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Cats are naturally adept at hiding weakness; it's a defence mechanism used to protect them in the wild. While some signs of stress and anxiety in cats are obvious, such as scratching furniture, urine spraying and excessive meowing, others are harder to spot. It’s important for cat owners to recognise when their cat is stressed, as it can occasionally lead to clinical illness. Knowing what to look for will help you identify and solve the problem quickly.
Problem behaviour is a common sign of stress in cats.One reason cats vertically scratch objects is to keep their claws sharp. Another is to visually mark their territory and leave their unique scent, which is released through glands in their paws. If your cat is scratching your furniture they could be stressed and doing so to reclaim territory or leave a warning message to other cats.
Another way cats claim territory and mark boundaries is urine spraying. Cats spray urine when they feel threatened or anxious, so this is another big indicator your cat could be feeling stressed.
Cats very rarely meow at each other but do meow at us. You may notice your cat meows to ask for food or to greet you when you come home. If your cat is meowing excessively or crying, it’s likely they are trying to tell you that something is worrying them.
Like people, cats sometimeshide away from frightening or stressful situations. If you find your cat is hiding or becoming withdrawn, there could be something in the home that is making them feel uneasy.
Stress in cats can trigger a change in behaviour. If your usually friendly cat is being aggressive, or is puffing up an and arching their back, there could be something making them feel frightened and stressed. Equally, your cat may become submissive and try to make themselves look smaller.
Like people, stress in cats may impact other parts of their health. These changes are less common, but include eating more or less than usual and over-grooming. Your cat may also be less active and have less desire to play than normal.
Stress in cats is thought to be a causause of idiopathic cystitis and other urinary complications. This can also affect their activity levels, mood and toilet habits. If you notice any of these or believe your cat may be suffering from urinary problems, consult your vet immediately.
Identifying the signs of stress in cats is only half the battle. Now, you have to identify the cause of the stress and provide a solution.
Some stressful situations, such as a new home or vet visit, can’t be removed or avoided. But, there are calming products available to help cats experiencing nervousness or anxiety.
Beaphar CatComfort® is a simple and effective solution to reducing problem behaviour, such as furniture scratching and urine spraying, in cats. The products in the Beaphar CatComfort® Calming Range contain either the Feline Facial Pheromone or the Cat Appeasing Pheromone, both of which promote feelings of reassurance in cats. So, using a pheromone calming product can help reduce problem behaviour and stress in cats.
The Beaphar CatComfort® Calming Range includes: