How You Can Stress Your Cat

Things You Do That Stress Your Cat Out

Punishing or yelling at your cat. Your cat doesn’t understand that some behavior is undesirable. Punishment will temporarily stop her because you’ve scared her, but she doesn’t understand that she was doing something wrong and doesn’t know what to do instead.

The punishment just seems random and inconsistent to her. She may even learn to associate with other elements of the situation, such as you or another pet, as being the cause.

Use positive reinforcement to encourage good behavior. Every time she does something good, such as using the scratching post, praise her and giver her treats. The reward must be immediate or the can won’t understand what it is for.

Bringing Out The Carrier Only When It Is Time To Go To The Vet

Most cats only see the carrier when it is time for something stressful such as the vet or the groomer. This teaches them to hate the crate.

White Kitten Exiting a Cat Carrier

Making his crate a fun place to hang out every day and teaching him to go into it when asked, will make taking him anywhere less stressful for everybody.

Social Media – Thinking That Scaring Him Is Harmless And Funny

The videos of cats being scared by cucumbers are funny but not for the cat.

Cats are creatures of habit with well-defined territories. They like everything in its place. Seeing a object in an unfamiliar place can cause stress. Having an object “sneak up” on him will cause a reaction that has nothing to do with cucumbers themselves.

In the cucumber videos the cats are eating, which is a place where they usually feel most secure, so they will be the most startled when something mysterious shows up.

A cat who is repeatedly startled can become wary and neurotic. Scaring a cat where he eats and drinks is dangerous for his health because he may start avoiding that area.

Letting The Dog Chase Her

This may seem entertaining to people and it may be a game for the dog, but it is scary for the cat. The cat doesn’t see it as a game. In a cat’s mind it is an adrenalin-fueled all-out run for her life.

Cute Puppy and Kitten in Grass

Some people think their cat intentionally taunts the dog into chasing them, but the cat is just trying to be around the people. Assuming that dogs chasing cats is just normal is going to get you a stressed-out cat.

Assuming Your Cat Is Happy To Sleep All Day

Cats are hunters, but most house cats don’t have an acceptable outlet for that. Cat owners assume their cat has lost his hunting drive and want to sleep all day.

If you’ve trained her not to climb the drapes, scratch the furniture, and stalk the other pets, there isn’t much for her to do but sleep. In which case he’s not getting enough exercise for his well-being. Cats can entertain themselves, but if you get involved they can better exercise their hunting skills.

Another cool thing you can do is make her “hunt” for her food. There are puzzles for food, or you can make one.

You can put treats around the house for her to discover on her own. Or play the shell game but with treats and plastic cups.

Playing Loud Music

Cats have sensitive ears. Loud music, loud television, or other loud noises can stress them out.

If the cat is being terrified outside noises - thunder, fireworks, road crews - bring him to an interior room, play the TV low, and make sure there is a place for him to bolt to until it’s over.

Locating Your Cat’s Litter Box Or Food Station In A Bad Place

Cats need to feel very secure when they are eating (see nasty cucumber trick above). They also prefer seclusion and privacy when they poop and pee.

Confused Black and White Cat

If your cat’s food station or litter pans are in high-traffic or high-noise areas of your home, the cat will be uncomfortable and stressed. Don’t locate these things beside the dryer or the fridge, for example.

He might not eat enough. He might use the bathroom outside the litter box.

Comforting Your Cat When It’s Too Much For Him

If a cat is super-terrified by something like thunder or fireworks, he may be too traumatized to accept your comfort.

Human interference in that circumstance can seem like a further threat. Leave him alone. You can even make an improvement on his bolt hole by putting a towel over it so he can’t be seen.

Not Cleaning The Litter Box - Or Not Enough Litter Boxes

Cats are very fastidious. And their sense of smell is many times greater than yours. If your cat’s litter box isn’t cleaned daily, he may start going elsewhere in the house and this is quite a statement of stress.

Cat Leaving Litter Box

He may avoid going altogether, causing himself health problems. Have one more litter pan than you have cats, try to have them in different parts of the home, and clean them daily.


Make it less stressful by isolating your cat to a room in the new place just as you would when you bring home a new cat. Unpack your cat's toys, bowls, bed, food, and put them in the room with other familiar things while you unpack other things.

Let your cat get used to one area before letting him roam the rest of the place. Spend extra time alone with him to reinforce the idea that you are still together.

Boarding Or Kenneling Your Cat

This is very upsetting for cats, going from a familiar place that feels secure and safe to a place full of strange and scary smells and sounds. The very best option is to get a pet sitter.

Three Cats in a Kennel

A good pet sitter will provide a stable consistent environment by playing with them with their favorite toys, giving them their favorite treats. Make sure the sitter has some of your clothing with your scent on it for the cat to nap on while you’re away.

Getting A New Cat

This can make a cat feel very insecure. They don’t know if they should protect their territory or what to do. Sometimes they see the new cat as a friend but usually instinct makes them see it as an intruder.

If your home has lots of environmental enrichment for your cats, your cat will feel safer. And introduce the new cat properly.

Getting A New Dog

This is even more stressful for the cat. Don’t rush the introduction, especially if your cat has never met a dog before.

Switching Food

Cats hate change. Switching their food abruptly isn’t a good idea. Put the new food down with the old food at first and see what happens.

Next, mix them together gradually. Watch your cat for an upset stomach or loss of appetite.

Similarly, abruptly moving your cat’s feeding station or water station can stress them out. Use both places until they get used to the new one.

Parties Or Gatherings

Some cats don’t mind when you have people over or even a party. Other cats will go into deep hiding if even one person comes to your home. Some will hide if they hear the doorbell.

Dozen Cats Having a Party in Living Room

The sounds and smells of parties can be very disturbing to cats. If your cat hates these situations, make sure she has access to her safe zone and just leave her alone. Make sure she has a perch, bed, window, food, water, and litter box there.


Remodeling involves noise, new people, power tools and all kinds of disruption - a cat’s worst nightmare. Cats hate change and they hate all those other things.

The cat really needs his safe zone when this is going on. Let him explore the new area when he wants but never block access to the safe zone.

Signs That Your Cat Is Stressed Out

  • Peeing or pooping outside the litter box - It's annoying and smelly for you but it could mean the cat has a physical or psychological problem.
  • Diarrhea, constipation, or other digestive problem - This could indicate a number of possible problems.
  • Excessive hrooming - Cats are known for their fastidious grooming, but licking themselves raw or bald is a clear sign of distress. It could be a flea allergy or other skin disorder, or a psychological problem.
  • Excessive scratching - Like compulsive grooming, excessive scratching can be indicative of several health and behavioral issues.
  • Isolation - Aloofness is natural for cats. But there is a problem if your cat is actively and constantly hiding from you.
  • Excessive vocalization - Be worried if your cat is suddenly engaging in long and recurring bouts of panicked meows — especially if your cat is typically not a talker.
Cat Doctor Morris
  • Decrease in appetite - Cats don't go on fasts or diets on purpose like we do.
  • Increased sleeping - Just because cats can sleep up to 20 hours a day doesn't necessarily mean they should. You know your cat’s sleeping schedule by now.
  • Aggression towards other pets or to people - Fights or aggressive actions towards other pets or people can be a sign of a sick or stressed cat.
  • Sudden excess shedding - Ever notice how your cat’s fur practically explodes off him when he is put on the table at the vet? If you see him doing this at home, he’s stressed about something.
  • Purring - Yes, purring. Cats purr when they are content, but they also purr when they are nervous. If your cat is purring when he’s in a situation that should be making him nervous, it’s because he’s nervous.

Talk to your vet if any of these things happen.

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