It may be hard to imagine when you see a cat sleeping comfortably in the sun on the windowsill, but cats can certainly suffer from stress.
Stress is not always bad, sometimes it is necessary to respond adequately to danger. If a cat does not return to its normal resting state after an adrenaline rush, stress can become unhealthy and cause a problem.
You can often recognize the following behaviors in your cat when he is suffering from stress:
Increased restlessness and vigilance
No relaxed position where the cat is lying on his chest, his chest stays upright when he is sitting
Increase in washing himself with sometimes even bald spots or pulling out one’s own hair as a result
Retire and only return to its normal living space when it is quiet
A cat that has always been house-trained can suddenly start doing his feces outside his box, a stressed cat will define his territory more strongly. He can therefore also spray or scratch more at home to mark his territory
Very occasionally a cat loses all interest in its environment and even does not even takes care of his fur anymore. He stares a bit ahead. Fortunately this does not happen often.
Slight stress during the socialization period can have a positive effect
If the cat as a kitten was exposed to a slight form of stress during the socialization period, then he probably learned to deal with this well. He will benefit from this for the rest of his life. If a kitten is not exposed to stress at all, he will also have more difficulty dealing with this later in life. It is a good thing if the kitten has to deal with different people, children, friendly dogs, different colors, smells and sounds.
Possible causes of stress for your cat
Cats attach much value to their own territory and their own routine. Changes in this routine or in their territory can cause stress such as:
Stay in a cat hotel or cat shelter.
Some cats who are very fond of their owners have a lot of problems if the owner is not present, this can cause a lot of stress.
But also the ride to the cat hotel or to the vet. Transport can cause stress for a cat.
A visit to the vet is also often a source of stress for the cat, even if it is just for a routine check up.
Moving to a new home. The cat has marked his own territory and is completely used to his home. When he has to move to a new home where and has not yet defined his territory, this can cause a lot of stress. Tips to make moving to another home as smooth as possible.
The arrival of a new pet. When your cat suddenly has to share its territory with another cat or dog, this can cause a lot of stress. (Tips on how to introduce a new cat to your cat).
Even when the cat has been living in the home with several pets for some time, tension between the housemates can also lead to stress. (Make sure that every cat has its own drink and food bowl and litter box).
Family expansion, when a baby is born, the cat will have to get used to the new sounds and odors. But he will probably also receive less attention.
Neighborhood cats that enter its territory can also cause stress. (You can limit this by putting a fence around your garden).
Long-term effects of stress on your cat
If your cat suffers from stress for a longer period of time, this can weaken the immune system, which increases the risk of other diseases. He may also suffer from gastrointestinal problems.
Also interesting: cats hate these things that people do.