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Stress Trauma on Your Cat: Residual Effects Of Stress & Anxiety

This article was written as a response to the question: Do you have any questions I can help you with?
Learn to recognize trauma in your cat. Symptoms and ways to help your cat through stress.

Sometimes there are traumatic occurrences in our lives that we in due time do overcome . . . but when it comes to our pets, trauma can have a more lasting effect on them. They can’t exactly communicate “in words” to us so we have to look for signs to know how they feel and how to help them through a bad time.

The old saying goes “An elephant never forgets” may be true . . . but it is certainly true for most other animals as well. Assuring an animal, after a traumatic experience, that everything is going to be OK is very difficult. Some pets may be real resilient and move on easily and some cannot as easily do so, especially the older pets. The older cat tends to have a more difficult time of moving forward without fear.

Stress and anxiety can have a profound effect on your cat, much like it does for humans. If they have been through a significant trauma or felt any signs of abandonment, it has a lasting effect on your cat, just as it would for you. They could resort to hiding, excessive urinating, some aggressive behaviors, seizures, a constant fear of the trauma returning and more. If your cat is already diabetic, stress can cause significant elevations of blood glucose levels, and in rare circumstances, glucose can be seen in their urine. The measurement of a substance called Fructosamine (Glycated Serum Protein) may help distinguish stress-induced changes in blood and urine sugar levels from true diabetes mellitus. In stressed cats, serum Fructosamine concentrations are normal, but they are elevated in a diabetic cat.

If your cat that is going through stress and/or separation anxiety is an older cat, you will need to be a little more patient as they do not handle trauma and stress as easily as a young cat. It may take a lot more socializing and training your cat all over again, to regain his trust that this trauma is not going to happen again. Never, but never punish your cat while trying to do so as this would only make things worse. I cannot stress enough that a lot of love and attention should be the number one step in helping your cat.

A few other things you might try to get your pre-traumatic cat back is to have a safe and quiet place for him to “escape” should he need to; and have something of yours in his bed as well. The comfort of your scent near him at all times is reassuring if you cannot be there 24/7. A lot of one-on-one playtime is always a great stress reliever and will do wonders. Try daily to return to the normal pre-stress routine. It may take some time and may not return 100%, but you will be amazed how well it will work in due time. This is a great time to stress, “patience is indeed a virtue” along with an awful lot of love, attention, playtime, and as much one on one with your beloved feline as possible.

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Comments (3)
Ranked #63 in Cats

excellent article, thank you for posting it, I am very concerned about my cats health

Thanks, Susan, for your quick reply to my question on this. He has exhibited all the things you say, and seems to be 'coming back' to his old ways. It's been 6 months now, but he's regained his weight loss and is becoming his lovable old self. We believe the trauma partly caused his diabetes, but he is regulating and we are told he can live a long, healthy life. We hope so. Thanks again for your input. Marie

Hello Susan,

Thanx for your article,,my beautiful little cat,,she's about 3 1/2 years old and we live in Mexico. She is never alloed out of the yard and has always been a delight,,frisky and happy,,she sleeps with me an dfollows me all around,,BUT 3 days ago she climbed a tree, jumped the wall and was out all night. (She isn't in heat) When we found her next door at a neighbor's house, my brother brought her home two days ago. She is listless and is hiding NOTHING like her old self. She stays upstairs, alone. I brought her her favorite blanket (from my bed where she always sleeps), gave her water and both her favorite dry and canned food. She doesn't seem to be herself still. She doesn't have a fever and is not complaining when I pick her up,,she isn't injured,, MY QUESTION: What more can I do for her,,Her name is "Baby",,and I love her very much.

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