Cats are creatures of habit: they will happily sleep in the same cardboard box every day for months, eat the same brand of food for years, or sit and relax in the sun on the same perch year after year. They’re predictable, and that’s what we love about them. It’s when things change in the cat’s surroundings that they can become anxious and stressed.
Things that to us may not seem unsettling or stressful may have an adverse effect on cats. Something such as moving the furniture around or getting a new carpet installed could stress your cat out and cause it to change behaviour. Some cats are certainly more sensitive than others so individual needs should be catered for.
Cats can’t talk but if you pay close enough attention, you will see that they exhibit their anxiety in other ways. They tend to change their behaviour and actions, so that you, their owner, are able to see that something is amiss in their lives. As your cat is a member of your family, it is your responsibility to ensure that it is happy and relaxed in the environment in which you put it. Possible signs that your cat may be stressed out include the following:
- Hiding for excessive amounts of time or being uncharacteristically easily startled
- Uncharacteristic aggression towards companion cats and /or people
- Excessive grooming which can often result in hair loss
- Not using the litter box for urinating and defecation
- Loss of appetite
Cat’s bodies are equipped to deal with short term stress via hormone release, as they would in the wild. However individual animals respond to situations differently, and so, something that you may consider as insignificant might affect your cat rather badly.
Causes of stress:
- Home renovations or a move
- Excessive noise
- New people in the house
- Being taken to the vet or pet parlour
- A new pet /person being introduced into the house
- A nearby firework display
- Travelling by car or plane
- Thunderstorms and lightning
Of course, big events that cause us stress would also affect your cat in a similar way. The death of a loved one, a new baby in your life, or divorce can cause your cat to go into distress or depression.
The good news is that there are numerous ways to keep your pet relaxed. These include removing the stressor (ie loud noises) and gently acclimatising your cat to something new (as a new person or animal in your house). Alternatively, you could also use a relaxer, such as Calmeze, which aids in keeping your cat calm and reduces anxiety.
Calmeze is a nutritional aid for anxiety related conditions. The active ingredients in this product promotes relaxation, stimulates feelings of confidence and provides pets with a sense of well-being.
Though we don’t realise it, our cats are very observant creatures and can sense when things are about to change. Thus, it is recommended to dose Calmeze a day before an event, as well as one to two hours before the event takes place.
Calmeze for cats is available from participating veterinarians and vet shops, in a 50ml pump bottle. The salmon flavoured gel can be administered over food or, as cats are generally particular about grooming, the gel can be applied to their front paw to be licked off.