The most common behavioral issues I see stem from cats mirroring their guardian’s stress. Stress comes in many forms and it doesn’t always result from bad news. What might be exciting news like a new boyfriend, a wedding, graduation party or a dream vacation may stress a cat out from the changes leading up to and beyond the event.
Change is the sign of the times but cats don’t like sudden change. Some cats like some humans are more resilient to change and manage stress well. Cats exhibit stress in many from the subtle to the more pronounced like over-grooming, aggression to litter box issues. Some cats experience a stress response from humans and children yelling, arguing, workmen or delivery persons in the home or yard, any unusually loud noise or music, noisy renovations, landscapers, gardeners, painters,the installation of new wall-to-wall carpet (plus toxic off-gassing of synthetic fibers), replacing old furniture with new additions especially pieces where cats like to perch or nap, new scents, changes of food or litter locations, changes in their guardian’s work or school schedules. The list is endless. Most cats adjust to change but the goal is to prevent stress by creating awareness.
The classic Holmes and Rahe stress chart might provide some insight into hidden stresses and prompt healthy lifestyle changes. A stressed human doesn’t have to equal a stressed cat. The best de-stresser for cats and humans is regular consistent inter-active play, petting and snuggling with your cat. What’s your score?