All of us, at one time or another, will be hit with traumatic occurrences in our lives that we in due time do overcome . . . but when it comes to our pets, trauma can have a more lasting effect on them. They can’t exactly communicate “in words” to us so we have to look for signs to know how they feel and how to help them through bad times.
The old saying goes “An elephant never forgets” may be true . . . but it is certainly true for most other animals as well. You may try to assure your pet that everything will be fine but they do not fully understand. Some pets may be real resilient and move on easily while others cannot do so without effort, especially the older pets. The older cat tends to have a more difficult time of moving forward without fears.
Stress and anxiety has a profound effect on your cat, much like it does for humans. If they have been through a significant trauma or felt any signs of abandonment, it has a lasting effect on your cat, just as it would for you. They will resort to hiding, excessive urinating, some aggressive behaviors, seizures, a constant fear of the trauma returning and more.
If your cat is already diabetic, stress causes significant elevations of blood glucose levels, and in rare circumstances, glucose can be seen in their urine. The measurement of a substance called Fructosamine (Glycated Serum Protein) may help distinguish stress-induced changes in blood and urine sugar levels from true diabetes mellitus. In stressed cats, serum Fructosamine concentrations are normal, but they are elevated in diabetic cats.
If your cat that is going through stress and/or separation anxiety is an older cat, you will need to be a little more patient as they do not handle trauma and stress as easily as a young cat. It may take a lot more socializing and training your cat all over again, to regain trust that this trauma is not going to happen again. Never, but never punish your cat while trying to do so as this would only make things worse. I cannot stress enough that a lot of love and attention should be the number one step in helping your cat through any type of trauma.
A few other things you might try in order to get your pre-traumatic cat back is to have a safe and quiet place for it to “escape” should it need to and have something of yours in its bed as well. The comfort of your scent near your cat at all times is reassuring if you cannot be there 24/7. A lot of one on one play time is always a great stress reliever and will do wonders. Try daily to return to the normal pre-stress routine. It may take some time and may not return 100%, but you will be amazed how well it will work in due time. This is a great time to stress, “patience is indeed a virtue” along with an awful lot of love, attention, playtime, and as much one on one interaction as possible.