Why is my cat scared of everything
Read time: 4 min
We’ve all heard the phrase ‘scaredy cat’. From the loud bangs and pops of fireworks to the new vase on the mantelpiece, cats seem to get scared by anything. Our cats are naturally wary of new things and loud noises. Which can unfortunately stress them out and make them anxious.
But there are some things you can do to help. Read on to learn what scares cats and how to help a skittish cat.
Why do cats get scared?
Cats hate being stressed. Unfortunately for them, they get frightened and anxious very easily. Things that you’d consider not a big deal can scare your cat easily. They’re naturally wary of new things, people, and situations. All of which can unsettle them.
Change in routine
We’re not talking about you deciding to brush your teeth at a slightly different time. Or making your coffee in a different way. But cats are very routine-driven animals. So any sudden changes to their routines can upset them.
Random trips to the vet. Bath time. Late breakfast or dinner. Moving house. Or you going back to the office for the first time since lockdown can all throw them off-kilter.
Lack of socialisation
This is most common in rescue cats. But can happen to any cat who didn’t receive enough social interaction as a kitten. Lots of cats might run away or hide from new people coming into their home. They find the unfamiliar smells and sounds stressful. And just prefer to remove themselves from the situation.
Also, some cats find it very hard to trust new people. Especially if they had a rough past. This can make them afraid or stressed.
No one wants to wake up from a nice cat nap to find a new roommate you didn’t ask for. Getting a new pet like another kitten, puppy, or other unfamiliar animal can be stressful for your cat. Unless it’s a bird. They’ll probably thank you for the new toy.Either way, it’ll take them between a few weeks and a couple of months to warm up to their new sibling. So just be patient with them and make sure they have somewhere secure – away from the newcomer – to relax.
Because they’re naturally wary of new things, unfamiliar objects can create a ruckus. You’ll probably spot your cat puffing up, eyeballing the item, or approaching it very slowly and cautiously. This can sometimes end in them taking an entertaining bat at the object with a paw. Or running away altogether. They usually get over this once they become familiar with it.
Children can be loud and scary for cats. The combination of little grabby hands. And no respect for personal boundaries can freak your cat out. Making them run away and hide. Or at least glower from the top of the stairs. There’s not much you can do about. Just give your cat space to relax in peace when the little ones are around.
Hands up. Who’s cat runs for the hills the second they spot the vacuum cleaner coming out? Or hides under the bed on fireworks night? Cats have very sensitive hearing. So loud noises are particularly scary for them. Again, not much you can do. Make sure they have a quiet, safe spot to curl up in. If they’re really anxious, you can speak to your vet. They might prescribe something to make them feel chilled out. Or suggest a soothing pheromone plug-in.
Why is my cat scared of me?
There are a number of reasons why your cat might be wary of you.
If they’re new to the household they might just not be used to you. If they were rescued, they may be dealing with some fear or anxiety that doesn’t have anything to do with you in particular. They may have been abused in the past. And that makes them distrusting of humans. Living with humans might be brand new to them too.
Be patient and kind with your cat. You’re just getting to know each other. Getting settled can take a bit of time. But it’s worth the wait.
How to make your cat less skittish
Identify and avoid what’s scaring them as much as possible. This isn’t always possible. But where try to keep your cat separate from the thing that’s scaring them.
Give them their own space to retreat to when they feel overwhelmed. Set up a space in a quiet area of the house they can call their own.
Stay calm yourself. Cats can pick up on the emotions of others. So try to stay calm to help them relax.
Try to stick to a solid routine. And make changes slowly.
Give them space and time. Rome wasn’t built in a day – and your cat won’t trust new things in a day either. Allow them the space to adjust in their own time.
Try a pheromone plug-in. These can be useful for calming very anxious cats, particularly during those times of year when fireworks are being set off or if you’re having building works done.
When to seek help
If the fear is presenting as aggression or if it’s brand new to you and there is a sudden change in their behaviour, take them to the vet. Your cat might be unwell or in pain and will need a vet’s diagnosis to help them get back to their loving self.
Food is a good motivator for many cats. And feeding them good-quality food will help to keep them happy and healthy. KatKin’s fresh cat food, made with 100% human-quality meat, will help to coax any scaredy cat out from hiding.