Stress is a virtually unavoidable part of human existence. No matter the lengths to which one will go to do so, external factors will inevitably crop up now and again that stress us out.
Cats, like humans, can also get stressed out. Unfortunately, there are some pretty common behaviors out there that many pet owners exhibit without realizing it that can put a lot of undue stress on their cats. Here are some common behaviors to avoid if you want to help keep your cat happy, healthy, and low-stress.
Using strong-smelling fragrances. Cats have a much stronger olfactory sense than humans do, and what seems like a “light” scent to you might be overbearing for your cat. Also, cats don’t like the same things we do. You may love the scent of pumpkin spice when you walk through the door, but the inability of your cat to escape the odor may be driving him nuts.
Litter box issues. You should be scooping your cat’s litter box at least once a day, and cleaning it entirely once every two weeks. Cats are clean creatures and they don’t like it when their litter box is dirty. On that note, cats are also fairly private creatures, so don’t put the litter box in a high-traffic area. Would you want to go to the bathroom someplace people keep walking through?
Punishing them for doing what cats do. If your cat is scratching at the couch, don’t yell at him. Instead, provide him with a scratching post and reward the cat for exhibiting the behavior you desire. This goes for dogs, too. If your dogs bark when someone comes to the door, they’re doing it to warn you and keep you safe; it’s what dogs do. If you yell at your animal for doing something he normally does, he’s just going to get confused and end up fearing you.
Don’t restrain your cat. No matter what kind of day you’ve had, or how badly you want to snuggle with your furry friend, never grab your cat and hold her so she can’t escape. In the wild, predators will first restrain their prey before eating them, and when you restrain your cat, you’re going to kick in her fight or flight response and freak her out. If you want to pet your cat, let her come and sit with you, never grab and hold her.
Nobody likes being stressed out, and knowing what can cause stress in your pets is important. If you want them to remain happy and healthy, they’re going to need as little stress as possible – just like you!