7 Simple Steps to Reduce Stress in Cats

7 Simple Steps to Reduce Stress in Cats

stress can play a big role in your cat’s
life it reduces quality of life and can result in serious conditions such as
cystitis the great news though is that there are many easy steps we can take to
reduce stress in cats hi I’m Dr. Alex Avery from ourpetshealth.com helping you and your cat to live a healthier happier life if you’re
wondering if your cat is stressed or what on earth they have to worry about
then make sure you check out my related video link down below so if you’re
watching this you might be at your wits end and becoming just as stressed as
your cat if so calm down take a deep breath and get stuck into my seven-point
plan to get your cat back to their normal happy self so at 1 we have
routine cats just love routine and like us they’re creatures of habit they get a
great deal of reassurance from knowing when they will be fed and when they will
be shut away at night and when they will get to sit on your lap for a stroke and
play if their lifestyle is hectic then this causes anxiety busy modern life
is often very unpredictable but trying to be as consistent as possible can
really help your cat feel calm and safe try and feed them at the same time every day
if you’re not going to be around then see if a neighbor friend or another
family member can pop in and feed them for you also be consistent with the
level of interaction you have with your cats and try and let them initiate this
interaction don’t force them to sit with you on the sofa or allow strangers to
pick them up for a cuddle if it’s really not something that they that they enjoy
and that happens regularly if they are wriggling and trying to get away then
let them do that and let them be on their own so at number 2 is how many
cats you have at home so consider how many cats you have and consider those
that are already part of your family before agreeing to get another kitten
multi cat households are generally a source of stress no matter how well they
seem to get on the more cats the higher level of stress
cats are generally solitary animals and so while they’ll often tolerate others
and can form relationships we should not be fooled into thinking that they’re
always getting on they might be sleeping on the same bed or on the sofa but are
they as far away from each other as possible do they have their backs to
each other are they play fighting but really one cat is growling and hissing
which is a cat’s way of saying go away they might instead sleep intertwined
with each other and be frequently seen to be grooming their housemates in which case
they really are likely to be friends we should always consider the impact of
another animal being brought into the family and if your cat is stressed then
any addition is only likely to make things worse so this brings us nicely
onto competition for resources as well as causing stress just by being there
having more than one cat means that there will be competition for resources
and this mainly includes food water and toilets
but you should also think about beds toys hiding spots scratching posts and
anything else your cat uses on a day-to-day basis as we’ve already
discussed cats are generally solitary in nature never more so than when they’re
eating drinking or toileting they really like to do these activities alone and
preferably out of sight of other cats now if space is tight then a covered
feeding station or litter tray may make all the difference and this means that
ideally there should be one more food bowl water bowl and litter tray than
there are cats as well as this number they should also have be placed at
different locations ideally at least 6 feet apart and in a private spot even
this is not necessarily ideal and to make things even better litter trays
should also be kept completely separate from a cat food and water no one wants
to go to the toilet next to their dinner adding to this point is that different
cats prefer different litter types some dislike clay-based ones that might stick
to their feet others will stay away from anything scented if you’re finding your
cat isn’t using their litter tray or seems to be holding on for a long time
then consider simply switching the type of litter that you use you should also
regularly clean their trays and once one cat has been to the toilet it’s really
unlikely to be used again by other cats unless really out of absolute necessity
so if you have three cats then you should have 4 food and water stations
and four litter trays all placed well away from each other and potentially
containing different types of litter so as you will have guessed by now cats
live a really complex social life you may not have seen any other cats in your
garden but your cat will definitely know who walks across their lawn and who
shares their wider environment with them cats communicate by scent and marking
and will generally work out a system that allows them to partly share
territory while at the same time avoiding having to come face-to-face
with each other this reduces stress and also the potential for conflict and
fighting what this means though is that if your cat does go outside then they
should be the ones who decide when and for how long if you’re forcing them to
go outside then this may coincide with the time that the big male is in the
area and this is terrifying for your cats and really a huge source of stress
so next up is the environment as well as being complex socially cats like a lot
more than a bed on the floor and a ball to play with
they love to climb and spend time at different levels and they also like a
challenge to get to where they want to go now your cat may be able to go
outside and climb trees they might spend time on the roof of your house and
explore the environment if they spend any time indoors though allowing your
cat to express these behaviors in the safety of their own
home is important so have scratching posting cat furniture like a jungle gym
and that will really help provide mental simulation and also improve your cats
mental well-being it doesn’t have to be huge my cats they love their small
play tower and both of them will still sleep together on the very top platform
even though it’s becoming a little bit of a squeeze for both of them cats also
like safe places that are quiet comfortable and out of the way they will
choose that safe space but you can help by moving furniture so they can maybe
get up into that high spot you could have a chair next to your wardrobe so
that they can get to the top or leave a cupboard open and let them use the top
shelf as a bed if you know your cat has a special place they like to spend
time in then make it comfortable for them and make it accessible all the time
put to bed or blanket there and make sure your cat can get there whenever
they want so securing your house is next wouldn’t you hate it if strangers kept
coming into your house taking your food from your fridge and using your toilet
before leaving again well for many of you that might be just what your cat is
experiencing it’s pretty common for me to hear from people that they have
strange cats who come into their house for a feed on a regular basis and if
your cat is prone to stress just imagine how intrusive this is and how
it makes them feel and there are a couple of different ways that you can go
about securing your house the first is to forego the cat flap
let your cat in and out through the door clear downside to this though is that
either you’ll become your cat’s personal assistant on call 24/7 or your cat won’t
be able to get out or come back in when they want to and we’ve already discussed
why this is really important for a stressed cat an alternative is to get a
cat flap that will only allow your cat to get into the house and there are two
different types the first being a magnetic cat door and this works by
having a magnet attached to your cat’s collar and this unlocks the door for
your cat in particular the door will stay locked for any cat who does not
have a magnet the clear downside to this is that your cat will have to wear a
collar and that the magnet may pick up bits of metal so I’ve never used one of
these myself but I know of many clients who have found them to work really well
so the second type of cat flap is a microchip cat door and this works by
using your cats existing microchip which the door then scans and will only let
those cats that have already been programmed into the flap so this means
that even if a strange cat has a microchip it won’t open now I have one
of these installed for my own cats as we had exactly this problem of cats
coming in and eating their food and it’s really been excellent another thing that
can help if you have strange cats hanging around is having more than one
entry or exit point and this will always give your cat a different option of
getting home or going out if a competing cat is near one door so my final tip for
reducing stress in your cat is the use of supplements or medications now
broadly speaking there are three different types the first of these is a
pheromone supplement such as a feliway now this looks like a plug-in air
freshener and it releases feline facial pheromone into the room it is something
that we can’t smell but your cat will be sure to notice it and this pheromone is
produced by cats when they rub their face on objects and it’s a way of
marking their territory and making them feel at home the more there is the safer
they feel which is why this addition can really be a great source of comfort to
your cat next we have a large range of herbal supplements which typically come
as powders or liquids and can be added to your cats food these are most often
well accepted and can really help although it does vary between cats some
will also cause a bit of sedation or with anything given orally if there is
always the chance that they’ll either not take it or it will cause a stomach
upset I’ll leave a link in the description to some of
products down below our final group is pharmaceutical drug intervention now
these are typically reserved for cats that’s showing really extreme signs of
stress or stress-related disease that haven’t benefited from the other changes
that I’ve discussed now this is definitely something that you need to
discuss with your vet and it’s a good idea to chat over anyway if you have a
stressed cat because they’ll be able to advise you on supplements and other
things that might be more appropriate for your individual cat implementing
some or all of these strategies will likely have a huge impact on your cats
stress levels well-being and quality of life it will also help prevent related
problems which can really have a significant associated costs and quality
of life implications do you have any other tips that have really helped your
cat feel more relaxed please leave me a comment down below I’d really love to
read them all so if it’s your first time remember to subscribe and until next
time i’m dr. alex from our pets health because they’re family


