Try to avoid the fear-producing stimulus if possible. Which person(s) or animal(s) is the cat afraid of and where does the fearful behavior occur? How to Comfort a Scared Cat Determine If Your Cat is Frightened. Here are some tips and advice on how to calm a cat who’s scared, stressed, or even just hyper. As they age, cats often suffer a decline in functioning, including their cognitive functioning. Distribute toys for the cat to play with in its solo time. A cat’s behavior is also influenced by their upbringing and past experiences. You can discuss possible drug therapies with your veterinarian. Each time the cat experiences the stimulus and reacts with a fear response, the problem is likely to be further aggravated. All cats are different and a scared cat will be frightened by different things, and each has its way of responding to fear. Samantha points out that “There is no exact, scientific, foolproof way to tell if a cat is a shy cat or an outgoing cat who happens to be scared.” Shy cats are, by nature, scared of more things than their bolder counterparts. This is characterized by the cat’s inability to vocalize. Next, both cats could be fed while out of the cages at a distance, with one or both on halters, and then progress to having the cats side-by-side at feedings. Many cats react positively to calming synthetic pheromones like Feliway or Comfort Zone. Drug therapy can also be useful to reduce fears and anxieties during times when the stimulus cannot be avoided. Some of the triggers of stressed behavior in cats are new environments, quick movements or loud noise, strange people or animals, or even an active child. These cats may never become outgoing and highly sociable. Once the cats will eat with the cages next to each other during feeding times, you could begin to keep one cat in the cage during feeding with one out, and alternate at future feedings. Conclusion. Please login and assign a widget area to at least 2 of the 5 search widget columns. When frightened, a cat may hide, try to appear smaller by rolling into a ball, or place its ears back on its head and be immobile. For mild fears, cats may settle down with constant exposure to the stimulus (referred to as flooding) provided there are no consequences that aggravate the fear. Some owners reward the fearful behavior by reassuring their pets with vocal intonations or body contact, which leads the animal to assume that what they are doing at that moment is appropriate. Disruption to routine makes a cat skittish. For most cats, a program of counter-conditioning and desensitization will be required to acclimatize the cat to the stimuli that causes the fearful response. Back in 1997, MAR Network Director Kat Albrecht began to study the behavioral patterns of lost cats and dogs. House Soiling. Observe the body language of a fearful cat and get to know what it says. Sometimes having a full house to explore is too much for a cat, so you may need to temporarily... Take It Easy. Reward the cat for sitting quietly and calmly. This gives the cat a choice, and it will feel relaxed to interact with you. Over time the person can move closer at feeding times, until he or she can give the cat its food. Training Your Fearful Cat to Be Confident Create a Calming Environment. Sometimes a number of unpleasant events that were paired or associated with a person or animal can lead to increasing fear. If it says do not approach then don’t or else it will go into hiding. Some cats become so frightened they lose control of their bladder or bowels and eliminate right where they are. This can range from rolling on their back, showing different facial expressions, crouching, and just seeming more tense or aggressive. If the fears are mild, then owner intervention may help to prevent the fears from progressing. The cat soon learns to expect rewards when placed in the cage and exposed to the stimulus. Stress in cats can also be brought about by medical conditions. Designate a Kitty Room. This can then advance to play sessions, catnip and treat times, and other times when the cats can “enjoy” themselves in each other’s company. Another thing to try is a little aromatherapy. If this is a sudden change in demeanor, there will likely be a fear-based explanation. Scared cats can also be exhibited by the cat curling up its body, tucking its tail under its body, and holding its body and head low to the ground. This is not always easy and needs to be very exact. This may mean confining the cat when children visit, or when the house is full of strangers. For example, cats kept in a cage for a few days in a boarding facility will often get used to the situation and settle down, provided there are no events that add to the fear. Cats can also learn through the effect of even just one unpleasant experience that was intense or traumatic. Respect Your Cat’s Space. Start by exposing the cat to stimuli that are sufficiently mild that they do not evoke fear. It can be hard to tell if your cat is keeping her distance because she’s … Many things can cause a cat to become fearful, such as: Lack of socialization as a kitten Being the target of aggression by other animals Pain and illness Being the target of abuse Stressful living conditions (too many cats, dirty conditions, tense family environment, etc.) The book describes in a fun and visual way the personality of our feline friends. A behavioral consultation is needed for cats that are showing extreme fear and/or aggression. With the information above, it is now easier for cat owners to identify distressed symptoms in cats thus being in a position to help them get better. Save all favored rewards for these retraining sessions so that the cat is highly motivated to get the reward. To be able to identify a frightened cat it is important first of all to know the behavior of frightened cats, and some of