Purring may have developed as a mechanism to keep a cat’s bones and muscles in peak condition. This is helpful during the long periods of inactivity in their style of hunting, which is to wait for prey to come by and then ambush it.
When your cat is sitting on your lap and getting pets and scratches, they are probably purring as well, and maybe even kneading your leg or a blanket. This nonverbal form of communication tells you that life is good and that your cat is very happy with the current situation.
According to studies, cats purr at frequencies that help to stimulate healing, particularly of bones and tendons. The frequency may also serve to reduce pain, ease breathing, and build muscles, among other health benefits.
Additionally, the vibrations that occur during purring help lead kittens to their mother. Kittens are born blind and deaf, and they depend on the mother cats to provide first milk (called colostrum).
A cat that’s on the exam room table in the veterinary hospital is way more likely to be scared than happy. When your cat is quietly sitting next to you getting their daily dose of human time, they’re probably content and encouraging your affectionate behavior with their purrs.
It is well known that having a cat as a pet can work wonders for reducing a person’s stress levels. There’s nothing like the slow, gentle action of stroking a cat on your lap and listening to it gently purring in appreciative response, to calm the mind and reduce the blood pressure.
Conscious of what a tremendous therapeutic effect animals can have on people, carers sometimes bring them into a hospital setting precisely for this purpose. A cat can work wonders: it can reduce blood pressure and it can provide friendship and comfort for people who live on their own, particularly when they are elderly or infirm and are rarely able to go out.
As a result, some hospitals, hospices and homes for the elderly now recognize the therapeutic value of animals. Establishing a relationship with a cat can be a valuable step in a person’s ability to express their feelings again after a serious illness, which can be beneficial in a patient’s recuperative process.
“This is probably the most common mistake we see,” she says, “that guardians rush up and try to pet or pick up a highly aroused or stressed cat.” The main problem with petting or snuggling is that it doesn’t allow the cat to decompress, according to Ingrid Johnson, a certified cat behavioral consultant with the Georgia-based Fundamentally Feline. “It can take cats hours to come down from a heightened, aroused state,” she says, so it’s important to give them space.
“At the least, it may reduce the impact of the ‘scary’ noises by creating a buffer.” Johnson adds that pairing this music or sound with a cozy room or “kitty haven” will increase the sense of calm. These products have L-theanine in them, Johnson says, an ingredient found in green tea that naturally relieves anxiety.
“Play decreases stress in cats and can increase their confidence in places previously associated with fear,” Johnson says. She notes that cats afraid of large rooms or unfamiliar environments can better acclimate to these areas through play.
Additionally, Parry underlines the importance of providing daily, not just occasional, opportunities for play in order to reap its calming benefits. “Knowing what triggers the fear allows you to build a plan to help the cat feel safe.” She advises observing interactions between pets in your home to address any problems, and to be alert to potentially stress-causing environmental factors.
Calming down a cat is a delicate process, so we’ve provided some tips for getting kitty back to his happy, mischievous self. “This is probably the most common mistake we see,” she says, “that guardians rush up and try to pet or pick up a highly aroused or stressed cat.” The main problem with petting or snuggling is that it doesn’t allow the cat to decompress, according to Ingrid Johnson, a certified cat behavioral consultant with the Georgia-based Fundamentally Feline.
“It can take cats hours to come down from a heightened, aroused state,” she says, so it’s important to give them space. While you should avoid smothering your kitty with love, just being there physically is a good idea, especially if you have an affectionate cat.
“People think they can get the cat used to the scary thing by exposure,” she explains, “but desensitization by definition has to be done very gradually, and over days, weeks, or months to be effective.” Cats can be fearful of large, open spaces, Johnson says, so make sure kitty has a cozy spot where he can retreat in times of stress.
One anxiety-easing practice that cat owners sometimes neglect is “taking care of their basic needs in a cat-centric manner,” Parry says. Scratching posts are a good option, ideally placed in the cat’s favorite rooms.
