Posted on: 30 March 2015Share
The environment in which your cat lives can have a huge impact on his or her mental health. If your cat is showing signs of stress and emotional tension, such as over-grooming, irritability or aggression towards other pets, it might be time to make a few changes to your cat's home environment. Here's a look at three simple changes you can make to improve your cat's mood and well-being.
Create pathways to high places.
Most cats love to lounge in high places, such as on top of book shelves. It gives them a sense of control, since they can look down on their surroundings and see others as they are approaching. Especially if you have more than one pet, it's important that your cat can access the high spaces in your home. Place a stool or chair next to your shelves, so your cat is able to climb up. You can even find kitty "stairs" at many pet stores. These look like miniature staircases and can be nestled next to tall furniture for cats to gain access.
Make sure the litter box is hidden.
Cats feel vulnerable when they use the litter box. If the litter box is out in the open, using it may be a source of stress for your cat. In fact, if the experience is too stressful, your cat might just start peeing and pooping elsewhere – like on your bed or the living room floor. Hide the litter box in a secluded basement corner, in a closet with a cat flap on the door, or under your staircase.
Grow some cat grass in a pot.
Though cats are carnivores, they do like to nibble on grass every once in a while. Doing so adds fiber to their diet, which may help them pass hairballs in their feces. Some experts even think that cats may eat grass for the nutrients it contains. When cats in the wild eat prey, they ingest the plants in the prey's stomach, but indoor cats who dine on cat food do not get to enjoy this luxury. Instead, they nibble on grass to gain nutrients they need. Without grass, your cat might be stressed out from looking for a source of fiber and necessary nutrients. Provide grass, and not only will your cat's mood improve, but his or her overall health will improve, too.
If your cat appears to be stressed out, making the above changes should help improve his or her mood. Keep in mind, however, that stress behaviors are sometimes a sign of more serious illness. If your cat has been peeing or pooping outside of the litter box, acting out angrily when you try to pet him, or pulling out his fur during grooming, it's wise to seek the advice of a veterinarian like those at Covington Veterinary Hospital PC, just to make sure nothing more sinister is to blame.