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”.
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.