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Stress in cats - in our minds?

Sometimes stress and fear are obvious in our feline friends.

But sometimes the signs of stress and fear are more subtle, because the cat is hiding.

There is a promising new study on a supplement that may help reduce fear and anxiety in cats. The summary I've linked to, from the Winn Feline Foundation, does a good job of talking about the weakness of this study.

It relies on the owner's reporting of how the cat was doing, and there was no 'control' group. That means that every cat in the study was given the active ingredient, and the impression of the hopeful owner was the only measure of success. However, even if the placebo effect was the only reason for the positive change, that doesn't mean the medication is a failure.

Have you heard of the placebo effect? There is some really interesting new thought about how powerful this psychological effect can be, and how maybe we just need to trust it sometimes.

Here's my point: If this supplement truly helps to make cats less stressed or to reduce their anxiety, then that's wonderful. But if the supplement acts in a different way, because it's improving the interaction between the owner and the cat, or because it's changing the way the owner interprets their cat's behaviour, then maybe that's a good thing, too.

I'm sure there will be a follow-up study with a control group and I can't wait to see what we learn.

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