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A Scratch and a Hiss: Can You Identify When Kitty Is Stressed?
Artem Lysenko / Pexels
Any cat parent who has ever dealt with a stressed-out kitty knows how heartbreaking and anxiety-inducing it can be. If you're like us here at Pop Your Pup, you love your cat like she is family, and you want to do whatever you can to make sure she is happy and healthy.
Why Might My Cat Be Stressed?
Over at The Spruce Pets, Franny Syufy notes that cats can have anxiety or stress for a variety of fairly predictable reasons, including
- Changes in routine or environment
- Visits to the veterinarian
- Introduction of new family members (human or animal)
- Moving to a new place
- Loud noises, parties, or music
- Something stress-inducing that they can see outside
- Emotional reasons, such as fear, jealousy, or rivalry
Any of these things can be a source of anxiety for your kitty. Identifying and addressing them may help eliminate some stress for cats, but it also might just be a matter of helping your cat cope accordingly.
How Do I Know If My Cat Is Stressed?
You know your kitty better than anyone else, so if Mr. Fluffers is exhibiting any out-of-the-ordinary behavior, it's certainly something to pay attention to. Nonetheless, here are a few telltale signs to help you notice when your cat might be stressed.
Missing the Box
As petMD mentions, one sure sign that your cat is dealing with stress is if she urinates outside of her litter box. Because the cat knows that this is going to create a smelly mess and require your attention, she could be trying to communicate with you, telling you something isn't right.
Scooping up after our cats means we are all pretty familiar with how they do their business, so if you notice that your cat has diarrhea, uses the litter box more frequently, or seems constipated, it's a pretty good sign that something is amiss. Take your cat to a vet, especially if it has been going on a few days, and in the meantime, consider making a pet diaper.
Changes in Sleep or Appetite
Both an increase or decrease in eating or sleeping can point to something amiss. While a change for one or two days might not be too concerning, if the changes seem to fluctuate or occur a long time, you'll definitely want to investigate further.
Happy cats generally don't behave aggressively, so if you notice your cat frequently expressing aggression either to people or to other cats and animals, it's a sign that something needs to be addressed. Since an aggressive cat can be dangerous, you'll definitely want to speak to your vet and maybe even a behaviorist on this one.
Hiding or Isolating Themselves
It's never all that surprising when cats act aloof since it is in their nature. Nevertheless, a cat that is suddenly acting more standoffish or isolating itself more often than usual may be in distress. This is also true if you have a cat who routinely hides from everyone, since most cats are at least somewhat social and only tend to hide if they feel insecure in their space.
Over-Grooming or Over-Scratching
Most cats groom themselves pretty frequently, but if you notice that your cat is grooming way more than usual, it's time to pay attention. This is especially true if they are grooming so often as to leave sores or bald spots on their body. Similarly, a cat that is scratching more often than seems normal is likely dealing with either health or behavioral issue that needs to be addressed.
Meowing All Day and Night
Sure, it's cute when Princess "speaks" to you, but when the vocalizations become excessive or the meows themselves sound panicked, it could be a sign that something is up. This is especially true if your cat isn't usually much of a talker. Since excessive vocalization can also mean your cat may feel unstimulated, make sure you have essential cat items like a cat tower.
While a brief change is probably not too big a cause for concern, a trip to the veterinarian is your best bet if you notice any of these behaviors continuing or repeating. Your vet is the best person to help you identify what is stressing your feline friend. In the meantime, a custom pet bed from Pop Your Pup might also go a long way to making your cat feel like she has ther own special space in your home, so contact us to hear more about our great products!
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