Recently, an animal shelter in El Paso, TX launched what it calls the Kitty Reading program. In short, it encourages interested kids to sign up for the purpose of reading to cats. That might sound rather strange to some people, but it is producing some real benefits. For example, the kids are benefiting by improving their reading skill, which is something that will have a profound impact on them for the rest of their lives. Likewise, the cats are benefiting by becoming more accustomed to humans as well as increasing their chances of being adopted by cat-loving families, which when combined, should minimize their exposure to the stress-related complications that can come from being in an animal shelter. Considering the impact that stress can have on animals, this is rather important to say the least.
Why Is Stress Reduction So Important?
For those who are curious, stress has much the same effect on cats that it has on humans. In short, stress suppresses the immune system, which can be fine when it happens for no more than short intervals but can increase the chances of a cat getting a wide range of serious medical conditions when it lasts for the long run. On top of this, stress can cause cats to start behaving in a wide range of negative fashions, with examples ranging from a lack of appetite to a general withdrawal from things. Unfortunately, cats are even worse than humans when it comes to revealing that they are stressed. After all, while there are plenty of people who will conceal their stress for one reason or another, they are nonetheless capable of realizing that they are stressed as well as communicate that information to other people so as to secure assistance with their problem. In contrast, cat owners are capable of understanding cats to some extent, but the process tends to be much more difficult than human to human communication. As a result, cat owners must exercise care and consideration by monitoring their cats for signs of stress lest the problem slip by unnoticed.
How Can You Tell When a Cat Is Stressed Out and What Can You Do About It?
Handling stress in a cat starts with recognizing when the cat is stressed out by something. Some potential symptoms of stress include but are not limited to increased aggressiveness, changes in their appetites, changes in their behavioral patterns, excessive grooming, excessive vocalization, and hair loss. None of these common symptoms are guaranteed to show up, but if cat owners notice that their cats are showing one or more of them, it might be time to visit the veterinarian. After all, veterinarians tend to have a lot of expertise and experience when it comes to cats, which should provide them with a better chance of figuring out what is wrong with the cat.
Of course, figuring out what is wrong with the cat is important for choosing the best method for overcoming the problem. Unfortunately, cats can get stressed out by a wide range of causes, meaning that this part of the process can be a challenge. For example, changes to a cat’s environment can cause it to feel as though it has lost control of the situation, though this particular problem can be combated to some extent by keeping more elements familiar while also ensuring convenient access to food, water, and the litter box. Another potential cause is a chance in the cat’s social circle, whether that comes in the form of a new member or the removal of a previous member for whatever reasons. There is no simple solution to this particular problem, but cats might feel better if they get the chance to socialize more with their owners. With that said, it is important to note that even over-stimulation can cause stress to cats, which is understandable considering their keen senses. As a result, cat owners will want to pay attention to whether their cats are overstimulated by either loud noises or even too much petting so that they can do something about the source of the problem as needed.
Summed up, cat owners might be able to help their stressed-out cats by providing them with safe, consistent environments while making sure that they get regular exercise as well as regular interaction. Should this approach fail, consulting a veterinarian is a must for further information on what to do.