3 strikes and you are out! Stay calm around your cat.

Don't let stress and anxiety negatively impact the relationship with your cat.
Don’t let stress and anxiety negatively impact the relationship with your cat. Image: MikeB (Canva).
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles: Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

The planet has become more difficult to live on! We have the ghastly illegal invasion of Ukraine and Putin’s constant threats of nuclear war. That alone is enough to make billions of people anxious. He is a madman who could push the little red button it seems to me. He is also a psychopath with not an iota of concern for the many thousands of innocent grandmothers and hundreds of children he is shelling to death in their apartments. Okay, that is one reason to be upset and anxious.

Then we had Covid-19 which has not gone away just yet. It is still rumbling on in the background. A lot of people were told to be scared of it by governments and they still are. More anxiety.

And then we have climate change which scares many millions of children because global warming is really about the kids and their uncertain future. They don’t see a stable future. It is worrying for them. And for a lot of adults too. The adults that run countries are not doing enough to curb the problem. It is too difficult. Humankind has painted itself into a corner on this one and it will be fearfully expensive to get out of it.

And then we have what appears to be an imminent attack on Taiwan by China. Beijing believes that Taiwan IS China as Moscow believes that Ukraine is Russia.

If China invades Taiwan, might it lead to WW3?!

See the problems? Too many things to concern people. And these are the big issues to which you have to add all the day-to-day problems of trying to get by.

And to that we have to add personal health issues. If a cat owner suffers from health issues it’ll make them irritable because of the discomfort. And the elderly always have health issues sometimes multiple.

So, what is the point of that introduction? Stress. When people are anxious and stressed their tolerances for small things which irritate them become broken and they lose their rag to use a British phrase. They become angry at the smallest thing.

And if the person lives with a cat and the cat is an attention seeker because the person is not paying enough attention to their cat, they may take it out on their cat. They may shout at their cat. They may manhandle their cat. They may even kick their cat.

People can vent their anger at the innocent cat because they are always there; a potential recipient for an expression of anger and frustration.

If you do it you will chip away at the relationship. The cat will become less sure of themselves. They’ll be less likely to come when they are called. Their certainties will become uncertain. They become unsure of how their owner will respond and interact.

This is the opposite of what a cat owner wants to achieve. In the title I said three strikes and you are out. In truth it takes more than three inappropriate behaviours from a cat owner towards their cat to break the relationship.

But even once is too much. Shouting at your cat or presenting to your cat body language which is aggressive or hostile can and probably will unnerve them. They’ll quite possibly forget it if the relationship is good.

But, if it happens repeatedly, poor human behavior directed at a cat will harm the relationship. This is not to criticise cat caregivers who are going through tough times and becoming angry with the world and everything including their cat. It is very human and understandable.

But it might be fair to say that sometimes people who were once excellent cat caregivers become bad ones. As long as they recognise it, all should be well as they can take a deep breath, count to ten and do something positive about it.

The point is this: around our cat we need to be kind, calm and gentle. We need to present a warm personality to improve the bond.

I don’t know how many people have these sorts of issues. It may be more prevalent than one thinks.

There are many elderly people living with cats as companions as they have no one else. Illnesses linked to old age and the general aches and pains of old age plus tiredness will tend to make them irritable.

I think we all (including me) need to be aware of this potential hazard in the relationship with our cat and take steps to avoid it.

What can you do to help stay calm? Use nature to help. Walk in nature. Absorb it. It is very healing. Find a new challenge but not too demanding.

You’ve got to be in the thick of the fight always. It doesn’t matter what the fight is. That’s where we thrive as humans. We’ve had millions of years of evolution like that. Look at how often people decay when they retire. This is not because of the physical. You’ve got to be in the thick of a challenge. Find new things and learn new skills.

Bear Gryllis

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Useful tag. Click to see the articles: Cat behavior

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