Categories: environment

If you are feeling stressed your cat might be too

Humans create the atmosphere in the home. Cats add positively to it but humans are the prime creators of mood. Cats are mammals with a wide range of physiological similarities to humans. We must realise that if we are stressed it is likely that our cats will be stressed too. And the same is true about an atmosphere which is at the opposite end of the spectrum: a calm, pleasant and loving environment which promotes feline wellbeing.

Companion animal stress is synchronised with human guardian stress

We have to come to the conclusion therefore that the personality of the cat owner/guardian and their lifestyle has a strong effect on feelings of wellbeing or distress of their companion cat.

It is incumbent upon cat guardians to be aware of their behaviour around their cat. How many cat owners are? The synchronisation of emotions between human and cat is not something that would necessarily come to mind. You know how life can be. I feel that it is becoming more stressful as it becomes more competitive and speeds up.

We are forced to speed up by the internet and modern day high-speed communications such as text messages. Many families have both parents in work and often the work is demanding. Cats under suboptimal conditions might feel the stress of their owners and become stressed themselves.

It is a point worth making because it can be overlooked. If a cat is constantly feeling stressed he may develop stress related diseases such as cystitis and psychological conditions such as overgrowing to calm himself down.

I feel that it is getting harder to maintain a really calm home. I may be wrong and what I say may not be representative of typical American life. Certainly in the UK life has speeded up and is more stressful as evidenced by an surge in self-harming among school teenagers.

It is my belief that cats mirror their owners stress or calmness. How they feel may not be obvious and therefore overlooked. I’d suggest that we are all mindful of how our stress might affect our cat and of the need to modify our lives to combat stress.

I am sure there are lots of pages written about parents not arguing in front of their children but do people have the same attitude regarding their cat? That may sound absurd to people who don’t own or understand cats but I am sure I am correct.

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Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 71-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I have a girlfriend, Michelle. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare.

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