5 Ways You Might Be Stressing Your Cat Out

You let the dog chase her. Again, this may seem entertaining to you but is downright scary for your cat. When a cat is chased, she doesn’t see it as a game; in her mind, the chase is likely an all-out, adrenaline-fueled sprint to make it to safety before she’s captured and potentially injured or killed. Some pet owners often believe the cat is purposefully taunting the dog by getting close and then bolting off, thus inviting the chase. The reality is that your cat may get close to your dog, because she wants to be near people or in an area of your house that she enjoys, even if that is where the dog also is, and so she will take a chance and venture out of hiding. Assuming that cats and dogs just act this way and there’s nothing that can be done to change the situation will often result in an anxious, stressed-out cat.

You assume that your cat is happy to sleep all day. Cats are hunters, but many lack the opportunity to exercise their hunting drive in an acceptable manner. Cat owners often assume that their cats have lost this drive to hunt and just want to snooze in the sun all day. But if she’s left without any constructive way to focus her hunting instincts, your cat may climb drapes, scratch furniture and stalk other household cats. On the other extreme, she may sleep all day and not get the exercise that's important for her health, weight control and well-being. One easy way to help solve these problems is to make your cat “hunt” for her food: Serve portions of her meal in food puzzles or place kibble in areas of the home that she frequents, like her perches, for her to discover on her own. You can also make play more like an actual hunt by ending a play session with a wind down of play followed by a treat or your cat’s meal.

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