Especially if your cat’s fear or stress is being caused by loud noises (construction, a baby crying, traffic), providing alternative sound is a great solution. “At the least, it may reduce the impact of the ‘scary’ noises by creating a buffer.” Johnson adds that pairing this music or sound with a cozy room or “kitty haven” will increase the sense of calm.
These products have L-theanine in them, Johnson says, an ingredient found in green tea that naturally relieves anxiety. “Play decreases stress in cats and can increase their confidence in places previously associated with fear,” Johnson says.
She notes that cats afraid of large rooms or unfamiliar environments can better acclimate to these areas through play. Additionally, Parry underlines the importance of providing daily, not just occasional, opportunities for play in order to reap its calming benefits.
“Knowing what triggers the fear allows you to build a plan to help the cat feel safe.” She advises observing interactions between pets in your home to address any problems, and to be alert to potentially stress-causing environmental factors. Regular visits to the veterinarian are crucial, and you may even want to check in with a certified cat behavior consultant.
Whether they're fighting because they smell differently or got spooked, your cats probably won't stay enemies for long. Eventually, the two cats will remember each other, but it can be pretty disturbing to watch best friends fight until they figure it out.
Another option is to lightly rub your hands with a pleasant scent, like smelly treats or water from canned tuna, and then gently pet your kitty. Sometimes cats get scared, and this causes them to misdirect their “fight or flight” response at the wrong target.
This might happen if two cats are sleeping peacefully next to each other, then hear a loud noise. Changes in your own life can also trigger territory insecurity and stress in your cats.
If you recently got married, had a baby, or even changed your work schedule significantly, your cats might be feeling a little shaken up and insecure. When a significant change takes place, try to stick to your cats routine as much as you can, including mealtime and bedtime.
Cats tend to hide health problems, but they might become withdrawn or aggressive if they're not feeling well. One easy and effective solution is to set up Comfort Zone Calming Diffusers in different rooms where your cats hang out.
This drug-free solution mimics a cat's pheromones and helps communicate the environment is safe and secure. This collar with the Breakaway safety feature helps keep the calming pheromones with your cats whether they're resting in the home or on the go.
You could also try adding cat trees, condos, and window perches around the house to give your kitties more territory to call their own. Tall spaces can also increase confidence and help cut down on fear-based fighting.
Start out by keeping them in separate rooms, and swap blankets and other items with their scents. When cats that used to be good buddies suddenly start fighting, it's generally temporary.
Does a new kitten incite hissing and swatting from a senior member of your feline family? More than a quarter of cats surrendered to shelters are given up by their owners because of ongoing aggression issues, according to a study cited by the Cornell Feline Health Center.
It can help to understand that feline social structures are complex, and there will be times when it’s impossible for humans to fathom what makes some cats “acceptable” housemates and others not. Even though they may socialize in a neutral area, colony cats still stake out individual territories for hunting and sleeping.
Inter-cat aggression: Especially common between unfettered males when they reach social maturity between the ages of 2-4 years. Pain: When sudden aggression flares up, the first thing you’ll want to do is rule out injury or infection (such as an abscess).
Classic signs of a low-stakes attack from the dominant cat include swatting and blocking access with his body. Learn more about this form of cat aggression in the Raising Your Paws podcast, episode 49.
Dilated pupils Intent staring Ears flattened against the head Tail erect Arched back Hair standing on end Posturing to look larger Whatever you do, don’t let the cats “fight it out.” Aggression can escalate from chasing, yowling and swatting to full-on scratching and biting.
Whether you’re trying to separate the cats or just want to soothe your growling feline, keep yourself well out of range of swiping and biting distance. Gently wedge a physical object between the fighting cats, such as a large piece of cardboard, or some other light, sturdy barrier made of wood or plastic.
To start with, house the cats separately, closed off from each other, each with their own food, water, bed and litter box. If one cat must live in a smaller, more confined area, be sure and provide plenty of enrichment and playtime.
After a few days in their separate areas, move the cats to each other’s space for one minute apiece. Once the cats respond calmly to the other’s presence (no signs of aggression or fear), release them in the same room, on opposite sides.
