How to Relieve Cat Stress
This post is written by our holistic veterinarian at "I and love and you", Dr. Angie Krause, DVM, CVA, CCRT.
Modern life may be stressing your cat out, too! They might not be striving for ‘inbox zero’ while juggling social media, but being indoors with other people and creatures can affect their mental health. Unfortunately kitties are masters at hiding their stress.
How to relieve cat stress
In this article I am going to outline the most common ways we stress out cats and simple steps to help.
We are feeding our kitties ALL WRONG. Not only are we not feeding them frequently enough, we are feeding them the wrong type of food. Here are my recommendations
- Type of food. Ideally kitties should eat a canned or raw diet. Cats thrive on a low carbohydrate diet. Unfortunately, the amount of carbohydrate required to make a crunchy kibble (even grain free) is too high. For this reason, feeding kibble contributes to obesity and dental disease. I and love and you makes a great variety of canned foods to keep your kitty satisfied.
- Frequency of food. Your kitty’s feral counterpart eats 10-20 times per day. If you have a job, a family, or other pets, it’s unrealistic to feed your cat even 10 times per day. However, if you are feeding your cats twice daily, increasing to 3-4 times per day can help relieve cat stress. Automatic feeders and food puzzles are an easy way to automate your kitty’s snacks.
2. Living with other kitties
Intercat relationships can be complicated! Like people, some cats get along better than others. Here are few tips to help reduce cat stress when they gain a new roommate.
- Feed separately. If your kitties don’t love each other, try feeding them separately. Make sure that they can’t see each other while eating.
- Litter box count. Many cat parents make the mistake of not having enough litter boxes. The number of litter boxes recommended are the number of cats plus one. If you have two cats, it’s wise to have three litter boxes. If possible, have a litter box on each floor.
- Pheromones. These can help reduce stress caused by multiple cats. Feliaway comes in a diffuser and spray. Avoid using Feliaway near the litter box.
If you are planning to adopt a new furry friend, we have a helpful guide on tips for a successful new cat adoption to ensure a long future of snuggles and purrs.
3. Dogs & Children
Some kitties love their canine roommates. However, dogs can often stress kitties out by barking and chasing. Young children can also be a big source of cat stress.. I know I pushed my first kitty in a stroller wearing a dress. I can imagine that was stressful for him. Giving them a safe place to escape to can be a big cat stress reducer.
- Escape routes. Make sure your kitty has an escape route both up and out of every room. Cats feel safe when they can get far from the floor. You can find some inspiration here to create escape routes for your kitties.
- Safe places. Keep your cat’s food and litter box in a space that can’t be accessed by other creatures (dogs and kids). Baby gates and pet doors are great ways to ensure your kitty can come and go.
Whew! We went over a lot. Don’t worry, you don’t have to make all of these changes at once. No stress. Choose one bullet point to attack at a time.
I would love to hear all about the changes you are making to help your kitty feel more Zen. Send pictures and updates when you can!
Your kitty is so lucky to have you!
Sending my love,