5 Symptoms of Stress in Cats
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Stress is a defense mechanism that is not only present in humans, but is found in animals too. In fact, it is an adaptive response to the environment which allows for survival in dangerous situations.
The main problem is that stress can be pathological when it arises repeatedly, or in situations where the cat is in no evident harm. Cats, therefore, are very susceptible to stress. They need to have their environment completely under their control and can trigger an intense adaptive response to the smallest of changes.
Some cats manage stress very well, whereas for others it constitutes a health problem that needs to be treated. In order to spot this disorder as soon as possible, this AnimalWised article will show you the 5 main symptoms of stress in cats.
1. Repeated onset of infectious diseases
Stress leads to the release of multiple hormones, which interfere with the proper functioning of white blood cells or defense cells. Then the cat's immune system stops responding appropriately.
If your cat repeatedly contracts infectious or autoimmune diseases, you should immediately suspect that they are suffering from chronic stress. This can also be manifested with other disorders, such as alopecia or bronchial asthma.
2. Increased aggressiveness
Has your cat changed from a docile and calm animal into an aggressive pet? Then they might be suffering from stress. Not all cats get aggressive in the same way. However, an aggressive cat might display the following behaviors to a greater or lesser degree:
- They hiss or meow excessively
- They don't want to interact with people or with other pets
- They bite and scratch
- They arch their back
- They have dilated pupils and a fixed stare
3. They are more anxious
Stress also makes cats feel anxious. Anxiety is a great indicator of stress. An anxious cat is a cat that lives in constant fear and has phobias which it perhaps did not have before. One of the most serious aspects of feline anxiety are compulsive behaviors such as stereotypies.
An anxious cat has a propensity towards self-aggression. You will notice, excessive licking, scratching and grooming. They may even ingest some inedible objects, such as cloth.
4. Eating Disorders
Eating disorders can also affect cats, albeit for very different reasons to those in humans. Cat eating disorders are mainly caused by stress, since stress directly affects eating habits.
A stressed cat can completely lose their apetite and even become malnourished. Some stressed cats also have a tendency to eat compulsively and not be able to stomach the food, before vomiting.
You also may find your cat suffering from diarrhea, constipation, or other digestive issues.
5. Urine marking
A stressed cat feels like they have completely lost control over their environment, and will do everything in their power to get it back.
An obvious sign of stress in cats is that of marking walls and large furniture (including the sofa), or urinating outside their litter box. Marking as a result of stress takes the form of vertical streaks, from top to bottom.
What to do if my cat is stressed?
If your cat is stressed, you have many resources at your disposal that will allow you to greater manage their stress levels and improve their quality of life. Such as, the use of natural tranquilizers for cats, for example.
However, it is first recommended that you go to the vet so that they can assess your cat's health. As you've seen, stress can have very significant effects on your pet's body.
This article is purely informative. AnimalWised does not have the authority to prescribe any veterinary treatment or create a diagnosis. We invite you to take your pet to the veterinarian if they are suffering from any condition or pain.
If you want to read similar articles to 5 Symptoms of Stress in Cats, we recommend you visit our Mental problems category.