5 Things that Can Scare & Stress Your Cat

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Dr Prachi Kshatriya
Cats have a strong sense of smell and hearing, so they can identify approaching dangers rather quickly. Also, they might react to certain stimuli in strange ways and get scared easily. As pet parents you should make some changes in your home if there’s something constantly disturbing your pet.
 
Five things which can put your cat under stress include:
1. Thunderstorms and firecrackers: Loud noises can scare cats and they will run for cover under the sofa or bed, and may tremble as well. If she’s getting frightened, kindly confine her to a place where the intensity of the outside noise is less so that she feels comfortable. Don’t force her to eat or try to entertain her as she may not like it. Also, if you live in thunderstorm prone area, then talk to your vet and inquire about prescription anti-anxiety medications for emergencies. But don’t give any medication without consulting your vet.
 
2. Strong odours: Cat’s sense of smell is 14 times stronger than that of humans. Cats do not like strong odours, be it citrus, fruity, etc. String scented sprays can also be toxic for your pet. So avoid spraying them on your kitty’s bedding or litter box. Also if you’re planning to get your home painted or pest control at your home, it is recommended that you shift your pet to a boarding or at a friend’s place for a few days. Let the smell subside and then bring her back home to avoid any stress.
 
3. Cleaning chemicals: Cats are sensitive to aerosols and cleaning agents. Some of these chemicals can even cause respiratory tract infection in cats. Avoid using strong chemicals to clean litter boxes, instead use unscented or organic pet-friendly cleaners
 
4. Other Cats and Dogs: Dogs top the list for giving cats goosebumps! Cats can get frightened when they notice unknown dogs or cats wandering into their territory.Scents from dogs or other predatory animals can frighten your cat and she may succumb to stress. High stress levels can even lead to cats attacking one another. So kindly provide them secure environment so that they can live and roam fearlessly.
5. New pets, new furniture, or new people: Cats are easily stressed by even slight changes in their environment. The addition of a new pet or a new human visitor can be worrying for some cats. They might get anxious, hide for prolonged period of time, or alter their eating and elimination schedule. Addition of new furniture in your home can also stress your cat. This stress can trigger vomiting, diarrhoea, anxiety, or loss of appetite. A new piece of furniture may even stress some particularly tightly wound cats.Be sure to monitor your cat whenever there is a change in the house, no matter how small it may seem to you. Give them some extra time to accept change, a little patience goes a long way in pet parenting. (Dr Prachi Kshatriya, MVSc Surgery & Radiology, is at Petcetera Clinic, Pune)

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