the factors that lead to fear, and how to help such cats. Interestingly, feral cats like to bury food they catch in the morning to eat later in the day, another tell-tale sign of feral-cat behavior. My name is Isabelle and I'm a proud cat mommy, cat blogger and amateur photographer. If you see body language that doesn't appear normal for the personality of your cat, including the behaviors that we have already listed here, get them checked out. Causes of Fear and Anxiety in Cats. Cats can also be affected by poor nutrition or poor maternal care during fetal development or while kittens, which can negatively impact physical and emotional development. Joint pain in older cats can also be a source of anxious behaviors, such as hiding or failing to use the litter box. Cat Lifespan Explained, Cat Toilet Training: How to Litter Box Train a Cat, Guide to Japanese Bobtail Cat Personality and Characteristics, Manx Cat Personality Traits and Characteristics, Why Do Cats Knead? Although it might make you feel better, resist the urge to pick up or cuddle a frightened cat. It is important to eliminate stressful behavior in cats to ensure that the cat is at ease. They will quickly learn when it's meal time if … Baby food has to be licked and it seems to work better with meat-aggressive cats. Cats will often hide when ill or in pain which may cause the cat to stop using its litter box. Combined, this is what indicates if your cat is scared or anxious in certain situations! Having a bad experience with a person can also make a cat fearful around people. There are many reasons that cats can develop fear and anxiety. Eliminating outside the litter box can be a significant problem in cats. For example, if a cat is punished or some disturbing event occurs in the presence of a particular person or other animal, the cat may begin to pair the stimulus (the person or other animal) with the unpleasant consequence (punishment or event). Due to a background in search-and-rescue (searching for lost people), Kat understood the critical connection between behavior and the distances that people travel when lost. Other potential causes of cat anxiety can include new or moved furniture, new pet or baby in the home, or even a new home. As a passionate pet enthusiast and long-time cat owner who has experienced the many aspects of what it means to care for cats I love to share my experiences with you. Understanding Cat BehaviorCat behavior problems can be quite frustrating, but the first step to correcting them is actually understanding where your cat is coming from.First, we will show you how to read your cat's body language. When a cat’s behavior becomes too threatening to the people around it, it is important to seek help from a specialist. Cats should be given time to deal with and get over their stressful experiences for them to be able to go back to normal. 5 Reasons for Cat Kneading, Turkish Van Cat Personality and Characteristics, Eliminate Cat Urine Odor - How to Get rid of Cat Urine Smell, Pregnant Cat: How to Tell if Your Cat is Pregnant, Sick Cat Symptoms: 7 Warning Signs for Sick Cats, Free Ebook: Understanding Cat Behavior and Body Language, The Cat Language Bible - Review and Insights, Cat Spraying: How to Deal with Cats Who Mark Their Territory, Ragdoll Cat Personality and Characteristics. As they age, cats often suffer a decline in functioning, including their cognitive functioning. There are many reasons that cats can develop fear and anxiety. All rights reserved. Cats can also be trained to respond to basic commands in exchange for rewards (e.g., sit, come, give a paw). Extreme fear can be identified by certainly scared cat behaviors such as defecation and urination. Identify those situations, people, places, and animals that are least likely, as well as most likely, to cause the fear. In 1944, Moelk published the first phonetic study of cat sounds. Bell notes a few subtle differences in cat behavior to look for: Shy Cats Next, examine what factors may be reinforcing the behavior. This will create a positive association with its environment. Because the socialization period in cats begins and ends earlier (generally between 3-9 weeks) than it does in dogs, the early environment of the kitten is most important. Be alert with changes in your cat’s behavior. Cats are notoriously hard to read. Identify which simple changes you could make to prevent and alleviate their feline fears. A cat may be successful at getting the fearful stimulus to leave by displaying aggressive behavior, thus reinforcing the behavior. There are some fearful behaviors that are normal and acceptable. Next, the cat might eat and take rewards while out of the cage, wearing a leash and harness if necessary, initially going back to an increased distance to ensure success and safety. Common fearful cat behavior that you can look out for is hiding, running away, shivering, and being too aggressive such as hissing, growling, spitting, biting, swatting, puffing fur and tail, scratching, arching back and flattening its ears. The goal of this training is to allow the cat to assume a relaxed and happy body posture and facial expression in the presence of the stimulus. Cats that are handled frequently and regularly during the first few weeks of life are generally more exploratory, social, and outgoing. A move to an unfamiliar environment (new home, being relinquished to shelter, being rehomed, etc.) Scared cat behavior will vary from one to another. Medications can provide additional help in treating inappropriate elimination when the behavior is in response to stress or anxiety. Sniffing your face: Cats rely heavily on their strong sense of smell to give them information about … Socialization is an important aspect of raising a kitten. Your cat may have encountered a predator and no longer feels safe. Each cat has his/her preferred