Outsource cat diets are the perfect choice for any pet parent who wants to help their feline friend look and feel their best. Every bag and can is packed with Good 4 Life, a unique blend of supplements that offers your cat all the minerals and nutrients they need to build a healthy body from the inside out.
If you’re looking for fewer hairballs and litter box odors, you’ll want to grab a bag today! Cats experience anxiety when they anticipate danger from “unknown or imagined origins that result in normal body reactions ... associated with fear,” explains Pet MD.
Cat anxiety may be caused by pain or illness, exposure to something toxic or infectious diseases that affect the nervous system. A psychological trigger may be to blame, like a traumatic experience, lack of proper socialization or a history of abuse or neglect.
An aging brain can also cause anxiety, especially in senior cats experiencing memory problems or dementia. Joint pain in older cats can also be a source of anxious behaviors, such as hiding or failing to use the litter box.
Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), characterized by exaggerated, repetitive behaviors, can also affect cats. Causes of OCD in cats aren't really known, and as such it's generally characterized as a mental disorder, although it can be initiated by stress, says Pet MD.
Trembling Withdrawal and hiding Becoming less active Trying to escape Destructive or aggressive behavior Diarrhea Failure to use the litter box Sores and lesions resulting from over-grooming In a case of separation anxiety, your cat will likely be fine as long as you're around, but may begin acting anxious when they can sense that you're about to leave.
Once you've identified anxious behaviors in your cat, the first step is to make an appointment with your veterinarian to either diagnose or rule out any underlying health issues or toxins that might be causing your kitty stress. Because cats tend to hide their pain, this is not something that is likely to be obvious, and may require a thorough series of blood panels and other tests.
On the other hand, if your vet rules out a physical problem as the cause, this may mean that the issue is psychological. For example, if your cat is anxious when they can sense you're about to leave, train them to go lie down and reward them when they do with a treat or a favorite toy.
If it persists, it could compromise her immune system and make them more vulnerable to illness, which will, in turn, compound her stress. They could also develop severe depression on top of the anxiety, all of which could lead to additional behavior problems.
With love, patience and willingness to do your part to help, your cat has an excellent chance of making a full recovery and returning to their healthier, happier self. You probably already know that your cat is most comfortable with the familiar, and needs time to adjust to things, people, or places that are unfamiliar.
When you bring your cat to visit the veterinarian, it is often difficult for her because the carrier, car, and the veterinary hospital are usually unfamiliar places and experiences. Respect your cat’s need for time to become familiar with new situations, people, and places.
It plays an important role in communication, social behavior, sexual activity, and food appreciation. Cats mark their scent by rubbing their face and body on objects and people, which deposits natural pheromones to establish boundaries within which they feel safe and secure.
Consider using a synthetic facial pheromone like Beltway, which can mimic your cat’s natural pheromones and provide a calming effect in a stressful or unfamiliar situation, like when you use her carrier, or when your cat is going to be around unfamiliar people or animals. However, she cannot localize sounds very well and, because her sense of hearing is so sensitive, she perceives loud noises when we think we are talking in a normal voice.
Try to keep the noises low around your cat, especially when she may be getting stressed due to an unfamiliar environment or person. Remember to use a low, soothing voice when talking to your cat to help keep her calm.
Your cat may lose patience when you pet her for extended periods of time. Avoid reaching that tipping point by reading the subtle cues in your cat’s body language.
Her ears might be slightly lowered and to the sides and sometimes her back will ripple a bit. Your cat can see well in dim light, has some color vision, and is very sensitive to movement.
Rapid movements, especially if unanticipated, can heighten her responses and lead her to be more reactive. Make sure your movements around her are slow and provide distractions such as treats or toys.
Refrain from looming over your cat, since it makes you appear larger and potentially threatening. If your cat is in her carrier, you can cover it with a towel to create a visual barrier and make her feel a bit safer.
There are a few techniques, which aren’t rocket-science but will enable you to calm almost any cat, in almost any situation. It doesn’t matter what breed they are or if they have a particularly aggressive personality.
The tricks and tips I describe below will send signals to your cat that tell it you are not a threat. This stands for SLO w BL ink and Y awn.
