Adapting to Change: Understanding Cat Behavior and How to Help Your Feline Friend Cope

A grumpy cat sitting on a cushion

Cats are beloved as pets, all over the world. And, with their fluffy fur, adorable whiskers, and playful nature, it’s easy to see why they’ve earned the title of “man’s other best friend”. But despite their affectionate and playful nature, cats can also be quite finicky and sensitive creatures, especially when it comes to change. Whether it’s a change in their living environment, their daily routine, or the introduction of a new family member or pet, cats often have a hard time adapting to change.

A grumpy cat sitting on a cushion

Why do cats struggle with change?

Cats are creatures of habit, and they thrive on routine and predictability.

When their routine is disrupted or their environment changes, they can become anxious, stressed, and even aggressive. This can lead to a range of undesirable behaviors, including hiding, scratching, biting, or avoiding the litter box.

To minimize the negative effects of change on your cat’s behavior, it’s important to understand their personality and their preferences. Some cats are more sensitive than others and may require extra attention and comfort during times of change. Others may be more independent and able to adapt to new situations with ease.

A sad cat looking out a window

How can I help my cat cope with change?

One way to help your cat adjust to change is to provide them with a safe and secure environment.

This can be done by creating a designated space for them to retreat to when they feel anxious or overwhelmed. This space should be quiet, comfortable, and free of any potential stressors, such as loud noises or bright lights.

A tired cat sitting on a cushion

Another way to help your cat cope with change is to maintain a consistent routine as much as possible. This means feeding them at the same time each day, providing them with regular playtime and exercise, and sticking to a consistent sleep schedule. By maintaining a familiar routine, you can help your cat feel more secure and less stressed, even when there are changes happening around them.

Introducing a new family member or pet?

If you’re introducing a new family member or pet to your household, it’s important to do so gradually and with care. Cats are territorial creatures, and they may feel threatened or anxious when a new pet or person enters their space. To minimize these feelings, it’s important to introduce the new addition slowly and to give your cat plenty of time to adjust to the change.

An angry cat looking through a door

Do cats need to be medicated?

Medication may be needed when a cat is displaying behavior that is considered abnormal or unacceptable, and traditional behavioural modification techniques have not been effective in addressing the issue.

Medication may also be used to manage specific behavior issues, such as anxiety or aggression. For example, cats with separation anxiety may benefit from anti-anxiety medication, which can help them feel more calm and relaxed when their owner is away. Similarly, cats with aggression issues may be prescribed medication to reduce their anxiety and improve their ability to cope with stressful situations.

It’s important to note that medication should only be used as a last resort and should always be prescribed by a veterinarian.

Before considering medication, it’s important to try traditional behavioral modification techniques, such as positive reinforcement training and environmental enrichment, to address the behaviour issue. Medication may also be used in conjunction with behavioural modification techniques to provide the best possible outcome for the cat. By combining medication with training and environmental modifications, you can help your cat achieve better behaviour and improve their quality of life.

A cat smelling a medication

‘Cats are sensitive souls’

Cats can be sensitive creatures, and changes to their environment or routine can cause stress and anxiety. By understanding their behavior and providing them with a safe and secure environment, you can help your furry friend adjust to change and thrive in their new surroundings. With patience, understanding, and lots of love, you can help your cat adapt to any situation, no matter how big or small.

A happy cat rolled over showing its belly


Are you a cat-savvy person looking to make a change in the life of a cat in need?

Currently being fostered by the Lynbrook Vet team, Nibbler is looking for the purrfect place to call home!
Click here to read more about Nibbler here!

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