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cat is seriously depressed worried he may fall victim to FIP

Posted by chris

My 3 year old birman was in a car accident and he broke his pelvis and is now confined to cage rest for at least 4 weeks probably longer and he is seriously depressed and uninterested in anything.. I hope he will recover fully from this accident and the vet seems pleased with his progress so far although its early days. My really big worry is his sibling died aged 4 months from FIP and i understand that stress can bring it on , can i do anything to help lift his mood. 
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The most important thing you can do is to remain confident and upbeat when you're with or around him. When something is wrong with our animals, there's a tendency to want to baby them and talk to them the way we would to an infant. But that body language and the tone of voice that goes with it communicates a subrodinate status. Because cats are highly territorial and birmans are among those breeds more likely to consider their owners part of their territory, this can be very stressful for the animal. Not only do they then have to muster the wherewithal to get better, they also have to protect this person.

Compare that to the person whose low, confident tone and smooth body language communicates her confidence in the cat and him/herself to make it through this, no matter what.  True, if you're used to being highly reactive around your cat, you may have this more confident feline stance at first and give into your fears and have a good cry in your car or garage. But that's part of the responsibility of being the grown-up relative to our pets. For their sake in difficult times, we have to be the strong ones.

Unfortunately a lot of people, including those in the animal care community, think that the higher pitched cooing and pitying noises inspire confidence in an animal. But if you stand in front of a mirror and talk to it in that same manner you'll see that nothing in your tone or posture communicates confidence in yourself, let alone in your pet. Instead, it communicates the opposite: that you can't cope. And because one of the things that domestication does is prime our animals to take their cues from us, if we communicate that we can't cope, that makes it much, much more difficult for them to do so. Better your cat should put all his energy into healing than worrying about you.


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