Life is stressful, and we've all experienced days and situations that leave us drained. We may be bringing home that stress to our four-legged companions, whether intentional or not. Studies have shown that cats feel stress when their owners feel stress, and they can show this stress in a variety of different ways.
Cats are sympathetic creatures and can sense stress in their owners. According to James Morrisey, a veterinarian at the College of Veterinary Medicine of Cornell University in New York, cats are very good at picking up stress in people. Whether its owner is sick, depressed, stressed out about the economy or a failed relationship, cats feel stress when their owners feel stress.
How can you tell if your cat is feeling your stress? He may stop using his litter box. He may over-groom himself until he's bald. His stress may be exhibited through constant meowing or verbalization. Your cat may become aggressive towards other animals in the house, and even humans! Additionally, your cat may have a reduced appetite if stressed.
Types of Stress
What types of stress can affect people? Just as we feel stress from new surroundings, new schools or jobs, or changes in our relationships, so do our cats. According to veterinarian Lorie Huston, she found that her cat suffered from grief and stress after the loss of a household pet. A cat can feel grief and sadness just as we do at the loss of a loved one.
Because your cat is responding to your stress, one way to help your cat is to get help for yourself. By alleviating stress in your life, your cat will benefit from a happier household. Show your cat lots of love and affection during this stressful time, and allow him to find his way. If he wants to spend time alone in a quiet room, allow him to do so. Natural remedies like stress relief spray can be found at pet stores and may help to relieve your cat's stress symptoms. A trip to the vet may be in order to determine whether more measures need to be taken to help your cat through this stressful time.
Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.
Sharon Harleigh has been writing for various online publications since 2008. She specializes in business, law, management and career advice. Harleigh is a proud graduate of UCLA and Loyola Law School.