Cats are, by nature, enigmatic. Cats do not show their emotions as obviously as other animals, and tend to withdraw and become quiet. Acute problems may be recognised by sudden changes in behaviour, but when the issues are chronic, signs of stress and pain can be subtle and we may easily mistake them for normal cat behaviour.
Cats need to feel in control of their environment. Anything that interrupts their feeling of control can, over time, raise your cat’s stress level. Stress has been identified as a significant trigger for most cat behaviour problems and some diseases. Knowing the common warning signs when your cat is feeling stressed is essential in identifying their emotional well-being and making the changes necessary to improve their feeling of security and contentment, or seek veterinary help when necessary.
The cat that overeats, over-grooms, is inactive or sleeps a lot, may not just be the lazy fat cat you know and love, but instead be withdrawing to protect themselves from stress or pain. The cat that wees on the carpet, scratches the furniture or fights with other cats isn’t being naughty, but instead may be displaying signs of anxiety, pain or discomfort. The cat that sleeps on your bed with the other cat but creeps slowly past is in fact threatened by the other cat, and only just managing to tolerate its presence in order to be with you.
Understanding your cat’s environmental needs and behaviour can be difficult. There are many resources online to help but it’s crucial to seek quality and qualified advice from reputable sites, such as International Cat Care. If behaviour is causing problems or health issues are suspected, seek veterinary help as soon as possible.
Pheromone therapy like Feliway can be very useful to increase your cat’s sense of wellbeing in the face of stress whilst causes are identified and eliminated.
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