Newton’s Purrspective – The Hidden Risks of Stress – Become a Zen Kitty!
Most cats prefer a predictable routine. We like our meals on time, favorite napping spots available when needed and toys where we can find them. (Yes, I know sometimes we bat toys under the furniture, but then it is a human’s job to retrieve them. That’s not really too much to ask, is it?) Going to the vet is obviously a high stress activity. But stressors can be much more subtle. A partial list includes: addition of a new family member (human or furry), trimming nails at home, new furniture, different food, weather conditions, and the overall emotional environment in the home.
A cat’s ability to handle stress can be described as a continuum. At one end Zen Cat takes all change in stride. At the opposite end a new pillow on the couch might have Frazzled Feline hiding under the bed for a week. Cats in the middle are affected by stress, but may not show any outward signs – until they get sick with symptoms of an infectious disease.
How can this happen when Kitty lives inside and has not come in contact with sick cats? Many kittens (particularly those from shelters) have at least a mild upper respiratory infection early in life. Once the symptoms are gone, however, they may be carriers of two potentially serious viruses: Calicivirus (http://www.vcahospitals.com/main/pet-health-information/article/animal-health/feline-calicivirus-infection/4132 ) and Herpesvirus
(http://www.vcahospitals.com/main/pet-health-information/article/animal-health/feline-herpesvirus-infection-or-feline-viral-rhinotracheitis/4107). Although usually dormant, the symptoms can reappear under stressful conditions such as those listed above or due to the presence of another disease. All lower the immune response resulting in an outbreak. The hallmark symptoms for Calici and Herpes are sores in the mouth and eye inflammation respectively.
Mycoplasma is a bacteria so it does not lurk in the body once a cat has recovered. However, stressed cats are more susceptible to infection to this bacteria in the environment. Some symptoms are similar to Herpes and Calici, so a veterinarian should be consulted to rule out multiple infections which require different treatments. https://www.vetinfo.com/mycoplasma-in-cats.html
- Coughing, sniffling and sneezing
- Frequent urination or problems evacuating the bladder
- Bloody urine
- Colitis, which causes mucoid or bloody diarrhea
- Lethargy, weakness, depression and fatigue
- Loss of appetite and weight loss
- Lesions or abscesses on the skin
Viral infections typically require support therapy during the illness followed by supplements that can inhibit viral activity (e.g. L-Lysine, an amino acid). Antibiotics are most commonly prescribed for bacterial infections. There is no vaccine for Mycoplasma.
Your cat can become a Zen Kitty! In addition to all the things you do to keep your cat healthy, reducing stress in the environment can help keep Kitty’s immune system strong to fight off infection. Cat Faeries has a number of products to decrease stress e.g. Calm and Serene, Multi Cat Household, Elder Support, Kidney Kitty, and Convivial House Cat.
Music played for cats also provides a soothing environment with pitches and tones known for calming and health enhancing qualities. I enjoy Ball of Twine and am looking forward to the latest CD Forever a Kitten which Cat Faeries stocks.