The Difference Between Normal and Abnormal Stress in Cats

by | Oct 27, 2023

Stress is a natural part of life for all animals, and cats are no exception. There are various reasons for stress in cats, such as changes in their environment, a visit to the veterinarian, or interactions with other cats.

However, not all stress is created equally. There is a difference between what is considered normal stress and abnormal stress. In this blog post, we will discuss what normal and abnormal stress is in cats, and how you can tell them apart.

Normal stress is a physiological reaction known as fight, flight, or freeze which occurs when a cat is presented with a new or unknown environment or when it senses a dangerous situation. This reaction is a natural response that has evolved to ensure the survival of animals. However, abnormal stress is a response that is exaggerated, prolonged, or inappropriate in relation to the stimuli. In such cases, stress becomes a problem and can put your cat at risk of developing various behavioral and health problems.

After a stressful event, it’s normal for your cat to have a stress response that lasts for a short period. If your cat is back to its normal behavior within three days, then you do not need to worry about any long-term health effects. However, if the stress persists for a more extended period or the response becomes extreme, you should consult your veterinarian for further advice.

Does my cat suffer from PTSD?

Did you know that PTSD or post-traumatic stress disorder is now being considered as a cause of abnormal stress or anxiety in cats? Some cats may have PTSD from previous trauma, which triggers a stress response even when there is nothing to be afraid of. If you suspect that your cat is experiencing abnormal stress due to previous trauma, it’s essential to provide a supportive environment and consult with your vet to help manage your cat’s anxiety.

Treatment Options

Treating abnormal stress or anxiety in cats involves trying to decrease the stress response or reduce the length of recovery from trauma. Our vets at The Cat Hospital may recommend medications to help manage your cat’s anxiety or suggest behavioral modification programs such as positive reinforcement training.

Preventing traumatic experiences that cause abnormal stress in cats can be done by providing a wide range of positive experiences for your kitten and positive reinforcement for your kitten during these new experiences. Positive reinforcement training can help build a cat’s confidence and reduce their stress response to future events.

sick pet

How Will I Know?

Stress is a natural part of life for cats, but it’s essential to differentiate between normal and abnormal stress to ensure that your cat is healthy and happy. Normal stress is a natural response to new or unknown situations, but abnormal stress is a response that is exaggerated, prolonged, or inappropriate. If your cat is experiencing abnormal stress, it’s important to give us a call at The Cat Hospital in Kamloops for appropriate treatment. Together, we can help you with ideas for a supportive environment and positive reinforcement training, or medication, to help you and your cat manage stress and prevent the occurrence of abnormal stress in the future.

If you have any questions about feline stress, call us, the only veterinary cat clinic in Kamloops that offers a full list of services to keep your cat healthy. We love cats and look forward to your call.

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