For all of you that went to see the movie “The Secret Life of Pets” over the school holidays, you can relate to what a fun movie it was, entertaining for the young and old! I personally loved Chloe the cat, struggling with willpower! It did get me thinking though, we are all aware of dogs like Max in the movie that suffer separation anxiety, I want to address the fact that cats can suffer from anxiety issues too. Stress and anxiety in cats is more common than you think and the signs of stress in a cat can be overlooked by owners. Some cats are very confident however some cats are timid and are more sensitive to stress triggers.
Anxiety in cats can be a;
• genetic component
• environment influence
• coping strategy
• learnt behaviour
Triggers for our feline friends to become stressed can be as insignificant to us as;
• change in litter or not enough litter boxes for multi cat households
• new furniture
• appearance of a strange cat in the yard
• new visitors to the house
• the addition of a four legged family member, (heaven forbid a dog!!)
Signs of stress your cat may display;
• loss of appetite
• excessive over grooming
• toileting outside of the litter box
• excessive vocalisation
The good news is we can help our feline friends feel more confident and less stressed!
First things first; a vet check is essential to rule out any underlying medical problems.
We as owners can help our cats feel less stressed by;
• giving them safe retreats
• clean, large litter trays,
(one for each cat in the household plus one)
• interactive play sessions
• environmental enrichment,
(toys and food dispensers)
• behavioural modification techniques
If you have noticed a change in your cats behaviour of recent times then please bring it to our attention next time you visit the clinic.
To wrap things up, if you have not seen the movie “The Secret Life of Pets” I highly recommend you do because it gives us all as pet owners a light-hearted insight as to how our furry companions may be feeling or thinking!
Till next time, enjoy your four legged furry companions!