Cats are incredibly sensitive creatures and often become stressed out when exposed to new situations or people. Many become particularly nervous around loud noises such as fireworks, crying babies, and sounds associated with home renovations. Like humans, cats sometimes need a bit of comfort.
There are several ways to ease feline stress, including providing many vertical retreats and ensuring your buddy gets enough exercise. But can squishing your cat help reduce their stress and anxiety? Do cats like being squished? The answer depends on a few factors, like how hard, the cat’s emotional state, and your relationship with the cat. If the cat belongs to you, a gentle squish may be a welcomed display of affection, whereas a stranger may not receive the same response. Keep reading for more on if cats like the feeling of being squished and if it has stress-reducing benefits.
What Do You Mean by Squishing?
Some cats respond quite well to being swaddled and held close to their human companion in seriously stressful situations, such as during fireworks displays. It allows cats to hear your heartbeat, feel your warmth, and smell your comforting scent while enveloping them in softness.
Swaddled cats can be held under your arm or brought to your chest. They can also sit in your lap if they enjoy being bundled up. Not all cats enjoy being swaddled and held, so pay attention to your buddy’s response and allow them to lead the way.
When Does Squishing Work?
Swaddling often calms cats, made anxious by temporary environmental stimuli, such as loud noises and fireworks displays. It can also keep your buddy calm if you have to give them medication with a dropper or clip their nails. Wrapping your cat up (if they enjoy it) as a prelude to a nice snuggle session is fine.
Unfortunately, it’s not always the best way to ensure your cat’s comfort during trips to the veterinarian, as it’s essential to transport pets in secured carriers that can protect them in the event of an accident.
How Can I Tell If I’m Squeezing Too Hard?
Pay attention to your pet’s response as you wrap them up. Relaxed cats will generally be calm and receptive to being petted. Anxious cats may continue to struggle and become distressed. Watch your buddy’s responses and quickly move on if the swaddling doesn’t help or increases your pet’s distress. Concentrate on providing a loving and comforting sense of enveloping warmth to avoid the temptation to “squeeze.”
Does Squishing Work in Other Stressful Situations?
Swaddling can be a great way to help cats work their way through highly stressful temporary situations. Cats exposed to continuous triggers often do better with environmental interventions.
They often become highly stressed due to significant household changes. Many don’t do well with the arrival of newborn babies and new pets, for instance. Holding your cat during these situations can calm them and reduce stress.
How Can I Reduce My Cat’s Stress When It’s Time to Go to the Veterinarian?
Consider leaving your pet’s carrier out so your buddy begins to consider it a comfortable place to hang out instead of just a thing that indicates an imminent trip to the veterinarian. Spraying your pet’s carrier with a calming pheromone or aromatherapy spritzer may also help.
Adding a favorite blanket to provide a nice comfortable place to sit and including a favorite toy can sometimes help cats stay relaxed, as can putting a t-shirt you’ve worn in the carrier to give your cat something comforting to smell. Make sure to bring treats to reward your buddy for a job well done on the way home!
Is There a Right Way to Carry a Cat?
Some cats are happy to be picked up and carried around, while others prefer to keep all four paws firmly on the floor. Most cats don’t like being picked up by strangers and certainly don’t like being surprised. Cats generally let people know they’re in the mood for more contact by staying close by and rubbing against them.
If a cat is giving you the green light for more contact, move slowly and slip one hand under the front part of their chest. Use your other hand to give your buddy’s hindquarters a boost. Cats are most comfortable when sitting in the nook of your elbow with your other arm keeping them close to your chest. Ensure your buddy’s back legs are tucked in, as most cats don’t like being held with their feet dangling.
There are several ways to help cats deal with stress and anxiety, but remember that what works for one kitty may not be appreciated by another. Pay attention to your pet’s responses and do what works best for them. Some pets respond well to being gently swaddled and held under an arm or cuddled close to their companion’s body in particularly stressful situations.
Featured Image Credit: Simone Hogan, Shutterstock