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Ways To Reduce Stress In Cats

Ways To Reduce Stress In Cats

Cats are royalty and it is a stressful job getting pampered by mere mortals! If you have been a cat parent for a long time, you are sure to know how emotional and sensitive these feline furries can be. Cats are incredibly intelligent creatures who can perceive their environment critically, and display a wide spectrum of emotions. And as sensitive as cats are, they do not prefer sudden changes to their environment. So, an unexpected change can leave them emotionally drained or upset, which can have adverse effects on their physical health too. So, if your furry friend is upset or stressed, it is important to help them relieve their stress.

But how would you know if your cat is stressed?

Stress is easily noticeable in your furry friend’s behaviour since stress can make the friendliest of cats appear withdrawn. In addition, you can tell your feline buddy is stressed if it shows a lower tolerance of the people around, or refuses any gesture of affection, such as cuddles or head scratches. A stressed cat can also display signs of aggression like frequent hissing. 

Stress can affect your feline’s eating and drinking as well. And, if your cat eats or drinks less while stressed, it can develop serious health conditions apart from getting dehydrated. So, it is important to identify the signs of stress in your furry pal and find out how to reduce stress in cats.

Identifying signs of stress in cats

Stress in cats can be observed both as physical as well as behavioural symptoms. Some of the major stress signs are as follows:

  1. Physical Symptoms

    • Diarrhoea

      Other than being a symptom of sickness, diarrhoea can also indicate stress in your furry friend. Diarrhoea can lead to rapid water loss from the cat’s body, making it weaker and prone to becoming sicker. If your cat has diarrhoea for more than a couple of days, it might require medical attention.

    • Vomiting

      Vomiting is another major symptom of stress in cats, and if your cat is vomiting frequently or for more than a couple of days it might require medical intervention. Vomiting can lead to dehydration and lack of appetite. Frequent vomiting can get rid of vital nutrients from the body, making your cat seriously ill.

    • Runny nose/eyes

      A runny nose and eyes can indicate stress in cats too. If a cat has runny nose and eyes, it can be uncomfortable for them, making cats lick their nose frequently. This can often lead to bacterial growth. Leaking from the eyes can leave stains under the eye, fostering further bacterial infection as well.

    • Lack of appetite

      Stress can make your cat show an aversion to food and water. Lack of appetite can be an issue in your feline friend, as it can make them weaker and sick over time and can lead to dehydration and starvation. If your cat isn’t eating, take note and consult a doctor, if necessary.

    • Sudden weight loss/gain

      Stress often causes your furry friend to be averse to food and water, or make them overeat. This can either lead to sudden weight loss or gain. While a sudden weight loss can make your cat weak and susceptible to several diseases, a sudden weight gain is not healthy either. It often leads to obesity, leading to heart and renal conditions.

  2. Behavioural Symptoms

    • Change in behaviour

      Stress in cats is reflected most commonly by a change in their behaviour. Stress can make even the friendliest cat appear hostile and aggressive. So, if your otherwise cuddly pal is acting distant all of a sudden and is refusing pets and cuddles, it might be a clear indication of stress and irritation.

    • Toileting outside the litter tray

      Massive changes like shifting to a new home can cause extreme anxiety and stress in cats. Not only are cats not fond of changes, but they are also likely to remain upset till they acclimatise to the new place. As cats using their litter tray is a gesture of their vulnerability and lowered defences, a cat undergoing stress might choose to excrete outside the litter tray to avoid showing its vulnerable side.

    • Excessive scratching

      Scratching is a very normal action among cats. Most cats, including domestic ones, scratch to sharpen their claws and get rid of dead and loose tissue cells. However, if your cat is excessively scratching something, it might indicate it is trying to sharpen its claws in anticipation of retaliating against something, which is another indication of stress.

    • Aggression

      Aggression is a common symptom of stress and anxiety in cats. While most cats are laid back and calm, stress can get under their skin making them fidgety and put up more defences than usual. If you see your cat acting hostile and distant all of a sudden, it might be a good idea to let them have their space till they have calmed down.

    • Excessive meowing

      Adult cats use the meowing sign to communicate with their favourite humans. So, if your feline friend is excessively meowing, it might indicate that it is trying to get your attention and bring to your notice something serious. Excessive meowing is also a sign of stress where your cat is actively seeking your help. So, it is important to shower them with lots of affection during this trying time.

Ways to relieve stress in cats

If your furry friend is suffering from anxiety and stress, it is important to know how to reduce stress in cats before they fall sick. Mentioned below are some pointers on how to reduce stress for cats.

  • Provide a suitable litter box

    A comfortable litter box can be a great way to soothe your cat. As using the toilet is a private activity where your feline friend needs to lower its defences, providing a safe environment with a suitable litter box can go a long way in helping your fur baby feel comforted and easing its anxiety and stress.

