Your cat’s behavior can baffle you at times.
Fortunately, you can learn more about it and take steps to help it. Your cat’s level of fear will vary based on its age and behavior.
Generally, your aim should be to gradually build your cat’s trust. So, why is my cat so scared of everything?
My cat is scared of everything! He’s scared of loud noises, like fireworks and thunderstorms.
He’s scared of strangers coming to the door. He’s even scared of me!
I often joke that he thinks I’m a ghost! Of course, the fact that he’s scared of fireworks and thunderstorms is pretty understandable.
Fireworks and thunderstorms are scary! On the other hand, strangers coming to the door and me making him walk on a leash are weird!
After all, I’m his owner! He’s never bitten or scratched me, so I don’t understand why he’s scared of me.
I’m going to bring this up with his vet, but in the meantime, is there anything I can do?
Let’s start now.
- 1 Why Is My Cat So Scared of Everything?
- 2 How Do I Know If My Cat Is Scared?
- 3 How to Help a Frightened Cat
- 4 Final Words
Why Is My Cat So Scared of Everything?
Illness and Injuries
Cats might get worried as they get old due to illnesses or injuries.
For instance, many older cats develop kidney problems that affect their appetite and health. In addition, some cats may develop cancer that affects their internal organs.
As a result, they stop eating properly and experience severe pain in their body.
They may also have trouble walking or even grooming themselves properly due to their condition.
In such cases, it’s important to seek veterinary attention as soon as possible to help your cat recover.
Furthermore, cats are more susceptible than dogs to accidents such as car accidents or slipping down the stairs.
New Residence and Environment
Moving home is one of life’s most stressful events for pets. In fact, it’s one of the most stressful things that can happen to any pet! You may feel the same too.
So, if your cat is moving house with you, try to keep its routine as normal as possible to avoid upsetting it as much as possible.
Start by packing its belongings a few days in advance so that it’s aware of what’s happening and its belongings are in the right place when you move day arrives.
Everything about this moving experience is likely to be different for your pet – from new smells and sounds, to new sights and people – so try and keep everything as familiar as you can: this includes feeding times, sleeping.
Household with Multiple Cats
If your cat becomes extremely uneasy and stressed when there are more than two cats in the household, then it may be suffering from feline polycystic kidney disease (FPKD).
This condition can cause the bladder to become enlarged and it may eventually lead to kidney failure and death if left untreated.
Luckily, the condition can be diagnosed early through a blood test performed by your vet.
This diagnosis can help you treat the condition before it progresses further. You can speak to your vet about treatment options for FPKD if you suspect that your cat is suffering from it.
Your cat is probably exhibiting the following symptoms if it is suffering from FPKD.
When a new cat or kitten comes into your household, it may frighten the other resident cats and cause them to become aggressive towards each other.
Some cats may also become extremely stressed when there’s a new baby in the house. They may not like it when a stranger comes to visit either.
They may hide under the bed and become very quiet or withdrawn. However, this should pass within a few weeks as the kitten grows up and becomes used to its surroundings.
Stress can also be caused by other changes in the household such as moving house, rehoming a cat and the arrival of new pets such as dogs or rabbits into the home.
Harassment or Past Trauma
Cats may be emotionally scarred due to past experiences such as being abandoned, attacked by another animal or being hit by a car.
This may result in them becoming anxious around new people and other pets in their home. It can also cause them to be fearful of certain objects, sounds and situations in the home.
For example, they may react negatively if they see someone wearing a hat or a scarf that they associate with a past traumatic event in their life.
They may also dislike certain places in the home that are the same places that the trauma occurred.
If you have acquired a cat, especially an older cat from a shelter or rescue group or you are thinking of adopting one, it is important to take the time to get to know the cat’s personality before introducing it to other family members and pets in your home.
Many people mistakenly believe that cats cannot suffer from separation anxiety.
Cats need company, and they can become depressed and anxious when left alone for long periods.
When a cat is left alone for many hours at a time (such as during the day), it can resort to destructive behavior such as scratching the furniture, urinating outside of the litter box, excessive meowing or howling, hiding under beds and other pieces of furniture or even chewing on itself.
This is when they are afraid their owners will forget about them and may return to find them gone. Some owners even complain that their cat has gone missing while they’ve gone out shopping.
Owners who go away on holidays sometimes report their cat has run away. In extreme cases, some owners report having found their pet dead when they return home.
This is very sad indeed! Separation anxiety is a very stressful condition for any pet owner to have to cope with.
How Do I Know If My Cat Is Scared?
Fearful Body Posture
On edge cats will crouch low to the ground, with their legs bent and tail held tightly between its legs, ready to spring into action at a moment’s notice.
