In the UK, Cats Protection’s survey concluded that more than 50% of cat owners cuddled their cat to calm her/him down. This is often not the correct response, to be honest. In fact, some research indicates that some cats find being cuddled or petted stressful.
The picture below shows us that cats have facial expressions which in this case indicates anxiety and stress…..
A lot of cuddling by humans is done for the benefit of humans. The cat has no say in the matter and may not like it. Sometimes people cuddle cats in the wrong way, anyway. Or they hold their cat like a baby which can make the cat feel vulnerable and therefore more stressed 😉 .
The best response is to find out what is causing the stress and remove it and also provide a place to hide and to leave your cat alone to go to that secure place. A calm environment – meaning no noise and no overly dramatic activity – is required as well.
Soothing words might help and good food does too. I have never used Feliway.
Another problem is that British cat owners – I am sure this applies anywhere in the world though – find it difficult to know when their cat is stressed.
Stressed cats usually hide or show expressions of anxiety in their face and behaviour. They may develop cystitis if under stress for a long time. Overgrooming is a classic symptom of stress. Dr Fogle says that almost all hair loss in cats is due to overgrooming.
In addition more than 50% of cat owners were not aware of the possibilities of creating disharmony in the household amongst cats and dogs when introducing another “pet” into the home. Disharmony causes stress. The human choses the new cat or dog. The cat has no say but should because they have to get along with the newcomer which is far from certain particularly so because they may well have background inter-cat problems to do with territory and hierarchy (e.g. food dominance).
However, the domestic cat is adaptable today, in the 21st century, and will probably get along eventually with a new cat. But don’t bank on it.