14. Avoiding stress and conflict: domestic cat

When domestic cats feel stressed, they endeavour to use the same strategy as their distant cousins. Providing them with places to hide or get up high can help them to cope with stressful situations.

They often find appropriate places at home such as in a cupboard or underneath the bed.

A cat under a bedOriginal image URL - http://www.flickr.com/photos/starglows/6615788073/in/photostream/ Image author - staglows (no real name given), licence - CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Flight rather than fight

When cats exhibit aggressive behaviour, it is sometimes because they are stressed or fearful and do not have the option to flee, so their option is to fight or behave aggressively.

Scent marking

Cats will use scent to try to avoid conflict. They mark the edges of their territory and areas within the territory where they may perceive threat (eg windows or other entry/exit points where they can see a neighbourhood cat outside).

Did you know

Cats should not be distracted or disturbed when they are using their hiding places.

Video above (no sound): This cat is getting up high to avoid walking through another cat's territory.

Video above (no sound): This video shows a fearful cat that is running away and trying to get up high to avoid conflict.

Did you know

Here are some essential resources that owners can provide to help cats reduce their stress levels:

  • somewhere to get up high
  • somewhere to hide
  • hunting/playing opportunities
  • feeding balls
  • scratching post
  • correctly positioned litter tray/food/water bowls
Later on in this unit you will get the opportunity to review two house plans, one will have ideally located resources for a cat and the other will present problems.

Find out more

How to tell if a cat is stressed

How to tell if a cat is stressed

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