Despite the fact that 53% of cat owners questioned for the study said they give their pets a little cuddle when it seems unhappy, experts found that the best way to chill them out is to leave them alone.
Behaviourist Nicky Trevorrow said:
“Being held or stroked for too long can be very stressful for some cats.”
“Space and peace is often what they need – they’re not small furry humans so what would comfort us won’t necessarily comfort them.”
The findings also show that cat owners are at a loss when it comes to working out when their feline is stressed and how to deal with it.
More than half of owners – 55% – didn’t realise that living with another cat or dog can be stressful for their pet, while 50% were unaware that other cats coming into the house could be a cause of stress.
Only a quarter 26% knew that grooming a particular area all the time was also an indication of stress.
Research has highlighted a lack of understanding of stress triggers for cats and how to deal with them.
How not to stress out your cat – expert advice
- Try not to overly stroke or cuddle a cat which is showing signs of stress as it can make it worse
- Always provide your cats with easily accessible places to hide and let them stay in there for as long as they want to. A hiding place makes them feel safe and secure and can be something as simple as a cardboard box on its side or upside down. Or you could buy an igloo-style cat bed
- Cats feel safer if they can view their surroundings from up high, so make sure they can access somewhere like the top of the wardrobe or a high shelf
- Make sure there is enough food, water and litter trays for the all of the cats in the household. The ideal number of litter trays is one per cat plus one extra