Believe it or not, cats are very prone to becoming stressed and can show this in many ways.
Often, we as humans will not notice this until they show their stress in physical ways, either by becoming ill or by trying to protect their territories by urinating, spraying or defecating in unwanted places.
Cats are solitary and territorial animals and while many adapt well to a life of luxury as our pets, some do not and become anxious when their environments are not suitable for them, for example, if there are other cats or other pets in their space. This can even extend to other cats being in their vicinity, ie on “their” garden wall or in a neighbouring garden.
Some of the physical signs that cats may show if they are stressed are urinary tract disease, chronic flu signs or even vomiting or diarrhoea. It is, of course, necessary to rule out any other medical disease associated with these symptoms before ascertaining that they are stress related so please take your cat to a vet for a check up if they are exhibiting any of these signs !!
One very common problem that we deal with here at GVC is cats that show “inappropriate” urination or defecation, ie if they are peeing or pooping outside their litter boxes. Whilst there can be a few reasons for this, stress is certainly a very common one and we have solved many cases by helping the cats to deal with their stress factors and the environment better.
Cats are very protective about what they consider their essential resources ie food, water and litter, and therefore increasing the availability of these will help to reduce stress and anxiety. You may want to provide more litter boxes, different litter as well as litter boxes that have a cover to make them feel more private and safe.
“Feliway” is a synthetic cat pheromone which encourages play and feelings of contentment and wellbeing in cats and can be used either as a plug-in diffuser or a spray which you can use in specific areas.
“Zylkene” is a medication that comes in form of capsules and contains aminoacids that act as anxiolytics. We recommend this for particularly stressful periods such as boarding, transport and moving house.
The Royal Canin “Calm” food contains the same aminoacids as Zylkene but in a very palatable diet.
“Pet Remedy” is a Valerian based product that again comes as a plug-in diffuser and room spray and has been tested by the RSPCA in their UK kennels. It is suitable for all pets and humans too ! J
We have also found that a home visit by a Veterinarian specialised in Feline Medicine can be very useful in order to try to identify some of the cat’s stress factors.
GVC’s Dr Katrin Jahn is currently undertaking a feline medicine specialisation course and is available for appointments and consultations. Please contact her on firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.