Stress in a cat: what to do? Animal Behavior Advisor Tips!
Cats are sometimes stressed, for example, when moving to a new home or in a shelter. How to help a cat cope with stress? As often happens, one of the most effective solutions can be very simple.
You probably watched funny videos about how cats tend to get into a large or even too small cardboard box. What makes them so eagerly strive into an enclosed space? Scientists asked this question and searched for an answer for quite some time. And then the International Society for Applied Ethology published an article in its journal Applied Animal Behavior Science “Do boxes help cats cope with stress?”
The authors of the article, professors of veterinary medicine from the University of Utrecht (Netherlands) conducted a study of stress in cats from a shelter. And they found that providing cats with cardboard boxes in which they can hide helps reduce stress, at least for a period of time. The choice fell on the sheltering cats, since it is in the shelter that the level of stress in animals is very high.
Researchers evaluated the effect of boxing on newly arrived cats at a Dutch animal shelter. 10 cats had access to boxes, 9 had no such luxury. And during the 3–4 days of stay in the shelter, the difference in stress level between these two groups of cats was significant. Cats that were able to hide in boxes got used to the new environment much faster and more successfully.
A similar study was conducted by Brian Gardiner and Claudia Winke - the results were similar.
Another study was conducted by Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine. They also found a significant reduction in stress in cats that are able to climb into a cardboard box. In their article, these scientists not only recognized the use of cardboard boxes to reduce the level of stress in the purr, but also proposed the establishment of an industrial production of "Hide Caches", inside of which there is a plastic box. The only difficulty is that such a box cannot be washed and disinfected, so it can only be used for one cat, and then processed. That is, for shelter cats this option will not work, but for the only pet, it is very suitable.
However, another scientist, Gardiner, suggested that not only boxes possess a “magical effect”. A basket, sink in the bathroom, or other similar shelter can also help the cat overcome stress.
Gardiner also hypothesized that cats tend to get into the box, not only because it is psychologically more comfortable there, but also because it is so warm. A cardboard box has excellent thermal insulation properties, and the closer the box, the better.
So, if your cat suffers from stress, for example, when moving to a new house, do not rush to stuff it with medicines, start with a simple solution - offer her a cardboard box.