A recent study conducted at Ohio State University found that stress is not just detrimental to human health, it affects cats’ health, too. The study looked at 32 cats over a period of 77 days. Twelve were healthy and 20 had feline interstitial cystitis.
During the study, researchers created a consistent environment for the cats. The cats were housed in large stainless steel cages that contained an elevated resting board, cardboard hiding boxes, bedding and toys. Litterboxes filled with Sani Chips were placed in the back corner of each cage. The cats had daily playtime out of the cage with both other cats and their human caretaker. They were played classical music by Vivaldi in the morning and afternoon.
When the cats experienced what were called “unusual external events,” such as a change in feeding schedule or caretaker, the healthy cats were just as likely to exhibit sickness behaviors such as vomiting or eliminating outside the litterbox as were the chronically ill cats. Both groups responded with the same number of sickness behaviors to unusual events, and both groups were at more than three times the risk of acting sick when their routines were disrupted.
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