We seek out pets because we love their companionship as the bond between pet and owner grows, you will realise that these domestic animals have a personality. Their behaviour varies and changes from time to time. These apply to the most popular pets in the world, the cat and the dog. Unlike dogs, cats are considered ideal pets as they are easy to manage and keep.
But there are challenges which accompany cats in terms of their personality. Cats, like humans, have personality problems which could influence their behaviour. Cats face anxiety, depression and extreme fear. Before exploring the remedies for undesirable behaviour change in our cats, what could be the causes of anxiety in cats?
Cats may exhibit anxiety because of a traumatic event. If they were frightened without your knowledge, you could take time to understand what it is that exactly scared them. They could have been exposed to the unfamiliar and terrifying surrounding which develops an anxiety. Cats that have been passed around multiple owners tend to experience aggression and anxiety. This is known as separation anxiety. Being abandoned and then adopted by different owners could result in separation anxiety. Felines that have been neglected before could well show behaviour problems. Cat behaviour problems could be as a result of poisoning which affects their central nervous system. Poisoning will make cats anxious and phobic. Aging is another cause of cat depression and anxiety. Nervous system changes due to ageing swing its behaviour often. Illness and physical pain has a dramatic effect on the cat’s mental health leading to behaviour changes. Cats that have a history of being abused could develop panicky behaviour as any stimulus associated with the abuse triggers phobias.
Signs that your cats could be going through behaviour problems are refusal and a habitual fear of close contact. The cat biting itself and inflammatory bowel disease which causes your cat to diarrhea. Your cat could have developed signs of panic by developing an escape behaviour. It gets involved in activities which could lead to potential injury. Other signs include trembling, withdrawal from the owner, constant hiding and reduced playfulness and activity.
Luckily there are cats behaviour problems remedies. The sooner you sight these signs and symptoms of anxiety, you should consult a veterinarian, a certified applied animal behaviorist or most appropriately a certified veterinary behaviourist. There are cat problems that can be tackled by a combination of behaviour modification and appropriate medication for the attendant symptoms of anxiety.
Remedies could include the aforementioned behaviour modification and anti-anxiety medication. This should be accompanied by eliminating social stressors that the cat could face around the home. Behaviour modification has four facets. The first is changing the consequences of the cat’s behaviour, changing the cat’s perception of stimuli, providing the cat with an outlet for an acceptable response instead of problem behaviour and finally all these could be involved.
You can solve your cat’s anxiety by training it in what is called counter-conditioning. This is training your cat to react positively instead of negatively in the case of a stimulus that causes it to panic. Counter-conditioning aims to change your cat’s behaviour in response to fear. The cat should be motivated during the training by being rewarded when it does well. Another remedy is desensitization.
This involves exposing the cat to a stimulus that causes fear so that in time, it does not make an undesirable response that leads it to harm itself. This exposure should be repetitive but controlled. Do not force it upon your cat. With enough training, your cat will develop techniques to respond to fear in a way that does not lead it to extreme anxiety.
This article was written by our friends over at thecatdvm.com