Some signs of stress in cats are obvious — loss of appetite, increased urine marking, hair loss from over grooming. Other signs may be more subtle and easy to overlook, according to a study by the Autonomous University of Barcelona.
A review by veterinarians there, published in the Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery, cautions owners to be aware of changes such as reduced exploratory behavior and hiding for long periods. “Regardless of how cats display signs of stress, it has a detrimental effect on their welfare,” the researchers say.
A veterinary exam is the first step to rule out a medical problem causing a change in behavior. The Barcelona study also recommends enhancing the physical and social environment: Hide food in several places around the house. Provide toys that mimic prey, high shelves or cat trees safely away from stressors and calming synthetic feline facial pheromones.