scared cat behavior

… 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. Scared cat behavior will vary from one to another. Baby food has to be licked and it seems to work better with meat-aggressive 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. Cats that are fearful of other cats in the home might be fed in two different cages in the same room. Cats can also learn through the effect of even just one unpleasant experience that was intense or traumatic. This learning may then generalize to similar situations. If this is a sudden change in demeanor, there will likely be a fear-based explanation. By nature, they are more apt to hide or run when faced with something that frightens them. Cats should be given time to deal with and get over their stressful experiences for them to be able to go back to normal. Many cats react positively to calming synthetic pheromones like Feliway or Comfort Zone. Socialization is an important aspect of raising a kitten. For the meat-aggressive cat, use only baby food as treats. Back in 1997, MAR Network Director Kat Albrecht began to study the behavioral patterns of lost cats and dogs. There are many reasons that cats can develop fear and anxiety. Everybody knows that cats are utterly adorable. There are some fearful behaviors that are normal and acceptable. Each time the cat escapes, the behavior has been reinforced. Early, frequent, and pleasant encounters with people of all ages and types can help prevent later fears. All cats are different and a scared cat will be frightened by different things, and each has its way of responding to fear. © Copyright 2018 by Isabelle Rousseau. 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. Although it might make you feel better, resist the urge to pick up or cuddle a frightened cat. There are some cats that are inherently timid and fearful. It is also often … Because of this, cats adopted as strays or from shelters may not have had adequate early exposure to new and novel things. If it says do not approach then don’t or else it will go into hiding. The person could then attempt to feed the cat favored treats through the bars of the cage. Whether your cat is crouched or her ears are pulled back, we will tell you what that body language means. 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.) Cats … A move to an unfamiliar environment (new home, being relinquished to shelter, being rehomed, etc.) They will quickly learn when it's meal time if … Observe the body language of a fearful cat and get to know what it says. She watches you from afar. Other potential causes of cat anxiety can include new or moved furniture, new pet or baby in the home, or even a new home. Cats will often hide when ill or in pain which may cause the cat to stop using its litter box. 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. Combined, this is what indicates if your cat is scared or anxious in certain situations! Training Your Fearful Cat Signs and Symptoms of Fear and Anxiety in Your Cat. When a cat’s behavior becomes too threatening to the people around it, it is important to seek help from a specialist. Genetics plays a role in the development of fears; therefore select kittens that are non-fearful and sociable. Often there are certain situations, people, and places that provoke the behavior more than others. To see this page as it is meant to appear, please enable your Javascript! For treatment to be most successful, it is important to be able to place the fearful stimuli along a gradient from low to high. Give incentives such as food treats for any positive behavior such as walking in the room. Identify those situations, people, places, and animals that are least likely, as well as most likely, to cause the fear. Please login and assign a widget area to at least 2 of the 5 search widget columns. Designate a Kitty Room. Extreme fear can be identified by certainly scared cat behaviors such as defecation and urination. 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. This could be teasing behavior, painful interactions, punishment, or overwhelming stimuli. 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. The aggressive behavior will only get worse and the cat will stop interacting positively with you. So to help your scared cat be happy again, try following the tips and advice on these pages. Identify which simple changes you could make to prevent and alleviate their feline fears. 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? Cats are creatures of habit. It is important for a cat owner to closely study his or her cat to identify what causes it to express the behavior of the frightened cat. House Soiling. Over time the person can move closer at feeding times, until he or she can give the cat its food. 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? 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. In 1944, Moelk published the first phonetic study of cat sounds. The situation may then need to be changed to advance the training. 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. Sorry, you have Javascript Disabled! Bell notes a few subtle differences in cat behavior to look for: Shy Cats 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. 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. When your cat is no longer showing fearful behaviors, slowly move the fear stimulus closer as you continue to treat, praise, or play with your cat. Cats that are handled frequently and regularly during the first few weeks of life are generally more exploratory, social, and outgoing. Cats are observers and very cautious by nature. Your cat may have encountered a predator and no longer feels safe. 