Cats, like humans, can develop stress-related illness, University of Edinburgh experts have found. Significant life-changes like moving house or the arrival of a new member of the family can lead to bladder problems in some cats, say the animal specialists. But the biggest stressor of all for a cat is when it doesnt get along with other cats in the house, studies have shown.
Cat health professionals at the Universitys Hospital for Small Animals studied the lifestyles of a group of cats with no apparent physical cause for their bladder problems and compared them with a control group of disease-free cats. They found that the sick cats were generally more anxious, and were particularly stressed by being in conflict with other cats in the house.
Dr Danielle Gunn-Moore, the Nestlé Purina senior lecturer in feline medicine at the University of Edinburgh Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, explained: "Feline lower urinary tract disease (FLUTD) is a group of diseases of the bladder, most commonly seen in pedigree, middle-aged, overweight male cats which take little exercise, use an indoor litter box, dont go out much and eat a dry food diet. "This condition is particularly frustrating for vets and owners, because most cases have no apparent cause, and are categorised as feline idiopathic cystitis (FIC). Earlier studies led us to believe that stress could be a trigger factor for FIC, and we wanted to identify differences in the cats environments and temperaments which might be causing this condition."
Linda Menzies | EurekAlert!
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