How To Tell If A Cat Is Stressed
Cat expert, Karen, is here to show you how to detect signs of stress in your cat and how to you help your cat to cope with these problems.
Hi, my name is Karen, and I am one of the vets at Cats Protection, the UK's leading cat welfare charity, and I am going to talk to you today about some aspects of cat care. I am going to talk to you today about how to tell if a cat is stressed. The first thing to know is what actually stress is.
Stress is an emotional state as well as a physical one. There can be many physical changes in your cat's body if it's under stress, just like with us. If you are working too hard, too many late nights, you put your body under pressure, you can get viruses, flu, and bugs that are going around.
A cat is the same, this is because stress reduces your immune system and cats that are undergoing stress, whether it be emotional or physical, are going to be more prone to picking up infections that are going around. There are a couple of stress-related illnesses that are on the rise in the U.K.
Cats can quite commonly get statiatis. Quite recurrently, they will get bladder problems and again, this can be exacerbated by stress, if not caused by it. Also, some cats will overeat or over-groom as eating and grooming are two activities that cats can do to cope when they are feeling stressed.
Both of these activities give them endorphins or make them feel good, so they try and do this when they are feeling bad for other reasons. So this means they can overeat and get obese or they can over-groom and have bald patches and skin problems. So, what kind of things can cause your cat to be stressed? Well, the first thing to know is that you may never know.
Cats can be quite secretive and don't always show their emotions so well, so you may not be able to find out what the cause of your cat's stress is. It could be something external, something going on outside that you won't be aware of. Obvious things, changes in the environment often can set cats off, if you move, if you get a new pet, or a new baby, renovations, sometimes new neighbors with new pets.
All of these things can contribute to cat stress. Cats are generally solitary creatures, so they don't necessarily need friends and so if they are living in an area where there are lots of pets, it's going to be often a cause of stress. So, how do you know if your cat is stressed? Well, cats aren't always so obvious about how they feel.
This is because they evolved as solitary creatures so they do not have the complex facial and verbal signals to tell other members of their species how they feel. But, there are a few little things that you can pick up. Some of the more obvious signs that cats might display to you are urine-spraying or scratching.
They do these things as scent-markers to give themselves little warnings, urine-spraying is used in areas where the cat knows it needs to feel anxious or be wary, like when another cat has jumped on it in this place. There are a lot more subtle signs for you to pick up, sometimes they are more important as well. Cats can cope with stress by doing such behaviors such as hiding or trying to get up high, these are things that you might not notice that you may think it is perfectly normal for your cat to live in the cupboard.
But it might actually mean that it is stressed in other ways and it's only doing this to cope. One of the major things you might see your cat doing which you may never have noticed, is that a cat that is stressed might actually sit quietly doing nothing at all. It's important to notice because this is a cat that is just sitting there quietly but alert, it is not asleep, cats will do this and just sit there hunched and quiet when they are stressed, and it can be really hard to notice this, but it really can be quite a major sign and many cats can spend a lot of their day in this kind of state.
When they are doing this, their body might not be physically functioning well and they can be at risk for a lot of these stress-related diseases. So, what can you do to help your cat if it is feeling stressed? Well,