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5 Tips to Help Fix Your Cat's OCD

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Last week, we talked about 5 common signs of OCD to look for in your cat. Read more HERE. If your cat shows several of these signs, we recommend a vet visit to check for underlying health issues. But what if your vet diagnoses your cat with OCD?

Here are 5 key steps to help fix your cat’s OCD.

1) Address the root issue.

Just like with people, OCD in cats is primarily caused by “life stressors.” These stressors may include divorce, longer work hours, or someone moving away to college.

Because cats like the status quo, they often respond negatively to sudden changes in their environment. Here are a few ideas to help your cat adjust to change.

  1. For a college student moving away, ask the student to make a recording of their voice. Listening to the recording will help your cat relax.
  2. If you’re adopting a new kitty, follow our easy tips for introducing a new cat to a multi-cat household.  
  3. If you have to work longer hours, ask a neighbour to check in on your kitty. Or hire a student to play with your cat for 20 minutes on their lunch hour. This will keep your kitty from becoming bored, lonely, and stressed out.

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2) Carve out a personal space for kitty.

Pamela Perry, DVM, animal behavior resident at the Cornell Vet College, recommends creating vertical hang-out spots for your cat. You can build or purchase a cat tower, or set up a dedicated bunk bed just for your cat.

Cats love to climb, and they feel more secure when they’re sitting on a perch. Some of our houses for outdoor cats come with built-in perches. When your cat has a personal, safe space, she can retreat to it whenever she feels stressed out.

3) Distract your cat.

When it looks like your cat is about to begin OCD behaviour, such as wool-sucking, distract him. Give him a toy to play with, or pull out a kitty treat.

If your cat enjoys music, get out one of his favourite CDs, and turn up the volume. If he likes to watch TV, turn it on for a quick distraction. Distracting your cat will help him learn to relieve stress in acceptable ways.

4) Provide regular play therapy.

Each day, carve out 10-15 minutes to give your kitty your undivided attention. “Most cats really enjoy interaction," says Dr. Perry. "Finding what your cat likes, whether it's cuddle time with you or a favorite toy that is like a security blanket, can relieve stress." 

You can play with a laser pointer, a fishing-pole lure, or a cat feather wand. Playing together helps your cat build trust. It also builds her self-confidence.

If your cat’s OCD is related to a new pet, playing with both of them will build a positive relationship. And it will be a huge help to fix your cat’s OCD.

5) Use artificial pheromones.

One surprising strategy to help reduce your cat’s stress is using artificial pheromones. When cats are being friendly, they often rub cheeks, releasing a specific pheromone that calms them.

You can purchase an artificial version of this pheromone called Feliway. Look for a plug-in or spray Feliway product at your local pet store, or buy it online here.

If your cat is struggling with stress, try some of these simple ideas to help fix your cat’s OCD. Do you have tips for helping cats de-stress? Comment below to share your advice!

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