Cats are intelligent , sometimes inscrutable animals whose sensitivity and perception make them fascinating and lovable pets.
But as those of us who have cats know, these are creatures of habit and comfort. You may be nervous or scared by a number of things , like a trip to the vet or the presence of a new person in the house.
To know if your cat is under stress, carefully observe its body language, you must capture all the information that the cat is giving you with its expressions and body language: the tension in the body, the size of the pupils, the movement and the direction of the ears, vocalizations, etc.
But once you know that your cat is nervous or scared , how can you calm your cat? In this article I offer you a series of tips to achieve calm from a stressed cat.
1. Stay close but not too close
Many cats do not like to be hugged or petted when they are upset . People, we tend to seek physical contact when we feel stressed. However, you will need to control this behavior when dealing with a stressed cat , or you could make the situation worse.
Although you should avoid suffocating your cat with hugs, being there physically with him is a good idea, especially if you have an affectionate cat. Cats can respond positively to the presence of someone they know and trust .
So pay attention to your cat’s personal preferences to better support him. Speak softly or sing a lullaby, do not hold or hug him. If they come up to you and climb onto your lap, of course you should allow them to come closer, but let them be in control.
2. Do things slowly
So slow and steady are key words to calm a stressed cat , especially if you expose yourself to something new. If it’s a short-term stressor, like an acquaintance coming over in the afternoon and bringing their dog, don’t even bother trying to get your cat used to it. In such situations, simply put the cat in a safe room with its essentials for the time period in question.
When introducing the cat to a new pet, person, space, or other stressor that is more long-term, it should be done slowly. Going too fast with something new is a common mistake in raising cats .
The desensitization, has to be done very gradually over days, weeks or months to be effective.
3. Give your stressed cat something cozy
If your cat is stressed and upset, you can provide a place to be that is comfortable and safe . If you are in your home, the top of a tall cat pole is a good place. Cats like to be in elevated areas , especially when they are anxious or restless.
Providing a small “safe room” when you are faced with more chronic forms of stress can also be a solution . You can create a nice and quiet feline space where your cat’s food and water, litter box, scratching posts, and toys are there.
If you travel in the car , keep your cat in a carrier. This provides a cozy place where your cat cannot escape, climb into the car seats, or become more upset by the things it sees happening.
4. Keep essential cat accessories accessible
One way to ease her anxiety is to take care of your cat’s basic needs . Thinking of the cat means doing what is best for your cat, not for yourself or your home.
This means that if your cat spends a long time in a certain room, and he loves to be there but is very afraid to go out, do not put his litter box in the basement and his food in the kitchen.
Placing cat essentials in remote or fearful rooms can cause chronic stress, so watch your cat’s preferences closely . Although we most likely don’t want to have a litter box in some rooms (bedroom, kitchen, living room), sometimes sacrifices must be made for our feline companions.
5. Let it spread its scent
Cats do many things to comfort themselves, such as leaving their scent in many places with facial rubbing and the scent mark on their paws. Therefore it is advisable for cats to leave their scent in the places they want and allow them to access those places in times of stress.
Scratching posts are a good option , placed in the cat’s favorite rooms, it makes it easier for them to send messages. Similarly, if you transport your cat in a carrier or take him to an unknown place, it is good to bring an item that carries the cat’s own “scent” , which provides familiarity in this stressful situation.
6. Music to calm your cat
Cats are very sensitive to noise . Especially if your cat’s fear or stress is being caused by loud noises. In this case, you could provide your cat with soft, classical music.
Playing soothing music for your cat may seem silly, but it has been proven to actually help de-stress and relieve anxiety. You can use music to calm , and even energize, your cats.
7. Provide games and toys for your cat
Although play is not advisable when cats are in a state of great excitement, it can be a solution to treat chronic or prolonged stress in cats. Play reduces stress in cats and can increase their confidence in places previously associated with fear.
Through play, cats that fear large rooms or unfamiliar environments can better acclimatize to these areas through play. It is important to offer daily play occasions, not just occasional ones, to reap its calming benefits.
8. Determine the root of the problem and find a solution
While all the tips I have outlined are helpful, for a quick fix it is essential to look deeper, especially if your cat is under severe stress.
Knowing what triggers fear and stress is necessary to create a plan that helps your cat feel safe. It is wise to observe the interactions between pets in your home, if any, and be alert to environmental factors that can cause stress.
Regular visits to the vet are crucial , and it may even be necessary to consult a certified cat behavior consultant.