  1. What has helped your cat relax the best? I'd love to know
    If you're not sure if your cat is stressed or not then make sure you watch this video to help you decide: https://youtu.be/R7YTAEzkIiA

  2. I'm not sure about the time thing though?
    (Allowing cat to choose his times)
    Its just when I have allowed him to ho in and out as he pleases ,he ends up staying out for longer periods of time, and actually ends up MORE STRESSED ,because he yearns to be out nearly all the time, and then sometimes, stays out over night, or dissapears a few days! And comes back all jumpy because he's been out in the wild over night, worrying about creatures approaching him?

  3. Its cheaper at Chewy.com

  4. Hi Dr OPH, our rescue epitomises scaredy cats. She’s around 9 years old and has been with us for 7 years now. It was the classic case of anxiety caused by neighbourhood cats coming into the house stealing food, but we relocated around 4 months ago and installed a microchip cat flap to ensure her safe space. At first she seemed to have settled in nicely but after 3 months she’s started spraying daily in the bathroom corner. We’ve been cleaning with spray and wipe followed by baking soda and vinegar, haven’t yet tried enzyme cleaner. But wonder if there is something else we can try to alleviate stress?

  5. My cat lives outside but he sprays everywhere and I dont know how to figure out why he's spraying and what should I exactly do

  6. I have 4 cats, 3 of them are pretty chill and sweet angels but the other one has been the reason why me and my family argue sometimes and it's so sad because i love him so much… He's been fixed since he was little, but now after 3 years whenever he can he'll spray everywhere. I believe he's stressed but nothing i try to do seems to help at all, he's the one i give more attention to and it even makes me feel bad because i almost never play with the other cats afraid he'll get jealous. I don't understand 🙁

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