Cat behaviour: What is your cat afraid of?
There are many reasons why your cat may be scared. Some cats appear more placid than others, some are scared of their own shadows.
But why are cats scared?
Any cat that isn’t used to socialising with human beings will find it difficult to settle down in a new environment. If a kitten has been brought up in a cattery, for example, it may experience problems when first interacting with a new family.
The People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals (PDSA) believes “good early socialisation leads to friendly well- adjusted adult cats which are less likely to be scared”.
In other words, human behaviour affects cat behaviour. Once you welcome your new kitten into your home, treat it with kindness and nurture your new pet.
A calm atmosphere will create a placid cat
Playing with your kitten is an excellent idea. This activity will give your cat exercise and also allow your pet to become familiar with you and your family. However, you need to make sure young children understand what is and isn’t within the limits of friendly play with their pet.
You should also introduce your kitten to household noises early on. This includes loud appliances like the vacuum cleaner and washing machine. Remember, your kitten may never have experienced these noises before and will need to be reassured your home is a safe environment.
Acclimatise your cat to travel
Just like many humans, some cats are scared of new experiences. If a trip to the vet is in the diary, introduce your cat to its travelling cage well in advance of the actual trip so they are not distressed at the time.
Leave the cage on the floor in a room visited by the cat and line it with newspaper. Place a soft blanket over the paper and let your cat investigate. Leaving a couple of treats or toys inside can help to tempt them inside on initial visits.
Learn to look for signs of stress
If your cat starts to growl, crouch down and raise its hackles then it may be frightened.
You probably won’t be able to see the source of its stress, but at least you can take the action needed to reassure them and keep them as placid as possible.
Cats have different personalities
Some cats may simply be more nervous than others, and this is also determined by their species. A regal Siamese may behave very differently to a rescued moggy and it’s important you understand the behavior, attitude and personality of your individual cat.
Learn how to observe your pet’s character traits and act accordingly. It’s always a good idea to provide your new feline companion with its own basket – especially if you have other cats or animals – as this ensures they have a safe place to retreat to if they ever feel threatened or scared.
Remember, cats are territorial creatures so individual food bowls, water bowls, scratch posts, toys and beds are all recommended to help a new feline fit in and de-stress.