Pandemic problems - Cats can suffer from stress too
We’ve probably all read a lot about lockdown puppies and the behavioural problems owners are facing now they are returning to work, however there’s one family member that might be glad to see the back of us, our cat!
Vet’s Klinic RVN and cat expert Debbie James explains why the pandemic might be causing our cats to become stressed.
Why are our cats stressed?
Debbie explains “Any change in routine can unsettle cats as they are a creature of habit. They like routine and any change, such as people being home more, can cause a cat to become stressed. If cat owners are working from home or self-isolating then the advice is to keep to their routine as similar to normal as possible. If more family members are at home then our homes need to be more cat-friendly too.”
What are the symptoms of stress in cats?
Signs that your cat might be suffering from stress include:
Eating or drinking less than usual
Eating too much
Aggression towards other animals in the house or towards owners
Socialising less, not sitting on laps or wanting to be around you
Reluctance to use the cat flap
Reluctance to use the litter tray
The last two signs are especially worrisome as they can lead to cystitis and bladder stones, which you can read more about here: https://bit.ly/3n6KVyZ
Debbie says: “We have seen a rise in blocked bladders in male cats and cystitis in male and female cats during the lockdowns and coming out of lockdown. These conditions need to be seen by a veterinary surgeon and treated as the most common cause is stress.
“Blocked bladder is a life threatening condition and if you notice your male cat straining to urinate or not urinating or urinating in strange places around the house or blood being present then contact your vets as soon as possible.”
What can be done to prevent cats becoming stressed?
Try to provide plenty of quiet areas where your cat can hide and relax and increase the number of resources available. For example, offer more litter trays and put them in quiet areas so your cat can go to the toilet in peace. Water and food bowls should be placed away from the litter tray (no one likes to eat near the toilet!), and again in a quiet area of the home.
For more tips on how to make your home as cat friendly and stress free as possible, check out this information from International Cat Care: https://bit.ly/2WUN99u
If you are concerned about your cat’s health or well-being then please contact your veterinary practice. Unfortunately, trips to the vet can be stressful too. However, Vets Klinic is endorsed the Cat Friendly clinic programme which is designed to help address these issues by creating more cat friendly veterinary clinics and so reducing the stress for cats and making veterinary visits easier for cat owners as well. You can also use this website to find cat friendly Veterinary Clinics near you!