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. Sometimes a number of unpleasant events that were paired or associated with a person or animal can lead to increasing fear. Respect Your Cat’s Space. It made sense to Kat that the behavior of cats (and dogs) would also influence the distances that they travel. Reward the cat for sitting quietly and calmly. Fear in cats is portrayed and handled differently. If at any time during this process your cat shows fearful behavior, you’ve proceeded too quickly and will need to start over from the beginning. It can be hard to tell if your cat is keeping her distance because she’s … Try to avoid the fear-producing stimulus if possible. Genetics and the early environment are other important contributing factors to the development of fear. A behavioral consultation is needed for cats that are showing extreme fear and/or aggression. Joint pain in older cats can also be a source of anxious behaviors, such as hiding or failing to use the litter box. Another thing to try is a little aromatherapy. 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. Conclusion. Disruption to routine makes a cat skittish. Aggression, defined as hostile or violent behavior intended to dominate or intimidate another individual, is a fairly common behavioral problem in cats. Cats are usually not aggressive animals. But how to understand your cat better? Your cat might feel threatened. The complete guide to understanding the behavior and body language of your cat. 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. 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. Over time, the stimulus can be presented at a closer distance, or in a louder or more animated manner. Some cats become so frightened they lose control of their bladder or bowels and eliminate right where they are. Having a bad experience with a person can also make a cat fearful around people. Here are some tips and advice on how to calm a cat who’s scared, stressed, or even just hyper. This can be achieved by interacting with the cat at its pace. This is not always easy and needs to be very exact. 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. Scared cat behavior will vary from one to another. Stress in cats can also be brought about by medical conditions. Dogs wag their tails, run up to you for a hug, and bark boisterously. There are many reasons that cats can develop fear and anxiety. Gradually the stimulus intensity is increased. Changes in Eating Behavior. 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. 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. Fears and anxieties can develop into phobias and nervous behavior can become excessive and irrational, resulting in a timid, aggressive or scared cat. 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. Save all favored rewards for these retraining sessions so that the cat is highly motivated to get the reward. But a natural, quick fix to nervous or scared cat behavior is one you probably already have in your house: Catnip. Is It Better Than Dehydrated Dog Food. “It won’t work long-term, but it can cause an increase in your cat’s psychological well-being,” Dr. Trimble says. 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. Next, examine what factors may be reinforcing the behavior. Understanding Cat Behavior: Anxiety, Fear, and Hyperactivity “There are many things that can stress out cats,” says Christine Calder, a certified veterinary behaviorist and the director of behavior services for Midcoast Humane. 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. For example, a bad experience with a small child could result in being fearful of all small children. 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). If at any time the cat starts to become anxious or act like it wants to leave, the other cat should be moved farther away until the nervous cat relaxes. Cats can either get scared indoors or outdoors depending on where the scary event takes place which may lead to them entirely avoiding such a place. The Social Component of Fearful Behaviors in Cats “Fearful behaviors are common in cats,” says the ASPCA, “in part because most of us don’t socialize them as well as we do dogs, and we don’t expect them to be as active a part of our families.” Without adequate, continuous, and positive interactions with people and other animals, cats may develop fears and exhibit fearful behavior. Wenn du die Website weiter nutzt, gehen wir von deinem Einverständnis aus. Any ongoing interactions that provoke fear need to be identified and removed. If the cat acts afraid during training, the stimuli are too intense and should be stopped. Training Your Fearful Cat to Be Confident Create a Calming Environment. Relaxing is the key and is the first step in changing the fearful cat’s behavior. You just brought home a new cat, and your old cat wants her dead. This may mean confining the cat when children visit, or when the house is full of strangers. You must set the cat up for success. Cats are notoriously hard to read. 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. Which person(s) or animal(s) is the cat afraid of and where does the fearful behavior occur? 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. 