  • Buy Good quality cat food

    Just as you are comforted by the taste and smell of delicious food, good quality cat food can equally amp up your cat’s mood during stressful times. In addition, cats often avoid eating or drinking while stressed, so good quality cat food can help bring back their appetite. Stock up on cat food from Sheba to make sure your cat is receiving all vital nutrients that help ease anxiety and distress. Premium cat food by Sheba has been specially crafted for the majestic kings and queens that cats are and hence the sumptuous recipes of Sheba cat foods can instantly jolt out your feline highness from their bad mood.

  • Keep fresh drinking water available

    Cats are known to avoid drinking water while stressed. In addition, stress can cause diarrhoea and frequent vomiting in your cat, leading to further loss of water from the body. Over time, this can lead to serious health conditions like renal failures and liver diseases. So, it is important to keep sufficient drinking water available in convenient areas around the house so that your feline friend can enjoy a quick, refreshing drink.

  • Put up perches

    Cats have evolved from predatory animals, and while domestic cats rarely display killer instincts, they have retained certain hunting habits, such as perching on high places and using them as vantage points. In domestic cats, perching is a normal activity that brings them comfort and makes them aware of their environment. So, if your cat is feeling stressed, putting up perches around the house can encourage it to climb up and assess its surroundings. This can help them feel reassured about their habitat and feel relaxed.

  • Play with your cat regularly

    Even for humans, playing is a great activity to engage in when we are stressed. Not only does it offer a chance to blow off excess steam, but it also improves the production of serotonin in the body, helping us to feel comforted. Playing with your cat can have the same effect, ultimately helping them to relax. In addition, playing with your cat also counts as making precious memories and spending some quality time which helps establish a deeper, more meaningful bond between you and your furry friend.

  • Avoid sudden environmental changes

    Cats are not fans of sudden changes. So, sudden environmental changes like shifting your house or locality can leave your cat stressed and anxious. It might take them some time to accept the new environment. As cats are curious creatures, it is wiser to allow them to explore the new area at their pace instead of introducing them to the new environment all at once. So, if you are thinking about how to relieve cat stress, avoid sudden environmental changes. Rather, you can have your cat slowly get acclimated to the new locality to help them avoid stress.

  • Establish a scratching area

    Scratching is a common activity for cats, who scratch to keep their claws sharp and keep their paw pads free from dead skin and tissue cells. Introducing your cat to a scratching area can help them channel their pent-up emotions to avoid an emotional meltdown. Scratching can help cats feel relaxed and relieve stress. Hence make sure you keep ample scratching posts and chew toys for cat stress relief.

  • Consult a professional

    Stress in cats, if left unchecked for a long time, can take a toll on your feline friend’s health. A constant state of stress and anxiety can make your cat hostile, and less receptive to love and affection, worsening their mental health. In addition, stress can have long-term effects which can lower their immunity, making them more susceptible to common diseases. So, if your cat displays signs of stress very often, consult a veterinarian to get a professional opinion on how to relieve cat stress.

    If your cat is stressed and losing appetite, one of the best ways of cat stress relief is by introducing them to Sheba Premium Cat Food. Sheba offers the perfect balanced meal for your feline friend, rich in nutrients and minerals that not just help in maintaining their health, but also keep them energetic and active. Sheba Premium Cat Food is available in a wide range of formats, from irresistible wet cat food like Sheba Pouch Chicken to delicious creamy treats like Sheba Melty Tuna flavour & Tuna and Seafood flavour. Help your cat beat anxiety and stress with a flavoursome helping of delicious Sheba Premium Cat Food. Because Sheba is more than just cat food, it is a pleasurable experience for royal felines.


  • What happens if a cat gets too stressed?

    Stress in cats is never a good sign. If your cat is stressed, it might display behavioural changes like aggression, social withdrawal, hostility, and restlessness. In addition, stress can result in cats having a loss of appetite, frequent vomiting, diarrhoea, and a sudden loss or gain in weight. Simply put, stress is detrimental to the health of your feline furry.

  • What does cat anxiety look like?

    Cat anxiety can take various forms, one of the common signs being sudden weight loss or weight gain. In addition, cats suffering from anxiety are likely to show symptoms like loss of appetite, aggression, excessive scratching, and excreting outside the litter box.

  • Does catnip help cats with anxiety?

    Catnip is an excellent way of helping cats with anxiety. As catnip does not have any adverse effects on cat health, it is usually recommended by veterinarians to help cats soothe their anxiety. Other than helping them relax, catnip also has medicinal benefits that promote rest.

  • Is my cat stressed or sick?

    If your cat displays physical signs like loss of appetite, vomiting, diarrhoea or runny nose and eyes, it might indicate poor health. However, if the physical symptoms are also accompanied by certain changes in behaviour, such as excessive scratching, aggression and continuous meowing, it can mean that your cat is stressed.

  • What happens if a cat gets too stressed?

    If a cat gets too stressed, it might negatively impact its mental and physical well-being. On one hand, stress can cause the cat to lose its immunity, making it susceptible to common feline diseases. On the other hand, stress can harm your feline pal’s mental health too, by making them irritable and withdrawn from their favourite human beings. In times of stress, your furry friend might not appear too friendly, so it is a good idea to give them the space they need.

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