When I got my first pet many years ago, I started to realize that this is probably how it feels like to be a parent of a young child. When things are good, it’s good. But when it isn’t, my anxiety level is through the roof.
I do see myself as a rather ‘chill’ person but no one can get my stress and anxiety levels up so quickly as my cat can. It isn’t because he has me wrapped around his little paw (ok, he does). But it’s due to his rather weak immune system due to his FeLV.
If you are a cat owner like me, I’m pretty sure that these issues are also of great concern to you. Something which you should not ignore.
Let’s find out what they are.
My Cat Isn’t Eating
This is by far the number one problem that gives me the most stress when it happens to my cat. I’ve mentioned this many times in my articles that when your cat isn’t eating or seems to be eating less, you need to pay attention.
Our cat’s appetite is an accurate barometer of its well-being. For me, if my cat isn’t in the best of health but still has a healthy appetite, I will give it a few days to access the situation before taking my cat to the vet.
However, if I noticed that my cat’s appetite has not been the same as compared to his previous meal, we are off to the vet if there’s no improvement.
Yes, I know that my cat eating less isn’t always a matter of life and death but there is something that is bothering my cat badly enough to affect his one greatest need which is to eat and survive.
Here are some nasty diseases that can affect your cat’s appetite:
- Being poisoned
- Organ failure
- Urinary tract infection
- Dental disease
- Physical injury
This isn’t an exhaustive list but I’m sure you get the point that I’m trying to make.
Your Cat Needs To Eat
There are times when I’m sick and feel happy about it because it serves as a natural weight loss period for me.
I usually don’t have much of an appetite and the sight of food makes me nauseous.
It doesn’t work the same way for our cats, even if your cat needs to be on a diet. Once your cat stops eating, there won’t be only protein for the body to use as an energy source.
The liver will start to break down the cat’s body fat to use as an alternative energy source. When this happens, your cat’s liver can be overwhelmed with too much fat and cause a condition called hepatic lipidosis.
If the cat doesn’t start eating soon, it will experience liver failure and die. It can take between two to ten days for a cat to reach hepatic lipidosis.
So don’t sit on it if your cat’s appetite isn’t the same as it used to be. Get it to the vet right away.
A Change In Litter Box Habits
The next stress-inducing issue on the list is when I notice a drastic change in my cat’s litter box habit.
Cats are creatures of habit and structure.
You will probably notice that your cat uses the toilet at about the same time throughout the day.
After 14 years of studying my cat’s toilet habits, I can tell pretty quickly if something is off. Toilet habits are important especially when it comes to peeing because it is linked to the cat’s kidneys.
Change in Cat’s Peeing Habits
Here’s the thing when it comes to cats.
There are very prone to getting chronic kidney issues as they get older (7 years old and older). This is largely due to the fact that our cats are not big on drinking water.
This stems from the fact that cats are originally desert dwellers and in the desert, water is almost non-existent.
Cats get their water supply from the prey that they catch and eat.
Through the process of domestication, our cats no longer have to hunt for food. It isn’t a problem if your cat is on a good diet. But the majority of cat owners are still feeding their cats dry food or kibbles which is like eating sand.
If you notice that your cat has been going in and out of the litter tray and has been straining to pee, that isn’t a good sign.
When my cat had a urinary tract infection, he was going in and out of the litter box at least five times within a minute.
I could just see him meowing in discomfort when he tried to pee. There was also a slight hint of redness in his urine which meant that there was blood in his urine.
Needless to say, he had a visit with his favorite vet the very next day.
Change In Cat’s Pooping Habits
Throughout these 14 years, there were only a couple of times that my cat was experiencing some problems with his bowel movements.
He has gone through the entire poo spectrum that ranges to ‘explosive diarrhea’ to ‘stubborn as hell constipation’.
Although bowel movements don’t stress me out as much as my cat’s bladder health, it still paints a very overall picture of his state of health.
A healthy cat has healthy-looking stools. A sick cat has really soft stools or no stool at all.
Depending on how severe his diarrhea is, I can wait it out for a few times to see if it hardens by feeding him some pumpkin or psyllium husk. If that doesn’t work, then he needs to head to the vet for an IV drip and anti-diarrhea medication.