way of dealing with a crisis. Even experienced cat owners might find themselves perplexed by the behaviors of a new feline addition to their household if they have adopted a fearful cat. This deterioration can cause disturbances i… On the other hand, a cat may show signs of agitation or aggression, such as dilated pupils, arched back, pilo-erection (hair standing on end), and hissing. There are some cats that are inherently timid and fearful. Cats can develop a fear of people or other animals as a result of having only limited exposure to people and other animals when they were young. This can be achieved by interacting with the cat at its pace. The person could then attempt to feed the cat favored treats through the bars of the cage. But a natural, quick fix to nervous or scared cat behavior is one you probably already have in your house: Catnip. Gradually the stimulus intensity is increased. Cats are usually not aggressive animals. cause the cat to stop using its litter box, Heavy Breathing Cat - Causes, Symptoms, Treatment, Guide To Birman Cat Personality and Characteristics, How Long Do Cats Live? Aggression, defined as hostile or violent behavior intended to dominate or intimidate another individual, is a fairly common behavioral problem in cats. The behavior of frightened cats can also be expressed if the cat has gone through a traumatizing event such as hearing gun fire, loud fireworks or even a visit to the veterinary clinic. If all this information on feral cats has made you consider going the route of “man’s best friend,” use this great course to avoid making impulsive decisions and plan for success. Always consult with your veterinarian or a veterinary behaviorist before giving your cat any type of medication for a behavior problem. Cats that are fearful of other cats in the home might be fed in two different cages in the same room. This could be teasing behavior, painful interactions, punishment, or overwhelming stimuli. Other signs of fearful cats are shaking, dilated pupils, panting, drooling, foot pad sweating and shedding of its hair. Each time the cat escapes, the behavior has been reinforced. You must set the cat up for success. She watches you from afar. First it is necessary to identify all of the stimuli that are making your cat fearful. Diese Website benutzt Cookies. sounds produced when the mouth is first opened and then gradually closed (meowing, howling, yowling) sounds produced with the mouth held tensely open in the same position (growls, snarls, hisses, spits, chattering, and chirping). The situation may then need to be changed to advance the training. Fearful cats can be brought about by quite some factors. Cats are creatures of habit. Its estimated that cognitive declinereferred to as feline cognitive dysfunction, or FCDaffects more than 55% of cats aged 11 to 15 years and more than 80% of cats aged 16 to 20 years. Without adequate, continuous, and positive interactions with people and other animals, cats may develop fears and exhibit fearful behavior. © Copyright 2018 by Isabelle Rousseau. Give incentives such as food treats for any positive behavior such as walking in the room. Scared cat behavior will vary from one to another. Next, teach your cat to pair a non-fearful situation with food rewards. Fears and anxieties can develop into phobias and nervous behavior can become excessive and irrational, resulting in a timid, aggressive or scared cat. If the cat seems even more aggressive about the meat, don’t use meat to work with the cat. The aggressive behavior will only get worse and the cat will stop interacting positively with you. Relaxing is the key and is the first step in changing the fearful cat’s behavior. It is also often … But how to understand your cat better? Do this slowly. To also ensure less distress in cats you can create clear pathways that it can use to reach its resources such as the litter box. This can be accomplished with a figure eight harness and leash or, if needed, a crate. If a cat is often a target of abuse, it is bound to express scared behavior. Is It Better Than Dehydrated Dog Food. Dogs wag their tails, run up to you for a hug, and bark boisterously. What Is Freeze-Dried Dog Food? Genetics and the early environment are other important contributing factors to the development of fear. By nature, they are more apt to hide or run when faced with something that frightens them. Over time, the stimulus can be presented at a closer distance, or in a louder or more animated manner. Before a behavior modification program can begin, you must be able to control your cat. For treatment to be most successful, it is important to be able to place the fearful stimuli along a gradient from low to high. For the meat-aggressive cat, use only baby food as treats. … Sorry, you have Javascript Disabled! To see this page as it is meant to appear, please enable your Javascript! On the other hand, any time the stimulus (e.g., other cat or person) threatens, retaliates, or displays fear toward the fearful cat, the fearful behavior has been aggravated. Since some evidence has indicated the father’s role in personality, assessing and observing the kitten’s parents, particularly the father, will give some insight into the personality that a kitten may develop when it grows up. For example, if your cat is fearful of a particular person, you can begin with having the person sit beside the cage while your cat eats. The Fearful Cat When cats feel threatened, they usually respond in three ways to the object, person or situation they perceive as a threat: fight, flee or freeze. , drooling, foot pad sweating and shedding of its hair unpleasant experience was. By nature, they are brought home a new cat, so may..., teach your cat is suddenly scared of everything, consider if anything in solo. 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