Don’t be fooled, calm kitties get stressed | Pet Corner

While many people might think the lackadaisical lifestyle of the housecat is the epitome of stress-free living, stress can be conveyed in ways often considered to be behavior problems.

  • Tuesday, December 23, 2014 12:13pm
  • Life

Taking care of kittens

While many people might think the lackadaisical lifestyle of the house cat is the epitome of stress-free living, stress can be conveyed in ways often considered to be behavior problems.  Spraying, scratching, aggression, hiding – all can be symptoms of stress. Insecurity, boredom, fear and separation anxiety are all common sources of stress.

A few changes in your kitty’s environment and routine may be all you need to get the purring started.

Domestic cats have descended from tree- and bush-dwelling ancestors. This is likely why most cats prefer being up high and in small cubbies. Cats feel safer and more confident when they have a place of their own above the chaos on the floor. This can be accomplished by grand cat trees with perches and cubbies that overlook their surroundings or by simply rearranging the furniture and maybe adding a few shelves devoted to cat traffic.

The essential components of a successful cat space are:

• It needs to be high enough to escape ground-level activities, whether is it strangers, kids, dogs or other cats;

• There cannot be dead ends where your cat can get trapped, and

• There is at least one perch where your cat can observe from a distance. Insecure cats can build confidence from this vantage point. They’re more likely to engage because they have access to a safe retreat above them.

A cat that sprays may be doing so to claim territory and by providing his own territory the behavior may cease. Aggressive behavior often lessens when cats have a place to avoid ground-level stressors.

Exercise is another essential component of decreasing feline stress. While dogs can go on a long hike or play fetch to drain energy, cats use play as exercise. Most cats can be coaxed to run and jump with a feather lure, laser or mouse toy. The goal is to have them panting by the end of the play session, (unless your cat has a medical condition). If your cat engages in “bad” behavior while you’re away, try spending 10 to 15 minutes of active play before you leave to drain energy. You may also want to provide a treat dispensing or interactive toys to combat boredom while you’re gone.

If your pet is too active or destructive while you’re trying to sleep, move playtime to just before bedtime.

Litter box issues are one of the most common reasons cats are relinquished to shelters, but are a popular way for cats to communicate stress. If a box-trained kitty suddenly stops using the litter box, there is a reason. Medical reasons need to be excluded by a veterinarian. Bladder problems can occur in any cat, but especially kibble-fed cats, and bladder infections make voiding painful. Cats can then associate the litter box with that pain, even after the infection has been treated. Offer that cat a different style box and litter to avoid the stress and anxiety of the previous association.

If there is more than one cat in the family, there should be multiple litter boxes, with different litters, in different locations. The general rule is one more box than cats. Hooded litter boxes are a place where dominant cats can guard or ambush a timid resident, thus causing anxiety and refusal to use the box. Having multiple bathrooms will ease that stress.

Happy cats make excellent roommates. By creating an environment where they can engage in natural behaviors, you can enjoy the feline companionship of a relaxed cat!

This article was provided by Cobber’s Pet Pantry, 1415 Blake St. in Enumclaw. The shop can be reached at 360-825-7387. Website:

More in Life

East Pierce hosting annual open house Sept. 29

Don’t miss out on the free, family fun activities and demonstrations, like tearing a car apart with the jaws of life.

Fun run will benefit animal rescue group

Grab your furry friend’s leash and head out to Lake Wilderness Park on Sept. 29.

Some days, it’s good to feel needed

Some days, you just need a hug. Other days, you only want… Continue reading

Local Scout earns his wings

Kyle Ross Dunning is a member of Boy Scout Troop 422.

Beautify Enumclaw, Buckley | Slideshow

Many public spaces, like Enumclaw’s community garden by the library and Veterans Memorial Park, or Buckley’s Youth Center, were given makeovers by scored of energetic volunteers.

Enumclaw lessons helped lead to military success | Navy Outreach

“Growing up in a small town, it kind of helped me gauge different people and network in a way that would benefit me,” Nelsen said. “It is humbling growing up in a small town and I did not lose sight of where I came from.”

Flu season is coming; get your shots soon | Public Health Center

To help you decide when, where, and how to get vaccinated, Public Health Insider compiled answers to some of the most common questions they see regarding to flu vaccinations.

Answers may be hard to come

You’re on the edge of your chair. Curiosity is almost killing you;… Continue reading

Caregivers can identify with “Happy Tears” | Pierce County

“Happy Tears” is the story of two sisters who lead very different lives and return home to care for their aging father.

World-wide myths, legends meet teen-friendly narrative

Your favorite superhero was 10 feet tall. Larger than life. Super-sized, right… Continue reading

Enumclaw welcomes new faces in schools, district office

Check out the new educators and other school staff.

Levy money to aid senior programs in Enumclaw, Black Diamond | King County

By 2040, more than a quarter of King County’s population will be seniors. Healthy lifestyles and social engagement are keys to living long and living well.