When Your Stress Begins to Affect Your Cat
There is no denying that all of us are living in fairly stressful times. The combination of work, family responsibilities, and bombardment of bad news from the television and internet can all help to make you jittery and edgy. Without realizing it, your behavior can easily reflect negatively on your cat, which can result in inappropriate elimination. When your kitty starts to urinate all over the house or apartment, it may be time to step back and take an honest look at how you’re behaving.
Cats are not pack animals, like dogs, but they do become just as attached to their humans as dogs do, and can quickly tell when all is not right with you. Because cats are basically nonverbal, they are experts at picking up body language and facial nuances, so even if you are not tearing around the house screaming and yelling, there is a good chance that your cat will be able to tell that you are stressed. When you are stressed, your cat will be stressed, and the likelihood that the litter box will be ignored will increase.
Cats that become stressed are also much more likely to develop interstitial cystitis. This is a rather poorly understood condition whereby the nerves connected to the bladder become inflamed and the cat loses some bladder control. It also involves a loss of the protective mucus lining of the bladder so that urine is able to irritate the delicate walls of the organ.
Once your cat becomes stressed out as a reaction to your stress, he or she may begin spray marking in order to try to establish a feeling of security.
De-stressing Your Cat
Your cat isn’t trying to irritate you when he or she pees in all the wrong places, so never punish the cat either physically or verbally; not only will it do no good, it will only make the animal more stressed.
Giving your cat plenty of attention, especially stroking him or her, will have a calming effect on both of you. It has been scientifically shown that petting an animal reduces stress, and as you become more settled, so will your cat.
Pheromone products that bind to the cat’s neurotransmitters can also help to restore your cat’s normal behavior, and often once the problem of stress is removed, the problem of inappropriate elimination is also eliminated.