How To Help A Frightened Cat

Cats are one of the most popular pets, and many people love to own one. However, they’re also one of the most independent animals, and it can be challenging for people to find ways to help them when they’re feeling nervous or scared.

Today, we will be taking a look at how to tell if your cat is nervous, the different types of nervous behaviors, and how to help your cat when they are feeling nervous.

How to tell if your cat is scared

scared kitten

When you see your cat scared, he will exhibit one of three primary signs: He may cower in a corner; he may hide under furniture or in closets; or, he may run away from you.

Cats who are truly frightened will almost always hide or run from you.

However, there are a few other signs that you should watch out for as well such as:

  • Aggression
  • Not using the litter box
  • Lack of appetite

Common fear triggers

It’s difficult to know what your cat is afraid of. They don’t always show their feelings, and it can be hard to read their body language.

scared grey cat

Here is a list of the most common fear triggers in cats:

Loud noises

For some cats, loud noises are terrifying. If you hear a loud sound, check your cat’s behavior.

Moving objects

Since cats are natural hunters, anything that moves can trigger a fear response.

Being left alone

Cats are creatures of habit. They are not used to being left alone, so any time they are left alone, they are likely to feel anxious.

Traveling in a car

Cats do not like traveling in cars. They often become anxious when they are put into the car carrier and again when they are placed inside the car.

New people

Cats are naturally shy creatures. Introducing a new person into their environment can cause them to become anxious.

Loud children

Cats don’t like a lot of noise, but when it is a child’s voice, it causes a little bit more of a scare in your cat. If your cat is afraid of a child’s voice, they may not want to go near them.

Other cats

If your cat is afraid of other cats, they might not feel safe around them.

It’s easy for your cat to hide when there is a threat in the room, but if they are in front of your cat, it’s easier for them to get hurt.

What fearful behavior is normal?

cat hiding in box

Fearful behavior in cats is very common. It can be triggered by a variety of things including change, separation, health concerns, or just plain old being a cat!

Normal fearfulness is completely normal. In fact, it is expected that all healthy cats will show some signs of this natural behavior.

The first time your cat steps out the door to go to the vet’s office, or rides in a car, or meets a new person, it is common for your cat to show signs of fear, even for a few days.

How can you help your scared cat?

Here are a few basic things that you can do if your cat is scared:

  • Make sure you are not scaring it yourself! Be careful with your own behavior, for example, you do not want to be waving your arms around or come running towards your cat if it escapes through the window. This type of behavior will only scare the cat more.
  • If they are hiding and not injured, leave them alone. They will come out when they feel safe.
  • If you have found an injured cat, do not touch it as it may attack you. Phone a trusted veterinarian to come and help it. 

What should you do if your cat becomes aggressive?

aggressive gray cat

The first thing you should do is contain your cat in a safe place. If possible, get their cage or another sturdy confinement area for them.

Next, you should try to talk calmly to your cat.

If that doesn’t work, then go to the next step which is to give your cat something harmless to hold or bite on. This can be used as a distraction technique to give you time to gradually move the cat to the new place.

If all else fails, the last resort is to use force to subdue your cat. However, you should only use this as a last resort because it can cause your cat additional harm.

Make sure that you treat any wounds that they may have given you as these can become infected.

What is desensitization and does it work for cats?

Desensitization is a process of repeated exposure to something that is uncomfortable until the individual being exposed to it gets used to it and becomes desensitized to it.

When you are trying to train a cat to do something, desensitization is one of the most important concepts you need to understand.

For example, let’s say you have a new kitten, and you want him to learn to love everyone he meets.

The way you go about teaching your kitten to love every member of the human race is by exposing him to as many people as possible.

Desensitization can help your cat react calmly to situations that would normally scare them.

You can read more about this here: https://www.alleycat.org/community-cat-care/sick-or-injured-cats/

Final Words

In summary, you can help a frightened cat by providing a safe place where it can hide, offering reassurance to the cat, and keeping strong but comforting physical contact with the cat so it can feel your presence.