New Year's Eve firecrackers, visits to the vet, changes at home, being in heat - there are many reasons why cats get stressed. But how can you tell if your kitten is "just" stressed or actually in heat? And how can you calm down stressed cats? Time for an overview so that you know what could help your cat in the next situation.
When a cat is stressed
Cats are very sensitive and react sensitively to their environment. If your cat is in heat at the same time, she will be unstressed anyway due to the change in hormone balance. Your cat may react to different things in a stressed way. This can also be small things that you don't notice as a change at first, such as a new food or different cat litter.
How to recognise heat and stress in cats
Different signals indicate that your cat is in heat. These behaviours indicate that your cat is ready to breed:
- loud and frequent meowing
- Constant "wanting to go outside”
- rolling around on the floor
- Cat pee in the flat - not only in the litter box
- general behavioural changes
Some cats become real snugglers and demand a lot of love and cuddles. Others can hardly be touched and are aggressive. Most of the time, our velvet paws are really stressed during the heat. Therefore, the following signs can be added to those mentioned above:
- Aggressive Behaviour
- Loss or lack of appetite
- Cat does not want to be stroked
- Hissing or scratching
- Excessive brushing to the point of irritation and injury
Rolly or stressed?
To really calm your cat, you first need to find out what is causing the stress. Is Kitty in heat, is she just stressed or is it both?
Observe your cat closely: When does the stressed behaviour occur, and in what contexts? Your own behaviour can also be transferred to your cat. Have you been under a lot of stress lately or are you irritable? Your furry friend can sense this, too. If you cannot attribute the stress to a specific cause, a stress diary can help.
To prevent stress from arising in the first place, you should observe a few principles for living together with your cat. Your kitty should have a place of retreat for herself. This is the only way she can really get some peace and quiet. Many cats like to hide on top of the cat tree and have the whole room in view. It doesn't matter whether it's a basket, a small cave or a place to lie on the cat tree: your cat needs a place where it can relax undisturbed, especially when there are visitors. Your cat's toilet should also be placed in an alcove or quiet corner. If the litter tray is in the middle of the living room and everyone runs past, stress is inevitable - understandable. If you have several cats living with you, each cat should have its own drinking and food bowl. Shared bowls often cause aggressive behaviour.
Calming cats - tips and tricks
There are several ways to calm down a stressed cat. You can use these for both heat and stress symptoms. The motto here is: trial and error! Try it - and see what works.
The first and most important tip for an aggressive or stressed cat is to stay calm yourself. As soon as you become hectic, run around the flat quickly or even become loud, you stress your cat even more. So stay relaxed yourself and make sure that you radiate this calmness.
Keep your distance
If your cat hisses, meows frequently, scratches or is otherwise aggressive, you should keep your distance. Do not try to catch or hold your cat, but sit down somewhere. The little cat simply doesn't want to be touched and you should respect that. Wait until your cat is relaxed and lying down.
Petting and coaxing
When your cat calms down and you can touch her, pamper her with an extra dose of love. Talk slowly and calmly, stroke where she likes it best and try to bring her down a little from the high stress level.
Snacks, snacks, snacks
Cats on heat are so focused on finding a partner that they forget to eat or refuse to eat. Treat your cat to their favourite food or try out some new snacks! Yummi!
Does your cat have a favourite toy? Then it's time to put it to good use. Play with your cat and try to distract her.
Relaxation with fragrances
Certain scents can also have a calming effect on your pet. Lavender and basil, for example, have a calming effect. Try a small fragrance lamp - but not every cat likes fragrances. So observe their reaction.
Especially for cats in heat, warmth can work wonders. Try a warm grain pillow and see if your cat calms down. Ideally, she will lie down on the pillow and enjoy the additional warmth.
Catnip or cat balm is said to have a calming effect. The smell is said to relax and even makes cats more trusting. Many cats love catnip, rubbing their heads on it or even nibbling on the plant. Just try it out and see if you have a mint lover at home. But be careful - not all cats like the fragrant plant. And: If your cat eats too much catnip, it can lead to stomach problems.
In particularly stressful situations, Rescue Drops with high-quality ingredients calm down. Make sure that valerian is not included. While it has a calming effect on humans, the opposite is true for cats. Instead, use active ingredients such as ashwagandha, St. John's wort or hops - you will also find these ingredients in our Relax Liquid. Rescue drops can be helpful before visits to the vet, during the stress of moving house or even in the phase of heat.
Especially with cats in heat, you should clean the litter box very often. During heat, the kitten likes to spread scent marks to attract male cats. If you are unlucky and kitty doesn't like the hygiene of her toilet, they will also spread them on furniture or walls. It is therefore better to clean the litter tray once more.
Men must stay outside
Cats in heat have one goal: to find a male and make little kittens. If you don't want that, you shouldn't let neutered males near your cat either, that only leads to stress.
Stress as a permanent condition
If your cat is permanently stressed, aggressive and can hardly be calmed down during heat, you need to react. If you can't explain where the stress suddenly comes from and no tip or home remedy will help, it's time to go to the vet! Physical illnesses can also trigger stress.
Cat in heat - neutering sensible?
If cats are not neutered, they can come into heat several times a year. Especially if your cat becomes aggressive or simply has permanent stress, it can make sense to think about neutering. Discuss this with your vet!