Image courtesy: Pixabay.com/
Cats may develop compulsive disorders to cope with anxiety, conflict or changes in their everyday life. Some cats are predisposed to specific compulsive behaviours due to their genetic composition. For instance Asian cat breeds shoe fabric-chewing behaviour. The thing about these compulsive behaviours is that even though the cause behind it is eliminated over time, the behaviour itself grows independent of it, and continues to persist.
Common compulsive behaviours in cats
Cats show motor, eating and hallucinogenic behaviours due to compulsive disorders. They may show excessive grooming or paw shaking. They may show repetitive vocalization. Your cat may even chase an invisible prey, ore chase his tail. They may chew on a fabric and even ingest it due to the compulsive disorder. Staring and freezing are other compulsive behaviours that are visible in cats.
Pet owners often do not realize that their cats are engaging in compulsive behaviours. Now, the problem with this is that they may end up encouraging these behaviours in their pets without even realizing it. For instance, you may go and pet your cat or give him a treat when he continuously meows. This reinforces the behaviour in your cat. At the same time, punishing your cat for the compulsive act is not the answer. Your cat’s anxiety condition will only worsen if you.
Understanding what causes anxiety and compulsive behavior in cats
There are many factors that could be setting off anxiety related compulsive behavior in your cat. Often it is changes in the immediate environment that prompt such behavior. For instance, a neighborhood cat that is territorial in nature and being aggressive toward your pet may be causing anxiety. Or, the introduction of a new family member such as a baby in the household, or having a family member leave the house may be causing anxiety in your cat. Either way, you want to figure out what changes in and around your home environment may be adding to your cat’s anxiety condition.
You can try tackling these anxiety triggers in your cat’s environment if possible. For instance, if you think a new dominating cat in the household is the cause behind it, then you could create separate environments for both cats for food, play, and other activities in different parts of the house. In some other cases, you may need drugs and/or behavior modification techniques to resolve your cat’s condition. Then again, sometimes your cat’s compulsive disorder may not need any treatment at all in some cases. If you think that your cat’s compulsive disorder is not causing any serious harm, then you can probably just let it be. Engaging in the compulsive behavior is probably the best way for your cat to cope with stress.