changing homes, removing something old from them or remodeling your house — may cause them stress.
Cats that are used to staying indoors may experience more stress as they encounter new faces and sights. For other cats, the visit is stressful because it reminds them of a frightening and painful experience.
This may come from the television or the loud hooting of cars in the streets. Cats have sensitive ears and thus may experience stress when they hear loud noises.
Loss of a loved one
Cats tend to be very affectionate pets. The loss of a family member or a sister pet can elicit a lasting feeling of loneliness.
An infection caused by tick or flea bites brings the cat great irritation and stress.
4 symptoms of stress in cats
Changes in appetite: Some cats will have an insatiable appetite when stressed, while others will completely lose their appetite. If your cat has an abnormally increased appetite, you will notice her chewing all the strange things she can find.
Changes in urination: Stress hormones may cause an inflammation of the bladder, which results in the cat experiencing discomfort while urinating and frequent urination.
Over-grooming: Cats love grooming and licking their bodies. However, over-grooming may be a sign of stress, as the cat could be trying to comfort herself. By licking areas such as the tummy and front legs, the body releases morphine-like substances that have a calming effect.
Excessive meowing and verbalizing: Cats will meow when they want some attention. Doing it excessively may mean the cat is experiencing some distress.
Ways to relieve stress
The secret to managing stress in cats is to understand its cause. When the stress is elicited by a vet visit, devise ways to make the visits comfortable for the cat — say, by talking and petting her during the visit.
If your cat ends up stressed every time you move to a new home, try keeping the cat in a separate room with all her favorite toys until she has adapted to the new environment.
You can manage loud noises that are causing the cat discomfort by turning down the volume. When the noise is caused by natural acts such as thunderstorms, take the cat to a quiet room until she calms down.
Whenever possible, avoid making drastic changes to the cat’s environment. You may make this less problematic for the cat by giving her treats during such changes. If you are changing her toys, spray the new one with a cat-friendly pheromone to relax her.
Other stress symptoms may be an indication of underlying physical problems. Consider taking your cat to a vet for proper diagnosis and treatment.