Anyone that's ever owned cats has at one time or another had to deal with the stress they sometimes experience. Usually, it's involved with a move or introducing a new pet into the house, especially if it's a dog. But cats are creatures of habit that can experience stress whenever there are changes in their lives, even if those changes aren't anything too major. The next time your cat is exhibiting signs of stress, try some of these simple tips for how to calm a stressed cat.
Besides the fact cats just plain love cardboard boxes, for some reason, sometimes when animals are stressed they look for a quiet, secure location where they can feel safe. It can be a dark closet or behind the couch. Sometimes it's down in the basement or upstairs under a bed. Many dogs that have been crate trained continue to use them for their own quiet spot. Place a cardboard box on its side in a quiet location and make your cat aware of it.
No Time Like Playtime
It's been proven that physical activity is extremely effective for reducing stress levels and depression due to the pheromones our bodies produce when we're active. The good news is that your pets can benefit from activity, too. If you aren't already, make time to play with your cat for about 10-15 minutes a day during periods of stress. If it doesn't respond to you, though, give it its space until it's ready.
Room with a View
A lot of cat owners notice that when their feline buddies are out of sorts they retreat to the safety of a perch where they can survey their surroundings. Multi-tiered cat condos and ladders that have been wrapped in sisal — like the base of most cat condos — offer excellent perching opportunities. Your cat will be up off of the floor and perhaps feel more in control of his situation.
This might sound kooky, but try playing some quiet, soothing music of the kind you'd hear at the spa or in one of those new age stores (where you can probably buy a CD). No one is saying you have to listen to Zamfir and his Pan flute, but find something with calming sounds or a slow, steady beat. Blues, jazz and classical music can de-stress as well. Just make sure the volume is low.
Desperate Times call for Desperate Measures
If all else fails, you can always use an herbal remedy formulated for cats with stress. There are now tons of them to choose from and some work better than others. If you choose a tincture, try and find one without alcohol as a base. You can also find calming products for pets in powders and tablets, if you think it would be easier to administer. Phermone diffusers can occasionally help, too, and you can probably pick one up on Amazon pretty cheap.
What are your favorite tips for calming a stressed cat?