What Are the Most Common Stressors for Cats?

December 12, 2016
American Veterinarian Editorial Staff

Meri Hall, RVT, CVT, LVT, LATG, VTS (SAM), veterinary technician of internal medicine, from Veterinary Specialty Hospital of Palm Beach Gardens, outlines the four most common stressors that cause hyper-grooming and interstitial cystitis.

Meri Hall, RVT, CVT, LVT, LATG, VTS (SAM), veterinary technician of internal medicine, from Veterinary Specialty Hospital of Palm Beach Gardens, outlines the four most common stressors that cause hyper-grooming and interstitial cystitis.

Interview Transcript (slightly modified for readability)

“The four most common stressors for cats are: being confined to a home; other animals being introduced into the home, such as dogs; changing in relationships for the human family, whether that be a woman meeting a guy, getting married and having children; and moving. We are a very mobile society, and when we decide we’re going to move, no one asks the cats, ‘do you want to move?’ They’re just simply put into a carrier and then they are moved. When you reintroduce them out into the new home, they’re stressed; it’s not home, it doesn’t smell the same.

We as a society are actually creating a lot of the problems for our pets because of our lifestyle. We have tried to domesticate an animal that, in the wild, does what it wants to do; so, when you try to tell a cat what to do, we all know that they’re going to look at you and go ‘yeah, no.’ Those are probably the four big reasons why we are having so many problems.

The area that I’m currently living in, we have a lot of outdoor cat colonies. The number of animals that I see for hyper-grooming and for [interstitial] cystitis, is very low compared to the [number in the] Northeast, and I think it’s because so many of our animals are able to go outside, year-round, [satisfy] that [behavioral need], and come in at night [to] have that time with the family. [At the same time] they’re able to be cats, and so their stress is a little bit lower.”