All pets thrive on routine, and cats in particular can show signs of anxiety with any sort of change. You may notice their nervousness or fearfulness – as in a cat that retreats to his favorite hiding place. Some cats may even exhibit signs of aggression or even get sick.
To help your cat better cope with inevitable change, take a look at these common kitty stress inducers and possible solutions:
Absence makes the cat… You might assume your aloof cat doesn’t need you around all that much, but the truth is, she’s very accustomed to your regular coming and going. When your schedule changes, one solution is to establish short (10 minutes!) play time throughout the day. If you’re going to be away for extended periods, arrange for a friend to visit while you’re out.
Bob the builder. You can’t avoid the loud noises associated with street repairs or maintenance on your own home, but you can provide a safe place for your cat. To help him focus on something different, leave a radio or television playing near your cat’s favorite space. White noise can distract from or disguise construction sounds. Consider placing a perch on the side of your home that’s furthest from the noisy project.
Summer breeze. Thunder and lightning storms can raise anxiety for lots of people and pets. Again, white noise that’s created by a radio or television can help cover storm sound effects. Provide access to your cat’s favorite hiding place. If you’re home, choose this time to pull out favorite toys and play with your cat. Reward with treats so that he associates positive experiences with storms. If your cat’s very agitated during a storm, talk to us about medication that can help.
The most wonderful time. When decorations go up, and guests come over, your cat may simply want to run and hide. Make sure she has access to his refuge.
Vet visit. Cat carriers, car rides and needles – as nice as we are, your cat can find a lot of stressors in one simple visit. To help him cope, start early and introduce these experiences separately. Place the cat carrier within your cat’s access. His curiosity may lead him right into it, but resist the urge to shut the door right away. He may decide that the carrier’s a pleasant refuge – especially if you place a cat treat inside. On another day, shut the door and take your cat for a short ride. If every ride ends at the vet’s, your cat will simply associate the car with the vet, and your battle lines are drawn.
Give treats for time spent in the car – and time spent at the vets. Try to schedule your pet’s appointment at a less busy time, as the sounds in a busy waiting room full of other pets and people can frighten your cat too.
If you have an emergency situation, you don’t have the luxury of time. When you need to get your cat to us quickly, wrap him in a towel and place him in the cat carrier.
When a little preparation helps your cat overcome common stresses, everyone feels the relief. What methods work best with your pet? Drop us an email, or comment on our Facebook page. We’d love to hear what works for your kitty and you!