You will notice if you watch out for it carefully, that when you look at your cat, it may blink slowly and possibly then look away. Wait a couple of seconds and divert your attention to something else, but do all of this slowly with no sudden movements.
Repeat these steps every single time your cat looks at you and remember to keep things nice and slow. As I said above, if you’re going to take just one thing from this article or just don’t have time to read anymore, just take this one point on-board.
Try not to make a loud noise like some people do when they yawn! Never stare at a cat that’s feeling stressed and anxious.
Again, keep everything really controlled and slow and make no sudden movements. You are showing it that you are not considering attacking it and you aren’t particularly interested in bothering it.
Don’t try and do it too close to your cat but relatively near them (they obviously have to see you otherwise you’re going to look pretty stupid) slowly roll onto your back and impersonate Harry in the picture above! Just get down on their level, follow the ideas I’ve mentioned above, and don’t pay them much attention.
I mean occasionally you can improve the bond between yourself and your cat if you have a little incentive. We like Feline Greene Dental Treats because they are a natural formula with added vitamins, minerals, and Maurine to offer complete nutrition, plus dental care.
A nervous cat will want to be able to sometimes escape and climbing somewhere high is often appealing to them. This will allow your nervous cat to adopt the high ground where it will feel safe and also provide it with places to hide.
We love the Go Pet Club cat tree. It comes in several heights and is really sturdy with perches, boxes, and plenty of scratching posts.
A cat bases many of its feelings of security on the scents it detects in its home. Unfamiliar scents or those of other animals can prove a real hindrance to your cat’s progress when it comes to settling in.
There are several pheromone diffusers that aim to mimic a cat’s own scent to help it feel at home. The scent emitted from diffusers can make your cat feel more calm and relaxed.
Our latest Maine Coon definitely responded well to these techniques when she joined us at age 16 months. There are numerous reasons why your cat may feel particularly anxious but usually, it’s related to their environment or their history.
Maybe you’ve moved house or changed things around (cats don’t really like change), maybe another cat (or dog) has been in and has left their scent around their home. There could be numerous reasons why your cat doesn’t seem as comfortable as it should.
Perhaps it wasn’t handled and socialized properly as a kitten or it is a nervous rescue cat with an unknown history. I love the process you go through when a cat initially doesn’t trust you and you persevere to slowly start to see some results.
A veterinarian visit is crucial if your cat is beginning to show even the slightest hint of aggression or change in behavior. The sooner you detect the behavioral change and have it checked by the veterinarian, the greater the chance of avoiding an escalation of the aggression.
If you know your cat isn’t feeling well or you can tell by his body language he’s getting agitated, prefers not to interact or is getting stressed, provide a safe place for him. Be proactive and offer him a place to safely chill rather than test his tolerance.
We all deserve to be able to relax without having our kitty nipping at our toes or running up the curtains. Kittens need to be stimulated, challenged, and have some fun obstacles to climb on, jump over, hide in, and so on.
If you don’t provide them with some stuff designed and intended for their use, they will make use of your furniture or even you as a climbing frame. Cat trees are the ultimate in indoor activity centers for kittens.
This ties into to the last point about giving your kitty somewhere to play that doesn’t damage your furniture or annoy you. But typically kittens are much easier to guide away from certain areas than older cats.
It’s the best way they can burn off some energy and fine tune their balance, hunting, and other skills they develop as they mature into adults. As well as providing a space they can call their own as discussed in the points above, you need to get involved and play with them 1-on-1.
Teach them to play nicely with people and you’ll have a much easier time going forward. This largely depends on what you call calming down,” the breed of your cat, and of course their individual personality.
As a rule of thumb, you should see some major differences in your cats energy and activity levels between the ages of 9-12 months. They will start sleeping a couple of hours less, but definitely be more calculated with their actions and relax a lot more.
Outdoor cats are a lot less hyper indoors as they have a huge playground outside to burn off some of their energy. In the cats I’ve had over the years almost none still exhibit that crazy kitten hyperactivity from around 6 months or so.