How to Avoid Making Your Cat or Dog Feel Uncomfortable

August 4, 2019
If your cat or dog is acting strangely, they may feel uncomfortable or insecure. We'll give you tips on how to avoid making your pet feel this way!

No matter how much of a connection you have with your pet, you’re still two completely different species. Differences or misunderstandings about behavior may come up. It’s also important to know not only what your pet likes, but also what could make it feel uncomfortable or insecure.

Everyone says that coexistence is difficult, and that’s true. As much as you love your cat or dog, until you adapt to their personality and behavior, things can be pretty complicated.

And that’s just not how we as humans feel. Animals also feel this way. To understand your pet and to avoid anything that could make them feel uncomfortable, let’s take a look at some potential problem behavior.

What makes pets feel uncomfortable

Dogs and cats are different, so the things that can make them feel uncomfortable or insecure are also different. Let’s start by analyzing each group.

What makes cats feel uncomfortable

A cat may feel uncomfortable for a variety of reasons.

Cats like routine. They are also independent and not very expressive. This means that if something has happened around them to make them feel unbalanced, it’s more difficult to tell than in a dog.

Causes of feline discomfort can be:

  • Changes to their routine: Even a change of furniture in the house can make a cat feel uncomfortable.
  • Abuse: Animals aren’t prepared for us to treat them badly. The quiet nature of cats makes them even less prepared for it. Whether physical or verbal, abuse really affects them.
  • Jealousy: Cats are very territorial. As a result, a new pet in the home means they have to share their space. It may also mean they don’t feel as much love from their owners.
  • Stress: What we mentioned above, and a variety of other causes, can mean your cat is feeling stressed. When a cat feels stressed, they can feel uncomfortable and start to behave inappropriately.

Consequences of a cat feeling uncomfortable

Changes in the behavior of a cat that feels uncomfortable will be fairly obvious if you pay attention. For example, they may start throwing sand out of their litterbox, lose their appetite, or toss their food everywhere. They may also start having accidents in the house, licking themselves so much that they hurt themselves, or using their scratching post excessively.

In addition to that, you might also start seeing bald spots or “hot spots,” which is a sign of stress. What can you do to help your cat?

  • Use calming aromas in the home
  • Be patient with any jealous behavior
  • Adopt another cat (accepting the idea that it will take time to adapt)

Things that can make a dog feel uncomfortable

Dogs are different from cats because they have a very different, more positive attitude towards life. It may be more difficult for them to feel uncomfortable, but it also happens for these reasons:

  • Trauma: If you’ve adopted an older dog and notice strange behavior, it’s possible that the animal was abandoned or mistreated.
  • Humanizing them: A dog is an animal, not a person. You have to show affection and be attentive to their needs, but without going to the extreme of treating them as humans. In fact, that is also a form of abuse.
  • Overprotection or isolation: Neither is good for a dog.
  • Jealousy: A new pet could also make your dog feel insecure.

Your dog probably feels uncomfortable if they are showing any strange behavior, such as aggressiveness, compulsive barking, or movements that they repeat over and over again, like trying to bite their tails or spinning around in circles.

How to help your dog

A dog laying on a yoga mat.

The best ways to help your dog are to:

  • Set clear limits on how you interact with him. Give him lots of love and affection, but also clearly indicate that you are in charge.
  • Exercise. Exercise helps eliminate toxins and lets a dog relax.
  • Avoid punishments. Positive reinforcement is always better than punishment, as we’ve seen in several articles. Punishing your dog will only make the situation worse.

Adapting to a new pet can be complicated at first, but follow these tips and everything will go smoothly!