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Felinexpress.com Home > Cat Health > Cats and Stress

Cats and Stress

Studies show that having a cat share your home lowers your blood pressure and reduces your stress level. People who have cats have been known to live longer, smile more and take things at an even stride. When dealing with stress at the workplace, just spending a few minutes in the evening with your cats will melt all your stress away. Talk to your cat; tell her about your day. Share the special moments with her. She won’t understand your words, but cats are adept at reading body language. When confronted with a person whose jaw line is tight, eyes are dilated and posture rigid, any cat in the immediate area is going to run for cover. Your stress will transfer over to your cat and both of you will have a bad day.

Behavioral states such as anxiety and physical stress in cats often cause the release of ACTH (adrenocorticotropic hormone) a hormone secreted from the pituitary gland. This also causes the stimulation of the adrenal cortex. This chemical process comes in handy if the cat is injured or ill. It can cause some cats to regenerate from physical wounds and trauma and come back whole again.

But when the cat is in a constant state of stress or anxiety, this can turn on the cat’s system and cause severe illness, gastrointestinal problems, UTI’s and even ulcers. Stressed cats can develop high blood sugar; their immune system becomes compromised which opens them up to secondary infections. All because the hypothalamus (a portion of the brain) is sending out a chemical signal to the cat to flee or fight.

A stressed cat will exhibit signs such as:

  • Pacing restlessly
  • Missing the litter pan
  • Peeing on soft items
  • Vomiting
  • Over-grooming
  • Weight loss
  • Becoming reclusive
  • Trembling or spasms
  • Loss of affection
  • Drastic behavior changes
  • Excessive meowing
  • Tearing up carpet with claws

Cats will become stressed at the littlest changes in their routine; a new roommate, another pet, a new baby, a new kitten even something a simple as rearranging the furniture or changing the bedspread can cause kitties to go into a stress spiral.

Establish a routine with your cat(s) and keep to this schedule. Food bowls filled at the same time(s) every day. Litter pan patrol and filling water bowls. Playtime, bonding time, relaxing time, remember no deviations from this schedule will produce a calm kitty. For me, what I find works best is when they arrive here as a kitten, every time I am petting, bottle feeding or working with kitty, I sing a special song in a soft voice. Kitty doesn’t care if I can’t sing! Then when kitty becomes ill, I sing that special song again and it relaxes him. It’s a bonding time, a restful time, a stress-free time that we share until kitty is well again while strengthening the human-cat bond.

  1. Korat
  2. Balinese
  3. Javanese
  4. Japanese Bobtail
  5. Somali
  6. Abyssinian
  7. Turkish Van
  8. Siamese
  9. Egyptian Mau
  10. Oriental Shorthair
  11. Tonkinese
  12. Bengal
  13. Norwegian Forest Cat
  14. Cornish Rex
  15. Siberian

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