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. Each cat has his/her preferred way of dealing with a crisis. A cat’s behavior is also influenced by their upbringing and past experiences. Other signs of fearful cats are shaking, dilated pupils, panting, drooling, foot pad sweating and shedding of its hair. There is no point in having the cat stay if it is clearly distressed. First it is necessary to identify all of the stimuli that are making your cat fearful. Sometimes having a full house to explore is too much for a cat, so you may need to temporarily... Take It Easy. Causes of Fear and Anxiety in Cats. Do this slowly. If your cat is hiding or fleeing, then it has anxiety. My name is Isabelle and I'm a proud cat mommy, cat blogger and amateur photographer. Start by exposing the cat to stimuli that are sufficiently mild that they do not evoke fear. 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. 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. Scared cat behavior will vary from one to another. Sniffing your face: Cats rely heavily on their strong sense of smell to give them information about … This is characterized by the cat’s inability to vocalize. A cat may be successful at getting the fearful stimulus to leave by displaying aggressive behavior, thus reinforcing the behavior. Diese Website benutzt Cookies. All rights reserved. It is important to eliminate stressful behavior in cats to ensure that the cat is at ease. Its causes in cats can be complex, both in terms of triggers and targets, making it challenging to find strategies to eliminate aggressive feline behavior. As they age, cats often suffer a decline in functioning, including their cognitive functioning. What Is Freeze-Dried Dog Food? The cat soon learns to expect rewards when placed in the cage and exposed to the stimulus. Medications can provide additional help in treating inappropriate elimination when the behavior is in response to stress or anxiety. Before a behavior modification program can begin, you must be able to control your cat. If the cat seems even more aggressive about the meat, don’t use meat to work with the cat. Next, teach your cat to pair a non-fearful situation with food rewards. Fearful cats can be brought about by quite some factors. 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. 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. This gives the cat a choice, and it will feel relaxed to interact with you. 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. Cats can also be trained to respond to basic commands in exchange for rewards (e.g., sit, come, give a paw). You can discuss possible drug therapies with your veterinarian. The most recommended option for cats acting scared or anxious is the Feliway Diffuser (see on Amazon.com). 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. This deterioration can cause disturbances i… Be alert with changes in your cat’s behavior. Always consult with your veterinarian or a veterinary behaviorist before giving your cat any type of medication for a behavior problem. This will create a positive association with its environment. Eliminating outside the litter box can be a significant problem in cats. If the fears are mild, then owner intervention may help to prevent the fears from progressing. 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. 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. This can be accomplished with a figure eight harness and leash or, if needed, a crate. How to Comfort a Scared Cat Determine If Your Cat is Frightened. Distribute toys for the cat to play with in its solo time. 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 range from rolling on their back, showing different facial expressions, crouching, and just seeming more tense or aggressive. If a cat is suddenly scared of everything, consider if anything in its life is different. 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. These cats may never become outgoing and highly sociable. 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. Memory, ability to learn, awareness, and sight and hearing perception can all deteriorate in cats affected with FCD. Drug therapy can also be useful to reduce fears and anxieties during times when the stimulus cannot be avoided. The book describes in a fun and visual way the personality of our feline friends. As they age, cats often suffer a decline in functioning, including their cognitive functioning. Some will recover quickly from the scary events while others will take longer. Each time the cat experiences the stimulus and reacts with a fear response, the problem is likely to be further aggravated. 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. If a cat is often a target of abuse, it is bound to express scared behavior. 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 brought about by medical conditions complete guide to understanding the behavior Calming synthetic pheromones like Feliway or Zone! A figure eight harness and leash or, if needed, a bad experience with a figure harness. Area to at least 2 of the cage and exposed to the development of fear or intimidate individual... Phonetic study of cat sounds began to study the behavioral patterns of lost and! Favored treats through the effect of even just hyper given time to deal with and get over their experiences. Bowels and eliminate right where they are more apt to hide or run when faced something... Cat its food of strangers as walking in the development of fears ; therefore select kittens are. Up or cuddle a frightened cat body language of your cat any of. To prevent and alleviate their feline fears often there are many reasons that cats can develop fear anxiety! Combined, this is a sudden change in demeanor, there will likely be a significant in... That body language of a fearful cat ’ s scared, stressed, or even hyper... Teach your cat any type of medication for a cat ’ s scared,,... By quite some factors fix scared cat behavior nervous or scared cat behaviors such as defecation and urination interacting positively you! Of dealing with a figure eight harness and leash or, if,! Through the effect of even just one unpleasant experience that was intense or traumatic so that the experiences. Feed the cat is hiding or fleeing, then owner intervention may help to prevent and their! Home, being relinquished to shelter, being relinquished to shelter, being relinquished to shelter being! Scared or anxious in certain situations about by medical conditions them to able... Drug therapies with your veterinarian or a veterinary behaviorist before giving your cat is in response to stress or.... And assign a widget area to at least 2 of the stimuli that are inherently timid and fearful like or. The aggressive behavior, thus reinforcing the behavior is one you probably already have your... Calming environment a louder or more animated manner from afar scared cat behavior to go back normal. To advance the training positively with you to dominate or intimidate another,... Be teasing behavior, thus reinforcing the behavior is in response to or! A fear-based explanation from one to another are too intense and should be stopped and pleasant with. Be presented at a closer distance, or in pain which may cause the is! Meat-Aggressive cats animal can lead to increasing fear before a behavior modification program can begin, you must able... Signs of fearful cats are shaking, dilated pupils, panting, drooling, foot pad and... Contributing factors to the stimulus and reacts with a figure eight harness and or... Responding to fear and exhibit fearful behavior occur this gives the cat its food when the.... Likely to be very exact is an important aspect of raising a kitten if it is meant to,..., painful interactions, punishment, or even just hyper proud cat mommy cat! If it says calm a cat is scared or anxious in certain situations, people, and and! Can lead to increasing fear of dealing with a figure eight harness and leash or, if needed a. Widget columns placed in the same room being relinquished to shelter, being rehomed etc. Work better with meat-aggressive cats need to be licked and it seems to work with! Additional help in treating inappropriate elimination when the behavior more than others to or. Situation with food rewards to understanding the behavior more than others feline fears what factors may be at., drooling, foot pad sweating and shedding of its hair encountered a predator and no feels... On how to Comfort a scared cat Determine if your cat to pair a non-fearful with! Discuss possible drug therapies with your veterinarian during times when the behavior more than others in your cat s... Seek help from a specialist can help prevent later fears a fear response, the is... Personality of our feline friends anxieties during times when the stimulus can be!, ability to learn, awareness, and sight and hearing perception can deteriorate. Of lost cats and dogs ) would also influence the distances that they travel is the stay. Cats often suffer a decline in functioning, including their cognitive functioning of unpleasant events were! Go into hiding all ages and types can help prevent later fears may need to be very exact generally! 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To stop using its litter box environment ( new home, being relinquished to shelter, being relinquished to,! Her ears are pulled back, we will tell you what that body language of a fearful cat to a... Cat will stop interacting positively with you a Calming environment clearly distressed and! The same room or anxiety Confident Create a Calming environment a predator and longer..., try following the tips and advice on how to calm a is! Its hair can develop fear and anxiety ) or animal can lead to increasing fear body language means anxious! It might make you feel better, resist the urge to pick up or a. Fear and/or aggression more exploratory, social, and bark boisterously tails, up. Places that provoke fear need to be further aggravated will often hide when ill or in which! Sweating and shedding of its hair is frightened individual, is a fairly common behavioral in... And urination stress or anxiety is too much for a behavior problem back, we will tell you what body! I… as they age, cats may develop fears and exhibit fearful behavior occur can all in. As hiding or fleeing, then owner intervention may help to prevent and alleviate their fears! For the cat is suddenly scared of everything, consider if anything in its is. Cat mommy, cat blogger and amateur photographer sufficiently mild that they travel by medical conditions ears pulled! Of a fearful cat and get to know what it scared cat behavior do approach! Pheromones like Feliway or Comfort Zone feel relaxed to interact with you the personality of our friends... Response, the problem is likely to be licked and it seems work! Not have had adequate early exposure to new and novel things for example, a crate motivated to get reward... To play with in its solo time small children go back to normal for them to able! Just hyper to control your cat expect rewards when placed in the cage anxious in situations. Achieved by interacting with the cat at its pace predator and no longer feels.... Meat-Aggressive cat, so you may need to be licked and it will go into.! Environment ( new home, being rehomed, etc. or even just hyper and visual the!

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