Stress in owned cats: behavioural changes and welfare implications

Marta Amat, Tomàs Camps, Xavier Manteca

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleResearchpeer-review

56 Citations (Scopus)


© 2015, © The Author(s) 2015. Domestic cats are exposed to a variety of stressful stimuli, which may have a negative effect on the cats’ welfare and trigger a number of behavioural changes. Some of the stressors most commonly encountered by cats include changes in environment, inter-cat conflict, a poor human–cat relationship and the cat’s inability to perform highly motivated behaviour patterns. Stress is very likely to reduce feed intake, and stress-related anorexia may contribute to the development of potentially serious medical conditions. Stress also increases the risk of cats showing urine marking and some forms of aggression, including redirected aggression. A number of compulsive disorders such as over-grooming may also develop as a consequence of stressful environments. Some of the main strategies to prevent or reduce stress-related behavioural problems in cats are environmental enrichment, appropriate management techniques to introduce unfamiliar cats to each other and the use of the synthetic analogue of the feline facial pheromone. As the stress response in cats depends, to a large extent, on the temperament of the animal, breeding and husbandry strategies that contribute to the cat developing a well-balanced temperament are also very useful.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)577-586
JournalJournal of Feline Medicine and Surgery
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2016


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