Science Daily reports that a recent study shows that even healthy cats exhibit symptoms of illness when their routine is changed. The study drastically changed the routines of both healthy cats and cats with feline interstitial cystitis, a chronic illness, and found that all the cats exhibited the same symptoms of sickness behaviors, and just as frequently.
Practical applications of this study apply both to vets and to cat owners. For vets, the study means that when a cat arrives at the clinic with symptoms such as vomiting, not eating or not using the litter box, he should ask the owner whether the cat has experienced any changes in routine. If other causes are ruled out, it may be that going back to the previous routine will solve the problem. For cat owners, the study shows that keeping a cat on a routine is very important. This includes routine care and feeding at the same time every morning, keeping food and litter boxes in consistent locations, daily cleaning of cages, provision of a clean litter box, regularly washed bedding, and a consistent caregiver. Of course, there are situations in which a change in routine is inevitable, such as when a new baby joins the family, or when the family moves to a new home. In these types of cases, the transition to a new routine should be made gradually to avoid stressing your cat.