Prolonged diarrhea is bad for cats as it robs them of hydration and electrolytes.
Diarrhea in cats doesn’t always mean that there is a stomach issue. There are many other health problems that has diarrhea as a symptom as well.
The same thing goes for constipation.
If my cat doesn’t poo after two days, I know he’s slightly backed up. A few servings of pumpkin or psyllium can also do the trick.
The longest my cat ever went without pooing was close to five days which warranted a visit to the vet for an enema.
My biggest stress point when my cat can’t poo is whether he has ingested a foreign object that is causing an obstruction. It could also be his own hairballs that could be the problem.
Intestinal blockages in cats can be fatal if the blockage isn’t removed in time. It can cause your cat to stop eating and really mess up his digestive system.
Yowling All The Time
I would rate a cat’s yowling as a feline version of a baby that is crying non-stop. it is easy to tell the difference when your cat is yowling or meowing.
A cat’s meow has a gently probing effect on me and it’s relatively easy on the ears. When a cat yowls, it sounds like someone is jabbing you in the ribs and pulling your ears.
The difference is like night and day.
But what can cause your cat to vocalize in this manner?
Cats that are not sterilized tend to yowl a lot more than cats that are fixed. This happens more often around mating season which runs from February to October.
Cats yowl to get the attention of a potential mate and it’s something more commonly done by female cats.
They will yowl at the top of their heads to let the nearby roaming males know that they are in heat.
If your cat isn’t fixed, please get it done soon to prevent the risk of unwanted pregnancies and other health problems.
Cat Is In Pain
The couple of times when I heard my cat yowl in pain was when he was having his UTI. Every time he went to his litter box, it sounded like I had an ambulance in my living room.
It was very stressful and heart-wrenching to hear him cry out in pain.
If your cat has gotten into an accident or is in discomfort, it might yowl to let you know that it needs help.
My cat has cried wolf a number of times by using his yowling to get his attention. It happens when I lock myself in the room to get some work done.
It can be almost impossible to be productive with my cat walking across my keyboard every few minutes.
My cat is smart enough to know not to yowl outside my door. He will do it at some other part of the house to make it seem like all hell has broken loose.
I sprinted out of my room a few times only to find him sitting on the sofa or resting on the dining table.
My cat can be quite a pain in the ass at times.
When I First Got My Cat
Even though I’ve had a few cats before, having a newly adopted cat in the house turns me into a bumbling nervous wreck.
All I can think about is how comfortable the cat is and whether it hates his new forever home. I can buy up all the different types of cat litter and cat food brands to see which one my cat likes best.
The only thing on my ‘to-do-list’ is to sit and watch my cat all day long to monitor its progress of settling in.
Truth be told, a lot of the stress is self-imposed but when you welcome such a beautiful pet into your life, you just want it to be perfect.
These days I will tell myself to not go overboard with the cat stuff and focus on the essentials first when getting a new cat.
The rest of the nitty-gritty details will iron themselves out over time.
There was a period of time when I felt like my cat has waged war against my house and family. This happened a few years after I adopted him.
He started scratching the sofa and tearing up anything that he could get his claws into. I had to keep my laundry bag out of reach and covered my sofa with a thick bedsheet to prevent him from damaging it.
When he couldn’t get his paws on those things, he started redirecting his ‘angst’ towards us. He will hide under the stuff and charge toward a family member that walks by. There can also be times when he will just grab my arm and bite me without any reason.
To this day, I’m not sure what caused the sudden change in his behavior. It was really bad for about a year before things got better with some behavioral therapy.
From what I understand, cats that have separation anxiety, PTSD or were weaned too early as kittens tend to have behavioral problems.
They can act up out of the blue and even turn aggressive towards their family.
You should speak to your vet if your cat is exhibiting such behavior.
Do Cats Get Stressed When Their Owner Is Stressed?
Cats are very sensitive and intuitive creatures. Their aloof personalities can make it seem like they couldn’t care less about us but they are very intuned with our emotions.
According to a study conducted by Nottingham Trent University, they discovered that both cats and cat owners tend to mirror each other.
Our actions and ‘energy’ can affect our cats in both positive and negative ways.
So the next time your cat starts to stress you out, learn to take it easy and convey as much positive energy before freaking out.