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swtlady
October 24th 07, 09:20 PM
Handle Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in Cats with Care
By Tess Thompson

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Most cat owners do not realize that pets face stress like humans. When
you bring home a cat you are actually denying her the company of her
mother and litter. This can have a great impact on the animal. Post
traumatic stress and separation anxiety in cats and dogs can lead to
significant abnormal behaviors in pets. Stress and separation anxiety
are more prominent in cats that

were abandoned,
are reunited after a long separation,
are exposed too much attention every time the cat owner returns from
work,
have been separated from mothers immediately after birth,
are exposed to too much noise, and
have suffered from physical trauma.
Post traumatic stress disorder in cats and other pets is almost
similar to humans. It can be sparked by anything that reminds them of
a traumatic circumstance that they may have experienced. Your cat may
show the following signs of stress or anxiety:

Urinating and defecating at inappropriate places
Fearful reaction to cues of trauma
Mewing excessively without any evident reason
Hiding behind doors or furniture
Aggressive behavior
Seizure (in severe cases)
Relieving stress in pets requires adept handling. Punishment should
not be an option to consider. Punishing your cat is unlikely to cure
her of the condition. On the other hand, it is liable to make things
worse. Some of the options that you should consider are the
following:

Fix up a separate, but safe place for the cat. This can be used for
getting away from noise, people and other animals.
Cats find the owner's smell comforting. Leave a piece of clothing that
you have recently worn or some favorite toy or food dish in the safe
place. This will keep the cat calm in the place.
Play is a stress reliever for domestic cats. Play with your cat but
ensure that you do not push her pace.
Try to return to the usual routine that you were following, in pre-
stress period, as soon as possible.
Abandoned cats that have found a home tend to fear that they will be
abandoned again. Cats that have been separated from their mother as
soon as they are born do not get enough time to learn socializing with
other cats. Trauma of any sort, a long separation, excessive noise or
injury has similar effects.

It is easier to handle post traumatic stress in younger cats. If
trauma happens later in life, it might require training your cat in
socializing and house breaking all over again. If your cat still
continues to show signs of post trauma stress, it will be better to
consult a veterinarian for ruling out medical problems.

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