scared cat behavior

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Other potential causes of cat anxiety can include new or moved furniture, new pet or baby in the home, or even a new home. Gradually the stimulus intensity is increased. 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. Give incentives such as food treats for any positive behavior such as walking in the room. The book describes in a fun and visual way the personality of our feline friends. 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. Cats can also be trained to respond to basic commands in exchange for rewards (e.g., sit, come, give a paw). Often there are certain situations, people, and places that provoke the behavior more than others. Although it might make you feel better, resist the urge to pick up or cuddle a frightened cat. 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. How to Comfort a Scared Cat Determine If Your Cat is Frightened. 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 learning may then generalize to similar situations. 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. Identify those situations, people, places, and animals that are least likely, as well as most likely, to cause the fear. 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. Whether your cat is crouched or her ears are pulled back, we will tell you what that body language means. 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. There are many reasons that cats can develop fear and anxiety. Combined, this is what indicates if your cat is scared or anxious in certain situations! This gives the cat a choice, and it will feel relaxed to interact with you. Aggression, defined as hostile or violent behavior intended to dominate or intimidate another individual, is a fairly common behavioral problem in cats. Before a behavior modification program can begin, you must be able to control 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. If your cat is hiding or fleeing, then it has anxiety. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. Identify which simple changes you could make to prevent and alleviate their feline fears. The most recommended option for cats acting scared or anxious is the Feliway Diffuser (see on Amazon.com). 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. Some will recover quickly from the scary events while others will take longer. 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. Causes of Fear and Anxiety in Cats. Back in 1997, MAR Network Director Kat Albrecht began to study the behavioral patterns of lost cats and dogs. This can be achieved by interacting with the cat at its pace. If a cat is often a target of abuse, it is bound to express scared behavior. Some cats become so frightened they lose control of their bladder or bowels and eliminate right where they are. If a cat is suddenly scared of everything, consider if anything in its life is different. Save all favored rewards for these retraining sessions so that the cat is highly motivated to get the reward. It made sense to Kat that the behavior of cats (and dogs) would also influence the distances that they travel. If the cat seems even more aggressive about the meat, don’t use meat to work with the cat. All cats are different and a scared cat will be frightened by different things, and each has its way of responding to fear. You must set the cat up for success. To see this page as it is meant to appear, please enable your Javascript! Your cat might feel threatened. First it is necessary to identify all of the stimuli that are making your cat fearful. All rights reserved. The cat soon learns to expect rewards when placed in the cage and exposed to the stimulus. She watches you from afar. Everybody knows that cats are utterly adorable. This can be accomplished with a figure eight harness and leash or, if needed, a crate. 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. 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. They will quickly learn when it's meal time if … 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. 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. There are some cats that are inherently timid and fearful. Cats are usually not aggressive animals. Because of this, cats adopted as strays or from shelters may not have had adequate early exposure to new and novel things. 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. 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). 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. 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. 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? Cats that are fearful of other cats in the home might be fed in two different cages in the same room. For treatment to be most successful, it is important to be able to place the fearful stimuli along a gradient from low to high. Each time the cat experiences the stimulus and reacts with a fear response, the problem is likely to be further aggravated. 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. House Soiling. Baby food has to be licked and it seems to work better with meat-aggressive cats. Without adequate, continuous, and positive interactions with people and other animals, cats may develop fears and exhibit fearful behavior. 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. A cat may be successful at getting the fearful stimulus to leave by displaying aggressive behavior, thus reinforcing the behavior. It is also often … If it says do not approach then don’t or else it will go into hiding. 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. 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. Do this slowly. This may mean confining the cat when children visit, or when the house is full of strangers. Training Your Fearful Cat Signs and Symptoms of Fear and Anxiety in Your Cat. You just brought home a new cat, and your old cat wants her dead. 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. Sniffing your face: Cats rely heavily on their strong sense of smell to give them information about … Diese Website benutzt Cookies. Cats should be given time to deal with and get over their stressful experiences for them to be able to go back to normal. So to help your scared cat be happy again, try following the tips and advice on these pages. This is characterized by the cat’s inability to vocalize. Distribute toys for the cat to play with in its solo time. Training Your Fearful Cat to Be Confident Create a Calming Environment. … 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 situation may then need to be changed to advance the training. A behavioral consultation is needed for cats that are showing extreme fear and/or aggression. If this is a sudden change in demeanor, there will likely be a fear-based explanation. Scared cat behavior will vary from one to another. Always consult with your veterinarian or a veterinary behaviorist before giving your cat any type of medication for a behavior problem. These cats may never become outgoing and highly sociable. Respect Your Cat’s Space. Cats are creatures of habit. Over time, the stimulus can be presented at a closer distance, or in a louder or more animated manner. 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. 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. Dogs wag their tails, run up to you for a hug, and bark boisterously. Be alert with changes in your cat’s behavior. If the cat acts afraid during training, the stimuli are too intense and should be stopped. Disruption to routine makes a cat skittish. 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. Is It Better Than Dehydrated Dog Food. Next, examine what factors may be reinforcing the behavior. © Copyright 2018 by Isabelle Rousseau. It is important to eliminate stressful behavior in cats to ensure that the cat is at ease. What Is Freeze-Dried Dog Food? Here are some tips and advice on how to calm a cat who’s scared, stressed, or even just hyper. 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. It can be hard to tell if your cat is keeping her distance because she’s … Cats can also learn through the effect of even just one unpleasant experience that was intense or traumatic. Eliminating outside the litter box can be a significant problem in cats. Sorry, you have Javascript Disabled! By nature, they are more apt to hide or run when faced with something that frightens them. Start by exposing the cat to stimuli that are sufficiently mild that they do not evoke fear. Over time the person can move closer at feeding times, until he or she can give the cat its food. 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