Cats have arched backs and tense muscles when they are scared.
Their ears are flattened against their heads and their pupils dilate, giving them an almost predatory look about them.
They’ll also stop eating and act restlessly. Some will even pace back and forth continuously. These are all signs of fear in a cat。
A frightened cat may look to you for help, but is unable to ask for it due to fear and stress.
Fearful meows are frequently low-pitched or drawn out and may be accompanied by trembling of the lips, chattering teeth, or a low growl.
Another evident symptom of fear is excessive vocalization, including hissing and growling at nothing in particular, or repeatedly demanding attention by rubbing against your legs or jumping on your shoulders.
Grooming is a relaxing activity for most cats; however, if your kitty seems to be spending more time grooming itself than usual, this may be a sign of stress and anxiety.
This is especially true if your cat tends to groom itself more when it senses that you’re feeling stressed too.
It’s important to remain calm and relaxed when you interact with your kitty – whether it’s feeding time or just playing with it – to help reduce any feelings of anxiety it may have.
Skittish and jumpy
Fearful cats will frequently hide in dark places or behind furniture when they’re scared. They may also try to hide under beds or under other pieces of furniture, and may even run and hide from you when you try to approach them.
These behaviors are all signs of fear in a cat.
When a fearful cat does approach you, it may act very skittish, constantly jumping at the slightest movement and often turning away when you try to pet it.
You may notice that they avoid being in the same room as loud or sudden noises such as fireworks or thunderstorms, and may even cower and scream when these things occur.
Changes in Appetite
Certain medical illnesses can cause cats to lose interest in food, but if you see your cat eating less than usual without any other obvious illness present, this could also be a sign of fear.
Hiding Behaviors Have Increased
Cats who are scared will often spend more time hiding than they usually would. They may hide under the bed or become very quiet and withdrawn.
However, this should pass within a few weeks as the kitten grows up and becomes used to its surroundings.
This is how they escape predators in the wild, so this type of behavior is not abnormal for kittens or adult cats; however, prolonged periods of hiding can be a sign of fear or anxiety in your cat.
How to Help a Frightened Cat
Use Calming Words
While you’re figuring things our with your kitten, make sure to use soothing words when speaking to him/her.
You don’t want a scenario in which your kitten associates your presence with being yelled at or being hurt.
So make sure to be calm and reassuring when you interact with your kitty and use quiet tones.
If you raise your voice or try to punish your pet for acting afraid, this will only exacerbate the problem and make your pet more scared.
Fear of New Environments
It’s frightening for a cat who has no idea what’s in store in a new environment; so it’s best to take things slowly with your kitten and slowly introduce it to new situations as it grows up.
For instance, you could try taking it out for short trips in the car at first and then gradually increasing the length of time it takes to travel by car until it becomes used to it.
Or you could try taking your kitten for short walks around the house until it becomes more familiar with its surroundings.
Don’t force the issue – your kitty will become stressed if you’re moving too quickly and will feel anxious if it doesn’t feel comfortable enough to explore a new area.
Make a secure area for your cat, complete with a litter tray, scratching post and toys that your kitty enjoys playing with.
Create a Safe Zone Around the House
When your cat is terrified, he or (especially) she may want to hide somewhere safe away from the scary situation; so it’s a good idea to create a safe zone in the house where your kitty can go when it feels overwhelmed.
This could include a place to hide under a bed, behind a couch or in a closet. You can also provide a safe hiding place in the form of a box lined with a blanket where your kitty can retreat to at any time.
This will encourage the timid feline to explore the rest of the house without being too fearful to do so.
Allowing the cat to wander about may help prevent it from developing aggressive behaviors later on in life.
At Home, Use a Diffuser
When the diffuser is set up, it releases calming pheromones that remind your kitty that it is safe to relax and calm down.
Because of the pheromones that are released into the air, the diffuser will help calm an anxious cat and reduce its stress levels by reminding it of home and its mother’s comforting presence.
When it comes to cats, there are some natural ways to help them feel calm and relaxed at home when you are experiencing stressful events in your life or they are feeling stressed themselves.
In the wild, cats will seek out these calming scents when they feel threatened – so by using a diffuser in your home, you can recreate these smells and help soothe a nervous cat.
As a cat owner, you should recognize when your feline friend is feeling frightened and try to provide a comfortable place for them to feel safe at all times.
Cats are incredibly independent animals and love to be left alone.
However, sometimes they’re scared of things they shouldn’t be scared of. For example, my pet cat is scared of everything, including people, doors, and heights.
However, cats shouldn’t be scared of such things because they aren’t dangerous. My cat’s fears are irrational and can be treated with medication.