Why is it that some cats are scared of even their own shadows? What is the purpose of being so skittish? Many cats owners assume that there is something that is mentally wrong with a cat that will jump at the slightest movement.
Why does my cat get scared so easily? Cats scare easily in order to protect themselves. Domestic cats are relatively small and they have to be cautious in order to survive in a world that has numerous animals that prey on cats. They are extremely curious and this helps them to be aware of possible dangers. Nevertheless, they are not necessarily always on edge, but they are ready to bolt away if required.
Being Easily Scared is a Survival Mechanism for Domesticated Cats
Cats have been said to have nine lives. They are able to survive in situations that other animals would not have been able to deal with. It might seem as if they are panicking and not able to think clearly when they are frightened, but they always seem to be able to escape in a flash.
Being terrified and rattled by loud noises, or new environments are the main reasons why cats are still around.
If they were to be super curious and to stick around to investigate something that could potentially be dangerous to them, as a dog would, there is a chance that they would perish.
Cats Evolved to Be Very Aware of Possible Danger, Being Skittish is a Beneficial Genetic Trait
You would think that cats would be less afraid of the world around them being that they have been domesticated. However, they have not been domesticated by us, they decided for themselves that living with us was beneficial to them.
For thousands of years, they have been around humans, by not as dedicated pets. They lived alongside humans from as far back as the era when mummies were created. Nevertheless, they did not appear to be domesticated to any degree at that time. They were worshipped and some of them were even mummified.
They have evolved genetically in a small way since that time. They remain to be skittish since it was something that ensured that they would continue to survive even if humans were to suddenly disappear.
Why Cats are Especially Fearful in New Environments
Cats are usually fearful of a new environment. They like to live a routine life, and any big change worries them. For some cats, it can take weeks for them to adapt to a new place. My cat hid for three weeks behind a washer and only ventured out at night in order to nibble on food.
The reason a new environment creates fear in a cat is the unknown. They do not know what to expect and they tend to expect the worse. The smells are different, the temperature is different, surroundings are definitely foreign to them. They would rather be safe than sorry and that is exactly the attitude that will ensure that they will survive in a new environment.
If you move and your cat is not adapting to the new place, please give your cat the time that she needs. Forcing your cat to adapt is not going to help the situation. You will just succeed in creating more fear for your cat. Each cat is an individual, there is no set timeframe for a cat to feel safe at a new home.
After moving, make sure that you are feeding your cat on a daily basis. Also, ensure to give it fresh water daily. Plus, clean the litter box often since that you give you a better idea of whether not your cat is drinking water and digesting its food adequately.
Some Cats Are Super Anxious Around Humans
You may have noticed that when a stranger visits that your cat tends to hide. This is normal for some cats and if it happens, do not worry too much about it. I realize that you would probably prefer for your cat to be more social, but forcing your cat to greet new people is not a good plan. You will just succeed in raising the anxiety level of your cat.
Cats are much smaller than humans and we did not go about our daily lives in a predictable way as do some other animals. We could be walking, running, cleaning, and performing an infinite number of activities. They fear us initially because of our size and because it is hard to predict what we are going to do next.
Was Your Cat Abused?
It is possible that your cat had been abused. My cat came from a home where the previous owner was abusing her. He used to kick her off of his bed. He was usually in bare feet. That is why she is terrified of strangers and she is especially fearful of sockless feet.
A tactic to Make Your Cat Less Fearful of a Particular Person
Nevertheless, there is a way to make your cat relax around a particular person. Since cats become attached to a person that tends to feed them, allow this person to feed your cat. You will notice after possibly just a few weeks that she is less anxious when around this same person that had been creating a lot of anxiety for her.
Why is it that Cats are Easily Terrified While Eating or Drinking?
The reason that cats are especially fearful while eating is they are distracted and not fully tuned in the environment. If they had been crouched down low and were able to focus on the incoming sound waves and were able to visually scour the environment, they would be super focussed. Eating and drinking puts them in a vulnerable state that they do not cherish.
It would be best to put the food and water dish in an area that does not have a lot of foot traffic or noise. If there is too much activity, a cat may tend to overeat or to eat too fast which could disrupt digestion.
Can You Train a Cat to Be Less Skittish?
You can train some cats to be less skittish or in fear but they are not like dogs. They are not going to change their behavior or attitude to please you. Nevertheless, here is a list of tactics that you can try out:
- You can create a series of perches for them. They feel safer when they are higher up, it allows them to get a better view of their environment. It is instinctive. In a jungle setting, it was the best way to hide from predators and to be more aware of when they were approaching them. I recommend the Kitty Sill Cat Window Hammock Perch, click here to see the current pricing on Amazon.
- If you have multiple cats, make sure that there are calm areas when cats can hang out and to be sheltered from other cats. If the weaker of your cats is being bullied by the others, she will need to know that there is a safe hiding place for her where she can be in peace.
- Something that people seem to try is to walk around in a calm unnatural way believing that this will reduce the stress for a cat. The problem with this tactic is it might just draw attention to you and your cat may wonder why the level of noise has changed.
- If there is a member of the household that the cat seems to fear the most, you can alter how the cat perceives that person. Allow them to leave treats close to it. Over time, the cat will be drawn to this person and less stressed when they are close by.
Why Is My Cat Scared of Me Sometimes?
If your cat is constantly in fear of you, that is something to be concerned about. However, if it only happens periodically, it could be that your cat is in fear of something else. My cat would actually hiss at me if just a few seconds beforehand, a stranger had attempted to pat her. In other words, it depends on your cat’s present frame of mind.
Also, remember that nothing is random with cats. There are triggers for cats that can make them suddenly fearful of you. For instance, if you tend to pick up your cat and she seems rattled, it would be best to avoid doing so in the future.