cats-summer-stress-vintage art
Cat Behavior 101,  Cats,  Holidays,  Secrets of Cats

Avoiding Feline Summer Stress

If you love cats, sharing makes us purrrr :-)

UPDATED: June 2020. Summer sun and fun is here but it can be a stressful time for many cats. This year with the pandemic and its inherent stress and restrictions is doubly so. The number one reason for feline stress is change. It can be a change of schedule like kids being out of school or humans going away on vacation. It can be summer thunderstorms and fireworks or new neighborhood cats leaving threatening “peemail”. Cats respond to stress with a wide range of behavior from barely disguised anxiety, hiding under the bed, peeing outside the litter box to over-grooming, unexpected aggression to destructiveness some called “naughty”.

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If there are lots of changes planned in your household this summer, be proactive. An ounce of prevention is worth a week’s worth of cat behaviorist consults.

Stop. Look. Listen.

We all lead busy lives but unless we stop for a moment we won’t notice something is amiss with our cats. Look at your cat closely. Are they doing something out of the ordinary? Licking their fur too much or shredding the toilet paper. Are their ears flattened into a defensive or aggressive mode? Are their pupil’s dilated and round with anxiety? Listen to how they vocalize. Are they yowling more or less? Listen to your intuition for anything that doesn’t feel right. Tell your cat you love them and any changes aren’t permanent.

If you’re planning a vacation, plan cat sitting care well in advance. To be on the safe side, plan a vet wellness visit before leaving on holiday. Before stress escalates, try using a calming flower essence like Rescue Remedy in the cat’s drinking water daily.

No matter changes may occur, keep some routine the same. If possible, maintain regular inter-active play sessions. Active play for 15 to 20 minutes or at least two-ten minute sessions daily is the best way to dilute excess pent-up energy. Summer is a great to to train your cat to walk on a leash. Many cats love training like agility training. Basic commands like come, sit, lie down plus tricks are easy to learn.

With a little commonsense and mindfulness, our cats can enjoy summer as much as we do.

Other suggestions, may we recommend our Vet 101 video how to give a cat exam at home or our post on cats growing older


  • CATachresis

    Austin is undergoing quite a lot of change at the moment. He seems to be coping quite well, but he is quieter and seems a bit puzzled at times. I am trying to keep his day as normal as possible, but you are right, I must watch closely for signs of stress!

  • Skeeter and Izzy

    We luvs the daily grind! Izzy is less apt at dealing with change than Skeeter but I try to reassure them even when nothing out of the ordinary is going on. Thanks for all the great info about helpful products and methods to try. Luvs Skeeter and Izzy and the Feral Gang >^..^<

  • Sue Brandes

    My neighbors are close so you can hear everything. My kitties love the windows open but; hate the lawn mowers, any unfamiler voices, hammering, trash trucks, or other animals outside. And fireworks are coming. That is the worse for them. I try to calm them down and play but; many times they just want to hide and growl.

  • da tabbies o trout towne

    grate post odin N crew…frank lee we hate summer…we hate summer sew much we iz compozin a song bout
    it N itz goin inta de ree cording stoodee oh heer short lee…..

  • Hazel

    Do you mean Bach’s Rescue Remedy? I used to have great luck with the Feliway plug ins, but they’ve been useless lately. I think the spray works better.
    Our cats have always been pretty laid back, but we’ve had so much stress lately, it’s really affecting them. Is there anything else I can do? I know they’re picking up my stress from my car accident, I’ve never not been able to calm them. I’m at my wits end!!! I’m going to get the book, sounds good.

    • Layla Morgan Wilde

      Yes but there are many others. I like ones from Green Hope Farms plus we’re making our own this summer. Feliway works well with most cats. If the spray is working for you, continue with it. Sorry to hear it’s been more stressful and yes they are likely to pick up on it. Continue with working on your own stress with breathing, meditation and communicate with the cats. When you’re in a place of stillness, ask them what’s stressing them out and what they need, listen for any bit of info. It can come in a word, sound, symbol in your head, anything. With more practice, the images or words will be clearer. There are lots of good book to hone communication skills and you’re a good candidate.

  • Sam and Pam

    I guess Sam’s the same as most cats in loving routine…..we try to keep every day pretty much the same as far as Sam’s involvement with us – regular walks on his leash, play time, even time at the computer. Sam has one of his famous “nap tents” in my office and he knows when I’ll be working on the computer every day and comes up here with me for that. If I have other things to do during “computer time” he gets quite upset with me and follows me around yelling at me until I get into the office! He’s better than having an alarm clock (and cuter too!).


  • Kitties Blue

    Thanks for such an informative post. We all know cats don’t like change, but I never really thought about the small impermanent changes like our going away for a short time. I have never heard of Rescue Remedy. Where can I get some? Janet

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