Our lives are constantly changing, and that can generate stress not only for us but also for our feline friends. Cats are generally solitary and are finely tuned to our body language, tone of voice and our moods and emotions.
Cats often find change difficult and they can experience stress and anxiety while they are getting used to new situations. Things such as the introduction of a new animal, moving house, a new baby, loud noises, renovations and living in a multi-cat household can cause stress to a cat.
Cats respond to anxiety/stress in many different ways, and they use behaviour as a coping mechanism in response to these situations. A cat may urinate or spray in inappropriate areas, over groom and change their eating or sleeping patterns. They may hide and withdraw more, vocalise more or scratch inappropriately.
Sometimes these signs can be quite subtle and easily overlooked, but they need to be taken seriously as they may indicate a problem.
Ways you can help a cat through a stressful situation include making sure they always have a safe place to retreat to, have separate feeding and litter tray areas if you have more than one cat and playing with your cat for a few minutes each day.
You can also use a feline pheromone diffuser or spray and feed them prescription calming food that has a blend of ingredients that can help relax cats. Natural and prescription medications are also available.
If you think your cat maybe suffering from stress or there is a change for your cat coming up, talk to your local vet team for advice.